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Metro is planning a new station entrance in Crystal City, where HQ2 will bring thousands of workers

The transit agency is seeking public input on the project, which would be on the east end of the station

The Crystal City Metro station. (Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post)
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Metro leaders are planning for a second entrance to Arlington’s Crystal City Metro station to accommodate the neighborhood’s growth, which includes thousands of workers expected to fill Amazon’s second headquarters.

The new entrance being proposed near 18th Street South and Crystal Drive would transform the station into a key commuting hub, according to planners. Already one of Metro’s busiest Northern Virginia stations, Crystal City ranked 17th in usage among the system’s 91 stations before the pandemic, according to a Post analysis.

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The station sits next to the Metroway bus station and the Virginia Railway Express commuter rail station. The new entrance would provide direct access for people transferring to other transit options.

The proposed $91 million project includes elevator upgrades that would make the station compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act, new escalators, stairs, a fare vending machine area and an underground passageway and mezzanine to the train platform, according to Arlington County, which is a partner on the project.

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Officials say the main goal of the entrance is to provide the burgeoning tech area — rebranded in recent years as National Landing — with better access to transit. While the proposed project coincides with Amazon’s arrival, the entrance has been in Arlington’s long-range plans for more than a decade, according to the county.

A second entrance was added to county planning documents in 2010. Four years later, Arlington and Metro identified three locations for an east entrance, and in 2016 the project was included in the county’s transit development and capital improvement plans. Metro came up with a conceptual design report in late 2019, and engineering and design began last year, according to the county.

If approved, the planned entrance would be completed in 2023, about two years before Amazon’s campus is finished.

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About 1,600 of the 25,000 employees Amazon expects to fill its new headquarters are already working in Crystal City, according to the company. (Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.)

Amazon’s corporate complex includes twin 22-story buildings under construction along South Eads Street and a 14-story tower at 1770 Crystal Drive already leased to Amazon. The campus could include more than 2.5 acres of open space, parks, an amphitheater, retail pavilions, restaurants, a child-care center, dog run and a 20,000-square-foot space for community meetings and classes, according to Amazon.

The company’s plans ultimately include 2.8 million square feet of new office space. Other projects in the area include a proposed 500,000-square-foot multifamily development at 1400 Richmond Highway, the site of the former Americana Hotel, which closed in December. Two apartment buildings with retail space and more than 750 units are planned nearby, according to developer JBG Smith.

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The project is being paid for by nearly $83 million in federal and state transportation grants, while other contributions are being made by the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority and Arlington.

Metro and Arlington are asking for the public’s feedback on the new Metro station entrance.

To comment, the transit agency has scheduled a virtual hearing at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, when residents can call into the meeting by calling 855-925-2801 and entering meeting code 8137. The transit agency said they must preregister by emailing speak@wmata.com by 5 p.m. Monday.

Written comments can be submitted online at wmata.com/plansandprojects or by mailing to the Office of the Secretary at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, 600 Fifth St. NW, Washington, D.C., 20001. Residents with other communications needs can contact Metro at 202-962-2511 or send email to speak@wmata.com. The deadline to provide input is 5 p.m. on July 23.

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