Potomac Yard Metro southern entrance returns to chopping block

Potomac Yard Metro southern entrance returns to chopping block
Renderings of the Potomac Yard metro from 2016.

By Missy Schrott | mschrott@alextimes.com

The saga of the Potomac Yard Metro station’s controversial southern entrance returns, and according to a city news release, the entrance is likely to be scaled back — again.

City Manager Mark Jinks announced in May 2018 that the planned southern entrance at East Glebe Road had been removed from the Metro station’s design, sparking outrage from the community.

Residents’ anger increased when emails obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request later showed city officials might have known about the entrance’s elimination as early as summer 2017.

(After FOIAed emails released, city’s Potomac Yard narrative changes)

The incident created frustration in the community and a lack of trust around the project. Some faith was restored when, following Amazon’s HQ2 announcement, the state announced it would provide $50 million of funding for enhanced southwest access to the station.

However, a May 31 memo from City Manager Mark Jinks to the Potomac Yard Metrorail Implementation Work Group stated cost estimates for improved southwest access are too expensive, and an escalator will likely be struck from the design.

PYMIG, city staff and Metro staff put together three concept plans for southwest access on the station, according to the news release. The cost estimates the contractor provided the city earlier in May showed that all three concepts are more expensive than the available $50 million in state funding: a pavilion with a bridge to the north entrance would cost $75 million, a ramp from East Glebe Road with a moving walkway to the north entrance would cost $90 million and a southwest access pavilion with a small mezzanine would cost $100 million, according to the news release.

In his memo to PYMIG, Jinks recommended further refining the first concept to keep the cost close to $50 million. The only specific adjustment mentioned in the memo is the elimination of an escalator from the design.

City staff will further discuss potential changes at the June 10 PYMIG meeting, which will take place at the Charles Houston Recreation Center at 7 p.m. City council will hold a public hearing on PYMIG’s recommendation on June 22, followed by a vote at its June 25 legislative meeting.

(Amazon selects Crystal City for HQ2)