Reader Responds To Gerry Connolly's Call For Density
A reader's letter to the Fairfax Extra:
The flippant defense by Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Gerald E. Connolly (D) of high-density growth as the solution for getting his latte at the Vienna Metro ["Connolly Promotes Dense Development Near Transit Hubs," Fairfax Extra, Dec. 22] is a smoke screen for the board-developer alliance's relentless commitment to transforming Fairfax County into another congested, overbuilt Los Angeles.
The issue is not a cup of coffee but the fact that concentrating more and more high-density development on poorly equipped highways and roads only aggravates the county's already deteriorating traffic situation.
The assumption that workers, residents and shoppers brought by high-density expansion near Metro stations will abandon their cars and relieve congestion is unproven and dubious. The established pattern of American suburban life (compared with Europe, for example) defies that assumption, especially in the D.C. area.
Retail and employment centers here are increasingly spread widely across the metropolitan area. Most people, regardless of what planners smugly assert they will or should do, continue to rely on the automobile. Will a shopper in Bethesda take the Metro to Tysons Corner? Will someone living in Tysons take the Metro to a job in Rockville? Of course not.
Any development must be supported by requisite changes in the transportation infrastructure to absorb the commercial or residential expansion. Simply hoping that Metro, which serves a minority of county residents, will solve the problem is wishful thinking that promises even worse congestion than we have now.
Chairman Connolly's latte will not comfort the people trapped in horrific future traffic jams on Fairfax County roads.
Dell F. Pendergrast
January 5, 2006; 12:13 PM ET
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