VIRGINIA

Columbia Pike street car concerns expressed business owners

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At CJ Wireless, owner Jose Lopez is on the fence about the Columbia Pike street car.

He admits once it's built, it may bring more business. But he worries about sales once construction starts.

Lopez says he already has problems with customers accessing this store because of construction.

As the Columbia Pike street car project inches closer to being a reality, some residents and business owners, like Lopes, are expressing concern about whether the project will hurt businesses.

Fairfax County only voted to move forward so environmental planning and conceptual design can begin.

In a statement, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova stated: "The project will help serve the growing need for public transit along Columbia Pike and help to revitalize the Baileys Crossroads area."

The five-mile street car line will stretch from Pentagon City and into Bailey's Crossroads in Fairfax County and will cost about $250 million.

Claudia Aalazar, who owns Cafe Sazon, says she knows the pain that may come with construction. But thinks in the long term the street car will bring foot traffic to her restaurant.

"We think that the street car is going to make some improvements," she says.

Emily Carnes has lived in the area more than 25 years.

Once opposed to the street car, now she just hopes it doesn't add to an already cluttered Columbia Pike.

"I used to go to the community talks and information sessions and when I finally realized that not much wasn't going to change I just said, 'it's coming,'" she says.

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