Virginia DOT's Route 1 Plans Might Upset Amazon's Vision for National Landing

The National Landing BID this week launched a "People Over Cars" awareness campaign in response to the Virginia Department of Transportation's plans for Route 1 in Northern Virginia.

2 minute read

May 20, 2021, 6:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Complete Streets Plan for Route 1 in Arlington County, Virginia

The reimagined look of 18th Street near Route 1 in Crystal City, according to the People Over Cars campaign. | National Landing BID / People Before Cars

Andrew Beaujon reports:

The National Landing BID launched a public-awareness campaign Tuesday about Route 1, the highway that cuts Crystal City off from Pentagon City in Arlington. The campaign is called “People Before Cars” and includes a familiar urbanist wish list: More bike lanes, wider sidewalks, and, perhaps most important, narrower lanes and slower driving speeds.

The BID's vision for Route 1 is presented to counter vision for the corridor currently being circulated by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), which has been working on plans for Route 1 since Amazon announced it would place its second headquarters in Northern Virginia.

National Landing stakeholders were disappointed in what VDOT presented to the County Board in March, says Tracy Sayegh Gabriel, the BID’s director. The BID wants an “urban boulevard” that doesn’t resemble the current concrete ribbon of Route 1 at all. Some of VDOT’s concepts included three travel lanes in each direction and, as Washington Business Journal reported at the time, “critics believe that vision betrays the community’s goal of a pedestrian-friendly, transit-oriented neighborhood developing around Inc.’s new headquarters.”

Those critics include Amazon's development partner on the HQ2 project, JBG Smith Properties.

Beaujon's coverage of the stewing controversy comes the same week as a presentation by the VDOT on the Route 1 plans to the Arlington County Board. Amazon also recently released a new batch of renderings for the second phase of construction for HQ2. The first phase is already under construction.

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