When the Potomac Yard Metro station finally opens Friday, it will benefit more than those seeking a ride to the fast-growing area between the Braddock Road and Ronald Reagan National Airport stations.
The Potomac Yard station is expected to reduce the number of daily single-occupancy vehicle trips in the area by about 6,000, according to Monica Backmon, CEO of the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority.
“When you get people out of their cars, that not only impacts the direct area, it really impacts the air quality and helps us all,” Backmon said. NVTA is a regional governmental entity established to plan, prioritize and fund regional transportation programs.
The Blue and Yellow line station — Metro’s 98th station overall — is intended to reduce car traffic in the Route 1 corridor, and it will be integral in the ongoing development of National Landing, including the soon-to-open first phase of Amazon’s HQ2.
“When people hear Route 1, you instinctively think of cars,” said Backmon.
However, the National Landing area is being built with the intention of providing multimodal transportation options. “We have the VRE station,” Backmon said. “We have bus rapid transit that will be coming online with Fairfax County, when they finish their BRT system. We’ll have a pedestrian bridge over to the airport.”
The City of Alexandria has been making infrastructure improvements to facilitate smoother travel.
“That’s really, really important when you’re looking at how commuters and shoppers and workers can travel to and from that area,” Backmon said.
Adjacent to the station will be the new Virginia Tech Innovation Campus, which is expected to open in 2024.
“You’re going to have commercial, retail, office, the university,” said Backmon, referring to the area around what was a freight rail yard until 1989. “This really is going to invigorate a community, regarding economic vitality.”