King Street-Old Town Metro Access Improvement Project

The King Street-Old Town Metro Access Improvements project will make the area immediately surrounding the Metrorail station safer and more aesthetically pleasing for station users, while also maintaining efficient levels of service for buses and other transit vehicles accessing the site.

Page updated on Feb 10, 2021 at 11:53 AM

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.

The start of major work on the King Street-Old Town Metrorail Station Access Improvement Project, including closure of the bus loop area, began in November 2018. Preliminary construction including the construction of interim bus bays began in August 2018. 

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. 


What's New

On January 13, 2021, the City held a Phase 1 construction acceptance walk-through and identified several items the contractor must address before the Bus Loop can open. Staff estimates it will take approximately two months to complete these tasks, placing the estimated opening of Phase 1 in April 2021.

Project Background

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.  Between 2012 and 2018, the City worked closely with WMATA, City boards and commissions, and the community to finalize the design of this complex project, which has involved many stakeholders.  

The project, which is being split into two phases, is expected to be completed in mid 2021. The first phase of construction required 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.

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

Site Design

Current design of the proposed facility

King Street Schematic Jan 2018

Phase 1 Construction

Preliminary construction began in August 2018 to construct temporary bus bays and wayfinding. On-Street parking was removed from the north side of Diagonal Road, along portions of Daingerfield Road, and on King Street adjacent to King Street Gardens to accommodate the construction of temporary bus bays. Phase 1 construction began on November 18, 2018 and is anticipated to be completed in Spring 2021 (subject to change). During this time, station access will be affected in the following ways:  

  • The existing parking lot and bus loading area is under construction, except for pedestrian paths to the bus bays. 
  • Bus bays have been temporarily relocated to Diagonal Road, Daingerfield Road, Cameron Street and King Street. Wayfinding signs direct bus riders to their temporary bay. Pedestrians using the Carlyle pedestrian tunnel are 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
  • During construction, on-street parking was 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 runs 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 is parallel to the train tracks, near the station, between the main entrance and King Street.  
  • There is 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 has been 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 is no shuttle area within the station, and all local shuttle service must use either Eisenhower Avenue or Braddock Road Metrorail stations. 
  • Bicycle parking is 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 have been erected to clearly indicate where people can board buses and other uses such as taxis. 

Phase 1 Construction Impacts - Fall 2018 - Spring 2021 (SUBJECT TO CHANGE)

King St metro phase 1 impacts map for webpage

King st metro bus bay assignments for web 2

Construction Schedule (Subject to change)

  • August 6, 2018  - Mobilization / Pre-construction of temporary bus bays, wayfinding; Some metered parking in station and shuttle area closed; On-street parking on north side of Diagonal Road closed  
  • November 18, 2018 - Closure of Bus loop / Kiss & Ride / taxi area; On-street parking on south side of King Street (between Daingerfield and Diagonal Rd) and east side of Daingerfield Road (between Diagonal Rd and Dechantal St) closed; Begin Phase 1 Construction
  • Spring 2021 - New bus loop area opens; Begin Phase 2 Construction 
  • Spring / Summer 2021 - New Kiss & Ride, taxi area, shuttle area and car share opens

Project History

  • 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 – Design complete; Updates to the Transportation Commission and Traffic and Parking Board
  • 2018 -  Selection of Construction contractor; Construction begins in Summer
  • ONGOING: Outreach to Civic Associations and other stakeholders

Contact Information

King Street Metro bus bays