View Full Version : City of Alexandria seeking feedback on Potomac Yard plans (metro station and park)

11-19-2015, 05:26 PM

I haven't yet done the survey to see how much cycling relevance there is - I'm assuming optimistically there's something about bike racks at least in there.

11-19-2015, 05:43 PM
WMATA hasn't always been great about finding space for CaBi stations at Metro stations, but they have made a big push on bike racks and bike lockers. Almost every single Metro station (other than a few in the downtown DC core) has bike racks and lockers now. Some of the stations without bike racks have bike lockers, and there are usually plenty of non-WMATA bike racks nearby. I think almost all of them are U-racks, not wheelbenders or other old-fashioned types of racks. I've mapped many of these on the RackSpotter map. bobco and ezeitler have mapped some Metro stations too. The bike lockers are clearly marked at many stations with large blue panels on the side that read "I'm a Bike Locker." The new signs are pretty hard to miss. (Older lockers may not have these signs.)


I wouldn't be too worried about bike racks at any Potomac Yard Metro station. I could almost guarantee that there will be plenty of bike racks there. All the other Metro stations in Alexandria have bike racks and bike lockers. I wouldn't expect Potomac Yard to be any different.

11-19-2015, 05:54 PM
Bike racks was the one cycling relevant thing I could think of off the top of my head. There might be other items of interest for Alexandria cyclists (and those who frequently ride through that part of town).

I'll report after I take the survey.

11-19-2015, 06:04 PM
There's also the bike/pedestrian path along Potomac Yard Park, and the very wide walkway closer to the railroad side. I'm not sure what bike improvements WMATA could make here. A separate bike lane on Potomac Ave. might have been nice, but WMATA doesn't control that.

As far as cycling, I'd say one of the few items could be a connector to Potomac Greens on the east side of the tracks. There will likely be a pedestrian bridge to Potomac Greens. Cyclists would probably have to dismount, but I don't see that as a big issue. Most bike commuters won't be headed over to Potomac Greens.

A direct connection to the Mt. Vernon Trail might be nice, but that would require a long bike bridge over the GW Parkway. Would that be worth the added expense when cyclists can ride a short distance north to Four Mile Run and connect to the MVT there? I suppose such a connection might help some cyclists, but I'm trying to think of whether there would be great demand for such a bike bridge. NPS probably wouldn't go for that. That doesn't seem like a battle worth fighting, for something with limited benefit for a minority of cyclists.

11-19-2015, 06:09 PM
There's also the bike/pedestrian path along Potomac Yard Park, and the very wide walkway closer to the railroad side. I'm not sure what bike improvements WMATA could make here. A separate bike lane on Potomac Ave. might have been nice, but WMATA doesn't control that

This not a WMATA survey anyway.

11-19-2015, 08:53 PM
I just filled out the survey. It focuses only on the overall design of the station and the Potomac Greens park. It doesn't include any specific design elements.

There are four options for the shape of the station. All of them are similar, but one is blockier in appearance. Two are smoother with curved roof lines. One of those has a partially enclosed station. I chose that one, mostly because it looks like the modern Battlestar Galactica ship. No other reason.



[The video does not use the original music from the military sci-fi TV series, which was named The Best Show on Television by Time Magazine and other publications.]

There's nothing about station access points or location of pedestrian entrances, or bike racks.

Since I don't live in Potomac Greens, I'm mostly neutral about the three options for the park on the east side of the tracks. I doubt I'll visit that park that often.

11-19-2015, 10:41 PM
I did the survey.

Not much bike-specific stuff in there - except maybe the part about the park.

11-20-2015, 08:26 AM
It's the kind of crappy survey that results in stuff like the Long Bridge Park Aquatics Center. It's entirely focused on one thing, without any mention of trade-offs that might result in other areas from that one thing. I went through and picked my favorite design based on aesthetics and then basically said in the comments section "My rankings are based on aesthetics, since that is what you're asking about, but that is the least important part of designing this station. If any of the designs have any impact on: ease of access, cost, cost of maintenance, comfort, etc. then please disregard all aesthetic comments and pick the design that optimizes those other, far more important factors."

11-20-2015, 09:44 PM
Design does play a significant role for this station, since it will be above-ground and it will be one of the central features of the new Potomac Yard mini-city. While I don't think the design of the above-ground Metro station would be the primary factor for companies who decide to move to the future office buildings, a shoddy-looking Metro station wouldn't help. The future success of the new neighborhood and the resulting tax revenue will be a major part of Alexandria's finances in the coming years and decades.

Access seems to be similar for all the proposed designs. The form of the station doesn't seem to affect the number or the placement of the pedestrian ramps and walkways.