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City of Alexandria, VA City of Alexandria, VA
Potomac Yard Development
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Page updated Apr 14, 2015 10:12 AM
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New Potomac Yard Metrorail Station

Many years of community planning have produced a vision for Potomac Yard, and a new Metrorail station along the Yellow and Blue lines is central to that vision. The City of Alexandria is undertaking an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the station, which evaluates the environmental impacts of several potential station locations and provides information to decision-makers regarding the costs and benefits of each of the alternatives.


Potomac Yard Metrorail Station Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS)

Public Comment Period Officially Begins on DEIS for Potomac Yard Metro
On Friday, April 3, the City marked another important milestone in the Potomac Yard Metro process as the Environmental Protection Agency published the Notice of Availability for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) in the Federal Register.  This officially kicks off the public comment period, which closes on May 18. The City has scheduled many opportunities for stakeholders to learn more about the DEIS and the benefits, history, purpose, and financial feasibility of the new station.  The City held the first of three Community Open Houses on March 31, with two more open houses planned for April 8 and April 13. In addition, the public may provide comment at five applicable board and commission meetings and a formal public hearing on May 16.  The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), the agency that will operate the new station, will also hold a public hearing on April 30.  Comments submitted to comments@potomacyardmetro.com by May 18 will be responded to in the Final EIS. Comments may also be mailed to Potomac Yard Metrorail Station EIS, P.O. Box 16531, Alexandria, VA 22302.

Volume I: Draft Environmental Impact Statement and Draft Section 4(f) Evaluation

Volume II: Technical Appendices

The DEIS document can be reviewed at several facilities throughout the City, including the following locations:

  • Alexandria Office of City Clerk - 301 King St., Room 2300, Alexandria
  • James M. Duncan Branch Library - 2501 Commonwealth Ave., Alexandria
  • Charles E. Beatley, Jr. Central Library - 5005 Duke St., Alexandria
  • Cora Kelly Recreation Center - 25 West Reed Ave., Alexandria
  • Aurora Hills Branch Library - 735 S. 18th St., Arlington
  • Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), Office of the Secretary, 600 Fifth Street, NW Room 2D-209, Washington, DC

Where Are We in the EIS Process?

2015-03-27 PYMS EIS Process

To learn more about the environmental review process, please visit potomacyardmetro.com.


Community Outreach

The community has been involved throughout the planning and EIS processes. City staff will continue to provide updates to various neighborhood and civic associations, commissions, boards, and Council.

Following a public comment period and series of community meetings from April 3, 2015, through May 18, 2015, City Council will formally consider the new station and its preferred location.  A City Council decision will permit the preparation of a Final EIS for approval by the FTA and NPS, after which the design and construction of the station can begin. 

The City has scheduled many opportunities for stakeholders to learn more about the Draft EIS and the benefits, history, purpose, and financial feasibility of the new station.  The City will hold three Community Open Houses (each focusing on a specific area of interest), five applicable board and commission meetings, and a formal public hearing.  The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), the agency that will operate the new station, will also hold a public hearing.

WMATA/NEPA Public Hearing - Thursday, April 30, 6:30 p.m.
Cora Kelly Recreation Center, 25 West Reed Ave.
A public hearing as part of the EIS process will be held before the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) Board.

City Council Public Hearing - Saturday, May 16, 9:30 a.m.
City Hall, Council Chamber, 301 King St.
The staff recommendation for the preferred alternative will be released in late April. A public hearing will be held before the Alexandria City Council.

Board, Commission, and Committee Meetings
The staff recommendation will also be discussed at the following board, commission, and committee meetings in late April and early May:

  • Board of Architectural Review
    Wednesday, April 29, 2015, 7:30 p.m.
    City Hall, Council Chamber, 301 King St. 
  • Environmental Policy Commission
    Monday, May 4, 2015, 7:30 p.m.
    Virginia Tech Alexandria Campus, Third Floor Conference Room, 1021 Prince St.
  • Planning Commission
    Tuesday, May 5, 2015, 7:00 p.m.
    City Hall, Council Chamber, 301 King St.  
  • Park and Recreation Commission
    Thursday, May 7, 2015, 7:30 p.m.
    Charles Houston Recreation Center, Multipurpose Room, 901 Wythe Ave.
  • Transportation Commission
    Monday, May 11, 2015, 7:00 p.m.
    City Hall, Council Chamber, 301 King St.   
  • Potomac Yard Metrorail Station Implementation Work Group (PYMIG)
    Wednesday, May 13, 2015, 7:00 p.m.
    City Hall, Council Chamber, 301 King St.

Community Open Houses 
Three subject-specific Community Open Houses were held:

  • Community Open House #1 - Land Use & Hazardous Materials
    Tuesday, March 31, 2015 in the City Hall Council Workroom 
    Boards from this Community Open House can be viewed here.
  • Community Open House #2 - Wetlands, Greens Scenic Area Easement, City Parkland, National Park Service Land, Visual Resources & Cultural Resources
    Wednesday, April 8, 2015 at the Charles Houston Recreation Center
    Boards from this Community Open House can be viewed here
  • Community Open House #3 - Transportation, Noise, Vibration, Construction Access & Secondary/Cumulative Impacts 
    Monday, April 13, 2015 at the Cora Kelly Recreation Center
    Boards from this Community Open House can be viewed here.


FAQS

Why do we need a Metrorail Station at Potomac Yard?

Building a new Metrorail station is central to the vision for the redevelopment of Potomac Yard as a smart-growth, walkable mixed-use community, with access to high-quality retail, entertainment, and parks. A new Metrorail station will help to accommodate the growing transportation demand in the Route 1 corridor. A Metrorail station in Potomac Yard will provide benefits to the community and region by:

  • Maximizing the number of people taking transit to and from the Potomac Yard area by providing direct access to Metrorail;
  • Removing thousands of cars from the Route 1 corridor every day;
  • Enabling a mix of uses in an environment where people can walk or bike to destinations in Potomac Yard for their daily needs;
  • Providing a vibrant destination for all Alexandrians with a mix of uses, including significant shopping and public parks;
  • Strengthening and diversifying the tax base to improve the long-term economic stability of the City.  

Potomac Yard Metro Infographic Page1 Potomac Yard Metro Infographic Page 2
click for infographic PDF

How is the Potomac Yard Metrorail station to be financed?

The Potomac Yard Metrorail station is planned to be financed by a combination of taxes generated from new development in Potomac Yard, a real estate tax levy surcharge on Potomac yard property, as well as grant monies from the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority.  

Does the Potomac Yard Metrorail station require using tax monies raised in other areas of the City to pay for the proposed station?

No.  

What are the different alternatives being evaluated for the Potomac Yard Metrorail Station?

There are three different Build Alternatives and a No-Build Alternative for the Potomac Yard Metrorail station.

  • The No-Build Alternative includes the existing transportation network (including the CCPY Transitway) plus projects within the study area that will be expected in place by 2040, such as expansion of local transit services and completion of the multi-use trail from Four Mile Run to Braddock Road.
  • Alternative A is located generally within the existing Metrorail Reservation site at the north end of Potomac Greens. $209 million.
  • Alternative B is located north of Potomac Greens between the George Washington Memorial Parkway (GWMP) and the CSXT railroad tracks. $268 million.
    • Design Option B-CSX is a refinement of Alternative B. The station would be located north of Potomac Greens in-between the GWMP and the CSXT railroad tracks. The placement of the station would require the CSXT railroad tracks to be moved to the west in order to accommodate the relocated Blue/Yellow line WMATA tracks. $351 million.
  • Alternative D is located west of the CSXT railroad tracks near the existing Potomac Yard Shopping Center. $492 million.

PY Alternatives ABD PY B-CSX
click to enlarge

How will the City fund the design and construction of the Potomac Yard Metrorail Station?

The funding plan for the Metrorail station will use money generated by the redevelopment of Potomac Yard. These revenues are deposited into a pot called the "Potomac Yard Metrorail Station Fund" which can only be used for the design, construction, and financing of the Metrorail station. The fund includes developer contributions; revenue from two special tax districts in Potomac Yard; regional, state, and federal grants; and net new tax revenues in Potomac Yard (existing tax revenues and new revenues needed to support City and school public service demands from Potomac Yard development will go into the City's General Fund).

The City updates the bond rating agencies annually regarding this project, and they continue to give the City of Alexandria the best bond rating (AAA/Aaa). The City has recently updated the financial analysis for the Metrorail station. The analysis found that the City can finance both Alternative A and Alternative B with no funds diverted from the General Fund. Both alternatives also have a positive return on investment over the long term. In addition, the analysis found that the City will make a surplus after 30 years of debt service. This surplus will be used to pay for services throughout the City.

Station Revenue Sources

How does the Potomac Yard Metrorail station represent a major economic development opportunity for the City?

A Metrorail station will attract more businesses and jobs to the City.  Over 80% of all office building construction in the DC Metropolitan area is taking place within ¼ mile of an existing Metrorail station.  Potomac Yard represents smart-growth transit oriented development in generating new tax revenue for the City.  When completed, Potomac Yard could add as much as 26,000 new jobs to the City which would represent over a 25% increase in the City's employment base.  It is estimated that over about a 30 year period as much as some $888 million in net new tax revenue will be generated to be available to help fund services and capital investments citywide.  

Why a Metrorail station in this location?

Potomac Yard is a 235 acre site which was one of the largest freight rail yards on the East coast of the US until it closed in 1989. Given its acreage, location in the inner urban core of the DC metropolitan area, and adjacency to the Metrorail Blue and Yellow lines, building a Metrorail station at this site would help unlock and increase the economic development potential of Potomac Yard. Currently the 3.1 mile distance between the Braddock Road and Reagan National Airport Metrorail stations is the longest stretch of Metrorail line inside the Beltway without a station.  

What is the National Environmental Policy Act?

The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) requires federal agencies to undertake an assessment of the environmental effects of certain proposed projects prior to making decisions. The NEPA process is meant to help public officials make better informed decisions, and to enable community involvement with those decisions. The NEPA process is required for the Potomac Yard Metrorail Station process so that the project can be eligible for federal funding and because some of the alternatives may affect the George Washington Memorial Parkway.  

What are the roles of the City, FTA, WMATA, and NPS in the NEPA process?

  • The City of Alexandria is the project sponsor and joint lead agency.
  • The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is the lead federal agency, because the City will be seeking federal funding for a portion of the project.
  • The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) is a cooperating agency because they would operate the station once it is built.
  • The National Park Service (NPS) is a cooperating agency because of its role in administering the George Washington Memorial Parkway.  

What is the public's role in the NEPA process?

Throughout the NEPA process, members of the public have provided oral and written feedback at public meetings and have also submitted written feedback through email and postal mail. Public feedback helped to shape the alternatives analyzed as part of the Draft EIS, and highlighted resource areas of particular concern to the community. The public has been engaged through:

  • Public meetings and community group meetings
  • Project newsletters
  • Project website ( www.potomacyardmetro.com)
  • Interaction with community organizations
  • The Potomac Yard Metrorail Implementation Group (PYMIG), which was created by the Alexandria City Council to assist in the EIS process. PYMIG members include representatives from City Council, various City commissions, and the public. Members of the public are also invited to attend PYMIG meetings and offer feedback.

Previous Meeting Presentations


Potomac Yard Metrorail Implementation Work Group (PYMIG)

The Metrorail Station Feasibility Work Group was established in October 2008 and met over the course of a year and a half through February 2010. In order to ensure there is continuity between the previous initiatives and the implementation of the proposed Metrorail station, the Potomac Yard Metrorail Station Feasibility Work Group was re-convened as The Potomac Yard Metrorail Implementation Work Group (PYMIG). This group reviews EIS documentation, provides policy guidance to City and WMTA staff, analyzes station concept refinement, and considers funding issues related to the new Metrorail Station. Visit the Potomac Yard Metrorail Implementation Work Group page to review meeting agenda, presentations, and minutes.


Additional Resources

Digital Models of Potomac Yard Metrorail Station Build Alternatives

A series of digital models was created to show what a driver on the George Washington Memorial Driveway would see while passing each of the build alternatives for the new Potomac Yard Metrorail Station currently under consideration in the DEIS. A video of the digital models can be viewed here.

Previous EIS Documents

Reports


Comments & Contacts

The Potomac Yard Metrorail Station EIS team wants to hear from you! If you have questions, suggestions, or comments - or if you would like to be added to the project e-mail list - please contact us at  comments@potomacyardmetro.com.

For additional information, please contact Lee Farmer, Project Manager, at lee.farmer@alexandriava.gov, or 703.746.4146

For media inquiries, please contact Kathleen Leonard, Public Information Officer, at kathleen.leonard@alexandriava.gov, or 703.772.2530

301 King Street, Room 2100
Alexandria, VA 22314
703.746.4666
Fax: 703.838.6393
E-Mail

Office Hours:
Monday - Friday
8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.