ALEXANDRIA, VA – Want to take the water taxi to work this summer? You can start on the King St. Trolley, get on the boat and then sail right up the Potomac to the District Whaft. Then in no time you’ll be whisked away on a free shuttle bus to the L’Enfant Plaza Metro station. Wait… What time do you have to be at work again?
It might be hard to believe, but Alexandria will not be Metro-accessible from May 25 to Sept. 2! There will be no train service at six stations south of Ronald Reagan National Airport – Braddock Road, King Street, Eisenhower Ave, Huntington, Van Dorn Street, and Franconia-Springfield. In preparation of this three-month-long experience, the city will accept comments on its travel alternatives until March 20.
“We are doing our part to help provide transportation options in conjunction with these important platform improvements,” said Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson in a statement. “The City and its partners are expanding local bus, trolley and water taxi service; managing traffic flow; emphasizing rideshare, pedestrian, bicycle and mobility device use; encouraging telework and alternate commuting schedules and other mitigation strategies. Our preliminary plans are detailed at alexandriava.gov and will be updated throughout the year.”
The project, which will cost Alexandria up to $100,000 in traffic improvements and data collection alone, is part of Metro’s three-year Platform Improvement Project, which will ultimately repair 20 platforms at stations throughout the system.
“The City is helping our partners at WMATA and DASH to move buses quickly,” the plan notes. “Given that up to 27,000 persons a day could move on these buses, it is important to enhance throughput. The City is working with WMATA and DASH to identify chokepoints and adjust traffic control as needed. This may be as small as adjusting stop bars or signal timing at certain intersections, to as large as increasing car occupancy requirements on HOV lanes.”
Metro is asking commuters to tack on an extra half hour to their commutes during the summer. Reagan National Airport will be the end of the line, and for all those government contractor suburbanites – there will be a free express shuttle running between Franconia-Springfield and the Pentagon (Don’t worry. It won’t run through Alexandria).
Metro plans to add more buses to the following routes:
- Blue Line Shuttle
Shuttle between Franconia-Springfield, Van Dorn St, King St-Old Town, and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport stations (No stop at Braddock Rd Station)
- Huntington – Pentagon Express
Express shuttle between Huntington and Pentagon stations
- Yellow Line Shuttle
Shuttle between Huntington, Eisenhower Ave, King St-Old Town, Braddock Rd, and Crystal City stations (No stop at National Airport)
The City’s Plan So Far…
The city will pay Potomac Riverboat Company $85,000 to mitigate the cost of a water taxi ticket from the Alexandria waterfront to the District Wharf. Commuters will then have the option to take a five minute shuttle to the L’Enfant Plaza Metro station.
DASH will operate free shuttles seven days a week on the AT3 and AT4, which both go to the Pentagon. Alexandria is also “exploring the idea” of having free shuttles run between the King Street Metro station and the Pentagon during peak hours, and reducing the fare on regular DASH routes on its mobile app. The increase in operations will cost an estimated $1.6 million, but that number goes down to around $326,000 after the city is reimbursed by the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Administration.
The city plans to expand the hours of operation of the King Street Trolley from the King Street Metro station to the waterfront. The trolley would start running between 7 a.m. during the week and at 9 a.m. on weekends, and will cost $84,000 [and $17,000 after DRPA reimbursement]. The trolley usually runs from 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. from Sunday to Wednesday and from 10:30 a.m. to midnight Thursday through Saturday.
The City will also use rented parking spaces at Landmark Mall to be meeting points for carpoolers and “form incentives for these carpools,” according to the plan.
And during the summer the city will be continuing to pilot its Smart Mobility program with dockless scooters and bikes. You might’ve notices them around recently…