The county is hoping to move past the “million-dollar bus stop” by building four less expensive stops along Columbia Pike.
A network of new transit stops along Columbia Pike were originally supposed to serve both buses and streetcars, before the streetcar project was cancelled. The latest turn in the Pike transit saga, the County Board is scheduled to discuss awarding a $1.64 million contract to build four out of 23 planned bus stops along the Pike.
“This project is key to the revitalization of the entire Columbia Pike corridor,” county staff wrote in a report to the Board.
The original construction plans were scrapped six years ago after the more than $1 million in costs for the prototype Walter Reed Drive stop, first reported by ARLnow, drew outrage from the public and international press attention.
After the streetcar project folded in 2014, officials morphed the idea of the transit stations into cheaper bus stops. Since then, the county approved $13.3 million for the planned 23 stations in Arlington’s FY 2017-2026 Capital Improvement Plan.
At its Tuesday meeting, the County Board is expected to award a contract to build four of the bus stops to Alexandria-based Sagres Construction Corporation. The same contractor was previously tapped for roadwork on Wilson Blvd and other infrastructure projects.
The four bus stops would be located near the intersections of:
- Columbia Pike and S. Buchanan Street
- Columbia Pike and S. Four Mile Run Drive
- Columbia Pike and S. Oakland Street
- Columbia Pike and S. Glebe Road
If the Board members approve the contract, the county is poised to pay Sagres $1,372,250.70 for the work with the possibility of an additional $274,450.14 for unexpected costs.
Sagres was the least expensive bidder for the project by more than a million dollars, per a staff report to the Board.
“The four new transit stations coming to the Pike are the critical first step in the larger multi-modal project that will enhance transit along the Pike, and bring us one step closer to providing connectivity between the Columbia Pike Corridor, Crystal City and the new Amazon HQ2,” Kim Klingler, the new Executive Director of the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization, told the Sun Gazette.
County staff will attend 10 community events like the Pike’s farmer market, movie nights at Arlington Mill, and the Blues Festival to talk with residents about the project, per the report.
“The feedback received from the public thus far has been generally positive,” the staff report notes. “However, concerns about disruption to vehicular and pedestrian traffic during construction have been expressed. Other concerns noted include sun and weather protection.”
Construction on the four bus stops could finish as early as spring 2020, but officials have not yet shared when they expect contracts to be awarded for the remaining stations.