Is a Car-Free Diet a priority, now?

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This morning I was greeted by my second email from Arlington’s Car-Free Diet program.

Yes, my focus is elsewhere; as is everyone else’s.

There are three reasons why allowing this email to be sent demonstrates the continued lack of strategic resource allocation by senior County leadership during this unprecedented time.

  1. In a county that has a very high proportion of white-collar working people, the majority of us who still have jobs are working from home with our commuting limited to logging onto the next zoom call. Those of us who don’t have jobs, are struggling to get by, and considering a car free diet isn’t high on our hierarchy of needs.  According to this new analysis, Arlington will hit it’s alleviation goals sooner than anticipated because so many are working from home
     
  2. We are in a pandemic. If we are working and do not have the privilege of working from home, but do have a car, common sense tells us that having a car would be the safest way of avoiding other people and grasping a level of safety that public transportation cannot provide.
  3. Last month the County Board passed a revised CIP taking into account the tight budget that the county expects due to declines in incoming revenues and increases in pandemic related expenses. Neighborhoods like mine have set up food drives to support our neighbors in need. Last week alone Barcroft distributed food to 108 families to fill a gap the County had not addressed. All over Arlington, neighborhoods are coming together to provide support where the county resources have fallen short.

Continuing to push a program like the car free diet during this COVID health emergency is completely tone deaf. Instead, the County should be laser focused on allocating its dwindling resources and redeploying those resources toward the areas in which they are needed. Some ideas include reallocating the dollars for the car free diet to COVID safety transportation initiatives or redeploying the car free diet staff to COVID related activities.

Sending messages like this out to our community during the COVID health emergency is an embarrassingly poor use of time, our tax dollars, and people power in an era where all three are critical to fighting the COVID.

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