POTOMAC YARD MASTER PLAN
Potomac Yard lay abandoned through more than ten years of unsuccessful efforts to achieve an approved plan at the former railroad switching yard. In 1998, the property’s new owner selected Cunningham | Quill to spearhead an interactive community design process. CQA led a broad, interdisciplinary team in developing a master planning process to achieve a new common vision for Potomac Yard. After twenty (20) community outreach meetings held over sixteen months, the team gained consensus, a new master plan, and unanimous approval from the Planning Commission and City Council.
The new infill plan creates 5 compact, mixed-use and pedestrian-focused neighborhoods and town center focused on transit stops. A connected open space system links a network of smaller neighborhood and new larger city-wide parks throughout the plan, which locates
residents within a 5-minute walk of any major park. Informed by the historic street and grid patterns of the adjacent Old Town and Del Ray neighborhoods of Alexandria, the street and block pattern provides neighborhood-serving retail and a major town center at the north end of the site. Higher density commercial and residential uses are located near existing and potential transit stops, while taller buildings are placed along major street corridors and within the town center. The approved Plan included the creation of a 108-page Urban Design Guidelines (form-based code)/Regulating Plan document to shape future development and codify the design directions and agreements reached during the community process. Close to 50% of the plan is reserved for open space, including a park that runs the entire three-mile length of Potomac Yard. Varied street trees, “pocket parks,” and welcoming sidewalks link the landscape and town plan through pedestrian activity.