Project Background

Linking Crystal City to Washington National Airport

Over the past decade, the Crystal City Business Improvement District (BID) has leveraged the neighborhood’s accessibility within the greater Washington region as a key competitive advantage for businesses looking to invest or locate in the area. Proximity to Ronald Regan Washington National Airport (DCA) is a dominant factor in that competitive advantage and is a characteristic the Crystal City BID has long promoted. 

Now, with the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) embarking on a $1 billion capital improvement program across its two airports, Arlington County seeking to manage Metro Station capacity in Crystal City, various rail related improvements underway along the corridor, and property owners focusing on repositioning assets, new opportunities have emerged to enhance regional connections while further integrating DCA’s presence into the fabric of a transforming and dynamic Crystal City. 

More specifically, the Virginia Railway Express (VRE) is in the middle of a planning study to relocate the Crystal City VRE station to support larger trains and an island platform configuration. Two of the relocation options bring the VRE station closer to the DCA Metro station and present a strategic opportunity to not only integrate the station better with Crystal City, but to improve the physical connection between DCA and Crystal City.

This connection would dramatically strengthen Arlington’s overall long-term economic sustainability and further cement the airport as a national leader in community partnership and innovation in air travel mobility.


To directly link Crystal City with DCA and the National Airport Metro station via a context-sensitive pedestrian connection that enhances economic development opportunities, strengthens the neighborhood’s hotel community, and offers new opportunities to link the thousands of workers and residents of Crystal City to a growing regional rail network.


  • Strengthens economic competitiveness for Crystal City and Arlington
  • Builds stronger connection between tourism traffic at airport and the region’s hotel district in Crystal City
  • Leverages VRE and DCA capital improvements 
  • Brings regional passenger rail directly to the airport
  • Implementation of Crystal City Sector Plan Goal of Enhancing Multimodal Access and Connectivity, including to the Airport
  • Increases MetroRail capacity by relocating demand from Crystal City Metro to the underutilized station at Airport – new connection will make DCA station closer to the bulk of development in South Crystal City than the Crystal City station
  • Frees financial resources originally intended for a Second Entrance to the Crystal City Metro Entrance
  • Creates a strong case for implementation of AMTRAK regional and/or high-speed rail with a Crystal City and DCA connection
  • Creates opportunities for new pedestrian and bicycle connections to the Mount Vernon Trail and assets along the George Washington Memorial Parkway

 Relevant Capital Projects

  • MWAA Capital Improvement Program
  • Long Bridge Replacement/Repair
  • Atlantic Gateway
  • Virginia Railways Express (VRE) Crystal City Station Improvements
  • Crystal City Metro Second Entrance

Key Stakeholders

  • Arlington County Department of Environmental Services
  • Arlington Economic Development
  • Arlington County Community Planning, Housing, & Development
  • CSX
  • Crystal City Business Improvement District
  • Crystal City Civic Association
  • Dweck Property Company
  • Gould Property Company
  • Lowe Enterprises Real Estate Group
  • Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority
  • National Park Service
  • Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation
  • Virginia Railway Express
  • JBG Smith
  • Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
  • Others may be added

Request for Proposal

The request for proposal (RFP) was issued on Monday, July 17th. Download the full RFP here.

Scope of the Feasbility Study

To identify the optimum means of constructing a new pedestrian connection to the airport; and to identify preferred locations, costs, regulatory requirements, financing mechanisms, usage estimates, travel mode impacts, context-sensitive design choices, real estate considerations, and timetables associated with the recommended approach.