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Rail News: Passenger Rail

WMATA lays plans for additional parking structure


When Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority opened its Franconia-Springfield Metrorail station and garage in June 1997, officials figured the 4,000 parking spaces were sufficient for the anticipated 10,000 weekday passengers. Just four years later, weekday ridership averages nearly 19,000 passenger trips — and the garage reached full capacity years ago.

So Sept. 6, WMATA’s Planning and Development Committee agreed with staff recommendations to build a supplemental parking structure.

The new six-level structure — designed to provide 1,000 additional parking spaces — would be located adjacent to and east of the existing six-level parking structure in the air space above existing short-term parking. Existing kiss-and-ride and short-term parking areas would be incorporated and reconfigured to include taxi and shuttle bus operations.

When complete, the proposed structure would provide a new park-and-ride vehicle entrance, and vehicular and pedestrian connection bridges between existing and new structures for each level. That, in turn, would enable motorists to use any entrance or exit, which also would more effectively integrate the new structure and distributing traffic flow within the garage and on the surrounding streets.

Pending the full board’s final approval (expected Sept. 20) WMATA officials plan to award a design-build contract in October. A groundbreaking would be held in early 2002, with the garage opening in early 2003.

Funds totaling $13 million have been made available through Virginia’s Department of Rail and Public Transportation and appropriated by the Virginia legislature for the parking structure.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 9/11/2001