Potomac Yard Metro Station – Back On??

by Lee Hernly, Editor

Alexandria News is reporting that the proposed $150 million dollar Potomac Yard Metro Station is gaining new life. One of the ways that is proposed to pay for it is by raising the property tax rate by three ($.03) cents. You have to ask yourself is it really needed when back in the 90’s the project was deemed not feasible because of low ridership. Here is a portion of the article by James Callum on AlexandriaNews.org:

After tabling the issue a decade ago, Alexandria City officials are reconsidering the construction of a metro station at Potomac Yard. On Thursday night, council’s newly established Potomac Yard Metrorail Station Feasibility Work Group began the groundwork in identifying preferred sites and funding options for the estimated $150 million metro station.

“This idea has always been reserved for the future,” said Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille, who is a member of the group. Euille said he has had conversations with Metro General Manager John Catoe, who has reportedly backed the idea of the added station with no cost tied to the struggling transit system. “Metro didn’t have the money in the 1990s and they don’t have it today,” said Euille, a nine-year member of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Board. “While a final, finished product may be up to 10 years off, as time changes and (Alexandria’s) needs change, it’s time to revisit the opportunity of developing a metro station at Potomac Yard.”

View more of the article on AlexandriaNews.org.

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LeeHInAlexandria February 23, 2009 - 7:10 am

So if the City doesn’t have the money (they don’t) we taxpayers will pay for it even though most of us won’t use the station? Hmmm…

Melissa February 23, 2009 - 8:58 am

What would Carlyle be like if there was no King St. Metro station? Take a look at the Ballston Corridor. Most of the businesses and housing along Wilson would not have been developed without the metro there. However, Arlington county has a billion dollar annual budget (even this year) because of the revenue these businesses and residents bring in because of their higher property values (convenience to the metro is a big selling point and can add over a $100k to the value of a home). This is an investment in the future.

http://www.GreaterGreaterWashington.org had pretty thorough post about Potomac Yards Development. http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post.cgi?id=1705

Anonymous February 23, 2009 - 10:00 am

There is example after example of government planning gone hideously awry, starting with Portland, Ore. — the home of the “Smart Growth” movement. This is exactly what Alexandria is trying to model themselves after. But Portland’s artificial urban growth boundary sent housing prices spiraling in the once-affordable city and dramatically increased urban sprawl — the very ills smart-growth policies are supposed to prevent. The same thing was happening here earlier this decade or is it just my imagination that the size of the City government has doubled since 2000?

Washington-area residents should be particularly suspicious of the current push for “walkable communities,” an idea championed by idealistic English planners in the 1970s who created an extensive network of bucolic garden paths in various new subdivisions, only to have criminals become their design’s main beneficiaries. New Urbanism — a popular planning approach that promotes high-density, mixed-use development and increased pedestrian and bike traffic — also inevitably promotes crime, which is far more prevalent in urban settings than lower-density residential neighborhoods. Which is what we are starting to see in the Carlyle neighborhood.

How can one even think that government planners are somehow smarter or more capable of managing the future than market forces. Name a contemporary problem — traffic congestion, homelessness, lack of affordable housing — all can be traced back to past government planning mistakes. Yet despite all evidence to the contrary, many Americans still expect the planners to miraculously get it right the next time around. Better to fire the planners and let free people, free minds and free markets use the genius of their freedom.

Carlyle Community News February 23, 2009 - 10:20 am

Randall O’Toole did a recent study on rail transit and found that 1) rail transit does not reduce greenhouse gas emissions and 2) it normally consumes HUGE amounts on energy. See: http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=9325

In states with growth-management laws, median housing prices in 2006 were typically 4 to 8 times median family incomes. In most states without such laws, median home prices are only 2 to 3 times median family incomes.

Few people realize that the recent housing bubble, which affected mainly regions with growth-management planning, was caused by planners trying to socially engineer cities. Yet it has done little to protect open space, reduce driving, or do any of the other things promised.

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