It’s no secret that Crystal City has been changing. From placemaking by creating hangout spots at corners and office buildings, to covering buildings in works of art, there’s something new to see on every block.
What you don’t see is that the changes don’t stop there. While making Crystal City an exciting place to walk or bike around and explore, the Crystal City BID has also been internalizing this and making their own workplace an example of what companies can do for employees to make the most of the area’s walkability and bike friendly culture.
Connecting the Community
Crystal City BID has always been a proponent of sustainable transportation and making the area more connected and accessible. Crystal City is the only area in Arlington that extends Bike to Work Day celebrations to a full week, encouraging employees to make a habit of commuting by bike. Additionally, they continue to work with the community on various projects, including plans to improve pedestrian access to National Airport and enhance the Crystal City VRE Station.
When Capital Bikeshare launched in Arlington, the Crystal City BID allocated funding to help the system get started and continues to support the expansion of the program, which may be why Crystal City has the most Capital Bikeshare corporate members compared with any other urban village in Arlington.
Creating a Commuting Culture
While Crystal City BID has been recognized as a Champion and a Bicycle Friendly Business since 2014, this year, they worked with Arlington Transportation Partners (ATP) on particularly aggressive goals in hopes of achieving the highest tier of recognition, Platinum Level. Upon enrollment, they were most interested in adopting an ART bus stop, implementing a transit benefit, and providing a financial incentive for walking and biking.
The first step included connecting with WMATA to determine the type of transit benefit they may be able to offer and how to administer the program. Crystal City BID decided that a pre-tax transit benefit best fit their needs. Managing it through SmartBenefits means that it is free to offer while still saving money for both the employer and the employee. ATP assisted by providing information on the benefit and sample policies and enrollment forms to assist in rolling the benefit out to employees.
ATP also provided the Crystal City BID with information on how other companies administer a financial benefit for walking or biking, a growing program among employers in Arlington. Crystal City BID decided on providing a $20/month benefit to those who walk, bike, or run for most or all of their commute to/from work at least 10 days per month and worked with us to develop policies and agreement forms.
Most recently, they accomplished their goal of adopting a bus stop through ART’s Adopt-a-Stop program showing further dedication to the community. If you take the ART 43 from the Crystal City Metro, you’ll find a sign with their name on it as the stop’s partner.
As a small business and a nonprofit, reaching the highest level of Champions is no easy feat but Crystal City BID has been up for the task every step of the way and has already committed to sponsoring an upcoming ATP event to officially achieve Platinum. With 100% of their staff using a sustainable mode of transportation, it’s easy to see why Crystal City is a major transportation hub and continues to transform into an even more walkable and bike-friendly neighborhood for residents, employees, and visitors alike.
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