ALEXANDRIA, Va. — On Friday, May 19, 2023, the Potomac Yard VT Metro station opened at last with pomp and circumstance.
An energetic Justin Wilson noted before an opening reception that he was the sixth Alexandria mayor to be involved in planning.1 No mention was made of how many Metro general managers served during this time. It’s a lot.
PREVIOUSLY: Coming soon to Metro: The Yellow Line and Potomac Yard station
Joining him on the dais was both Virginia senators, Mark Warner2 and Tim Kaine, Rep. Don Beyer3, WMATA chair Paul Smedburg and GM Randy Clarke and the Alexandria city council. Mayor Wilson had made it a point to rent a Capital Bikeshare4 to arrive for the first train through that morning.
Speeches were reasonably brief and after the ribbon-cutting photo op, a special train was sent down to King Street. I hopped aboard with my complimentary SmarTrip card. By my best estimate, this was the 72nd Metro station I have entered, exited or transferred at ever. It’s also my 27th of 2023.
- 2nd infill station – NoMa (then New York Avenue) was the first5
- 5th station in the city of Alexandria
- 7th station to open in the Commonwealth in the last year. The Silver Line completion opened up 6 stations last November.
- 32nd in the Commonwealth of Virginia
- 98th in the entire system. It’s the last officially planned station.
flickr photo album: Potomac Yard VT Metro opening day
Better late than never
Conceived in the early 1990s, if not earlier, the station was overdue. At one point, the station was expected to open in 2017. Then it was 2022. Finally, it arrived. Greater Greater Washington has been covering the project since 2009.
This Metro station is the latest in the History and Archaeology at Potomac Yard (City of Alexandria).
Planning for the next generation
The excitement for the project is more about the future than the present. While there is some development already open in the immediate vicinity, more is coming. The Virginia Tech Innovation campus is currently under construction, even without much Hokie stone.
This is a big win for Alexandria, though it may take a few years for it to be apparent.
The station is a similar design to the Silver Line stations. Due to its location opposite three railroad tracks, the station is located a fairly significant walk from Potomac Avenue and Potomac Yard Trail. Impressive, but long, elevated walkways span RF&P Subdivision railroad tracks. Less impressive is the lack of a walkway over the George Washington Memorial Parkway to the Mount Vernon Trail and the Potomac Greens community. They can see it, hear it and maybe even smell it, but can’t walk directly there.
The views from the station and walkways are impressive. The Washington Monument and Capitol dome are to the north. To the east, the GW Parkway and Potomac River. The south and west are Alexandria. Clark joked WMATA could sell tickets to view the July 4th fireworks for there.
The exterior contains natural stone due to facing National Park Service land. It should have been Hokie stone to tie in with Virginia Tech.
The station signage is good and I especially liked the updated board for buses serving the station.
Railfans get a good view of the trains coming through on both the RF&P and Yellow/Blue lines.
Cherry blossom inspired artwork at the North Pavilion looks really good.
The swag game was on point. A shopping bag, card rail car model, station pennant, pens, hand sanitzer, luggage tag and even a special edition SmarTrip card with $8 on it.
The cookies were joyfully eaten by my 8 year old son. I also gave him the special Potomac Yard SmarTrip card – now he has his own distinct card. He really enjoyed seeing the new station after school.
JUST IN: Long-awaited Potomac Yard Metro opens station in Alexandria – Alexandria Now
The completion of the project framed as seen through the eyes of an electrician.
Potomac Yard Metro Station Opening Connects DMV Communities – Patch
Potomac Yard-VT Metro Station in Alexandria Open for Business – The Zebra Press
Potomac Yard Metro station, decades in the making, opens in Alexandria – The Post (soft paywall)
I can’t believe the reporter didn’t quote the dude in the Cookie Monster cycling jersey who mentioned had been at previous openings for the Silver Line and Orange Line.
Potomac Yard Metro’s 1st-day riders say full impact is further down tracks | How the opening of the Potomac Yard Metro station could impact your commute – WTOP
Metro’s Potomac Yard Station Opens, Anchoring A Quickly Growing Neighborhood – dcist
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?!
Computer in Russia breached Metro system amid security concerns, report says – The Post (soft paywall)
1 Several were mentioned by name, but not his immediate predecessor and two-time opponent.
2 Sen. Warner playfully taunted a Maryland collegue about landing the FBI headquarters near Franconia-Springfield Metro.
3 So many dad jokes.
4 It was also Bike to Work Day.
5 An incredible transformation compared to what it used to be. If you ever went to the old Greyhound station and compared to even 10 years ago, it was breathtaking.