Crystal City Wants a High Line Bridge Connection to National Airport

A little-known fact about Crystal City is that it’s just a 15-minute walk from National Airport. However, it’s not very well-known because the options to make that walk are unsafe and inconvenient. Now, the Crystal City Business Improvement District (BID) is unveiling a proposal for a connection between the city and the airport that would make that walk a lot easier and more pleasant.

On Wednesday, the BID presented their vision for a new bridge or tunnel that will connect to a security gate at the airport that the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority is constructing.

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Bridge landing facing east; 1101 Crystal Drive is to the left

While details on the exact construction of either a bridge or tunnel have yet to be determined, the BID seems particularly taken with the idea of building a bridge akin to the High Line in New York City, a style and aesthetic that seems to have become the go-to model for jurisdictions looking to build walkable bridges.

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Bridge seating area

Either of the two options could incorporate moving sidewalks similar to those used inside of airports. Each would also have some access to the Mount Vernon Trail.

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View approaching the bridge from the airport garage

In the short term, the BID plans to coordinate with Virginia Railway Express, which is currently studying a relocation of their Crystal City station. The BID will also seek concept approval from Arlington County in hopes of gaining inclusion in the sector plan, which already mentions the desire for an improved connection to the airport. If approval is obtained, there will be 1-2 years of planning and another 3-6 years before the bridge (or tunnel) is delivered. Additional renderings are below.

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View of the bridge from GW Memorial Parkway
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View approaching the bridge from Crystal City
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Rendering of a proposed Crystal City-DCA tunnel as approached from the airport