City Council to weigh temporary bus shelters and signs until West End transit center reopens in 2028

A DASH bus pulls into the former Landmark Mall (staff photo by James Cullum)


With the reopening of the Dash Transit Center at the future WestEnd development years away, Alexandria is looking to ask Richmond to help pay for $800,000 in temporary bus bays, benches and real-time signage.

On Tuesday, City Council will consider authorizing a $544,000 grant application for a new project through the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation’s Transit Ridership Incentive Program (TRIP). If approved, the city would have to foot the remaining $256,000 to pay for 12 shelters at six bus bays, benches and six electronic real-time signs until construction of the permanent transit center is finished. City staff said Council could also tap into the GoAlex Fund, which is funded by developers.

Alexandria was awarded $13 million in SMART SCALE funding for the transit hub, but the money isn’t available until 2026 and construction is estimated to wrap in 2028.

“Currently, this is a high ridership location and key transfer point with more than 500 boardings per day,” City staff said in a memo. “This funding would allow for proper amenities at a major transfer facility serving multiple local bus routes and two future bus rapid transit corridors until a permanent structure is constructed.”

Melissa McMahon, chair of the city’s Transportation Commission, wrote a letter stating that the commission endorsed the application.

“At its October 18 meeting, the Transportation Commission voted to endorse a grant application for funding of up $800,000 through the DRPT FY 2024 Mid-Cycle TRIP New Passenger Amenities category,” McMahon wrote. “The Transportation Commission supports staff’s proposal to request funding to provide passenger amenities at Landmark until the facility funded through SMART SCALE can be constructed, at which point the amenities can be relocated to other high need areas in the City.”

McMahon continued, “This project supports the Alexandria Mobility Plan strategy to improve the rider experience and will ensure that appropriate amenities are available for this major transfer facility at the opening of Duke Street and West End Transitways. It also provides the opportunity to potentially leverage the new developer funded Transportation Management Plan GoAlex Fund for these amenities.”

Alexandria was previously awarded a TRIP grant from its Zero and Reduced Fare category. The TRIP program launched in 2021 to improve “regional connectivity in urban areas with a population above 100,000 and reducing barriers to transit use by supporting low-income and zero-fare programming.”