Patience is a virtue, but that can be hard to remember when we’re dealing with the recent increases in traffic levels as our infrastructure undergoes transformation. Just like with the redevelopment and repair of existing WMATA metro lines, all that frustration and inconvenience is finally paying off. This is particularly contrasted by the relatively poor state of NYC’s MTA subway lines, where the prohibitive expenses and inability to shut parts of the subway down for repairs has allowed for the deterioration of the entire system.
In just three years, I-66 will become a “multimodal corridor” that focuses on moving more people, providing more transportation options that are safe and reliable. With two new Express lanes and three general purpose lanes in each direction, with ramp to ramp connections provided between interchanges. Overall, these changes will provide progressive improvements to already crowded neighborhoods from Vienna and Oakton to Fairfax and South Riding.
New bicycle and pedestrian facilities, new or improved interchange configurations, and more will open up the real estate opportunities nearby. The increases in property values are sure to be felt by those close to the beltway geographically, but not necessarily logistically. Additional routes and new overpasses will also intersect with, and alleviate much of the congestion from, Route 28. The design is very forward-thinking, leaving room in the median for the future development of transit lines as needed.
The project also includes new Park and Ride lots with 3,000+ spaces and routes for buses. This is in addition to infrastructural support for alternatives to less than eco-friendly commutes like carpooling, local shuttles, and slug lines. Express Mobility Partners, among others, will be building a new shared use trail that will integrate with existing and planned trails all along 18 miles of I-66.
All these improvements spell success for both buyers and sellers in today’s real estate market. It aligns perfectly with the latest Real Estate Mantra from the American Public Transportation Association and the National Association of Realtors. The mantra now is, “locate near public transportation.” Outside of the clear advantage robust public transportation gives our communities, our workforce, and our environment, the improved access provided by these improvements will translate into direct benefits for residential and commercial properties.
According to this report, sales prices increase 4-24% when located near public transportation. especially rail transit. Rent has also been shown to increase as public transportation develops nearby. This is great for developers, but poses a definite risk to communities in dire need of more affordable housing. Northern Virginia is already one of the priciest and most competitive housing markets in the country. With the highly anticipated approach of megacorps like Amazon, Google, and now Facebook, ensuring stability in the market and for the most vulnerable of our homeowner population should be a major focus in moving forward.
While D.C. is not one of the cities featured in the study, the data that has emerged on residential and commercial sales performance and improved neighborhood characteristics demonstrates that these incoming improvements all along I-66, particularly in regards to public transportation, will be a huge boon for us all as we look to the future.