This project will study the various alignments of a non-auto connection between Crystal City and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and prepare the federally-required environmental documentation for the connection.
The potential connector will link Crystal City to National Airport. The specific location of the connector is to be determined.
By the end of 2019, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and Arlington County plan to formalize an agreement for administering the project phases of planning, environmental review and preliminary engineering.
Environmental Analysis and Alternatives Development
This project will use federal funds and will impact federal lands, so it is subject to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
In order to comply with NEPA requirements, a study will be developed that documents transportation needs in the study area, develops a range of reasonable alternatives to address those needs and examines potential environmental impacts of the alternatives before a preferred alternative is identified. The study will result in the production of required documentation and approvals by appropriate federal agencies. The outcome of the NEPA process will be approval of a preferred alternative for a specific type of facility and alignment, and all necessary federal permits and authorizations will be obtained.
This type of analysis requires specialized expertise. The County will solicit proposals from qualified consulting firms for assistance in the development of the NEPA documentation.
About the Project
In 2010, Arlington County adopted the Crystal City Multimodal Transportation Study. The study made transportation improvement recommendations for the Crystal City area including the construction of a “Direct pedestrian and bicycle connection from the Mount Vernon Trail to Terminal C of National Airport” (page 42).
Beginning in 2017, the Crystal City Business Improvement District (BID) worked with area stakeholders, neighborhood organizations and the public to explore alternative locations and facilities for such a connection. Visit the study’s website
During development of its FY 2019-2028 Capital Improvement Plan, the County created a new project in the Crystal City, Pentagon City, Potomac Yard Streets Program to continue alternatives analysis and preliminary planning for the connection. The project had limited funding due to budget constraints.
In late 2018, with the announcement of an agreement to bring Amazon’s HQ2 to Crystal City, the Commonwealth of Virginia identified this connector project as one of five transportation projects to be fully or partially funded by the Commonwealth.
VDOT added the project to its Six-Year Improvement Program in 2019. This included an allocation of $9.5 million in federal funding for project planning, NEPA documentation and preliminary engineering.
Arlington County is the lead agency on this project, with assistance from VDOT and coordinating with the National Park Service, Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, Virginia Railway Express, and other agencies. The Federal Highway Administration will be the approving agency for the NEPA process.
Public involvement is pivotal to the NEPA process; opportunities to engage with the study will be provided throughout its development. Given the importance of this project, the County will develop a comprehensive public participation plan that exceeds NEPA requirements and that is consistent with the County’s Six Step Public Engagement Guide for Capital Projects. This plan will be developed in conjunction with the project consultant at the beginning stages of the project.