Amazon’s coming to Crystal City with half of their second headquarters. Virginia governments and local stakeholders are promising lots of upgrades to the area’s infrastructure. Here is what they say they’ll do to help commuters:
$570 million of investment from Arlington County and the City of Alexandria with $195 million of non-general fund money from the Commonwealth of Virginia in new or expanded transportation projects.
1. A second entrance to the Crystal City Metro Station at the corner of Crystal Drive & 18th Street South. Arlington’s Transportation Commission applied for a grant last year but only got design money. (Page 4 & Page 45)
2. A second entrance to the Potomac Yard Metro Station being added to the Yellow Line. The two-entrance design was scaled back this year. That station will be a cornerstone for transit access in the neighborhood. Until now, the rash new residential construction there has been stranded between Braddock Road and Crystal City stops. Unless you took the bus, it wasn’t easy to get there. Unless you knew how to get off or around the Route 1 rail overpass, you’d end up at the Glebe Road intersection before you knew it.
3. A pedestrian bridge between Crystal City and National Airport. There’s some dispute about how useful this will be, but it’s not easy to reach Reagan as a pedestrian. Unless you get to DCA’s doorstep via car, bus, or Metrorail, there’s no inviting path to walk there. If you’re at Crystal Drive and 18th Street South, and you know where to look, there’s an entrance to the Mount Vernon Trail. Walking along the trail at a leisurely pace isn’t safe, especially one that tunnels under the GW Parkway with blind, narrow corners. If you find the Airport Access Road on-ramp from Crystal Drive, you can use the sidewalk to cross over to the airport. But, that route takes you along a completely car-focused entrance. I have, on foot and bike, gotten lost there several times.
4. The Crystal City-Potomac Yard Transitway is getting extended to Pentagon City and Alexandria. The network of “premium surface transit” includes bus-only lanes and sheltered stops for the bus-rapid transit Metroway service. Funding was already there to extend the route north to Pentagon City (Page 66). Right now, the blue Metroway buses travel in mixed traffic along Potomac Avenue through Potomac Yard. The new investment will dedicate lanes for the blue bus crew. Finally, the changes extend the “transitway from East Glebe to Evans Lane in Alexandria.” That’s a segment along Route 1 less than a quarter mile. Right now, the bus-only lanes terminate at Glebe, and the buses make a right toward Potomac Avenue. It’s not clear from the map what they mean by “extending” the route (Page 5).
5. Improvements to Route 1 for Pedestrians. Exact plans will be hammered out later and depend on the segment/intersection. Here’s what they say on the map: “Modifies Route 1 to improve pedestrian, bicycle, and transit connectivity between Pentagon City and Crystal City” (Page 6).
Description of Amazon-related Transportation Investments from Arlington County
“A review of available transportation services, facilities and associated capacity indicate that regional and local transit systems have significant unused capacity, even during peak travel periods. As a very transit-focused employer, Amazon is expected to help fill that existing capacity, with most employees utilizing public transit, walking, biking or carpooling each day.
To manage this planned growth, Arlington County and the City of Alexandria are investing $570 million in transportation projects, including rail connections, transit facilities, multi-modal streets and transportation technology serving the site, all of which were planned as part of Board- and Council-approved long-term Capital Improvement Plans. Arlington and Alexandria are also actively pursuing additional funding opportunities to advance investments in this corridor.
To augment these local investments, the Commonwealth will invest up to $195 million of non-general fund money in new or expanded transportation projects to improve mobility in the region, including an additional entrance to the Crystal City Metro station and a south entrance off of Potomac Avenue to the new Potomac Yard Metro station. Other projects include improvements to U.S. Route 1 in Arlington County, a pedestrian bridge from Crystal City to Reagan National Airport and a transitway expansion supporting Pentagon City, Crystal City and Potomac Yard in both Alexandria and Arlington. Additional funding would be available if Amazon creates more than 25,000 jobs.”
Full Release, Plans, and Visual Assets: https://www.arlingtonva.us/amazon/