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Press Release

Release Date: Feb 22, 2018

Pedestrian Connection to Airport Feasible

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 22, 2018

CONTACT: Robert Mandle, rmandle@crystalcity.org, 703-412-9430

     

Pedestrian Connection to Airport Feasible
Crystal City Releases Final Feasibility Study and Eyes Next Steps

Crystal City (Arlington, VA) – The Crystal City Business Improvement District (BID) released today the final Crystal City to DCA Pedestrian Connection Feasibility report. The study, conducted by consultant VHB in close collaboration with area stakeholders and key agency partners, concluded that a new connection would, in fact, be feasible and outlines the most appropriate alignment, applicable regulatory requirements, and a roadmap for implementation. 

"The feasibility study was a key step in validating our vision to enhance the airport’s role as a critical economic catalyst for the region with a direct pedestrian link to Crystal City," said Robert Mandle, Chief Operating Officer of the Crystal City BID and study project manager. "The study comprised of a collaborative process that engaged various transportation, government, and community representatives, and we look forward to continued collaboration as the process continues."

The study explored several alignments for a pedestrian connection to the airport but focused on the option with the greatest potential impact. This alignment connects the northern tip of the airport’s Terminal B/C parking garage with a private office building complex owned by JBG SMITH located along Crystal Drive just south of 20th Street South. Study analysis revealed that this option brings the greatest number of workers, residents, and employees to within a 15-minute walk of the airport. It also offers the strongest synergies with other area transportation assets – Virginia Railway Express (VRE), the Metroway premium bus service, and the proposed second Crystal City Metro entrance – to create a multimodal hub along Crystal Drive.

The study explored both a bridge and a tunnel solution for this alignment, each with specific tradeoffs. While a tunnel would avoid potential concerns about the visual impact on the view corridors along the George Washington Memorial Parkway, engineering and construction costs would likely be much higher than a bridge. A bridge solution may be able to mitigate concerns about visual impacts through high quality and thoughtful design, providing millions of airport users with a unique opportunity to celebrate the parkway. Given these considerations, the study concluded that further analysis of both options must occur during environmental review.

Potential planning, engineering, and construction costs for a new pedestrian connection are estimated to be approximately $38 million, with a construction timeline of approximately six years. Annual maintenance would cost about $100,000.

The report outlined several recommendations to maintain and move the conversation forward. These recommendations include:

  • Transitioning the study’s working group of key stakeholders and agency partners into a steering committee that will continue to guide the conversation towards implementation;
  • Engaging the steering committee to prioritize and advance several short-term improvements to existing walking routes identified in the study;
  • Coordinating directly with VRE and JBG SMITH on the design of the future Crystal City VRE station to ensure compatibility with a potential connection; and
  • Continuing to collaborate with Arlington County staff and leadership to include funds in the upcoming Capital Improvement Program (CIP) cycle to initiate planning, design, and environmental review.

Arlington County’s ten-year CIP for FY2019 to 2028, the plan that guides spending for building, maintaining, upgrading or replacing county facilities and infrastructure over the next decade, is currently underway. The Crystal City BID has been collaborating closely with Arlington County staff through the study’s working group. County staff will be reviewing the details of the final report and its recommendations as it considers the possibility of including funding for the project within the CIP.

The concept for a new pedestrian connection emerges as construction and planning progresses on other major transportation projects that could benefit from a new connection to the airport. These projects include the airport’s $1 billion Project Journey upgrade; the replacement of the Long Bridge rail crossing; VRE’s relocation of the Crystal City station; the addition of a fourth track along the freight and rail corridor; the addition of a second Crystal City Metro entrance; and the exploration of a high-speed rail link connecting DC to Richmond.

The feasibility study was conducted and funded by the Crystal City BID in close consultation with key area stakeholders and agency partners impacted by the project, including Arlington County, Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, National Park Service, JBG SMITH, CSX, and others.

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About the Crystal City Business Improvement District (BID)

The Crystal City Business Improvement District (BID) is a public-private partnership established in April 2006 to promote the vibrant Crystal City business, retail, restaurant and residential community. The BID is committed to showcasing the area as a world-class destination for visitors, employees and residents. For more information, visit crystalcity.org.