Potomac Yard Metro Station Opening Connects DMV Communities

ALEXANDRIA, VA — Fifteen years ago, Mayor Justin Wilson, then a City Councilmember, joined with then-Councilmember Rob Krupicka on a memo pushing for progress on the Potomac Yard Metro station. It was only fitting that Wilson and Krupicka were there to ride the first train just after 5 a.m. Friday.

“I am now the sixth Alexandria mayor who has stood up here and eagerly awaited the opportunity to say these words: Alexandria, your Potomac Yard station is open,” Wilson said at the station’s grand opening Friday.

Potomac Yard, located on the Blue and Yellow Lines between the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport station and Braddock Road station, is the DC Metro’s 98th station. It comes after six other Northern Virginia stations opened in November 2022 as part of the Silver Line extension to Dulles International Airport and Loudoun County.

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The Metro station has been decades in the making, leading to new residential and commercial development. Tax revenue in the Potomac Yard neighborhood and developer contributions have helped pay for the station.

When Sen. Mark Warner was elected Virginia governor in 2001, he recalls hearing about the “soon-to-open Potomac Yard Metro station.” Now 23 years later, he called the station opening a win for the region and Virginia.

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“After decades of planning and coordination, it’s an honor to help inaugurate the Potomac Yard-VT Metrorail Station, which will bring Metro riders to Alexandria’s doorstep,” Warner said. “The opening of this station signifies a concerted effort by federal, state, and local partners to connect communities across the DMV to the kind of 21st century economic opportunities that are emblematic of Northern Virginia.”

Rail service around Potomac Yard: Past and Present

While Potomac Yard once served as a busy rail yard, it was the area west of Potomac Yard that saw the benefits of an electric railway extended to DC. The 1892 announcement to expand the electric railway between Mount Vernon and Alexandria to DC led to more development and the 1908 establishment of the Town of Potomac, now a historic district in the Del Ray neighborhood.

An electric railway stop at Commonwealth Avenue and Ashby Street was 20 minutes from downtown DC. But in 1928, an effort to create the George Washington Memorial Parkway to Mount Vernon was underway, leading the federal government to get right-of-way where the electric railway was located.

Today, Alexandrians have even closer access to DC, as the Potomac Yard station is just 14 minutes from L’Enfant Plaza via the Yellow Line, according to Metro CEO and General Manager Randy Clarke.

“The station, located in the fastest growing area of Alexandria, enhances connectivity to and from the city, which has seen substantial population growth and new development in the last few decades,” said Metro Board Chair Paul Smedberg, a former Alexandria City Council member. “As a proud Alexandrian, I know firsthand the Potomac Yard Station will provide numerous benefits for Alexandria and surrounding communities, including walkable access to regional transportation systems.

In the long term, the station is expected to attract 26,000 jobs and 13,000 new residents to the neighborhood. Perhaps the biggest development coming to Potomac Yard will be the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus, which will train tech talent through graduate programs and select other programs. The first academic building is under construction north of the Potomac Yard Metro and will open in fall 2024.

“The opening of this Metro station represents innovation: connecting people across communities, making education and employment opportunities more accessible; and creating a greener tomorrow,” said Virginia Tech President Tim Sands. “We are honored to have our name as part of this station, just yards away from the Virginia Tech Innovation Campus, reflecting our commitment to serve this community and the commonwealth for many years to come.”

Metro’s general manager said the project wouldn’t have been possible without $70 million from the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority, which allocates regional revenues for regional transportation projects. The authority funds a variety of projects, including road projects, pedestrian and bicyclist projects and transit projects.

“We are really here because this project will really improve the quality of life for 10s of 1000s of people,” said the authority’s chair Phyllis Randall, who is also chair of the Loudoun County board. “There is a man that will get home faster from his job today because this station is open. There’s a woman that will get to her son’s baseball game in time because the station is open. There was a grandmother that will get to her granddaughter’s school play to watch her be a tulip because this station is opening.”

Hundreds of people attended the grand opening and ribbon cutting Friday. A special train from Potomac Yard to the King Street station ran for grand opening guests in between regular Blue and Yellow Line trains.

More information about the Potomac Yard Metro project is available at wmata.com/PotomacYard.

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