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In Search Of… Tapering Density with Shallow Lots

This is a good example of:

Call to Action for finding examples of density transitions where lots are shallow


A coalition of Arlington, Virginia neighborhoods is researching examples of tapering density from redevelopment of an older arterial corridor to adjacent residential lots. The Corridor is a primarily east-west alignment between Metro stations at Rosslyn and East Falls Church, with quality bus service especially during rush hour with some one-seat rides to downtown DC.

Lee Highway, highlighted and in red.  Map from Arlington County, VA

Lee Highway, highlighted and in red. Map from Arlington County, VA

The Situation:

  • Twelve neighborhoods along the corridor are partnering to create a more economically vibrant, walkable, attractive Lee Highway corridor to benefit neighborhoods and the business community (@LeeHwyArlington).
  • While the corridor is not adjacent to Metro’s Orange Line, Arlington County is creating a shuttle bus and bike network feeding Metro corridors. Lee Highway is a main auto commuter route into the city and within Arlington itself.  The bike lane system is emerging, but fractured along the route and served by DC’s bike share, Capital Bikeshare, in many key locations.
  • Arlington County has experience in tapering heights from higher density to residential neighborhoods, but these  are keyed to the higher densities near Metro subway corridors.
  • The Lee Highway corridor is home to popular service businesses, though residents would like to bring in a better variety of restaurants.

This inquiry looks at how to begin a TOD program where:

  • Local bus lines are the highest form of transit for the foreseeable future, however, higher forms of transit should not be ruled out over time.
  • Commercial lots are narrow (100-400 ft. deep) with fragmented ownership
  • A process is needed to identify “right density/right place” and supporting plans, codes and designs.


Project Location :

Arlington VA

Development Context:

Inner Ring Suburb





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