Alexandria City Councilman
On Saturday, the Council will take the final vote on a new vision for north Potomac Yard. This process started over two years ago when Councilman Wilson and I proposed that we link any new development in Potomac Yard to the creation of a new metro station. This concept was enshrined in the city’s transportation master plan. At the time, there was a lot of doubt that we could create a project where the developer essentially paid for the metro. But here we are, with a plan that accomplishes that and much more.
The PYARD project has been under public review for over two years and has been developed by a citizen lead group and was approved unanimously by the Planning Commission. Members of the Sierra Club and the city environmental committee have been actively involved because this is such a green project. It is probably one of the most environmentally friendly projects we have ever done both because of its reliance on mass transit as well as for its best practice water management, green buildings, green roofs (which reduce heat island issues), etc.
As our region becomes more urban, we have to build urban transportation systems. Cars just won’t cut it. Cut through traffic, regional traffic, etc. already clog our roads. We need new systems of transportation to carry us into the future. This project gives us a great opportunity build new transportation systems and reduce our reliance on cars. Areas of Arlington with similar densities have over 80% of the nearby residents who don’t use cars for transportation. Areas of Arlington with similar density have actually seen a decrease in car traffic as more and more residents use mass transit.
I understand there are different views about density, but I’d point out that Arlington is already building this kind of development right on the boarders of Potomac Yard which forces us to address our need for non-car transportation solutions. Creating a way to build the transportation system that will enable us to address our needs is critical to our city’s future. This project will support a new metro station as well as a newly dedicated high capacity bus or trolley transportation system that will run from Braddock Road to the Pentagon. These two new transit systems are essential pieces of Alexandria’s transportation master plan.
This will be one of the most economically and environmentally friendly projects in the region and I think will be something we will all have pride in. The project will build a new school, new parks, new transit (a metro and a new high capacity transit line), new performing arts space and will provide a number of other amenities that our city will benefit from. In addition, the tax revenues generated by this project will support the whole community for decades to come. When the city bond rating agencies were briefed on this project, they considered it a very good project that would improve our city’s financial situation for a long time to come.
This is a bold, visionary plan for our city. It will garner positive recognition for Alexandria and will be something that we can all take pride in. I’m looking forward to seeing this great vision take shape.