The process of determining the location and type of Metrorail station at Potomac Yard has been delayed a few months, Alexandria officials announced Friday afternoon.
Along with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, Federal Transit Administration and the National Park Service, Alexandria has been plugging away at the environmental impact study for the project. A draft statement on the study, which assesses everything from sound and noise issues to air quality and wetland impacts related to a station, was scheduled to be released Friday.
However, the FTA and NPS recommended technical changes and amendments to the plan during a review of the statement, creating more work for planners.
According to a press release from the city:
With this additional work, it became clear the original schedule could not be met and public engagement would have occurred during the summer, which would have resulted in less opportunity for community input.
The project schedule has been modified so the draft statement will be released in the fall, followed by community meetings and a public hearing.
Alexandria City Council will consider a preferred station likely in late fall, according to the release.
• Check out the Del Ray Patch topic page concerning Potomac Yard
Prior to Friday’s announcement, the city had planned to begin construction on the station in 2014 with it opening in early-to-mid 2017 if all went according to plan.
“We’re hoping [the delay] won’t have a big impact,” Sandra Marks, acting deputy director of the Alexandria’s Department of Transportation and Environmental Services, told Patch. “It’s a couple of months and, if this is the only delay, it’s not going to be critical.”
Marks said the city does not hold community outreach meetings in the summer. The new schedule will enable the city to engage citizens about the project when they’re in town and not vacationing over the summer. It also allows the city and other agencies more time to discuss the station.
A no-build option remains in play, but council has placed its support in building one of the three alternatives under consideration.
• See: Euille Reiterates Commitment to Building Metro Station at Potomac Yard
On Thursday, Mayor Bill Euille said council has made the construction of a Potomac Yard Metro station one of its top capital improvement priorities over the next two years.
“We are already setting aside tax revenue and are prepared to start funding the construction of this station in 2014, along with significant contributions from our development partners [in Potomac Yard],” Euille said.
• See: Euille Touts Transportation Investments at Potomac Yard
The Potomac Yard Metrorail Implementation Group has scheduled its next meeting to discuss the project at 6:30 p.m. June 10 at City Hall. The meeting is open to the public.