Crystal City Traffic Impact Analysis Misreported

Comments at Arlington County Board Meeting on May 19, 2018.

Although I’m a member of the Arlington Transportation Commission, I’m speaking on my own behalf, and my opinion does not reflect that of the Commission on the matter at hand.

I like this plan because its principal feature, a 21 story residential tower, represents a practical way to reuse a vacant office building that promises to remain vacant otherwise. It will meet the demand for more housing while promising economic benefits to the developer and the County. The architectural design is aesthetically pleasing, and the developer promises to dedicate a major portion of the site to a public park.

However, my principal focus is traffic generated by the development, and I am concerned about the numbers reported and the conclusions drawn by the Traffic Impact Analysis (TIA), which is referenced in the staff report accompanying this agenda item.

Page 18 of a staff report dated April 22, 2018 indicates that the proposed development will generate 6 AM peak period vehicular trips and 279 PM peak period vehicular trips. While the PM numbers seem reasonable, the AM numbers are ridiculously low even in a development built on top of a Metro stop.

The Executive Summary for the Traffic Impact Analysis (TIA) reports:

“Vehicular traffic operations in the study area are good overall. All intersection movements within the study area operate at the target Level of Service (LOS) D or better during the peak hours under the Future (2020) with Development Conditions, with the exception of the following: (p.3)”

It then lists several locations where congestion will occur during peak hours including:

  • Route 1 northbound and southbound access ramps;
  • Crystal Drive and 15th Street South;
  • Crystal Drive north and south garage access; and
  • 18th Street driveway/garage access.

The staff report acknowledges that the 18th Street garage access will not have an acceptable peak period LOS, but notes “these movements are from garage or private driveways and not the public street network (p. 19).”

Yet it is clear from the TIA Executive Summary that the intersection at 15th Street South and Crystal Drive and access to and egress from Route 1 (Jefferson Davis Highway) will be impacted by the development.

I don’t know why the conclusions of the April 22 staff report on the traffic impacts of the Crystal Plaza development are misleading. I do know that ignoring traffic impacts will result in a diminished quality of life for all residents in the nearby.