Arlington County government and area developers have committed to continue this valuable association with transit through the development of the Crystal City Sector Plan (large PDF file) which will guide development and investment in the area for the next 40 years. The plan calls for significant additional density in a way that is oriented to the pedestrian’s and transit-user’s perspective. To start, two new lines, the Crystal City-Potomac Yards Transitway and the Columbia Pike Street Car, are planned to further enhance accessibility and are close to breaking ground.
As Crystal City’s transformation is being planned, the Crystal City Business Improvement District (BID) is working to enhance the transit experience today and for riders in the future. For all area events, the Crystal City BID actively promotes and encourages the use of alternative transportation, especially rail, by providing clear wayfinding for transit users. As a result, most attendees at area events travel by a mode other than private automobile.
In September of 2010, the Crystal City BID also participated in the roll out of the largest bike sharing system in the nation, further connecting Arlington with DC. Crystal City has enough stations bike sharing stations to extend the Metro’s transit shed beyond the traditional half-mile.
Art has also been used to enhance the experience for Crystal City residents and workers taking advantage of the area’s famous interior walkways. Seen as a valuable extension of Metro’s reach, more than 100 pieces of engaging, thought-provoking artwork, curated each year through a partnership with FotoDC, line the walkways and transform the experience. Another annual art project welcomes the thousands of daily riders of the Virginia Railways Express (VRE). Each spring, the Crystal City BID unveils a new series of sculptures in the VRE station area, bringing added interest and enhancing its attractiveness to the transit riders passing through.
As the transformation of Crystal City progresses, continued investment in transit and accessibility will be an absolute necessity for the area’s success. With the support of the area property owners, the Crystal City BID, and the County government, transit in the Crystal City area is sure to play a major role.
Angela Fox is the President / CEO of the Crystal City Business Improvement District