The City of Alexandria, in coordination with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), is increasing access and safety to and around the King Street-Old Town Metrorail Station. The focus of the King Street-Old Town Metro Access Improvements project is to provide a safer, more attractive walking environment while maintaining efficient levels of service for buses and other transit vehicles accessing the site. The project, approved by City Council in 2012, is being designed to accommodate future access needs, including bus service expansion that will make transit use more convenient and attractive as a travel mode.
Beginning in summer 2018, the City and WMATA will begin construction on the King Street-Old Town Metrorail Station Access Improvement project. This long-standing project will improve access and safety at the station, aligning the project with the City's Vision Zero initiative. During construction, the King Street-Old Town Metrorail Station will remain open with no impact to train service, but there will be significant changes to areas outside the station during construction. A separate project by WMATA to rehabilitate the station platform will begin construction in summer 2019 that will affect train service. The City is working with WMATA to coordinate both projects.
The King Street-Old Town Metro Access Improvements project has been under study and design by the City and WMATA for many years. Initial funding to kick off the first study was received in 2006, resulting in an initial conceptual design that was reviewed by the public over the course of three community meetings. The community feedback resulted in a completely new design better aligned with the urban Upper King Street area and more functional for all users. The new concept was completed in 2010, then reviewed by City boards and commissions, and ultimately adopted by City Council in 2012. Over the past five years, the City has worked closely with WMATA, City boards and commissions, and the community to finalize this complex design project, which has involved many stakeholders.
The project, which will be split into two phases, will be under construction for the next two years, and is expected to be completed in 2020. The first phase of construction, lasting approximately one year, will require the relocation of bus bays to surrounding streets. After completion of the first phase, buses will move back to the station. Other facilities – including locations for Kiss & Ride, and shuttles – will remain closed for the duration of the project construction. Additional information on the construction phasing and impacts can be found here.
Project Purpose and Goals
The King Street-Old Town Metrorail Station has experienced significant growth in bus service and overall ridership, as growth has occurred on Upper King Street and Carlyle. It is the largest transit facility in the City and provides multi-modal transportation such as Metro and DASH buses, the King Street Trolley, two Capital Bikeshare stations, bicycle parking, carshare, taxis, private shuttles, and individual automobiles. The Virginia Railway Express (VRE) and Amtrak station, which is adjacent to the King St-Old Town Metrorail Station, makes this area a premier transit hub in Alexandria for many visitors, residents and tourists. All modes of travel have expanded their presence in this area, including Metrobus, DASH, private shuttle bus, Bikeshare and ride hailing services, such as Uber and Lyft. Many have plans for more service expansion in the near future.
The key project goals are to:
- Enhance the pedestrian experience by providing a safer and more attractive walking environment as people navigate between these modes;
- Maintaining an efficient level of service for transit access to the site;
- Accommodate the future access needs for expanded services; and
- Make transit use more convenient and attractive as a travel mode.
The key improvements to be made include:
- Improved pedestrian access and safety
- Three additional bus bays to meet current and future demand
- Improved traffic flow
- New designated areas for bicycle parking, shuttles, Kiss & Ride and taxis
- Improved landscaping, lighting, and aesthetics
Current design of the proposed facility
During the first 12 months of construction (Phase 1), beginning in Summer 2018, station access will be affected in the following ways:
- The existing parking lot and bus loading area will be under construction, except for pedestrian paths to the bus bays.
- Bus bays will be temporarily relocated to Diagonal Road, Daingerfield Road, Cameron Street and King Street. Wayfinding signs will direct bus riders to their temporary bay. Pedestrians using the Carlyle pedestrian tunnel will be required to cross Diagonal Road at Duke Street and again at the mid-block crossing. Customers should add in extra travel time to access temporary bus facilities
- On-street parking will be removed from the north side of Diagonal Road, along portions of Daingerfield Road, and on King Street adjacent King Street Gardens to accommodate temporary bus bays and layovers. Locations of alternate parking in Old Town can be found here.
- A temporary pedestrian path will run from the main entrance of the station to the mid-block crosswalk and the bus waiting area at Diagonal Road through the construction area. An additional pedestrian path will be parallel to the train tracks, near the station, between the main entrance and King Street. (Phases 1 and 2)
- There will be no Kiss & Ride area during construction. Customers who use these areas should use either Eisenhower Avenue or Braddock Road Metrorail stations.
- Taxi pick up and drop off will be temporarily relocated to the north side of Cameron Street just east of the north entrance to the King Street-Old Town Metrorail station entrance at Commonwealth Avenue. Taxis may also use the zone in front of Embassy Suites Hotel or Alexandria Union Station.
- There will be no shuttle area within the station, and all local shuttle service must use either Eisenhower Avenue or Braddock Road Metrorail stations.
- Bicycle parking will be provided at the station, and the Capital Bikeshare stations on Diagonal Road and Commonwealth Avenue will remain open throughout the duration of the project.
- Expect increased traffic congestion along Diagonal Road, especially during peak travel times.
The City will provide as much information to the community, visitors and businesses as possible. Materials will be printed, posted and distributed in transit vehicles and facilities. Wayfinding signs will be erected to clearly indicate where people can board buses. The City will also dispatch street teams to help guide people before and during the initial construction begins during Phase I and Phase 2 of the project.
Phase 1 Construction Impacts (DRAFT - SUBJECT TO CHANGE)
- 2006 – First Study
- 2008 – Initial Concept Design Completed & community outreach
- 2010 – Community feedback led to reconsideration of project and new design
- 2011 – Three Transportation Commission reviews and additional public meeting
- 2012 – City Council & Planning Commission reviews and adoption of project plan
- 2013 – Traffic and Parking Board approvals for parking modifications
- 2015 – Planning Commission reaffirmation of the plan
- 2016 – Detailed plan design and coordination with WMATA continues
- 2017 – Updates to the Transportation Commission and Traffic and Parking Boar
- ONGOING: Outreach to Rosemont & Upper King Street Civic Associations and the Carlyle Community Council