$1M Arlington bus stop eyed by investigators

An Arlington bus stop that cost $1 million to build is now being eyed by investigators. County leaders announced Tuesday they’re hiring outside contractors for a comprehensive review of the Columbia Pike “super stop” bus shelter.

County leaders say they’re committed to improving transportation on Columbia Pike, but those reviews of design, performance, and cost come with an added cost and some riders worry their tax dollars are being spent foolishly.

Nearly four months after opening, the bus stop continues to give many riders sticker shock.

“This is an incredible waste of money,” says Christine Bialeck.

“It’s nice, but for $1 million, that’s a lot of money that can be spent someplace else,” says Catherine Smith.

Metro spent nearly two years building the stop at Columbia Pike and Walter Reed Drive. The federal government footed 80-percent of the bill and Arlington County paid the rest.

“It’s a nice looking bus stop, but that’s about it. You don’t really need all that,” says Daryn Stewart.

Twenty-three other “super stops” on Columbia Pike priced at $900,000 a piece were put on hold after a wave of community concerns.

“They could use that money somewhere else and better transportation,” says Christina Pena.

The stops feature a high-tech arrival board, improved lighting, heated sidewalks and more for nearly thousands of riders a day.

“The county is now going to hire an outsider to evaluate what is really a nightmare and has caused Arlington to become the laughing stock of local municipalities,” says Bialeck.

“We think we can always do better on projects and this project is no exception,” says Greg Emanuel, Arlington County Environmental Services director. “Right now we’re taking a step back and we’re doing the financial review. We’ll talk with the citizens and after we talk with the citizens we’ll do the design review and see if there are elements that we can adjust because we heard some feedback from the citizens that there are some things they would like to change.”

There’s no word exactly how much the independent reviews will cost or when new construction will begin.