Columbia Pike

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Columbia Pike has often been described as "Arlington's Main Street," and it's easy to see why. The unique combination of local businesses, diverse neighborhoods, and everyday amenities along this busy corridor gives an international flair to Arlington.

Columbia Pike is a little different from most of Arlington's urban villages, in that it's not centered on a Metro station. Rather, the Pike is actually a linear thoroughfare that stretches across south Arlington, from Arlington Cemetery and Fort Myer in the East, all the way into Fairfax County at Arlington's western border. More than three miles of the Pike lie in Arlington County, and this corridor is home to more than a quarter of Arlington's population, as well as a quarter of its families. Residents are well-served by more than 500 businesses and 1.6 million square feet of commercial space.

There's no central Metrorail station, but Metrobus and ART team up to provide outstanding bus service along the Pike, and connections to Metrorail at Pentagon, Pentagon City, Ballston, Farragut West, Farragut North, and McPherson Square. The combined service, known as Pike Ride, has a rush hour frequency comparable to Metrorail, and frequent service all day.

Although Columbia Pike is a linear village, it does have a central heartbeat. Many people consider the epicenter of the area to be the few blocks surrounding the intersection of Columbia Pike and Walter Reed Drive, known historically as Penrose Station. Indeed, if the Pike is 'Main Street,' this area is the community's 'downtown'. A short walk will take you past a multitude of popular Thai and Salvadoran restaurants, the Arlington Cinema 'n' Drafthouse, ethnic specialty markets, local watering holes, and even an authentic 24-hour diner (Bob & Edith's) that draws late-night crowds from around the Beltway.

Photo: Farmers MarketEqually important in this area are the community institutions that only make the neighborhood ties stronger and increase the village feel that pervades in this area. A Sunday farmers' market offers fruits, veggies and other goodies from May to November. The annual Columbia Pike Blues Festival showcases local and national talent. And the Walter Reed Community Center and Park provide public meeting and recreational space, as well as community activities for locals of all ages.

Since the sense of community is so important to this neighborhood, it only makes sense that the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization (CPRO) is another important community institution. CPRO is a public partnership that has been working for more than 20 years to encourage and guide the development of Columbia Pike. As this process continues, CPRO is working to keep citizens involved so that the sense of community and tradition aren't threatened.

Arlington's main street, while clearly quite different from Arlington's other urban villages, is a great place to live, work, and play, and public transportation makes it easy.

Did You Know?

Bicycling, rather than driving, for a four-mile round trip keeps about 15 pounds of pollutants out of the air we breathe.

WorldWatch Institute

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