The County Board voted in October 2016 to further reduce costs for the Columbia Pike Transit Stations project by choosing a design concept that includes the option of the stations being partially assembled in a factory, rather than built in place. The Board reaffirmed the “kit-of-parts” design concept, introduced in May 2014 (described below), which offers high-quality design and materials for the 23 planned stations.
Partially assembling the stations at a factory and then installing them on-site could reduce estimated project costs and minimize construction impacts by reducing the time needed for on-site construction.
Since the Board's vote, County staff, working with a design consultant, have been developing specifications that will be used to purchase the station shelters. The consultant also is working on design plans showing how the stations will fit into the first 6 locations slated for construction. These plans will be shared with the community in spring 2017.
Design and construction of the transit stations will be coordinated with the County’s plans for Columbia Pike street improvements and utility undergrounding. Construction of the stations is expected to begin in 2018 and proceed in phases through 2021.
About the Project
New transit stations along Columbia Pike will serve two purposes: accommodate riders on the busiest bus transit corridor in Virginia, and serve the community's vision of transforming the Pike into a more transit-oriented, pedestrian-friendly “Main Street.” New stations will make transit along the Pike easier, safer, more attractive and accessible – encouraging more people to use it.
Compared to a typical bus stop, transit stations are designed to shelter more passengers and include real-time transit information displays, a higher curb for easier vehicle boarding, lighting for safety, and seating.
The County Manager conducted a comprehensive review of the program in 2014, because the prototype Walter Reed East Station, formerly called a “Super Stop,” cost too much, took too long to build and had some functional problems, including poor weather protection. Reports and presentations documenting this review are listed below:
- Presentation at May 2014 Press Briefing
- Summary Report
- Community Feedback
- Design Review
- Prototype Financial and Performance Review Report
- Prototype Financial and Performance Review Presentation
Improved design and project management
The new transit station design concept (view renderings in the image gallery on the right) includes several key improvements compared to the Walter Reed prototype:
- Larger canopy and side windscreens to enhance coverage area and weather protection
- Reduced footprint to improve pedestrian circulation and ADA accessibility
- Seating that is more comfortable, covered and flexible
Arlington is also implementing several project management changes. For future Columbia Pike transit stations, the County will:
- Directly oversee construction – All consultants and contractors will work directly for the County. In comparison, Arlington designed the Super Stop prototype and WMATA managed its construction.
- Control costs throughout design and construction – This includes identifying risks early in project development, and enhanced monitoring and management of costs.
In spring 2015 County staff provided briefings to community organizations on the progress of transit station design development:
- April 2, 2015 - Transportation Commission
- April 6, 2015 - Bicycle Advisory Committee
- April 8, 2015 - Pedestrian Advisory Committee
- April 11, 2015 - Columbia Pike Civic Association Presidents' Breakfast
- April 14, 2015 - Transit Advisory Committee
- April 21, 2015 - Disability Advisory Commission
- April 23, 2015 - Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization Board Meeting
April 2015 open house
An open house was held on April 28, 2015, for members of the community to review the 50 percent design and provide input on the importance of various station amenities and the proposed placement of station features. Materials from the open house are listed below.
- Columbia Pike Transportation Update and Transit Development Plan Overview
- Transit Stations Overview
- Open House Exhibits
The new design concept will cost significantly less to build and maintain than the prototype at Columbia Pike and South Walter Reed Drive. The new station design reduces costs in two ways:
- Use of standardized components reduces complexity, lowers construction costs and offers better control over long-term maintenance costs
- Modular design allows the option of creating smaller or larger stations based on conditions and ridership demands at individual sites
The estimated cost for each station is comparable to stations for the Crystal City Potomac Yard Transitway and other light rail, streetcar and bus rapid transit systems across the nation.
The County Board approved $13.3 million for the planned 23 stations in Arlington's FY 2017-2026 Capital Improvement Plan. The program is funded primarily by federal and state funds and local commercial real estate tax revenues that can only be used for new transportation projects.