Potomac Yard Metro’s 1st-day riders say full impact is further down tracks

Most of the first riders boarding and departing on Blue and Yellow line Metro trains at the brand new Potomac Yard station on Friday morning were holding festive pennants to celebrate the opening, but some said the full impact of the station won’t be felt for years to come.

Metro user Emmet Ryan rode the first train before sunrise, right when the station opened: “Brand new station, first infill station in Virginia, first new station in six months — it’s pretty exciting, all around.”

The Potomac Yard/Virginia Tech station is only the second infill station, or new station between already-existing stations on an existing rail line, ever added to Washington Metro system. It is inserted between the Braddock Road and Ronald Reagan National Airport stations. The other infill station, NoMa-Gallaudet, opened on the Red line in 2004.

Located on the site of a former railroad freight yard in Alexandria, the Potomac Yard area is growing rapidly, just east of Route 1, and just south of National Landing, including the soon-to-open first phase of Amazon’s HQ2.

“This station is the first to connect to what will be, in five to 10 years, a brand-new multi-use area, with shopping, residential, and businesses,” Ryan said. “Right now, it’s serving a shopping mall and a few residential areas — this is for the future.”

Ryan and other riders applauded the planning involved in making the Potomac Yard station a reality, with the goal of reducing car and truck traffic on Route 1, while also offering multi-modal options for people to commute, work, shop, and hang out, all within walking distance of the new Metro station.

“If someone’s working at Amazon, or some other job in D.C., or just wants to see the monuments, they don’t have to get in their car,” Ryan said.

A couple that lives in Rosslyn, who asked not to be identified, took the train to the new station, and was impressed by how it will integrate into the area, as the surrounding neighborhood and National Landing continue to grow.

“It connects with Crystal City, and the high density of Alexandria. This is the missing piece in that puzzle,” the husband said. “Seeing the station, with the planned pedestrian bridge connecting to the airport, it’s a real improvement for the area.”

“As someone who doesn’t have a car, this station is great because you can go around the region and explore different places, and living options,” the wife said. “It’s great to know this station is here.”

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a general assignment reporter with WTOP since 1997. He says he looks forward to coming to work every day, even though that means waking up at 3:30 a.m.

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