Friday, October 8, 2010

U.S. 1 Op Ed In Richmond Times Dispatch

Today, the Richmond Times-Dispatch published an Op-Ed that I wrote after they ran an editorial last weekend entitled "The Scar" referring to U.S. 1. Here is an excerpt:

It's also hard to avoid the suspicion that Jeff Davis has suffered such neglect because it lacks the affluent, eloquent constituents that populate other parts of the city. What businesses there are in the area run more to bodegas, auto-parts dealers, and dollar stores than advertising agencies and smart boutiques.

Jeff Davis may be cursed by a sense -- perhaps an unconscious one -- that fixing up the infrastructure would be like putting a spoiler on a Pinto. But this sentiment, if it exists, amounts to a Catch-22. Smart boutiques will not relocate to an area whose main thoroughfare is rougher than riprap.
Sound familiar?

Much has been done to improve U.S. 1 in our neck of the woods. Right when I got out of law school, U.S. 1 had several police "hot" spots - Jim's Country Club (razed), the Belvoir Grill (burned down), Hillbilly Heaven (razed). Mount Vernon Plaza and Beacon Mall have undergone significant upgrades and many of the seedier hotels are gone, but there is still a massive amount of work to be done.

The focus on my RTD Op-Ed is that the improvement of U.S. 1 is a statewide problem - not just a Fairfax County or even a Northern Virginiaone. The road - and especially our part of Route 1 - has tremendous potential waiting to be unleashed as soon as we get widening and rail. However, to pull it off, all of the players involved need to step up to the plate to make major long term change a reality.

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