For the first time in our region an international best practice for public transportation has hit the ground in the City of Alexandria and Arlington County: bus rapid transit (BRT). The new BRT service known as Metroway and operated by Metro is now providing high-frequency bus service in the busy Route 1 corridor between Crystal City and Braddock Road some of it in dedicated bus lanes to bypass traffic in regular travel lanes. The new service provides high-quality cost effective transit including high-frequency service dedicated lanes for buses to bypass traffic and easy-to-identify bright blue buses and custom bus stops.
Metroway makes about ten stops between Crystal City and Braddock Road. A few of those stops serve Potomac Yard a new brownfield development site which was previously an industrial rail yard. Today residential and commercial development is booming. Having Metroway in place as thousands of new people and jobs move to the area creates an opportunity for transit to be the first mode of choice for more travelers.
“I’m very proud that this innovative transportation service will get its start here in Alexandria and provide an example of how BRT might be implemented elsewhere in the region” Alexandria City Councilman and Transportation Planning Board (TPB) Vice-Chair Timothy Lovain remarked at the opening of Metroway. Lovain helped celebrate the start of the new service at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on August 23 along with Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille Vice-Mayor Allison Silberberg and fellow Councilmember Del Pepper. Arlington County Board Member Mary Hynes and officials from the federal government and Metro also attended.
Examples of BRT can be found across the United States and around the globe in places as diverse as Cleveland Los Angeles and Rio de Janeiro. Metroway and the dedicated transitway it uses is the first example of BRT in the Washington region providing a proof of concept for other jurisdictions like Montgomery County and the District of Columbia both of which are currently considering BRT options in several corridors. “The opening of the transitway in Alexandria is a demonstration of not just thinking and talking about BRT but acting on it” said COG Department of Transportation Planning Director Kanti Srikanth.
COG played a key role in making the new Metroway BRT line a reality by applying for winning and administering a federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant to fund construction of a portion of the dedicated transitway.
Metroway connects three COG-identified Activity Centers in Arlington and Alexandria achieving goals of both COG’s Place Opportunity report and the TPB’s Regional Transportation Priorities Plan. Adopted earlier this year the two plans sync land use and transportation strategies to make the most out of the region’s existing transportation network while strengthening the communities along key transportation corridors.