The City of Alexandria has built a new multi-use trail from Potomac Yard to Braddock Road Metro station, as part of the new Potomac Yard Park. The trail provides a useful connection between the new residences and shops opening in Potomac Yard and Old Town.

Potomac Yard Trail. Photon by the author.

The trail runs along the west side of Alexandria’s Amtrak and Virginia Railway Express tracks for roughly 1.5 miles, from about East Glebe Road to East Braddock Road. It is part of a 24 acre linear park that has opened in phases since 2011 with the stretch south of South Main Line Boulevard opening this year.

The new Potomac Yard Trail. Map by Google.

Residents of the growing neighborhood are already enjoying the trail. It connects them to the Braddock Road Metro station, the closest to residents in the southern reaches of the area until the proposed Potomac Yard Metro station opens. It also provides them with an all off-road bike and pedestrian route south to the western end of Old Town.

Another view of the Potomac Yard Trail. Photo by Joe Flood on Flickr.

Alexandria is already planning to continue the trail north to Four Mile Run and Crystal City. This will occur as the Potomac Yard shopping center is redeveloped, and it will replace the temporary trail along Potomac Avenue north of East Glebe Road. The city does not have a specific timeframe for completion yet.

Building parks early means less struggle down the line

Having the park and trail in place should allow Potomac Yard to avoid some of the issues other newly developing neighborhoods in the region face. A lack of early planning for parks in NoMa has forced the NoMa Business Improvement District to compete with developers bidding for attractive plots in and near the neighborhood’s core to create some green space in the area.

NoMa bought its first plot in November, spending $3.2 million for 5,200 square feet at the corner of 3rd St and L St NE. Washington DC has budgeted $50 million for parks in the neighborhood.

Comparatively, Alexandria was able to build the first sections of the Potomac Yard Trail for only about $800,000.

Edward Russell is an air transport reporter by day with a passion for all things transportation. He is a resident of Eckington and tweets frequently about planes, trains and bikes.