Potomac Yard Metrorail Station Planning

An infill Metrorail station is being planned for the Potomac Yard development along the yellow and blue lines. The project is currently completing the environmental review process and beginning development of conceptual design. A working group has been established to coordinate with City staff on the project. Learn more about the process and view images of the documents provided to date.

Page updated on Dec 7, 2016 at 12:52 PM

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. The Draft EIS for the project was released in Spring 2015, and City Council selected "Alternative B" as the preferred location on May 20. The Final EIS is currently available for public review. Concurrently with completion of the EIS process, the City, in cooperation with the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority (WMATA), has developed a conceptual design for the station.  This conceptual design will be included in the Request for Proposals that will invite design-build teams to bid on the project. It is anticipated that the RFP will be released in Summer 2016.


Featured

WMATA issues solicitation notice and request for proposal

On November 28, WMATA issued its Solicitation Notice and Request for Proposal (RFP) for the design-build contract for the Potomac Yard Metrorail Station. 

RECORDS OF DECISION ISSUED

The Federal Transit Administration and the National Park Service issued their Records of Decision for the Potomac Yard Metrorail Station on October 31 and November 1. This marks the last step in the review process under the National Environmental Policy Act. The Metrorail station now moves into the design and construction phase. The documents are available for review below.

Federal Transit Administration Record of Decision

National Park Service Record of Decision


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.


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.  

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 the Metrorail station 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.

Rezoning and Development Special Use Permits

On June 16, City Council unanimously approved the Master Plan Amendment, Map Amendment (rezoning), and Development Special Use Permit with site plan and associated Special Use Permits to construct a Metrorail station and associated facilities in Potomac Yard. The staff report includes a description of the project with staff's recommendation for approval with conditions. 


Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)

The Final EIS for the new Potomac Yard Metrorail Station was published in June 2016. The Final EIS compares the No Build Alternative with the Preferred Alternative for the project, identifies impacts of the alternatives, states how public comments received on the Draft EIS were addressed, incorporates further design and refinement of the project to minimize community and environmental impacts, and describes measures for avoiding, minimizing, or mitigating adverse impacts. 


Preferred Alternative 

Alternative B Selected as Preferred Alternative for the Potomac Yard Metrorail Station

At a special meeting on May 20, 2015, 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 in 2016.

The Council resolution from the special meeting can be found  here.

On April 24, the City of Alexandria staff issued a report recommending Alternative B for the construction of the Potomac Yard Metrorail Station.  The staff report, along with the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) published on March 27, was the subject of eight public meetings and hearings prior to City Council's consideration on May 20.

The staff report can be viewed   here.

A public hearing on the staff report was held before the Alexandria City Council on Saturday, May 16.

The staff report was discussed at the following board, commission, and committee meetings:

The Notice of Availability for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) in the Federal register can be viewed here.

The Potomac Yard Metrorail Station Draft Environmental Impact Statement can be viewed here.


Potomac Yard Metrorail Station Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS)

Public Comment Period on Potomac Yard Metro Station DEIS Closes 
On Monday, May 18, 2015, the public comment period for the Potomac Yard Metro Station DEIS closed after having been open since April 3, 2015, when the document was published in the federal register. The City has since scheduled many opportunities for stakeholders to learn more about the DEIS and the benefits, history, purpose, and financial feasibility of the new station. Comments on the DEIS will be addressed in the Final EIS.

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

Volume II: Technical Appendices

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 formally considered the new station and its preferred location.  The City Council select of Alternative B as the preferred alternative permits the preparation of a Final EIS for approval by the FTA and NPS, after which the design and construction of the station can begin. 

Community Open Houses  
Three subject-specific Community Open Houses were held in late March and April:

  • 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.

A public hearing as part of the EIS process took place before the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) Board in April. 


Additional Resources

Phase II Environmental Site Assessment

As part of the analysis for the Final EIS, a Phase II Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) was conducted to better understand the potential to encounter hazardous materials during construction. The findings from this report will be included in the Final EIS.

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 Draft EIS. 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 email us

For additional information, please contact Jason Kacamburas, Potomac Yard Metro Coordinator, at 703.746.4049

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