ARLINGTON, Va. – The Coalition for Smarter Growth honored Arlington County Board Member J. Walter Tejada on Thursday, May 15, 2014, for his efforts to advance the community’s vision for transforming Columbia Pike into a more transit-oriented corridor while preserving its diversity and affordable housing stock.
“Walter Tejada demonstrated outstanding leadership in making the case for the plan and the Streetcar, which is essential to supporting the increased density and ridership expected in the corridor,” said Coalition for Smarter Growth Executive Director Stewart Schwartz. “Moreover, with the demand and housing costs soaring, he spearheaded innovative housing policy and funding strategies to preserve and add affordable housing in the Columbia Pike corridor as it redevelops. The affordable housing strategies championed by Walter will be a model for other jurisdictions.”
Tejada was awarded the prestigious Livable Communities Leadership Award for his work in 2013 as Chairman of the Arlington County Board. During his tenure, Tejada hosted a Streetcar Town Hall that drew hundreds of County residents to an informative discussion of the County’s planned Columbia Pike streetcar.
As Chairman, Tejada led the Board to adopt a set of innovative financial tools for preserving affordable housing along the Pike, including the creation of a Transit Oriented Affordable Housing Fund (TOAH) and a Tax Increment Financing area along the Pike for defined revitalization districts.
“The Coalition for Smarter Growth shares Arlington’s commitment to building communities that are more transit-oriented, walkable, bikeable and sustainable,” Tejada said.
“This award acknowledges the County’s years-long public process and hard work with many community partners to bring the benefits of smart growth, including better transit, to the Pike," he said. "No other jurisdiction that we know of has put in place such an innovative strategy to protect affordable housing and diversity while revitalizing a large urban area and creating economic development opportunities.”
In a press release, the organization said that the Livable Communities Leadership Award “is bestowed annually on the Washington area individual or individuals who have made a particularly significant contribution to smart growth in the Washington region.
The Coalition for Smarter Growth, founded in 1997, is the Washington D.C. Region’s leading organization dedicated to making the case for smart growth. The group describes as its mission “to promote walkable, inclusive, and transit-oriented communities, and the land use and transportation policies and investments needed to make those communities flourish.”
Arlington, Va., is a world-class residential, business and tourist location that was originally part of the "10 miles square" parcel of land surveyed in 1791 to be the Nation's Capital. Slightly smaller than 26 square miles, it is the geographically smallest self-governing county in the United States, and one of only a handful with the prized Aaa/AAA/AAA bond rating. Arlington maintains a rich variety of stable neighborhoods and quality schools, and has received numerous awards for Smart Growth and transit-oriented development. Home to some of the most influential organizations in the world -- including the Pentagon -- Arlington stands out as one of America's preeminent places to live, visit and do business.