Crystal City Metro Station East Entrance

Location

In Crystal City on the northwest corner of Crystal Drive and 18th Street South, Arlington, VA 22202  View Map

Google Map

Status

Construction

Crews are preparing the work site for construction, which is expected to last three years. Work will take place on the northwest corner of Crystal Drive and 18th Street South.

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Traffic Impacts

Now through mid-June 2024, the sidewalk and travel lanes closest to the project site are closed around the clock. 

  • Two northbound lanes are open on Crystal Drive and one southbound lane is shared between vehicle and bike traffic
  • The northbound bike lane is not impacted
  • No right turns from southbound Crystal Drive onto 18th St. S.
  • On 18th St. S. bike and vehicle traffic will share one lane in each direction
  • Pedestrian access is available across the street from the project site
  • Lane closures and pedestrian detours are marked with signs
  • Proceed with caution and follow all signage

Traffic patterns will change in similar ways throughout the duration of construction. The project is expected to be completed in late 2027.

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About the Project

The Crystal City Metrorail Station is one of the busiest stations in Arlington County, and the existing entrance on South Bell Street is reaching capacity during peak periods and has limited emergency exits. 

The the new entrance northwest corner of 18th Street South and Crystal Drive will provide station access from the street level through an above-ground faregates lobby, with fare vending machines and an staff kiosk. New openings through existing station walls will connect passengers from a new mezzanine to the train platforms using stairs and elevators. 

Other benefits of the Crystal City East Entrance Project include:

  • Elevator upgrades to improve compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
  • Improved transfers with Metrorail, Metroway, VRE, ART, and Metrobus services, as well as pedestrian and bicycle routes
  • More balanced passenger distribution at entrances and on platforms during peak travel times
  • An additional exit for safety and for emergency responders to quickly access the station

Once completed, Arlington will transfer ownership of the project to WMATA, who will own and operate the new entrance as part of the Metrorail system.  

DES Crystal City Metro 2nd Entrance map

Map of planned east entrance location 

Plan for a second entrance

Project justification and planning go back many years. Arlington County’s 2010 Crystal City Sector Plan identified access improvements needed at the Crystal City Metrorail Station.

2022 - Design Revision

In 2022, the project pivoted to an at-grade (ground-level) station entrance to reduce project costs and provide more design flexibility. The project team submitted a Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) proposal for Final Design and Construction in April 2023, which the Arlington County Board evaluated and approved in July 2023.

2021-2023 - Environmental Review, Public Engagement, Design

The most recent phase took place from winter 2021 to summer 2023 and included environmental review, public engagement opportunities, and refinement of the design. A team led by JBG Smith brought the project to the 30% design stage. WMATA, supported by the project team, held a public hearing on the proposed new entrance on July 13, 2021 and provided a staff analysis:

2016 - Transit Development Plan and Capital Improvement Plan

In 2016, Arlington County included the project in its Transit Development Plan and Capital Improvement Plan.

WMATA evaluated the alternative locations, conducted additional engineering analysis, and obtained input from the County and adjacent property owners to finalize the location of the second entrance. WMATA finished a report detailing the conceptual design for the second entrance in November 2019:

2014 - Crystal City Station Access and Second Entrance Study

In 2014, the County and WMATA identified three alternative locations in the vicinity of Crystal Drive and 18th Street South for the new east entrance. WMATA finished a report detailing these alternatives in February 2014:


Public Process

Arlington County engaged with the community throughout the project lifetime. See below.

Ground Breaking Ceremony

On Friday, July 12, 2024, the County and project partners will celebrate the start of construction for the Crystal City Metro Station east entrance. 

Event Page

July 2023 - County Board Approval

On July 15, 2023, the Arlington County Board voted to approve the Comprehensive Agreement between the County and East Entrance, LLC, a Joint Venture between JBG Smith Properties LP and Clark Construction, to provide design-build construction services for the Crystal City Metrorail East Entrance project. 

  • View Board Report [link]

 

September 2022 - Design Process Public Information Meeting

On September 6, 2022, County transportation staff and representatives from the project’s design team hosted a virtual public meeting to share the 30% plan for the updated design, which features an at-grade (ground-level) ticketing mezzanine. They also answered questions and solicited input on some of the design details to be used in the new approach. 

 

March 2022 - County Board Meeting

In March 2022, the project team received County Board approval to alter the design of the East Metro Entrance from a largely underground facility to an at-grade structure. The recommendation was put forth after a new cost estimate found that the underground concept significantly exceeded the existing budget, threatening the project’s viability. 

The recommended at-grade design would construct a standalone headhouse structure along 18th Street S, with faregates, ticket machines, managers kiosk. Passenger entrances would serve 18th Street S on the south side and the future Metro Market Square public space envisioned in the Crystal City Sector Plan on the north side. As with the previous concept, stairs and an elevator would provide access from the headhouse to the platforms. 

Under the revised design approach presented to the County Board, the project team will use the remaining design funds to develop a 30% design for the at-grade alternative. At the conclusion of the 30% design phase, the PPEA partner will present to the County a “Guaranteed Maximum Price” (GMP) proposal to finalize the design and construct the entrance as a design-build project. Following the submittal of the GMP, the County can choose to accept the proposal, to seek other bidders, or to continue to advance the design further before entering into a construction contract. 

 

July 2021 - WMATA Compact Hearing

WMATA (Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority), supported by the project team, held a public hearing on the proposed new entrance to Crystal City Metrorail Station on July 13, 2021. 

 

March 2021 - Project Q&A Session

The project team held a live virtual question and answer session on March 31, 2021. Staff answered questions about the design process and environmental review activities. 

 

February 2021 - Project Update

This video provides an update on work to advance the project design: 

 

Public Input from Earlier Phases

Public input has been reflected in the following plans and programs: 

  • Crystal City Sector Plan (2010): Engaged the public and stakeholders through more than 30 task force meetings, two walking tours, periodic community forums, a week-long charrette, and additional stakeholder meetings. 

  • Crystal City Station Access and Second Entrance Study (2014): Recommended the selected site through an alternatives assessment. Engagement activities included two public meetings in 2012 and two sessions at VRE Passenger Day and Crystal City Day. 

  • Arlington Transit Development Plan (2016): Included the project as part of the County's Capital Improvement Plan. The update process included four workshops, six events on draft recommendations, and multiple informational meetings presenting final recommendations. County staff also attended more than a dozen community meetings to share engagement opportunities and explain the update process. 

  • Capital Improvement Plan Updates (2016–2020): Discussed as part of four biennial CIP processes, including the most recent FY 2021 CIP adopted in July 2020. In 2020, the CIP was changed to a 1-year timeframe to accommodate uncertainties caused by COVID-19. 

  • County Staff Presentations (2018): Presented project scope at an open house in March 2018 and to the Transit Advisory Committee on July 21, 2020. 

  • Crystal Square Development Review (2018): County Board approved new retail development at the northwest corner of Crystal Drive and 18th Street South, considering incorporation of the Metrorail east entrance on the site. The redevelopment underwent a one-year public review process that included Site Plan Review Committee meetings, Long Range Planning Committee meetings, public hearings before the Transportation and Planning commissions, and an online survey. 

 


Funding

This project was included in the current FY 2023 - 2032 CIP at an estimated cost of $94.9 million. The CIP cost estimate was based on conceptual planning work. The revised project cost is based on a detailed 30% design plan, as well as a redesign of the station entrance and massing at 18th Street and Crystal Drive. Additionally, upward cost pressures industry-wide since the initial estimate have together resulted in a new project cost of $146.1 million based on the Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) proposal for final design and construction at $117.2 million plus updated estimates for the County, WMATA, and contingency costs.