Work to rebuild Army Navy Drive through Pentagon City and improve safety and transit along the corridor is officially underway.
This morning, Arlington County and the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority ceremonially broke ground on the long-planned Army Navy Drive “Complete Street” Project, which is intended to make the current multi-lane expanse of Army Navy Drive between S. Joyce Street and 12th Street S. more friendly to pedestrians, cyclists and transit users.
The project includes shortened pedestrian crossings, dedicated transit lanes between S. Joyce Street and S. Hayes Street, planted medians, new traffic signals at five intersections, and in some places, narrowed or reduced vehicle travel lanes. There will be a protected, two-way bicycle lane along the south side of Army Navy Drive.
Work kicks off as the number of workers and residents in the area is projected to significantly increase in the coming years. Amazon is preparing to build the second phase of its HQ2 — known as PenPlace, and which includes the iconic “Helix” building — at the corner of Army Navy Drive and S. Eads Street, while continuing to hire toward its goal of 25,000 employees. Meanwhile, JBG Smith has filed plans to add 1,668 residential units to surface parking lots at the nearby RiverHouse complex.
For the next three weeks, road users will see signs of crews setting up for the Army Navy Drive project, like cones and a construction management trailer, says Mark Dennis, project manager for Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services. In mid-November, people will start to see demolition work.
“Both sides of the corridors will have markings and indicators that the entire area is a working construction zone,” Dennis told ARLnow. “There will be slight changes in traffic patterns to accommodate lane shifts that are needed.”
He said drivers will need to pay extra attention to navigate these changes.
Before scooping ceremonial dirt with gold-colored shovels, local and regional dignitaries celebrated the expected benefits of the project.
Arlington County Board Chair Katie Cristol said the project will make Army Navy Drive safer for pedestrians and cyclists and more convenient for bus riders. It will also slow down drivers, improve air quality and reduce stormwater runoff, she said.
“It’s better for all of us because providing safe, accessible and multimodal transportation is a key part of the economic competitiveness of Pentagon City and Arlington overall,” said Cristol.
NVTA CEO Monica Backmon celebrated the project for “getting people out of their single-occupancy vehicles and giving people options.”
The transportation authority said in a press release that it has invested more than $227 million into transportation projects located in Pentagon City, Crystal City and Potomac Yard, known collectively as National Landing.
National Landing Business Improvement District President and Executive Director Tracy Sayegh Gabriel said in a speech that the new amenities will attract more residents.
“Top talent prefers to be in locations with they have great public transit, where there is exceptional connectivity, where there are alternative transportation choices,” she said. “We are going to be the ideal location for top talent throughout our region.”
The project will connect to transit and road changes along Columbia Pike and the forthcoming pedestrian and cycling bridge over the Potomac River from Long Bridge Park. It will also add dedicated lanes for buses and bikes.
The addition of dedicated bus lanes along Army Navy Drive between S. Joyce Street and S. Hayes Street will extend the Crystal City-Potomac Yard Transitway — a network of bus-only lanes between Arlington and the City of Alexandria — according to the Arlington County’s project webpage.
A two-way bicycle lane on the south side of Army Navy Drive will link a planned bicycle track from Army Navy Drive to a planned multi-use path along S. Bell Street that will eventually go to the Crystal City Metro station.
“This project connects these places and these activities in a very impactful way, making it better to walk, bike and transit,” said Arlington County Director of Transportation Dennis Leach. “If you’re driving, you’re going to be asked to drive slowly and be respectful of all those other users.”
Additionally, the project will establish a stronger connection between nearby businesses and Pentagon workers, officials said.
About 70% of Pentagon employees are in-person (as opposed to full-time remote work) and most are driving, a Pentagon spokesperson told ARLnow. The military complex and the adjacent neighborhood are bisected by I-395 and large parking lots for Pentagon workers, some of whom drive in from as far away as Richmond and the Maryland-Pennsylvania border, the spokesperson said.
The county website says construction on the Army Navy Drive Complete Street project is expected to wrap up in the summer of 2025, around the same time as PenPlace, the second phase of Amazon’s HQ2.
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Arlington and its neighbors have become more segregated in the last 10 years while fair housing legislation at the state level faces significant roadblocks. Arlington’s fair housing enforcement, education, and commitment to equity practices in housing policy and programs are beginning to show signs of improvement but much more needs to be done.
Join the NAACP Arlington Branch, HOME of Virginia, and Equal Rights Center for the 2nd Annual Arlington Fair Housing Conference on April 15th to discuss the threats and opportunities to advancing fair housing policy across the state and within Arlington.
The half-day, in-person event will feature speakers from fair housing advocacy organizations and government agencies including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and focus on fair housing policy trends in Virginia and Arlington County. The conference aims to advance the understanding of issues and policies related to equity and affirmatively further fair housing among local officials, advocates, and members of the public.
2nd Annual Arlington Fair Housing Conference
Is home ownership a goal of yours in 2023? Now is the time to make it happen! Grab a (virtual) drink with the area’s top Real Estate experts, learn all about the home buying process and on how you can get $1,500 towards your closing costs immediately!
Did you know the average Arlington renter will spend $150K in 5 years of renting? Stop paying down someone else’s mortgage! Join us for a Rent vs. Buy Happy Hour on Wednesday, April 5th at 6 p.m. via Zoom. If this time doesn’t work, we also are offering times convenient for your schedule!
A lot has happened in the local market since the beginning of the pandemic. Sip on your drink of choice and learn from Northern Virginia, Arlington and Washingtonian Magazines top producing agents! We will discuss the latest market updates, the home buying process and rent vs. buy cost savings. Please RSVP by clicking here.
Call/text Manavi at 703-869-6698 with any questions!
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