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Metro Station Concerns Center on the Environment

Few speak in opposition to Potomac Yard station

The Federal Transit Administration opened its environmental impact study into a potential Potomac Yard Metrorail station on Thursday night with two meetings at Cora Kelly Recreation Center designed to inform citizens about the project and to gauge public opinion.

Though the second meeting drew a decent crowd, few citizens voiced overwhelming concerns about the potential station. Most spoke of a desire for a centrally located station with easy access to new retail development that would also accommodate walkers and bike riders, including access to the Mount Vernon Trail along the George Washington Parkway.

Several Potomac Greens residents expressed fears of construction driving wildlife away and polluting nearby wetlands that flow into the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay.

Others spoke of a desire to protect the sanctity of the GW Parkway, which is deemed a “historic resource.”

During a brief presentation of the project, James Ashe of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority presented the purpose and need for a station to improve access to Metro, serve the growth of population in Potomac Yard and to improve air quality in the area.

During the presentation, eight potential station locations were described as well as a no-build option. The city is committed to creating new transitways through Potomac Yard with bus lanes and potentially a streetcar. If the station is not built, improvements will be made to the transitways.

One Rosemont citizen spoke in support of the no-build option, arguing that the transitways will service the area just as well as a Metro station by linking the area with Crystal City in Arlington County.

Ashe said that the study will examine potential environmental effects of a station, including how it might impact neighborhood and community resources, historic and cultural resources, nearby parks, wetlands and air quality.

Along with the FTA and WMATA, the National Park Service and the city is also involved in the environmental impact study. Mayor Bill Euille, who is also a Metro board member, served as moderator of the first meeting on Thursday. Councilman Paul Smedberg moderated the second meeting.

For those interested in learning more about the project, see www.potomacyardmetro.com. The site will be updated as the project moves along. People can e-mail comments on the project to comments@potomacyardmetro.com. The deadline to submit comments is Mar. 15. 

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