Picture widened sidewalks, cafe seating, light and lush landscape coupled with a street network that is attractive, smart and intuitive. That’s the plan that designers have for one of the region’s busiest thoroughfares.
The National Landing Business Improvement District (BID), a partnership to develop and promote Virginia’s largest walkable downtown located in the neighborhoods of Crystal City, Pentagon City and Potomac Yard-Arlington, recently released Reimagine Route 1, a plan which offers three concepts for transforming the raised highway in Arlington County. Route 1 was designed in the mid-20th century to move as many automobiles through the area as quickly as possible; these options would instead turn it into a mixed-use pedestrian-friendly urban boulevard that better reflects the needs of modern society. Each would bring Route 1 to grade, knit the neighborhoods together and create safer connections. They also promote sustainable transportation including walking, biking and mass transit, encourage human connection and interaction, provide safe, comfortable and convenient crossings and may even be used to add additional housing.
“The concepts…draw upon best practices in urban street design by placing people at the center of National Landing’s future,” said Matt Gerber, General Manager of the Westin Crystal City and Co-Chair of the BID’s Transportation Committee. “Narrow lane widths, lower design speeds, and urban intersection geometries ensure that the autocentric mistakes of the past will not be replicated in the development of the corridor’s new and distinctly community-focused identity.”
The report follows a presentation to civic associations and is released in tandem with the launch of the Route 1 Multimodal Improvements Study, an initiative by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) designed to meet the changing needs of this area, which will house Amazon’s HQ2 headquarters.
“Through smart design and a sustainable approach, we have a rare opportunity to remake Route 1 into an iconic corridor serving a thriving urban neighborhood,” said BID President and Executive Director Tracy Sayegh Gabriel. “If done right, Route 1 can be transformed into an inspired gateway to National Landing that prioritizes the community by putting people first.”
Read the full Reimagine Route 1 report and its preliminary concepts here.
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