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Safety, accessibility improvements slated for Pentagon City intersection

Some safety and accessibility improvements to a busy intersection in Pentagon City, near Costco, could move forward soon.

If the Arlington County Board awards the contract, which it is slated to do this weekend, the S. Fern Street and 15th Street S. intersection would to get a new traffic signal, while the existing paver crosswalks — which appear to be deteriorating — will be replaced with marked crosswalks.

The southwest corner would get a curb extension and the southeast corner will get new curb ramps and curb and gutter. Arlington County says the project will have “minimal impacts” to nearby properties, according to a board report.

The report says says it is undertaking this project because it probably won’t happen in conjunction with private redevelopment projects. Arlington County uses the bevy of development in Pentagon City and Crystal City — including Amazon’s HQ2 — as a vehicle for providing public benefits such as revamping old streetscapes.

“This project is part of the ongoing Crystal City/Pentagon City Accessibility and Safety Improvements in the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) that makes repairs and improvements to crosswalks and curb ramps, traffic signal upgrades, landscape upgrades, bike facility upgrades, signage and striping modifications, and streetlighting,” according to a board report. “The project focuses on areas outside existing, discrete projects and private developments that are making similar improvements.”

This intersection is a few blocks from the Pentagon City Metro station and right by Amazon’s second headquarters, the first phase of which is under-construction and the second phase of which obtained Arlington County Board approval earlier this year.

Site context for the proposed improvements to the 15th Street S. and S. Fern Street intersection in Pentagon City (via Arlington County)

The nearly $698,000 contract, which includes almost $91,000 in contingency, is slated to go before the County Board for approval on Saturday.

It will mostly be covered with a $635,062 grant from the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority.

The project is part of an ongoing program to upgrade traffic signal infrastructure, per the county report.

“Transportation Engineers use a variety of methods to prioritize signal upgrade locations, including the type of signal, age of the infrastructure, and the type of roadway facilities impacted,” according to the county website.

The report says staff will update the community in the weeks leading up to construction and periodically during construction via an email group list, a construction notification letter, the project webpage and the neighborhood-based social network Nextdoor.

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