Arlington County and its residents have long supported our urban village way of life, which is needed to make living along the Orange Line such wonderful place to live. The Metro system of trains and buses is a transportation system that helps us all get around within the Washington DC Metro area, but Arlington County saw a need to expand public transportation options and as a result, ART buses came to two, offering 15 additional routes within the county. The ART buses have been a great resource, with ridership expanding over the years from 600,000 riders to over 3 million riders annually. The time has come for ART to grow and Arlington County agrees.
During the latest Arlington County Board meeting in May, a contract for $12.4 million was approved to build a new ART facility building in Crystal City. The facility will be located at South Eads and 32nd St. The new facility will include a light maintenance bay, allowing the county to handle most of the regular care of the buses, as well as a wash bay. Currently, ART buses have to be washed at a Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority site. Doing this has been a higher cost process and has limited access for ART buses due to the hours available at the facility outside the county. The new facility in Crystal City will help eliminate a lot of the excess expenditures. There will also be a parking area and natural gas fueling station at the new facility. All 57 ART buses are running on clean-burning compressed natural gas.
Construction on the new facility is expected to begin this summer and will include additional improvements to the surrounding areas along South Eads Street and the Jefferson Davis Highway. W.M. Schlosser will be handling the construction of the new building and an additional $5.2 million dollars will be needed to complete the design, construction management and other related costs for the entire project, bringing the total cost to $17.6 million. The funding will from a combination of regional and state funds as well as commercial real estate taxes that are strictly for transportation costs.
While the new facility will bring much needed resources for ART buses closer to home, there will be a need for another building to store all the buses in the near future. The county plans to add more buses to the fleet by 2020, up to 90 buses total in order to continue providing service to the growing demand for Arlington County public transportation. Where and when another ART Facility will be built will be determined within a year, after a Community Facilities Study has been completed. The study began this year and is focusing on how best to maintain our ART fleet within the limited amount of public space we have in our incredible urban village.
ART is one more feature of Orange Line Living that makes this an amazing place to live. If you are looking to buy or sell your home, myself, and the Orange Line Living team are ready to support you directly. We work with you to provide our unique and specialized services so you can turn your plans into reality. To learn more about how we can help you, contact us directly at 571-969-7653 or at [email protected].