At a special meeting on May 20, the Alexandria City Council voted unanimously to endorse the construction of a new Potomac Yard Metrorail Station and select “Alternative B” as the preferred location. The designation of a Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA) is a key milestone in the process to build this Metrorail station, and now permits the development of a Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for expected release this winter. This is something we told you would happen more than six (6) months ago.
Since April, Alternative B has been recommended unanimously by the City’s Board of Architectural Review, Environmental Policy Commission, Park and Recreation Commission, Planning Commission, Potomac Yard Metrorail Implementation Work Group (PYMIG), and Transportation Commission. The location was also recommended in an April 24 report by City staff. These recommendations incorporated public feedback received from hundreds of residents and businesses through meetings of community groups, three formal Open Houses, a public hearing held by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) on April 30, and a public hearing held by City Council on May 16.
“Today’s decision to select Alternative B is very significant step forward not just for the construction of the station itself, but for Alexandria as a whole,” said Mayor William D. Euille. “This project is a critical to our future economic development, transportation needs, and quality of life. I thank our project partners from the Federal Transit Administration and the National Park Service; City staff for their diligence and teamwork; and all the residents and stakeholders who’ve been engaged in the community processes leading up to the selection of the Alternative B site.”
Under Alternative B, the new station would be located at-grade, east of the existing Potomac Yard Retail Center. This would position the station to leverage the development of the high-density mix of office, retail, restaurant and residential uses envisioned for North Potomac Yard, and the associated community, transportation, and economic development benefits. Construction vehicles would not use the adjacent George Washington Memorial Parkway (GWMP), and the City would continue to pursue strategies to avoid, minimize, or mitigate adverse impacts to the adjacent neighborhoods and surrounding natural and cultural resources.
The City will negotiate a final Net Benefits Agreement with the Park Service based on an agreed upon established mitigation framework for Alternative B. As part of this agreement, the City will commit $12 million for improvements to the George Washington Memorial Parkway, including storm water management, mitigation of the visual impact of the station from the parkway, planning efforts and improvements to Daingerfield Island and the Mount Vernon Trail and other GWMP needs.
The Potomac Yard Metrorail Station, which is estimated to cost $268 million, would be built on Metrorail’s Yellow and Blue Lines, between the existing Braddock Road and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport stations, and is expected to generate billions of dollars in new private sector investment. The resulting mixed use, smart growth development in the Potomac Yard area near the station will support up to 26,000 new jobs within one-quarter mile of the station, and 13,000 new residents within one-half mile of the station, while removing thousands of private vehicles from the congested Route 1 corridor.
A new station is anticipated to be funded through a variety of sources — including new tax revenue primarily from development around the station, regional transportation authority grants, developer contributions, and special tax district revenue, as well as a number of non-City sources. This means that existing local tax revenues will not be used for the station’s construction.
To read City Council’s resolution on the preferred alternative and for more information on the project, visit this link.