The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, City of Alexandria, Federal Transit Administration and National Park Service have been collaborating on an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The purpose of the EIS is to determine if a Metrorail station should be built in Potomac Yard, and if so, where that station should be located.
Originally, 36 alternatives were identified, based on previous studies and public input. The alternatives were screened by the cooperating agencies for technical feasibility and consistency with project goals. Three build alternatives and a no-build alternative remain under review at this time.
A Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) is being developed to assess the potential impacts of a Metrorail station in the Potomac Yard area. When complete, the DEIS will comprehensively assess the environmental effects of the build alternatives and the no-build alternative, and will address key environmental considerations, including air quality and climate change, transportation and land use, visual resources, parklands, historic and cultural resources, noise, vibration, wetlands and habitats, and temporary construction impacts.
Under the initial schedule, the DEIS was to be released on May 3, followed by several Community Education and Discussion Workshops and a public hearing scheduled for the last week in June. However, during the preliminary agency review, several technical changes and amendments were recommended, which the project team is incorporating into the draft. With this additional work, it became clear the original schedule could not be met and public engagement would have occurred during the summer, which would have resulted in less opportunity for community input.
To encourage public participation, the City requested, and the cooperating agencies agreed, to modify the schedule so the DEIS will be released in the fall, followed by additional public outreach meetings and a public hearing. The Alexandria City Council likely will consider the selection of a preferred alternative in late fall 2013. This shift in the schedule will enable maximum civic engagement by holding the community meetings and the DEIS hearing when the community and stakeholders in this process are able to be fully present to participate. The shift will also allow the City and cooperating agencies more time to discuss the impacts of the alternatives.
To learn more about the proposed Metrorail station and the environmental planning process, the public is invited to the City’s Potomac Yard Metrorail Implementation Group meeting on Monday, June 10, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., at City Hall (301 King St.) in the Council Workroom.
For information about this project or process, visit the City’s Potomac Yard Metrorail website, alexandriava.gov/PotomacYard.
Formal comments can be submitted at any time throughout the process at email@example.com.