The speaker series of the Envision Transportation initiative began last night. All four events are to be held in the Technology Theater of Virginia Beach's Advanced Technology Center (ATC). The kickoff speaker was Stewart Schwartz, Executive Director of the Coalition for Smarter Growth. Some factoids from his remarks:
1. He was "very impressed" with Virginia Beach's land use plans and thinks we're "heading in the right direction."
2. Please note, fiscal conservatives: two Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) corridors that comprise only 11% of Arlington County, VA's land area account for 50% of the county's Property Tax revenue. Not only does it pay for itself, but it provides funds for elsewhere.
3. The redevelopment around Washington Metro's Gallery Place Station would require hundreds of acres if done on a suburban model. It fits nicely within 16 blocks, squelching sprawl.
4. AAA estimates it takes $9,500 per year to own, operate, and maintain a four door car. A robust mass transit system helps family budgets by allowing them to cut the number of household cars.
5. During the housing slump, TOD has held it's value much better than properties built at suburban density.
6. The United States has less than 5% of the world's population but consumes 25% of the world's oil production, 70% of it for transportation.
Finally, Schwartz said that Dan Burden (the speaker scheduled for November 4) is "not to be missed."