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Friday, March 24, 2023
ArlingtonOpinionLetter: Missing Middle opponents fail to see forest for trees

Letter: Missing Middle opponents fail to see forest for trees

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Editor: I love the many beautiful trees around Arlington and want to grow our tree canopy, yet there’s an obsession among some about our trees that misses the big picture about protecting our world from climate change.

Based on travel-survey data from the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, the average household in Arlington drives about 30 miles per day. The average household in Fairfax, Prince William or Loudoun drives 66 miles per day, primarily because those places are much farther from jobs and are much more auto-oriented. That difference adds up to 10,400 additional pounds of carbon per year for every household that can’t live in Arlington.

The average tree can sequester 50 pounds of carbon per year. So, for every single-family lot in Arlington that does not become a duplex, you’d have to save or plant 209 trees to cancel out the additional carbon of an additional household in the outer counties.

Similarly, if a quadplex replaced a single-family home, allowing three additional households to live in Arlington, that’s the equivalent carbon savings of 627 trees. Not to mention the trees in the outer counties that would be saved by not building more housing in outer counties for the people who could live in Arlington.


So, let’s do our part to reduce carbon emissions, and not miss the forest for the trees in the Missing Middle housing conversation.

Scudder Wagg, Arlington

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