Arlington County and WMATA are launching a “full independent review” of the process and the expenses that led to the $1 million Walter Reed “Super Stop” on Columbia Pike.
The county announced the review in a press release Thursday afternoon, after announcing last week that it was “reassessing” the design and cost of the controversial new bus stop. The stop was designed by Arlington after a two-year community process, then built by WMATA at a cost of more than $1 million.
The county and WMATA have not yet determined who will conduct the independent review of the stop, according to Arlington County spokeswoman Mary Curtius. The findings will be released to the public.
The county press release, after the jump.
Arlington County Manager Barbara Donnellan and Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) General Manager Richard Sarles have agreed to review the design, construction and associated costs of the recently completed Walter Reed Super Stop transit station. WMATA managed the construction as a reimbursable project for Arlington County, who designed the project.
“We will have a full, independent review of the process and the costs associated with the project. The review also will help us pinpoint ways that Arlington could cut costs moving forward,” Donnellan said. “We will make those findings available to the public.”
Donnellan noted that the County already has suspended the project, “while we engage bus riders and look for efficiencies that will reduce the costs of building future stops.”
“As I have told the Board, we will move forward with this project only after we are certain that we can produce well-designed stops for significantly less cost in far less time than it took to produce the Walter Reed Super Stop,” Donnellan said. “Arlington County government takes its responsibility to taxpayers seriously.”
”We welcome the opportunity to participate in this review process to ensure that Arlington residents get a high-quality transit facility that meets their needs efficiently,” said Sarles.
The Columbia Pike transit station project underwent a two-year community design process, to get public input and provide Arlington residents, workers and visitors real-time arrival information, more seating, improved lighting and a raised sidewalk for easier bus boarding. The stops better serve current riders and offer amenities that encourage more people to leave their cars behind and use public transit on the heavily traveled Pike. Some 30,000 riders are expected to use transit along the Pike by 2030, a higher level of ridership than many Metrorail stations. The Pike’s transit ridership is the highest in the Commonwealth.
“Arlington has a history of making successful long-term investments in transit,” Donnellan said. “Those investments, supported by our community, have over the decades helped transform Arlington into a national model of Smart Growth.”
The County’s commitment to providing layers of high-quality transit options “has helped change the commuting habits of thousands of people, decreased traffic congestion on our streets and made Arlington one of the most successful communities in the nation,” Donnellan said. “Today, Arlington is in the process of transforming Columbia Pike into a vibrant, transit- oriented Main Street. It is a big job and a big investment, but the vision has been set by the community and we believe it will serve the community for generations, just as Arlington’s investment in Metro continues to serve our entire community.”