Stewart Schwartz, executive director of the Coalition for Smarter Growth, agrees that Jefferson County needs thoughtful planning but doesn’t see the Silver Line as a sea change for West Virginia’s housing market. Commuters from Jefferson County headed to Fairfax and points east are “very likely to stay in their cars,” Schwartz said, and the pandemic and rise of telecommuting may have a bigger impact than the Metro extension. Still, Schwartz believes there’s more to be done to ensure equitable and sustainable growth.
“It comes down to whether we can have better planning in Jefferson County,” Schwartz said. “You should grow within your small town and gracefully expand those towns with greener streets and [greater] walkability.”