Plans by Virginia Railway Express (VRE) to construct a new passenger station in Crystal City have cleared another hurdle, as the Federal Transit Administration has concluded that the project will not violate the National Historic Preservation Act.
The agency determined that while the new station would introduce a non-historic structure into the Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad (RF&P) Historic District, it would not alter the overall historic nature of the corridor. Agency officials also concluded that the station would not alter the setting, feeling or association of the George Washington Memorial Parkway/Mount Vernon Memorial Highway in a manner that would diminish its integrity.
VRE is aiming to relocate and double the length of the Crystal City platform to more than 800 feet and move from one to two tracks, for the day when the system will be operating each direction throughout the day. Currently, VRE trains run from points west and south to Arlington and the District of Columbia in the morning, and reverse the route in the afternoon.
VRE runs trains two lines, one from Union Station to Broad Run and the second from Union Station to Spotsylvania. The two lines each stop in L’Enfant Plaza, Crystal City and Alexandria before splitting.
In pre-COVID times, more than 20,000 people rode the system each weekday, although that figure has plummeted since the arrival of the pandemic. Of those who get off at Crystal City, nearly 70 percent are able to walk to their final destination, VRE officials said.
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