Your View: The city chose the wrong Metro site

Your View: The city chose the wrong Metro site
A heavy rail work vehicle derailed outside of the Potomac Yard Metro Station. (File Photo)

To the editor: 

I write to remind all who celebrate the opening of the Potomac Yard Metro Station that many Alexandria residents who support public transportation testified in 2019 against constructing this station in a forested wetland. I was one of those testifying and opposed the current location for the following reasons:

1) At least three sites at Potomac Yard were available for the new Metro station, including the site of the former Regal movie theaters. The city selected Alternative B.

2) Alternative B included tidal wetlands, a mature upland forest and freshwater wetlands. The land was part of Potomac Greens Park owned by the city. The boardwalk through the park contained interpretive signs explaining how wetlands filter pollutants before they reach the Chesapeake Bay, reduce the risk of flooding and provide valuable habitat for rare wildlife.

3) The construction required trucking in tons of fill which was dumped on the low-lying wetlands.

4) The tree inventory for Alternative B confirmed that construction of the Potomac Yard station eliminated approximately 250 mature trees, including valuable species such as Cottonwood, Tulip Poplar and Black Willow, some reaching a circumference of almost four feet.

5) The viewshed from the George Washington Parkway has been permanently marred by the clear-cutting of the mature forest, leaving the hulking station visible from the Parkway.

6) The decision to construct the Station at Alt B was inconsistent with the city’s professed goals of preserving tree canopy, reducing pollutants flowing into the Chesapeake Bay, reducing global warming and operating as an Eco-City. It was also inconsistent with the published mission and vision of DEQ, which included the protection and enhancement of Virginia’s environment.

-Jeremy Flachs, Alexandria