New gate at Arlington base to serve only pedestrians, bicyclists

WASHINGTON — A new gate opening Monday to access Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Arlington will be closed to cars, and will serve pedestrians and bicyclists only.

The Henry Gate pedestrian access to Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall will be available to people showing a military ID. One goal of opening the gate just for walkers and cyclists is to convince people to use public transit.

“Eighty-eight percent of the people who work at the base drive alone,” said Paul Mackie, Mobility Lab’s director of communications. The group worked with base and Arlington officials to develop the new strategy.

Outside Henry Gate, across U.S. Route 50 at North Pershing Drive, there are public transit options, Capital Bikeshare, Zipcar and what’s called a “Geo Fence.”

“There’ll be a set pickup location across from the gate where Uber and Lyft and others will be able to go, and that’ll be the designated pickup spot,” Mackie said.

The tiny military installation is squeezed into a tight spot between Rosslyn and Arlington National Cemetery, and Mackie notes that having so many base workers drive in alone is not a sustainable option.

“That’s causing all kinds of traffic and pollution and stress and lack of productivity. So we wanted to look at ways that we could recommend that they get that 88 [percent] drive-alone rate down,” Mackie said.

Because the base is basically a 9 a.m.-to-5 p.m. operation, Mackie thinks carpooling might be an attractive option. But, he says at least something is happening here that isn’t common enough around the country.

He added, “Transportation agencies and military bases are often walled off. They don’t talk to each other. And this is the kind of example that could prove it’s beneficial.”

Kristi King

Kristi King is a veteran reporter who has been working in the WTOP newsroom since 1990. She covers everything from breaking news to consumer concerns and the latest medical developments.

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