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Thread: Potomac Yard Metro and Mount Vernon Trail improvements

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    PotomacCyclist is offline I spend all day thinking about bikes and talking to people on the internet about them.
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    Default Potomac Yard Metro and Mount Vernon Trail improvements

    As expected, Alexandria staff have chosen Alternative B for the proposed Potomac Yard Metro. This site is east of the Target and the CSX tracks, and closer to the more dense office development planned for the site of the existing shopping center.

    "The Potomac Yard Metro EIS has already been the subject of three open houses. Next up, on April 29, will be an initial review by the city's Board of Architectural Review-Old and Historic, followed by a Metro public hearing on April 30, a Planning Commission meeting on May 5, and a City Council public hearing on May 16. A final EIS is expected in the fall and a record of decision in early 2016."

    One past concern with Alternative B was the impact on the viewshed from the GW Memorial Parkway. While many people probably didn't have an issue with this, the National Park Service did, and they had the power to block the use of that site for the Metro station. However, Alexandria has reached an agreement with the NPS, apparently confirmed in an April 20th letter from the NPS regional director to the Alexandria City Manager.

    Why does this matter here? Because of the details of this deal, which I had not heard about before.

    "The major potential hiccups for Alternative B, the National Park Service and the impact on the scenic George Washington Memorial Parkway, have been solved. The selected location will require roughly 7,000 square feet of scenic parkway easement, for which Alexandria will transfer 13.5 acres of parkland to the NPS, and spend $12 million on stormwater management improvements at Daingerfield Island and along the parkway, on development of a Daingerfield Island master plan, on repairs to the Mount Vernon Trail and on other plans and studies related to the parkway corridor."

    "The city would need to purchase 0.16 acres of parkway property from the National Park Service. The city has reached an agreement with the National Park Service to settle the impact on the parkway land, according to officials. As part of the deal, NPS would release the easement on approximately 1.71 acres of city property where the station would be located. In exchange, the city would transfer 13.56 acres of local parkland near the parkway to the United States. Alexandria also would also invest $12 million in improvements to the Mount Vernon Trail and Daingerfield Island; and in other parkway needs. The city would commit to limiting building heights, lighting and signage near the parkway."

    "The City Council will hold a public hearing on the proposal May 16, and the panel is expected to vote on May 20. Metro is holding a public hearing at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Cora Kelly Recreation Center. Comments can be sent through May 18 via e-mail to comments@potomacyardmetro.com or via postal mail to Potomac Yard Metrorail Station EIS, P.O. Box 16531, Alexandria, VA 22302."

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/...-site-will-be/

    http://www.bizjournals.com/washingto...omac-yard.html

    http://www.alexandriava.gov/potomacy...EIS%20Document

    ---------

    I'm not clear what the improvements to the MVT are. I'll look at the Alexandria Potomac Yard website and see if they have the letter or the relevant staff report there. I think they could smooth out some of the blind turns near the marina. I've seen cyclists sitting on the side of the trail after getting involved in crashes there. The section of the trail along the boardwalk and the former coal plant could use some work. It's a little farther away from Potomac Yard, but not too far.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PotomacCyclist View Post
    I'm not clear what the improvements to the MVT are. I'll look at the Alexandria Potomac Yard website and see if they have the letter or the relevant staff report there. I think they could smooth out some of the blind turns near the marina. I've seen cyclists sitting on the side of the trail after getting involved in crashes there. The section of the trail along the boardwalk and the former coal plant could use some work. It's a little farther away from Potomac Yard, but not too far.

    I spoke to someone from City of Alexandria T&ES at the earth day event on Saturday. They said the improvements will be up to NPS. I assume there will be an opportunity for BPAC to have input with NPS.

    I think the coal plant section will change with the new development anyway, but I am not that familiar with that.

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    What land did the city give NPS? As for the $'s impact on the MVT that's Daingerfield-specific, I can't imagine what they would spend it on. That field everyone plays soccer on has poor drainage and the swamp next to the Metro isn't in such great shape, but otherwise, that seems like a lot of money to me for a narrow area. My request list to NPS would be to straighten out the little C about halfway up the island, to either switch to plastic bridge or put real grippy paint on the boardwalk planks, to get rid of some of the ruts of roots before the C (couple of them there between island road access and C on slight hill), and switch the stop signs to face the cars on the marina access road rather than the bikes. Otherwise, I'm all for widening the path if that's under consideration.

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    https://alexandriava.gov/uploadedFil...appendices.pdf

    Alexandria staff report, dated April 24, 2015

    Details on the GWMP/MVT agreement are not specified. There is a general description at Section 4.1. It only says that the city and NPS have developed a framework for the Net Benefits Agreement.

    "City and NPS staff have worked together to develop the framework for a Net Benefits
    Agreement to provide appropriate mitigation for impacts to the GWMP and Greens Scenic
    Area Easement, and to provide for a property exchange to allow the release of NPS property
    and interests (see Table 2 and Appendix B). Staff feels that these items not only provide the
    most benefit to the GWMP but are also a benefit to residents of the City of Alexandria. Benefits
    include improvements to Daingerfield Island in Alexandria and the nearby Mount Vernon Trail,
    which are used extensively by City residents, as well as measures to enhance the experience
    of Parkway users such as eliminating stormwater ponding in the median of the GWMP and
    additional landscaping between the station and the GWMP roadway."



    Table 2. Mitigation Proposal for Impacts to GWMP Interests

    Among the items:

    - A stormwater management plan for Daingerfield Island and the GWMP
    - Improvements to visitor services, facilities, recreation, and park amenities on the island
    - Daingerfield Island Master Plan
    - "Implement repairs and improvements to the Mount Vernon Trail in the
    vicinity of the project area"



    Appendix B contains the April 20 letter from the NPS re the Net Benefits Agreement Framework.

    The letter mentions a $12 million allocation to mitigate impacts to park resources through the following measures:

    - Stormwater management improvements on Daingerfield Island and the GWMP
    - Master Plan for improvements to Daingerfield Island
    - Repairs and improvements to the MVT in the vicinity of the project area
    - "Plans and studies that will address the acute planning needs for the south section of the GWMP (Four Mile Run to Mount Vernon), covering such topics as vegetation and landscape, cultural resources and archeology, viewshed protection, visitor use, resource stewardship, and facility management."

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    In a separate matter that could also affect the Potomac Yard/GWMP/MVT area, Dominion Virginia Power has delayed its plans to build a new power transmission line from the substation at S. Glebe Rd. & Eads St. in Arlington to the switching station on E. Abingdon Drive in Alexandria (next to the closed generating plant).

    Dominion wants to build the new line to accommodate future increases in electricity demand in the area. They proposed several possible routes for the line last year. The line could run underwater, along Four Mile Run and the Potomac River. Or it could run through various routes in Potomac Yard and/or Del Ray. The company hasn't provided too many details beyond the possible routes.

    Some of the lines may not have much impact on the MVT. But I think if they ran the lines through Potomac Yard or Del Ray, they would have to cut across the GWMP and the Abingdon Dr. path of the MVT, but not the riverside MVT route. If they followed the Potomac River, they might have to cut across the riverside MVT.

    None of this is imminent, but it's something to keep in mind for the future. I posted a thread about it last year.

    http://www.alexandriava.gov/dvp/default.aspx

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    Quote Originally Posted by Terpfan View Post
    What land did the city give NPS?
    The proposal is to give NPS most of Potomac Greens Park - all of the City-owned land that is bound by the Potomac Greens Scenic Easement, except for the small piece that they need for the Metro Station.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chris_s View Post
    The proposal is to give NPS most of Potomac Greens Park - all of the City-owned land that is bound by the Potomac Greens Scenic Easement, except for the small piece that they need for the Metro Station.
    Well, if there's one thing NPS knows how to do, it's managing small local parks.

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    Given the fact that the water level is now up to the underside of the boardwalk just north of Slaters, I'd say a new, higher trail might be in order. When they build it, maybe they could make it out of a surface that doesn't eat bicyclists in the winter. Or maybe just use the money to plow and treat the trail. What a concept!

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    Quote Originally Posted by chris_s View Post
    The proposal is to give NPS most of Potomac Greens Park - all of the City-owned land that is bound by the Potomac Greens Scenic Easement, except for the small piece that they need for the Metro Station.
    So basically they're talking about the swamp to the right of the GWMP/left of Metro line? I presume their easement must go all the way down to 4MR, because if it's just that little area behind the townhomes then there is no chance it's 13.5 acres. When I used to live in those old garden style apartments next to it (off E Abingdon across from drycleaners), I just presumed that land was private with that little gravel path and small pond.

    That's a great trade then since nothing can ever be done to all of that land due to it's status as basically all swamp.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Terpfan View Post
    So basically they're talking about the swamp to the right of the GWMP/left of Metro line? I presume their easement must go all the way down to 4MR, because if it's just that little area behind the townhomes then there is no chance it's 13.5 acres. When I used to live in those old garden style apartments next to it (off E Abingdon across from drycleaners), I just presumed that land was private with that little gravel path and small pond.

    That's a great trade then since nothing can ever be done to all of that land due to it's status as basically all swamp.
    Looking at it again, I think I'm misunderstanding something. Will need to take another look. For now assume I don't know what I'm talking about.

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