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Potomac Yard arena listening session on Thursday tackles controversial project’s biggest challenge

Rendering of aerial view of Monumental Arena development (image courtesy of JBG SMITH)

Various concerns have surfaced about the Potomac Yard arena development, but the recurring throughline has been concerns over transportation and traffic.

Tomorrow (Thursday) the City of Alexandria is holding a virtual listening session on transportation and traffic management concerns specifically.

The session is scheduled to run from 7-8 p.m. This is the third of four sessions hosted by the city.

The final one, on Thursday, Feb. 8, is focused on the impact on small businesses and economic opportunities.

The meeting comes after a town hall this past weekend that also saw protests outside the Charles Houston Recreation Center.

Since the announcement of the project, much of the criticism has focused on the area’s inability to handle traffic generated by an arena development.

Mayor Justin Wilson said the development would minimize parking to discourage car travel, but both Wilson and Metro General Manager Randy Clarke said the Metro station cannot handle arena traffic, with only one escalator and staircase on each platform.

At the town hall meeting, city leaders said more funding to WMATA is vital to the Potomac Yard project.

“It’s embarrassing that we have to sit here in front of you and talk about the lack of funding for the WMATA system,” said Council member Canek Aguirre. “How are we even going to put a proposal forward when there’s the potential for closing the station that supports this arena. If the WMATA funding doesn’t happen, this doesn’t work.”

“We cannot abandon Metro,” said Council member Sarah Bagley. “We must continue to do what my colleague and I and others are doing: impress on the General Assembly and the Governor that this is a vital piece of our network.”

A pop-up event to discuss the arena is also scheduled for 10 a.m. to noon at the Leonard “Chick” Armstrong Recreation Center (25 West Reed Avenue) on Saturday, Feb. 3.

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