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Transitway to Alter Route 1 Intersections

Bus Rapid Transitway construction expected to begin in July.

The creation of the Crystal City-Potomac Yard transitway will alter the layout of Route 1 to offer fast, reliable and safe bus service, project planners said at a community meeting Wednesday at .

The Bus Rapid Transitway in Alexandria will consist of exclusive bus lanes in the median of Route 1 between Potomac Avenue and E. Glebe Road. The transitway will eventually connect Braddock Road and Pentagon City Metro stations. Work is being performed in partnership with Arlington County.  

The northbound lanes of Route 1 are currently being expanded. To create the BRT, the existing northbound lanes will be repurposed with concrete for a two-lane bus way. There will be 12-foot landscaped medians on either side of the BRT lanes that will taper near intersections with signalized left-turn lanes.

Within the Alexandria segment, the transitway will have seven stations—three on the northbound side and four on the southbound side. 

BRT station locations on Route 1 in Alexandria include:

  • E. Glebe Road (southbound only, northbound located in Potomac Yard)    
  • E. Swann Avenue, two stations
  • E. Custis Avenue, two stations
  • Potomac Avenue, two stations

The stations, which will be built on a separate contract, will include display boards showing real-time arrivals. The MetroBus 9S route will utilize the transitway, as will a new 9X route. Headways will be 12 minutes during peak hours, 15 minutes on off-peak hours and 20 minutes on weekends. Service will operate on a prepay basis so users can just hop on the bus.

Pedestrians will only be able to cross Route 1 at countdown crosswalks near the station locations and Howell Avenue. Emergency vehicles will be able to mount the curb and access the BRT lanes, project manager Susan Gygi said.

The Alexandria portion is being funded by $8.5 million in federal stimulus money.

Construction of the BRT, which is expected to begin in July, will alter several intersections along the eight-tenths-of-a-mile stretch in Alexandria.  

The traffic signal at Hume Avenue will be removed and the intersection will become right-in, right-out only. Right-in, right-out will also be required at Raymond, Windsor and Bellefonte avenues. 

Intersections at Potomac Avenue and E. Glebe Road will also be altered to allow the buses to connect and exit the BRT lanes.

At Wednesday's meeting, citizens expressed concerns about people parking on Del Ray streets to access the bus line.

Del Ray resident David Fromm suggested city staff be proactive and implement a parking district before the expected start of BRT service in December 2013 to prevent BRT users from driving in from elsewhere to park near stations.

“Based on the operation of a BRT, we don’t anticipate any parking issues,” Alexandria Transportation and Environmental Services Deputy Director Abi Lerner said.

T&ES Director Rich Baier said staff will respond to any problems as they arise.

“It only takes 30 days to create a parking district,” he said.

Planners said they hoped the BRT would maintain the urban boulevard character of Route 1 and set a standard for other transit corridors in the city.

The Alexandria Planning Commission will hold a public hearing about the BRT on May 1.

Phillip Cide April 20, 2012 at 11:14 PM
In December 2009, the City released the Potomac Yard Multimodal Transportation Study. This study was done to support the planning efforts for the North Potomac Yard. This study shows that currently the service of the Hume intersection is roughly comparable to Custis Ave. In 2030 with full development of the Potomac Yard, the predicted level of service at Hume is actually greater than that at Custis. With Hume and Raymond converted to right-in/right-out, then residents north -bound on Route 1 would need to turn at E Glebe to access their neighborhood (if they don't turn a half mile before at Howell or Custis). If they do turn at E Glebe, then they'll need to use make a left at E Clifford (difficult since it is virtually one with the E Glabe intersection) or turn left at Montrose, or continue all the way to Commonwealth Ave and make their way back to their homes. The study shows that the service at E Glebe Rd will be an "F" while if the intersection at Hume Ave is maintained them its service level will be an "A". Given the City's own traffic study, how can they justify converting Hume to right-in/right-out?
Phillip Cide April 20, 2012 at 11:15 PM
On March 2, 2006, at the Crystal City/Potomac Yard Transit Corridor Community Workshop, a 38 slide "Bus Rapid Transit Photo Tour" was presented. Every slide showing intersections with the BRT at grade had full service intersections with generous pedestrian crossings. No right-in/right-out intersections. This effective closing of so many intersections not only impacts residents, but reduces the number of pedestrian crossings. So much for the transportation grid the City so often touts. Finally, converting Hume, Raymond, Calvert and Fannon to right-in/right-out will also negatively impact a significant number of businesses on the west side of Route 1.
Phillip Cide April 20, 2012 at 11:58 PM
Leslie, you have referenced this study in the past. Could you perhaps post it on a listserve or provide the name and date for the study so one could request a copy from the city?
David Potomac Yard April 22, 2012 at 12:35 PM
Boyd Walker, as a candidate for city council, surely you know the answers to both of the questions you raise. First, both Alexandria and Arlington are cooperating on building the Crystal City-Potomac Yard Transitway, a BRT system that is scalable in the future for streetcar use. However, neither Arlington nor Alexandria have immediate plans yet to construct the streetcars, although Arlington is further along than Alexandria. Second, you offer a false choice between the PY Metro and Route 1 streetcars. The Metro stop is funded by sources that can only be used if it is constructed: the developer will kick in money as agreed to by contract, and the special tax district that was created on new construction in the area. So, if you didn't develop the Metro, those sources would not exist and thus couldn't be used on a streetcar. Essentially, existing residents of Alexandria are getting a free Metro stop while new residents and developers are shouldering the bill. It would be horrible policy to stop the Metro under the guise of re-purposing the funds (that then wouldn't exist). Refusing to build the Metro would put the City in court to battle its broken contracts, stop development for another decade or two, denying Alexandria of a new source of diversified property taxes, and deny existing residents of a new Metro access point.
Leslie Hagan April 22, 2012 at 11:48 PM
Philip, I will try to locate my copy this week. I don't belong to a list serve suitable for posting the report but will leave enough info here so that you can request a copy from the city. If they claim not to have one, we can make arrangements for you to have a copy of mine.

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