Alan Ehrenhalt is skeptical about the new Tysons Corner development, as am I

Some bits from his new book:

The original transit plan…was to place the subway line underground.  That didn’t happen….So rail transit will come to Tysons in the form of a seventy-foot-high elevated track along Route 123 [TC: does he mean Route 7?], with disembarking passengers required to go down to the street and then climb back up a bridge to get to the plaza and the towers.  It’s not exactly the best way to signal the presence of an urban village.

…the hardest part…is the grid…retrofitting seventeen hundred acres of suburban asphalt with a network of walkable streets will be an enormous challenge…The plain truth is that nobody has ever done this before — not on the scale that is being called for at Tysons Corner.

…The residential, retail, and office developers had all delayed their plans for the new walkable city,  a casualty of the national bank lending crunch and a glut of suburban office space.  But the county board had just reaffirmed its support for the entire project, residential towers, gridded streets, and all.

Ehrenhalt does suggest that Tysons has a very good chance of succeeding as “retrofitted suburbia,” but not as a “green pedestrian oasis.”

Here is my previous post on the Ehrenhalt book.


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