Trading a Park-and-Ride for a Public Plaza and Bike Parking

This park-and-ride is going to be replaced with something much more appropriate for this location. Photo: Greater Greater Washington
This parking lot will give way to a more pedestrian-friendly station area. Image: Greater Greater Washington

More cities should copy this idea for their park-and-ride transit stations: At DC Metro’s King Street station in Old Town Alexandria, plans are underway to turn parking spots into a pedestrian plaza. This goes against the grain of typical transit agency practice. Despite the fact that park-and-rides are an inefficient use of scarce land, a recent survey by researchers Lisa Jacobson and Rachel Weinberger found that most agencies are looking to expand them.

Not in Alexandria, though. Edward Russell at Greater Greater Washington reports that at the King Street station about 30 spots will make way for a more walkable station area:

At Alexandria’s King Street-Old Town Metro station, there’s a whole lot of space dedicated to cars and buses and not much for people on foot. But the station’s parking lot will soon become a pedestrian plaza with wider sidewalks and more parking for bikes.

…when you’re coming up King Street, it is not immediately evident how to access the station entrance. I often find going to the north entrance, which is not immediately obvious to pedestrians, is often easier.

A plan to replace the parking lot with a pedestrian plaza and to add four new bus bays to the existing six could be the first step toward the station becoming more walkable, and it gained approval last week.

The reconfigured plaza will make it easier to get to the station by walking as well as accommodate WMATA’s plans to increase bus service in the area. WMATA has also said there will be more bike parking, but there aren’t yet any details beyond that.

The station area will also get more space for bus transfers, with the number of bays increasing from six to 10.

The new station plan with more pedestrian space, bus bays, and intuitive sidewalks. Image: City of Alexandria via GGW

Elsewhere on the Network today: Systemic Failure reports that Caltrans has lost its second lawsuit for failing to protect pedestrians. Seattle Transit Blog relays a story of how bus lanes can fail without enforcement. And the Better Bike Share Blog remembers the radical beginnings of bike-share.

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