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County Board Approves Contract for New ART Bus Facility

(Updated at 11 a.m.) The Arlington County Board has approved a nearly $4 million contract to plan, design and manage the construction of a new bus facility in the Green Valley neighborhood.

The Board unanimously approved the contract for a new Arlington Transit (ART) operations and maintenance facility at its Tuesday night meeting. The new facility will be built on a property along the 2600 block of Shirlington Road that the county bought for $24 million in 2018.

At the Board’s Saturday meeting, a resident expressed concern about temporary bus parking at nearby Jennie Dean Park.

“I think we can safely say that we’re not going to park buses on Jennie Dean Park again,” said County Board Chair Libby Garvey, in response, noting that the new facility is part of the reason why.

The imminent expansion of Jennie Dean Park and another recently-built ART facility in Crystal City are, presumably, the other reasons why there will be no additional temporary bus parking at the park.

As for the difference between ART’s $17.6 million Crystal City facility, and the planned Green Valley facility, with its $81.2 million project budget, Arlington Dept. of Environmental Services spokesman Eric Balliet said the two have different functions.

“The ART bus facility at South Eads and 32nd Streets, completed in summer 2017, is a smaller facility that includes a light-duty maintenance bay, a bus wash bay, compressed natural gas fueling station and parking,” Balliet told ARLnow. “The ART facility planned for Shirlington Road will include the permanent operations, administration, bus and operator parking and maintenance facilities necessary to support ART’s current and future needs.”

More on the contract approval, from a county press release:

The Board also voted unanimously to approve a $3.9 million contract with Stantec Architecture, Inc., for planning, design, and construction administration services for a new Arlington Rapid Transit (ART) Operations and Maintenance Facility at 2631 and 2635 Shirlington Road. The project, meant to meet ART’s current and future needs, will be built under a Construction Manager at Risk process to control costs.

ART, the County’s local bus service, currently operates out of four facilities. The new facility will improve transit efficiency and reduce operating costs by centralizing ART’s operational and administrative tasks and making it easier to perform preventative maintenance and unscheduled repairs. The facility will include permanent operations, administration, parking, and maintenance facilities to support ART’s growing fleet now and in the future.

The project will achieve at least Silver LEED Building Design + Construct Certification and will include sustainable materials and systems.  Community feedback will be sought this fall and winter during the concept design and advanced design phases. The project will also be reviewed by the County’s Public Facilities Review Committee. Staff plans a socially distant walking tour, online open house materials, and an online feedback form to help gather feedback. The facility is expected to be completed in 2023.

The total project budget is $81.2 million, which includes the 2018 land purchase, construction, equipment, and soft costs. Funding is mainly from the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA), with a combination of funding from the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT)  and local sources. The project was originally approved in the Fiscal Year 2019-2028 Capital Improvement Plan.

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