Virginia will add a second entrance to the Crystal City Metrorail station to better serve commuters as Amazon adds 25,000 new workers to the area. The second entrance will include elevators and escalators at the Northwest corner of 18th St S and Crystal Drive. That’s next to a Mount Vernon Trail connection and below 1770 Crystal Drive, an office tower Amazon has leased.
Arlington Was Already Considering a Second Crystal City Entrance
Before Amazon’s announcement, the Arlington Transportation Commission had requested Commonwealth funding for a second entrance to Crystal City. This is how they describe the project in 2017 (Page 4):
”...this project will expand access to Metrorail in Crystal City and provide more capacity for the station and efficiency for Metrorail operations. The Crystal City Metrorail Station East Entrance will provide better connectivity to Crystal Drive and development anticipated in the Crystal City Sector Plan, as well as to the Transitway, the Crystal City Virginia Railway Express (VRE) Station, and, through a later phase of the project, a direct pedestrian connection between Crystal City and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA).”
Crystal City’s Second Entrance Currently in Design Phase
Again, from ATC’s November 2017 request:
“The planned location for the east entrance is on the northwest corner of the intersection of 18th Street South and Crystal Drive. The project is in the concept development and engineering analysis phase. County staff will begin working with WMATA to develop a Memorandum of Agreement that will outline agency roles and responsibilities for design and construction. This agreement may involve the property owner, JBG Smith, as a third party.”
Given Amazon’s lease of that JBG building, Arlington will probably work with both JBG and Amazon on this project.
The Second Crystal City Entrance Will Cost $91 Million
In November 2017, ATC requested $90 million (Page 45) to complete design, engineering, and construction of the second Crystal City entrance. ATC suggested $1.6 million of state funding, $414,000 from a tax-increment, and $87 million of funding from the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission (NTVA). That’s on top of $1 million Arlington had already for design.
These $90 million would come from the $195 million Arlington announced as transportation-focused funds dedicated due to Amazon’s announcement.
Crystal City’s Second Entrance Could Open in 2025
In that November 2017 funding request, Arlington estimated project timelines with construction funding starting mid-2018. Since that didn’t happen, the best we can do is push their projections one year into the future. That means, preliminary engineering and final design FY 2020 through FY 2022 and construction FY 2022 through FY 2025. FY 2025 begins mid-2024 and ends mid-2025. So, the second entrance could open sometime in 2025.
Crystal City’s Second Entrance Connects to Other Transit
“This long-planned project would improve access to the station from points East, particularly the Metroway Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system and the planned Crystal City Virginia Railway Express station. Until the Amazon deal, it did not have construction money, but space for it was reserved within the Crystal City Central District Retail overhaul just approved by the county board.”