WASHINGTON POST: A proposal to move the Washington Capitals and Wizards to Northern Virginia could overwhelm roads and public transit beyond their planned capacity — a prospect that officials pledged to address with expanded turn lanes, more frequent trains and buses, and a dedicated ride-share zone next to the teams’ new home.
According to a transportation study commissioned by Virginia and released Thursday, an arena in Alexandria’s Potomac Yard neighborhood would generate more trips there during rush hour but would only exceed the area’s expected traffic and ridership during about 40 home games each year.
It is those 40 evenings that officials are especially focused on, with improvements focused on getting people to games while also accounting for other traffic and easing the strain on Metro after games are over.
“We’re really focusing on how we address the unique impacts of the arena. The good news is that with these improvements, we are able to address them,” Nick Donohue, a special adviser to Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R), said Thursday night while presenting the report during an online meeting for residents.
The tentative agreement to move both teams has created fierce debate in Alexandria, particularly as fans and residents alike have questioned the logic of leaving Capital One Arena in downtown D.C. for what would become the only suburban home for any NBA franchise. Officials who negotiated a nonbinding agreement with the teams’ owner, Monumental Sports & Entertainment, have insisted such a deal was only possible thanks to a new Metro station in Potomac Yard. Yet, concerns over that transit system — as well as roads, traffic and parking — have nonetheless emerged as a major concern for the lawmakers who must vote to move the deal forward.