Alexandria leaders see Amazon HQ2 as economic boom, not traffic nightmare

The Oakville Triangle area of Alexandria, Va. where Virginia Tech will construct a 1 million square-foot technology focused campus in Alexandria, Va., to build one of it's two new headquarters, Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018. The project was cited as a key reason Amazon selected Virginia for a new headquarters. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
The Oakville Triangle area of Alexandria, Va. where Virginia Tech will construct a 1 million square-foot technology focused campus in Alexandria, Va., to build one of it’s two new headquarters, Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018. The project was cited as a key reason Amazon selected Virginia for a new headquarters. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen) (AP/Cliff Owen)
The Oakville Triangle area of Alexandria, Va. where Virginia Tech will construct a 1 million square-foot technology focused campus in Alexandria, Va., to build one of it's two new headquarters, Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018. The project was cited as a key reason Amazon selected Virginia for a new headquarters. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
The Oakville Triangle area of Alexandria, Va. where Virginia Tech will construct a 1 million square-foot technology focused campus in Alexandria, Va., to build one of it’s two new headquarters, Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018. The project was cited as a key reason Amazon selected Virginia for a new headquarters. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen) (AP/Cliff Owen)
Virginia is considering a system that would detect the number and location of empty and full street parking spaces in the Crystal City area (above) and the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor to raise prices on busy blocks and lower prices where there are more spaces available. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
This Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018, file photo shows a view of Crystal City, Va. On Tuesday, Nov. 13, Amazon said it will split its second headquarters between Long Island City in New York and Crystal City. Development along major highways in Northern Virginia and Washington have led to “unreasonable traffic delays on a daily basis” in the past few years, with drive times that used to take 40 minutes ballooning to up to 90 minutes, said Thomas Cooke, professor of business law at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File) (AP/Susan Walsh)
FILE- In this Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018, file photo, people walk in Crystal City, Va. Washington, D.C.’s subway system, which serves the Crystal City, Va., neighborhood that Amazon chose for one of its headquarters locations, is at capacity on many of its lines and has serious maintenance problems, said Tom Rubin, a transportation consultant based in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
In this Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018, file photo, people walk in Crystal City, Va. Washington, D.C.’s subway system, which serves the Crystal City, Va., neighborhood that Amazon chose for one of its headquarters locations, is at capacity on many of its lines and has serious maintenance problems, said Tom Rubin, a transportation consultant based in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
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The Oakville Triangle area of Alexandria, Va. where Virginia Tech will construct a 1 million square-foot technology focused campus in Alexandria, Va., to build one of it's two new headquarters, Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018. The project was cited as a key reason Amazon selected Virginia for a new headquarters. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
The Oakville Triangle area of Alexandria, Va. where Virginia Tech will construct a 1 million square-foot technology focused campus in Alexandria, Va., to build one of it's two new headquarters, Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018. The project was cited as a key reason Amazon selected Virginia for a new headquarters. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
Virginia is considering a system that would detect the number and location of empty and full street parking spaces in the Crystal City area (above) and the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor to raise prices on busy blocks and lower prices where there are more spaces available. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)
FILE- In this Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018, file photo, people walk in Crystal City, Va. Washington, D.C.’s subway system, which serves the Crystal City, Va., neighborhood that Amazon chose for one of its headquarters locations, is at capacity on many of its lines and has serious maintenance problems, said Tom Rubin, a transportation consultant based in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

WASHINGTON — Alexandria city leaders are promising that Amazon’s move to Crystal City and Virginia Tech’s plan to build a high-tech campus in Alexandria will produce an economic boom, not a traffic nightmare.

“We are focusing on ways to keep people moving in lots of different ways to get people around and we know we’re going to be able to do that,” said Alexandria Director of Transportation and Environmental Services Yon Lambert.

“The economic impact on Northern Virginia with 25,000 jobs — high-paying, high-tech, highly educated jobs is terrific,” said Alexandria City Manager Mark Jinks.

“While Arlington got the offices of Amazon, we’ll get the economic spinoff and probably, most importantly, we got something that we’ve been talking about for a long time and that’s a higher-end campus located in the city,” he said.

At an hourlong information session Monday night, Alexandria leaders said many residents have voiced concerns about increased traffic since learning last week that Amazon and Virginia Tech will move into the newly-named area of National Landing, which includes parts of Crystal City, Pentagon City and Potomac Yard.

The city leaders reject the notion that Amazon will add 25,000 people who will tangle up traffic.

“They’re actually bringing 25,000 workers into a community that has lost 25,000 workers over the last decade … workers for whom we have already built new transit opportunities to able to move around our region,” said Lambert.

The Crystal City area lost thousands of jobs as part of the military’s Base Realignment and Closure process. Crystal City’s dominant commercial real estate owner, JBG Smith, see the Amazon move as a game-changer for the area.

Lambert said planners expect up to 75 percent of those in the National Landing area will get around without cars, instead using Metro, bus rapid transit, bicycles and walking. Based on those estimates, Amazon plans to provide only one parking space for every six workers in Crystal City.

The state has promised $50 million to add a south entrance to the new Potomac Yard Metro station. There are intersection improvements planned, and investments will be made in intelligent transportation systems for traffic lights, in an effort to keep traffic flowing.


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