The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School


The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School


The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School


Ban the Build

The plan for the new Capital One Arena in Alexandria raises eyebrows.
Casey Donahue
Sign protesting the new Capital One Arena sits on an Alexandria citizen’s fence.

Capitals owner Ted Leonsis and Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin announced their plans to build a new Capitals arena and entertainment center in mid-December. The seventy -acre arena will seat 20,000 people, hold practice facilities for both the Capitals and Wizards, and a 6,000 seat performing arts center.

As exciting as this shiny, new center seems, the Del Ray community, which would bear the brunt of the arena’s complications, can’t help but raise an eyebrow. What does this mean for Alexandria’s traffic flow, which is already somewhat of a nightmare? What’s to become of the neighborhoods surrounding the arena, as crime rate will surely spike? Mayor Justin Wilson’s response to these impending queries was solely; “We’ll work on it.”

One of the most concerning complications that comes with the new arena is transportation. Where are all the spectators who come to the arena going to park? Even if these spectators don’t all drive, citizens are worried that they will overflow the metro stations that are necessary for their day-to-day commutes. When sufficient parking lots aren’t available and metro stations are too busy to take, people will resort to driving to bordering neighborhoods and parking there. 

Plan for Potomac Yards after the new Capital One Arena is built. (Washington Post)

Another disappointing detail of the new arena is the lack of transparency to the public. Although the city council and general assembly still need to approve the plan, it feels like a rubber stamp at this point. The process has been underway for so long now that when it was finally announced to the public, citizens had little time to weigh in. 

The Potomac Yards Shopping Center is also not safe, as Virginia officials plan to renovate the area into office, residential, hotel and community gathering spaces. The shopping center- especially the Target- has always been a convenient and beloved aspect of the Alexandria community. Easily accessible and diverse in stores, the shopping center is the go-to place when shoppers are short on time and supplies. It would be a colossal loss if the shopping center were to be knocked down, even if it was eventually rebuilt into new stores. 

At its heart, Alexandria is a historic and close- knit community that contrasts with the loud and disruptive chaos that the arena entails. D.C. is equipped for big concerts and basketball games, its urbanized transportation systems and city outlines were designed for such events. The economic health of the district would see more benefits than Alexandria’s would, considering our city’s unpreparedness for a development involving so many people. 

When traffic is stand-still, crimes are at an all-time high, and parking is impossible, the citizens of Alexandria are going to be the ones with the headaches. Not our governor or Alexandria city officials who planned this for months secretly, not Virginia lawmakers who eagerly approved the development- Alexandria city citizens will be first to suffer its effects. 


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