Huntington Station Auto Access “Hotspots”
We continue to explore barriers to pedestrian and bicycle access to Metrorail stations with a look at Huntington station. Previous posts in this series explored Forest Glen and Southern Avenue stations. All stations profiled share similar characteristics in that they have a high percentage of short-distance (less than three miles) parking access, and low bicycle use. By looking at street layout, customer distribution and gathering your comments we are working to better understand barriers facing pedestrians and bicyclists and improve safety.
The map on the right (full version) shows auto access “hotspots” for Huntington station. Huntington is located in Alexandria Virginia less than a mile south of interstate 495, the Capital Beltway.
The station serves as a park and ride option for commuters from south of the DC metropolitan area as it is the last station on the southern end of the Yellow Line and is easily accessible from the interstate. Still, roughly half of the 3,600 daily parking customers originate from the many residential areas within three miles of the station.
Short distance parking customers almost exclusively originate from south and west of the station. The Potomac River, Capital Beltway, and proximity to Eisenhower Ave, Kings Street, and Braddock Road stations also along the Yellow Line seem to influence this.
The station can be accessed from three entrances on N. Kings Highway which is southwest of the station or from three entrances off of Huntington Avenue north of the station. At the station there are two Kiss & Ride lots, a bus bay, two parking decks, and a surface lot. This causes the station to be offset from the street in all directions and increases the distance to the station for non motorized travel.
Overall the area around the station received a Walkscore of 58 out of 100 to be categorized as ‘somewhat walkable’. Though the area is residential, N. Kings Highway and Huntington Avenue have five lanes and carry high car volume. Huntington Avenue is divided by a median. Additionally, these roads have limited tree cover and long blocks that make them uninviting to pedestrians.
The fairly residential area has low street connectivity of about 102 intersections per square mile. The map below (full version) shows distance to the station based on the street network compared to the straight line – or ‘as the crow flies’ distance. Areas where the difference between the street network and straight line are greater can indicate low connectivity and the greater distance traveled can be a barrier for pedestrian and bicycle trips. This map does not consider bike paths or trails, but it can offer insight into the possible routes and distances used to access the station.
The map identifies two areas within the one mile straight line buffer that requires two miles by street network to access Huntington station. The area to the Northwest is Heritage Hill Park and has minimal impact on customer access. The second area to the Southwest of the station represents two large apartment complexes. There is somewhat greater connectivity than the street network map suggests as there is a small road that connects the apartments to the Huntington Metro Access Road and N. Kings Hwy as shown below (full version). If considering safe pedestrian and bike routes, this area still presents many barriers for accessing the station and is of interest.
- The road lacks sidewalks or paths and passes through an apartment parking lot making non motorized transportation less safe and not appealing.
- The shortest distance to the station is across an open dirt area, which is uninviting to pedestrians or bicyclists and not safe. To use the road adds 0.2 miles to the travel distance compared to the shortest distance. This is an area for potential improvements.
- A set of stairs and a concrete path connects the dead ended Biscayne Dr. through the Mt. Eagle Park increasing access to the road. The path enables able bodied pedestrians to reach the station in a shorter distance than the road network, but is a barrier to bikes and persons with disabilities from this direction.
Do you bike or walk to the station? Are there any gaps in the infrastructure (crosswalks, curb ramps, sidewalks, lighting, bike lanes etc.) that, if addressed would improve your trip? For those of you who drive to the station – what factors influence you to drive instead of walk or bike? Are there improvements that would make you more likely to walk or bike? Are there other conclusions from this analysis that we missed?
We want to hear from you and appreciate any feedback you have that can make our system more accessible to pedestrians and cyclists.
Claire Williamson was an intern in the Office of Planning for fall 2012 and spring 2013. She graduated this spring from American University with a major in Environmental studies and an interest in urban planning and transportation.