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The Potomac Yard transitway is looking good

Construction on Alexandria's Route 1 transitway is coming along, in anticipation of its August 24 opening. These pictures show the station at Route 1 and Custis Avenue.

All photos by Dan Malouff.

While Alexandria's transitway is just about ready, the second phase of the same project, in Arlington, is still a grassy strip. But preliminary construction work started earlier this year, and Arlington will host an official groundbreaking on Friday, July 18, at 9 am.

Arlington's portion, next in line for construction.

Cross-posted at BeyondDC.

Dan Malouff is a transportation planner for Arlington and professor of geography at George Washington University, but blogs to express personal views. He has a degree in urban planning from the University of Colorado, and lives in NE DC. He runs BeyondDC and contributes to the Washington Post


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It looks ok its not good when looking others all over the whole; however it does leave me with questions

1 Was there a reason for not building Island platforms for the stops when in the transit lanes ?

2 Why not run infront of Potomac Yard Shopping Center or through it like current Dash buses instead of behind it; why hide the service instead of making it front and center

3 Why wait until 2015 to go to Pentagon City when this part does not run in special lanes

by kk on Jul 14, 2014 12:30 pm • linkreport


Because they probably dont want to pay for buses with doors on the left.

Heres a question:
"near-level boarding"
Those two extra inches of concrete were a deal-breaker?

by JJJJ on Jul 14, 2014 12:36 pm • linkreport


They dont need special doors when it is in a separated transit lane just run the buses on the opposite side as you usually would. Instead of having northbound buses run on the side run them on the left and the southbound on the right that way you have one shared platform.

Once they enter mixed lanes run them on the right side again.

by kk on Jul 14, 2014 12:41 pm • linkreport

"Once they enter mixed lanes run them on the right side again."

I am trying to picture that switch over. Sounds like it could create problems.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 14, 2014 12:55 pm • linkreport


Roundabout, Bridge, switch in the transit lane etc it is done in many countries at border crossing.

It only causes problems if the person doing it is a dumb-ass!
Think of how Metrorail does single tracking imagine that on ground level with buses in the transit lane.

Since the buses will never run frequently enough to ever encounter each other at the switch there will be no problem and if they do treat it as a 4 way stop.

by kk on Jul 14, 2014 1:02 pm • linkreport

"Since the buses will never run frequently enough to ever encounter each other at the switch "

what do you consider the maximum number of buses/trams on the route in 2030 to be?

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jul 14, 2014 1:18 pm • linkreport


I don't expect them to be coming more frequently than every 5 minutes and that would be well over enough time to change lanes.

It only takes a moment and the switch happens before you enter general lanes.

There are many places in Asia & Africa that have these interchanges and they work fine. Many are nothing more than roundabouts with the differences happening with the exits from the roundabout.

In other places it is simple as lanes crossing each other at a traffic light or no light depending on the area with just a sign that says you veer to the left or right. With an X shaped crossing where a northbound right lane becomes the northbound left lane etc.

by kk on Jul 14, 2014 2:06 pm • linkreport

What is the benefit of an island platform? Cheaper to construct one platform? Easier to transfer to the other direction? Cheaper to have one fare machine? Are those worth this complexity?

by John on Jul 14, 2014 2:46 pm • linkreport

My question: when is PY going to get a CaBi station? It would help people get to/from the Crystal City and air port Metros,and it would connect Old Town to Arlington. I've e-mailed the Yards folks twice in the past couple of years asking about this,but have never gotten a response.

by dynaryder on Jul 14, 2014 3:16 pm • linkreport


#2: A combination of planned redevelopment of the current Potomac Yard shopping plus getting the transitway routing close to where Alexandria will build their Potomac Yard Metro station.

#3: Buses aren't waiting until 2015. As Dan noted in his article last week, the buses will start running next month. They just won't have dedicated lanes in Arlington until 2015.

by Froggie on Jul 14, 2014 3:23 pm • linkreport


Wrong it specific says it will go to Crystal City until 2015 when it will be extended to Pentagon City

by kk on Jul 14, 2014 3:56 pm • linkreport

dynaryder - the installation of Cabi stations in PY is up to the City; not sure who you emailed. As you may have read here before, the manufacturer of Cabi stations/bikes is in bankruptcy in Canada and that has put a hold on additional stations being installed. Regardless, I think the City of Alexandria plans multiple stations in this area at some point.

by JDC on Jul 14, 2014 3:56 pm • linkreport

I currently catch the 9A near Target and have been catching it for the last two years. Does anyone know the projected ridership for the Alexandria transitway? The 9A has fairly light ridership I would say maybe a few hundred total for the entire route a day when compared to tens of thousands on Columbia Pike. Also why are the existing 9A stops duplicated on the Alexandria transitway? I thought BRT was supposed to be limited stops and faster.

by Kevin on Jul 14, 2014 5:50 pm • linkreport

The installation of CaBi stations on the shopping center property is partly dependent on the owners of the center. I've emailed them as well, with no reply. Seems like they are uninterested. If so, there are unlikely to be stations there.

The Bixi bankruptcy is not stopping all expansion. Alexandria said that they will install the new stations in Del Ray and Carlyle by the end of the summer. DC will also add 10 new stations in the coming weeks, mostly in downtown. (They already added a new station over the past week on Water St. in Georgetown.)

There aren't immediate plans to add CaBi stations in Potomac Yard, unless you count Slaters Lane and Monroe Ave. as Potomac Yard. Now that Potomac Yard Park is finished (or at least the 1st phase), it would make sense to add a CaBi station there. The Monroe Ave. station would be relatively close.

As for the shopping center, a bike station would be great for the short term. But the shopping center will eventually be replaced by new development. Maybe the owner and the city are holding off on bikeshare there, until development plans are more settled.

As the new apartment and office buildings are completed in PY, there would be more demand for bike stations in that area. Perhaps in the next expansion round, after the Del Ray/Carlyle round?

by Citizen on Jul 15, 2014 2:01 am • linkreport


The MAX BRT route in Fort Collins uses island platforms with right-hand doors south of Downtown. Unfortunately, I can't find a good picture to present at the moment.

Despite the large number of never-been-on-a-transit-bus customers the line has attracted, I don't recall seeing anyone unintentionally board a vehicle in the wrong direction.

by Zmapper on Jul 15, 2014 2:57 am • linkreport

I have a question. Will the buses get some type of priority as far as red lights go? Will the lights be re-configured?

by Jay Roberts on Jul 15, 2014 9:50 am • linkreport

@Kevin - I don't know ridership numbers for the 9A but I expect that it will increase, both with new residents in Potomac Yard and existing residents.

I live near the 9A route, but I never ride it and don't consider it a realistic transit option given the 30 minute intervals between buses. Once those intervals times are more reasonable, I may actually use these buses to get to and from Crystal City (which is an everyday route for me).

by billy on Jul 15, 2014 11:10 am • linkreport

Island platforms either (A) need less space if you have a traditional flow that needs space for the inbound commuters waiting in the morning and the outbound commuters to quickly exit the buses in the evening or (B) have all-day two-way demand that needs platforms for both directions all day.. Obviously, one platform needs less space than two.

What problems should arise from switching over the bus lanes at the end of the transitway? There are enough examples worldwide, like Gera (see link), although their buses are pulsing around the tramway's 10min interval and therefore unlikely to meet at the entrance/exit.

by Sascha Claus on Jul 15, 2014 6:04 pm • linkreport

Those are going to have benches and bike racks, right?

by asffa on Jul 19, 2014 11:10 pm • linkreport

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