Columbia Pike’s West End Debuts Multimodal Improvements

Published on November 15, 2022

Christian Dorsey at ColPike  Segment H-I Opening.jpg

Construction has concluded on the west end of Columbia Pike to provide a safer pedestrian and transit experience with the completion of Segment H & I of the Columbia Pike Multimodal Street Improvements project.

County officials, local community leaders, representatives from the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA) and artist Donald Lipski gathered at the base of Lipski’s sculpture, The Pike, to celebrate the completion of road improvements from this segment on Monday.

The event marked the conclusion of two years of construction on Columbia Pike between the County line at Falls Church and South Four Mile Run Drive. Funding for the project included a $12 million grant from the NVTA.

“The Columbia Pike Multimodal Street Improvements project is another great example of Northern Virginians’ taxpayer dollars hard at work,” said Monica Backmon, NVTA’s CEO. “It’s NVTA’s vision to plan for, and invest in, a safe, equitable, sustainable and integrated multimodal transportation system that enhances quality of life, strengthens the economy, and builds resilience, and this project does just that.”

The improvements on the segment include widened sidewalks, durable concrete bus pads, upgraded streetlights and signals, and new trees.

“This project overhauls critical infrastructure to provide safe passage for the many people who travel on Columbia Pike by transit, but also brings much needed safety improvements to the residents who live here and walk along this major street every day,” said Christian Dorsey, Vice-Chair of the Arlington County Board.

The investment in the multimodal improvements project also includes The Pike. Constructed from a reclaimed 50-foot-tall wind turbine wing, the sculpture serves as a gateway into Arlington County from Bailey’s Crossroads in Fairfax County. The base of the sculpture is studded with thousands of coins from all over the world collected from Arlington County residents. This references the history of Columbia Pike as a toll road in the 1800s and celebrates its culturally rich neighborhoods. The upright position of the wing represents an open toll gate, welcoming people into the community.

“This project is an investment in this community, to make Columbia Pike safer, more accessible, more environmentally friendly with the addition of trees, and more attractive with the inclusion of public art,” said Dennis Leach, Director of Transportation for Arlington County’s Department of Environmental Services.

About the Columbia Pike Multimodal Street Improvements Project

The west end is one of seven segments of the Columbia Pike Multimodal Street Improvements project to improve safety for pedestrian, transit and vehicular travel on the corridor. Segments B, E, and G have been completed, and construction on Segment F—between South Wakefield Street and South Oakland Street—began in August 2022 and is expected to be completed in 2025. Work on Segments C and D—from South Garfield Street to South Quinn Street—will begin in 2023. Segment A on the east end of Columbia Pike is part of a federal project to expand the Arlington National Cemetery.

Public outreach to residents and businesses impacted by the current Segment F construction began in late spring 2022 with in-person events and bilingual digital and printed communication. Traffic impacts will include temporary lane and sidewalk closures and bus stop relocations to accommodate utility work and building of improved traffic facilities. A newsletter is also available on ColumbiaPikeForward.com to stay updated on construction progress and traffic changes.

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