Transportation and traffic have been a major concern since the announcement of plans for an arena in Alexandria, Virginia.
A consultant to the project found in a new report that the Potomac Yard Metro station could see extreme crowding of 60 to 90 minutes after events if no significant improvements to the station are made.
Even with millions of dollars being invested in the station for new escalators, more faregates and more trains, the likely scenario is heavy crowding for 30 to 45 minutes after events, the report found.
“It will be a crowded station, but it will be able to accomplish its goal of helping everyone get on the Metro and leave by that area,” Nick Donahue of Capitol Transportation Consulting said. “Just to kind of compare that – the Navy Yard station is a similar station. It’s actually only on one, serves only one line there, and it typically moves about 20,000 fans on game days. And just as a reminder, Nats Park is double the size of the anticipated arena here.”
According to sources familiar with the entire project, Metro still has not officially had discussions with Virginia leaders about all this – and likely will not until the project is approved.
Metro General Manager Randy Clarke recently spoke about the plan.
“I mean, if it’s a $2 billion investment, I would like to think that there would be some type of interaction with us to do that. But for us, listen, our job is to get people throughout the region, and we just want to be a good partner and help facilitate development and, quite frankly, just get more people on transit.”
Improvements to the already $370 million Potomac Yard station could range from $35 million to $70 million when bike and pedestrian improvements also are factored in, the report says.
Who pays for it all is another question Virginia leaders will have to answer.
Another idea in the report is to have visitors to the arena park at Metro stations with parking, such as Huntington, and take Metro the rest of the way.
The study looked at the possibility that some visitors to the arena would use streets around Reagan National Airport as a cut-through. Extra traffic control officers would likely be needed on event days.