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D.C.'s New Metro Line Already Influencing the Suburbs

The Silver Line opened two and a half months ago. Already, with strong ridership in both directions, some businesses are seeing new opportunities.
October 15, 2014, 1pm PDT | elevationdc
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The Silver Line's ridership is growing. Some businesses are already seeing a boost, but others say they're in it for the long haul, not an instant fix.
With Phase 1 of Metro's Silver Line finally opening in Northern Virginia, many commuters are happy to ease their drive time to work. Moreover, developers are breaking ground on new buildings and area malls and businesses are looking to claim their piece of the public transportation boom.
But after two months of Silver Line service, questions remain: Will people move near these stations? Are nearby businesses seeing a boost to their bottom lines?
Commuter numbers for the five new stations suggest good things. On September 24, WMATA announced that after less than two months, 30,000 combined trips are being taken to or from Silver Line stations on weekdays. According to Metro, “the new line is already performing at 60 percent of its projected ridership for the end of the first full year of service.”
About a third of these trips are being made by new riders, the remainder, Metro estimates, are former Orange Line commuters who have switched to a closer station.
Population boom
Even before the Silver Line opened, new apartment buildings on the line have been filling up. The Ascent, a new high-rise luxury apartment close to the Spring Hill metro station, began accepting residents in April and is leasing at a pace that will have the 404-unit building filled in two years. The developer is so confident in Tysons' potential as a budding metropolis that it has broken ground on a second building, even closer to the Metro.
Greystar managing director Brandon Henry told the Washington Post he never thought the building would open before the Silver Line. He also didn’t anticipate such a rapid change in the area.
“I expected people to have rail come and then it would slowly build but people have really jumped in and gotten ahead," Henry told the Post.
These are just two of the dozen projects and 10,000 residential units targeted for the empty lots surrounding the new metro stations. Because of these, Tysons is expected to grow its population from 21,000 to over 100,000 by the year 2050.
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Published on Tuesday, October 14, 2014 in Elevation DC
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