Pershing Drive Complete Street Improvements


Pershing Drive from North Barton Street to North Piedmont Street, Arlington, VA 22201  View Map

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Pershing Drive Complete Street Improvements
Construction Update June 12, 2022

As of mid-December, progress on the Pershing Drive and Washington Boulevard project continues.

The majority of the work on the northwest corner of the intersection (near Metro Motor) has been completed. Crews have moved on to the corner of Seventh Street N and Washington Boulevard. During the next few weeks, work will also begin at the northeast corner of the intersection (near the Old Bike Shop). Crews will be ripping out old sidewalks and pavement, installing new concrete and curb and gutter and installing new signal poles and mast arms. This work is anticipated to be completed in early 2022.

The contractor will minimize disruptions to pedestrian access to the sidewalk and will do their best to allow a path for people walking. However, there will be short durations when sidewalk closures will be necessary.

Be aware and cautious as you move through the intersection (as a driver or a pedestrian) since travel patterns may shift around as the work continues.

What to expect during construction:

  • Typical work hours will be 9 am to 4 pm, Monday through Friday.
  • Temporary lane closures will occur Monday through Friday outside of peak travel periods.
  • Temporary sidewalk closures will be required at times during construction.
  • When necessary, detours will be marked to direct pedestrians, bicyclists and other traffic safely around the work zone.
  • Bus stops are expected to remain open and in service during construction.

The Washington Boulevard intersection was added to the Pershing Drive Complete Streets Project in 2018. The improvements, which include expanded sidewalks and updated curb ramps, are primarily geared toward improving accessibility and the pedestrian experience. View an image of the intersection design(PNG, 341KB)

About the Project

This project seeks to improve safety and accessibility for all users throughout the Barton-Piedmont corridor, within the constraints of a narrow/limited right-of-way. It further seeks to consolidate bus stops to improve bus service efficiency and improve bus stops to better support riders and meet requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). These goals are consistent with the County’s Master Transportation Plan.

The County Board approved the contract to begin work on Phase I of the project at their Jan. 25, 2020, meeting. Phase 1 construction began in spring 2020 and was completed in spring 2021. This work included improvements at the following Pershing Drive intersections: North Fillmore Street, North Garfield Street, North Highland Street, and North Oakland Street.

On March 20, 2021, the County Board approved a contract with Ardent Company, LLC for streetscape improvements at the intersection of North Pershing Drive and Washington Boulevard. Construction began in summer 2021. 


Pershing Drive is categorized as an urban minor arterial and serves thousands of automobile trips each day. Pershing Drive also supports bus service (ART & WMATA) and many bicyclists and pedestrians. The section of Pershing Drive between North Barton Street and North Piedmont Street has been identified to improve safety and access for all modes of transportation, especially for pedestrians.

Pershing Drive is currently marked by many challenging intersections with long crossing distances, non ADA-compliant curb ramps and missing crosswalks. The Pershing Drive right-of-way is variable and very narrow between North Glebe Road and Washington Boulevard, meaning little space is available for accommodating multimodal improvements.

Most bus stops on Pershing Drive are also not ADA-compliant. Some stops have been identified as being too closely spaced and failing to meet spacing guidelines recommended by the County’s Bus Stop Design Standards.

An analysis of existing conditions along North Pershing Drive began in summer 2015. In early 2016, Transportation staff developed preliminary concept plans for spot improvements along the corridor, referred to collectively as the Pershing Drive Complete Streets project. The concepts were shared with the Lyon Park and Ashton Heights Civic Associations, as well as the Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committees.

Conceptual plan development

The preliminary concepts presented in early 2016 recommended improvements at intersections that met one or more of the following criteria:

  1. The intersection supports bus stops that require improvements (North Nelson Street, North Kenmore Street, North Jackson Street, North Garfield Street).
  2. The intersection is signalized and in need of upgrading from the very old cable-span signals to the new County-wide standard signals that comply with the ADA and have a longer life cycle.
  3. The intersection was previously identified by residents as being problematic for pedestrians, and staff subsequently reviewed it and determined improvements were needed. (North Oakland Street, North Garfield Street, North Danville Street, North Cleveland Street and North Barton Street).

Staff received many comments on the preliminary concepts and reviewed them all. This chart summarizes some of the most frequently heard comments and notes staff’s action.

The revised scope of the project includes improvements to intersections and continues to implement the Bus Stops Consolidation Plan.

Revised concepts were presented at a joint meeting with the Lyon Park and Ashton Heights Civic Associations on May 31, 2017. The revised concepts are indicated in this chart  which includes links to revised concept plans.


The conceptual design phase for Areas A to F of the corridor study area was completed in July 2017. View the Pershing Drive Complete Streets proposed improvements:

Pershing Drive Complete Streets proposed improvements
Pershing Drive Complete Streets proposed improvements

Pershing Drive between Washington Boulevard and North Barton Street

During the planning process, two concepts were generated for improving the section of North Pershing Drive between Washington Boulevard and North Barton Street. The first concept featured a planted median and the second featured protected bike lanes.

An open house was held on May 22, 2018, at the Lyon Park Community Center regarding the two design concepts for this section of Pershing Drive. Materials presented at the open house included:

The comment period for these options ended on June 6, 2018. The feedback submitted was considered by County staff to determine which concept to implement as a pilot installation. Overall feedback generally showed strong support for the protected bicycle lane, Option B. Where possible, staff revised the project design to mitigate concerns about on-street parking and to incorporate additional safety enhancements at the Washington Boulevard intersection.

Pilot installation

A pilot, or test, installation of safety and accessibility improvements was implemented on Pershing Drive between Washington Boulevard and North Barton Street in October 2018. The pilot installation includes the addition of pedestrian/streetscape enhancements, protected bike lanes, and bus service efficiencies to improve safety for all roadway users. The pilot is expected to remain in place for several years.

* Note the following adjustments to the final design plan:

  • Due to the alignment of existing curb ramps, the pilot striping plan for Pershing Drive has change slightly at the North Cleveland Street intersection – one crosswalk instead of two will be installed across Pershing Drive at North Cleveland Street.
  • The beige shading at the painted nubs will not be installed because the County does not have funding to maintain this type of marking long-term.

Project Phasing

The project will be implemented in phases.

Phase I focuses on the following intersections with the greatest need for improvement due to crossing volumes and accident data:

  • Install four-way stop at North Irving Street (installed summer 2017)
  • North Fillmore Street - Completed
  • North Garfield Street - Completed
  • North Oakland Street - Completed, prioritized to coordinate with Neighborhood Conservation Program sidewalk project on south leg of intersection
  • North Highland Street - Completed
  • Washington Boulevard at Pershing Drive - Under construction

Phase II/III will include the remaining intersections and will be designed and implemented upon funding availability:

  • North Nelson Street
  • North Kenmore Street
  • North Jackson Street
  • Areas east of Washington Boulevard to North Barton Street


Funding for Phase I of this project is provided by the Decal Fee Program, the Virginia Department of Transportation Revenue Sharing Program and the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority.

Additional funding for future phases will be sought through the County’s Capital Improvement Plan budgeting process.