Opinion Your Views — 12 November 2012
Potomac Yard Metro project not worth the cost to residents

By Robert Pringle, Alexandria

To the editor:

Regarding Vice Mayor Kerry Donley’s letter October 25 (“Vice Mayor: setting record straight on Potomac Yard Metro station”), I’m afraid the record remains a bit crooked.
Mr. Donley doesn’t make clear that the main force driving the proposed Metro station is commercial, not residential. In order to be competitive with Pentagon City and Crystal City, the commercial developers need a Metro connection. If they need it so badly, they should pay the entire cost of it.

Broadly speaking, most of the residents concerned live not too far from the Braddock Road Metro station. They aren’t — on average — much farther from that station than Old Town residents are from the King Street Metro station. Busses can serve their needs or rubber-tired trolleys like Old Town’s — at vastly lower costs. I am an Old Town resident, and we are not calling for a Metro extension down King Street.

Finally, we should all draw a deep breath before talking about disrupting the George Washington Memorial Parkway for a year or more, as you will know if you have taken it lately at rush hour. Following through on the preferred option for a Metro station location would require at least a year of disruption. And it would impact a very large number of people in the city and points south. For this and other reasons, the U.S. National Park Service has yet to approve such lunacy — and it should not.

I was reassured to hear that there will be more meetings on this subject. I hope the presenters at these meetings speak more clearly than those at the last such meeting June 20. Part of the transparency problem that Hugh Van Horn referred to in his letter October 18 (“City officials need to listen to residents, not developers”) is a chronic failure of the city and its representatives — when discussing development issues — to speak and write in language that ordinary residents can understand.

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(1) Reader Comment

  1. Comparing “adding a track” from King Street to Old town is a completely different logistical and cost level than adding a station to an existing line. The majority of the “concerned” residents are in the Arlandria area in between both stations that are about a mile and a half from either of the options you mention. Though I agree with your call to not rush into anything, the commercial benefits of an additional stop on the metro are also tangible and do not go just to the “commercial interests.”

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