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Second Crystal City Metro Entrance Project Reaches New Milestone

(Updated at 2:05 p.m.) Plans to build a second entrance to the Crystal City Metro station are a third of the way to completion, and the public has a new window to comment on them.

The second entrance set for the corner of 18th Street S. and Crystal Drive will be the product of a public-private partnership with developer JBG Smith, the preeminent property owner in Crystal City. The County Board approved the partnership last summer.

When complete, the nearly $95 million project — financed by the county and various grants — will improve connectivity and accessibility in the area and partially fulfill the state’s commitment to Amazon to invest in transportation infrastructure, according to transportation planner Robin McElhenny.

People can learn more about the project next Wednesday during a pop-up event at the station. WMATA will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, July 13 and people can submit public comments to the transit agency until Friday, July 23.

The public can expect more detailed versions of the designs, which are about 30% complete, in September, McElhenny said during a Transportation Commission meeting last night (Thursday). That is when staff aim to present the project to the County Board, she added.

Meanwhile, staff are hammering out agreements with JBG Smith and WMATA regarding roles and responsibilities during the project’s next phase, which includes finishing the designs and completing construction, she said. These agreements could be voted on by the County Board in December.

“This is somewhat optimistic — there are a lot of milestones that need to be reached between now and December — but it’s something we’re seriously working toward,” the transportation planner said.

After this point, construction could take two and a half years, she said. Budget documents indicate the county expects the project to be ready in the fall of 2023.

The project will connect transit users to the Virginia Railway Express station — also set to be expanded and relocated — as well as bus services and cycling trails, she said. It will also meet accessibility needs, as the station has one elevator and Metro requires stations to have two, and relieve congestion.

“This will be an important investment to mitigate any crowding,” she said.

Transportation commissioners voiced their support for the project.

“I’m really happy to see it moving forward,” Transportation Commission Chair Chris Slatt said. “I think there’s really huge opportunity for this to be a multimodal hub.”

He urged staff to consider protected bike lanes, predicting unprotected ones will get clogged up by pick-up and drop-off activity.

“This is a great project and I wholeheartedly support it,” Commissioner Jim Lantelme said. “It’s one of the keys to this area continuing to develop in the good way that it is.”

This current design phase is being funded by a $5 million grant from the  Northern Virginia Transportation Authority.

Arlington County has estimated costs of about $95 million for the project, some of which will come from federal, state and regional grants.

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