Arlington County 'Super Stop' construction to be rethought

The first Super Stop cost $1 million and took two years to build. Photo: Whitney Wild

Public outcry over the price tag attached to a "super" bus stop on Columbia Pike has forced Arlington County officials to reassess the design and timing of rolling out similar stops along the corridor.

The project to build the stop, which is located at the corner of Columbia Pike and Walter Reed Drive, "took longer and cost more than it should have," Arlington County Manager Barbara Donnellan said in a statement Friday.

"We have an obligation to the taxpayers of Arlington, the Commonwealth and the nation to ensure that our infrastructure projects are delivered in a timely, cost-effective manner," Donnellan said. "We will do better."

Arlington County leaders had claimed that bus "super stops" would be a way to brand both the county and the new Columbia Pike makeover, making them national symbols for smart growth.

Some residents say they support the county's goal of making their transit system a standout.

"Reasonable? Oh, yes! There's a lot of changes going on in Arlington. With relocation, we're growing up," says Sherry Roper, an Arlington resident.

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The "super" stop, which includes stainless steel features, a touch-based information screen,{ }bigger and better seating, and heated floors, took 2 years to build and cost about $1 million. Of that total, Arlington County was on the hook for $200,000; the rest of the construction money came from federal funds.

County officials say the prototype stop was built under a joint agreement with WMATA. The county has since eliminated the regional transit agency from two other planned super stops and will build them on their own.

The county had planed to build 24 of the elaborate bus stops along Columbia Pike, which are designed to serve both bus commuters and riders of the planned streetcar route. County Board officials say that they expect the rest of the stops to be cheaper and take only about four months to build.

Each of the remaining 23 stops will fall under a $20.8 million budget for all of them, the Washington Post says.