Plan advances for Potomac Yard Metro stop

Local,Taryn Luntz
Plans to add a Metro station to Alexandria’s rapidly developing Potomac Yard area are advancing, with city officials scheduling a Tuesday vote to form a group to report on the feasibility of the idea.

The group will analyze potential funding for the project, review construction costs and evaluate potential ridership, according to city documents.

It is scheduled to report on its findings by December 2009.

The City Council earlier this year allocated half a million dollars to studying the viability of a Potomac Yard Metro station, which is projected to cost between $125 million and $150 million to build.

Council members have said that they strongly support adding a Metro station to Potomac Yard, and that any development proposals in the area should include plans from the developer to help fund the project.

Officials also have discussed tax increment financing, in which revenue generated by the Potomac Yard development would be dedicated to paying off bonds issued to finance the station.

The area, which straddles Arlington and Alexandria, is already partially developed and is planned for more high-density, mixed-use development.

Adding a Blue/Yellow Line station at Potomac Yard would be relatively simple because the station would be built over existing tracks on a site that was originally reserved for a Metro station, officials said.

It is also one of the longest stretches of Metro tracks without a station on it, Councilman Rob Krupicka has said.

“I think for Alexandria to be viable in the long term — for our transportation to be viable in the long term — we need Metro stations there,” he said.

Three of Alexandria’s four existing Metro stations are among the least-used in the system, all falling in the bottom third of Metro’s 86 stations in ridership. The Eisenhower Avenue station sees an average of only 2,200 boardings a weekday, according to Metro statistics.

The King Street station, which is positioned in a thriving area, ranks in the top third, with a weekday average of 9,500 boardings.
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