Thursday, May 06, 2010

The Great Lie

No, we're not talking about the Warner Brothers sudser from 1941, which played the other evening on cable's Turner Classic Movies.

The Growler's talking about the Braddock Road Metro Neighborhood Plan.

On Tuesday evening the Planning Commission greenlighted the new North Potomac Yard plan, which goes to Council on May 15. The staff report for Potomac Yard makes interesting reading for those who felt they were walking over hot coals during the endless Braddock Road Metro charrettes a few years ago.

On page 10 of the Potomac Yard Plan, staff outlined 2009 weekday passenger boarding numbers at selected Metro stops and as well as estimated levels at those stations in 2030, some two decades from now.

Staff's numbers show that significantly more passengers will be using Alexandria's Eisenhower and King Street Metro stations twenty years hence. The growth rate is projected to be more than double at Eisenhower (from 2,359 to 6,000) and King Street will increase by nearly 50% (from 8,976 to 13,000). Undoubtedly these numbers were calculated because the City anticipates a lot of intense development near both locations.

Potential board numbers for the proposed Metro stop at Potomac Yard are also anticipated to be robust. In 2030, daily boardings are projected to be 12,600 if the station is located at site Alternative A or 15,900 if located at one of the B alternatives.

What does the City anticipate for Braddock Road Metro? In the Potomac Yard staff report, it is stated that in 2009 there were an average of 4,481 daily boardings at our nearest station. But at Braddock Road the City is only projecting a daily boarding increase of just a little under 900 passengers, a measly growth rate of 18%.

What does this mean?

It means the City isn't expecting a huge number of new riders, and that translates into little or no significant redevelopment.

It also means the Braddock Metro plan was a complete fakery. It was a smokescreen. The air clears only when the City has no incentive to lie about this neighborhood, as in the case of the Potomac Yard plan.

For those readers who participated in the charrettes, think back and remember the consultant-led hoopla about the need to make better use of Alexandria Metro stations, and particularly Braddock Metro which was (falsely) claimed to be the least used site in town?

It was all bushwa.

The talk about office buildings on the Metro lot with thousands of daytime workers flooding the area?

Nonsense.

A hotel opposite the station?

Guess again.

Redevelopment of Andrew Adkins?

Not on anyone's agenda by 2030 ... which again underscores the Growler's contention that the Braddock East plan was also a hoax.

Note also that the current Eisenhower numbers are half as large as those at Braddock. However, ridership there is expect to blast past Braddock in the next 20 years. What is the difference between the two sites?

So who's responsible for this chicanery? There were lots of players, including both the City and ARHA, but the Growler thinks a special spot in this dubious hall of fame needs to be reserved for the City's grossly-overpaid consultants, Goody Clancy.

However, in the last analysis the Braddock Road charade needs to be laid at the feet of the City's elected leaders, who are now proving they can easily ignore the Economic Sustainability Task Force recommendations as well.

And that's a bitchfest that rivals celluloid immortals Bette Davis and Mary Astor every day of the week.