‘In The News’

All Aboard! Metro Welcomes New Development Planned at Rhode Island Avenue

July 22nd, 2015 No comments

A redevelopment project planned for Rhode Island Avenue Metro station, one of the largest such projects in the District, could bring $2.3M per year in new fare revenue for Metrorail.

A venture led by MRP Realty is proposing a mega project near the Rhode Island Avenue metro station, which when constructed would add over 1,500 residential units and retail to that transit-oriented community.  That’s fantastic news for the District, which needs household growth to resolve its structural fiscal deficit, and also for Metro and the region, which benefits each time we add transit-oriented development that drives ridership and revenue.

Image Courtesy MRP Realty

Image Courtesy MRP Realty

At Metro we find this especially exciting because it is yet another example of how changes in development are in part fueling a ridership resurgence.  Our Land Use-Ridership model conservatively suggests that this project will yield an additional 3,200 rail entries per day systemwide, generating rail fare revenues of around $2.3 million per year. Whether this ridership actually materializes – or is even higher – depends on the developer building good pedestrian connections to the Metro station and the Met Branch Trail.

In addition, this project could be a good opportunity to create a pedestrian connection between the station and the neighborhoods to the north, where potential Metrorail riders are blocked from the station’s “walk shed” today.  The current conditions include a challenging combination of grade changes and physical barriers behind the shopping mall, creating pedestrian barriers outlined in red below. The key question will be whether the development will help fix the barrier along the north side of the site, which would only increase the ridership- and revenue-generating potential of this project.

Image Courtesy Google Maps

Pedestrian barriers in red. Image courtesy Google Maps

The property tax benefits of the project all accrue to the District, and the increased revenue to WMATA doesn’t come for free – the system will need to handle the additional passengers and incur additional operating costs and potential wear and tear on the system.  Right now there isn’t a defined mechanism for WMATA to recoup the value of real estate property taxes to fund capital renewal or expansion.  But certainly anything that contributes to the operating health of the transit agency through increased ridership and revenues goes a long way to promoting financial stability for the Authority, as well as lowering the operating subsidy burden it requires to run the system.

Feds, Metro, Locals take on Pedestrian and Bike Safety at Wiehle-Reston East

July 16th, 2015 No comments

On May 12, 2015, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) convened an event to bring together Federal, State, regional, and local transportation officials and local stakeholders for an on-the-ground bike-ped safety assessment at the Wiehle-Reston East Metrorail station.

BaseMap_2014_Wiehle Assessment

Wiehle-Reston East: one mile bikeshed and 1/2 mile walkshed

The assessment was one of 50+ that have been occurring around the nation as part of U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx’s “Safer People Safer Streets” campaign to improve bike-ped safety across the country.  These assessments have been led by many of the US DOT agencies and operating administrations, namely: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Federal Transit Administration (FTA), Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA), and the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). Each of these agencies is participating in the effort to improve bicycling and pedestrian safety, and each has particular roles and responsibilities in this effort.

The primary goal of these assessments is to:

  • facilitate relationship-building between employees of different jurisdictions who share responsibility for creating safer streets;
  • engage practitioners who typically focus on pedestrian and bicycle safety, as well as those who do not; and
  • focus on locations that have non-motorized safety challenges.

The assessment kicked-off with remarks from Deputy Secretary, Victor Mendez, who stressed the importance of agency coordination in ensuring bicycle and pedestrian safety on America’s streets, later blogging about the event on US DOT’s FastLane blog. Metro’s Director of Planning, Shyam Kannan, also gave remarks that highlighted the importance of station connectivity for increasing Metrorail ridership.  Other VIPs from Fairfax County, Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and local community/advocacy groups spoke to the participants as well about the importance of the day’s events to keeping our residents safe as they travel. Read more…

A Bus Named Desire – What We Heard at StreetsCamp 2015

July 9th, 2015 11 comments

In part 2 of the series, StreetsCamp participants had a number of ideas to make buses better – all buses, not just Metrobus.

A Bus Named Desire - Comments from StreetscampA Bus Named Desire was the question of the day at Metro Planning staff’s StreetsCamp session last Saturday. We asked what participants thought would make a better bus – from any perspective. What are the things that transit agencies and local jurisdictions could do speed up buses, increase the level of comfort for potential riders to ride the bus, change service, etc.

Here’s what we heard, grouped by topic:

Service

  • Bus lanes, bus lanes, bus lanes (WMATA note – there are some great corridors for these. Please also let your city/county know you think they are important. They own and operate the streets!)
  • Bus routes that offer better connections to destinations far from Metro stations
  • Take station relocation and system redesign seriously. Build partnerships with community organizations. (WMATA note – both a regional approach, as well as line by line, are underway!)
  • Consolidate stops on every line to save time and money. Buses don’t need to stop every block.
  • More frequent off-peak service
  • Add express service from Maryland suburbs

Read more…

Transit Today, Tomorrow, and Beyond: There’s More to It Than Metrorail

July 6th, 2015 1 comment

In part one of this series, Metro Planners led a session at StreetsCamp  Saturday June 20, 2015 to talk with transit advocates about other possibilities beyond Metrorail to increase transit use, reach, and access.

I want Metro to...

Politicians and citizens always ask for more Metrorail, but why should transit continue to chase land use decisions? Metro Planners Allison Davis and Kristin Haldeman talked to transit advocates and urbanists at StreetsCamp last Saturday to provide approaches that can help the transit we have today reach more people and be more cost-effective without requiring more Metrorail (pdf). The major take-aways for advocates and urbanists were to advocate for:

(1)    Local decision makers to monetize full life‐cycle cost of land use options;

(2)    Access projects that create comfortable (i.e. desirable) paths for pedestrians and bicyclists; and

(3)    Local jurisdictions to add transit signal priority, queue jumps, and bus lanes

Why these three specifically? Read more…

Metrobus Revises the 22 and 25 Bus Lines

June 30th, 2015 No comments

As part of Metrobus’ June 21, 2015 Service Change, the Ballston-Bradlee-Pentagon Line has been eliminated and the Barcroft-South Fairlington Line has been revised.

The 25 routes have been evolving ever since the line started in January 1980. This route restructuring is only the latest change to better address the travel needs of our passengers. Routes 25A, 25C, 25D, and 25E (Ballston-Bradlee-Pentagon Line) have been eliminated. Most discontinued segments of the line have become part of the restructured Routes 22A, 22B, 22C, and 22F (Barcroft-South Fairlington Line).

22ABCF

All timetables have been adjusted to reflect new trip times. Check out the 22A, B, C, F schedules and 25B schedule. Read more…

Metrobus E Line Restructure Coming June 21

June 16th, 2015 No comments

As part of Metrobus’ June 21, 2015 Service Change, the Military Road-Crosstown Line will be restructured to better fit the travel needs of our riders.

Effective Sunday, June 21, 2015, we are changing the Military Road-Crosstown Line (E2, E3, E4) to improve the efficiency of the service, and to make the schedule easier to understand.  Previously,

  • E2 served Friendship Heights, Fort Totten, and Ivy City on weekdays, but on weekends, the E2 served only Friendship Heights to Fort Totten. E4 served Friendship Heights, Fort Totten, and Riggs Park on weekdays only.
  • Weekend service was provided by a shortened E2, which traveled between Friendship Heights and Fort Totten only, and Route E3 (a weekend-only combination of the weekday E2 and E4, Route E3 served Friendship Heights, Fort Totten, Riggs Park, and Ivy City).

To better match service with demand, clarify the schedule, and increase reliability, we are restructuring the service starting on June 21:

E2_E4_brochure

  • Route E2 will be revised as the Ivy City-Fort Totten Line. The route will operate between Ivy City and Fort Totten station only, and will no longer connect to Friendship Heights station.
  • Extra “short trips” on Route E4 will be added, which will connect Fort Totten and Friendship Heights station (bypassing Riggs Park).
  • The E3 weekend designation will be eliminated, because the new E2 and E4 will operate seven days a week.

These changes will better balance service and demand, improve reliability, and allow for more service frequency on the high-demand western portion of the line. Shorter trips improve on-time performance and reliability, as a longer route is prone to more traffic chokepoints. A simplified schedule makes it easier to figure out which bus to take, especially for new riders. Check out the new E2 timetables here and the new E4 timetables here.

This post is Part 2 of 4 in a series spotlighting major changes from Metrobus’ June 2015 Service Change.

Metrobus U and V Lines Changes in Effect June 21

June 15th, 2015 No comments

The U and V Lines have been overhauled as part of Metrobus’ June 21 service changes. Here’s what you need to know about the new and eliminated U and V routes.

In April 2014, Metrobus Planning staff directed a study of the U and V lines. The routes (U2, U4, U5, U6, U8, V7, V8, and V9), operate primarily in the District of Columbia, connecting the Minnesota Avenue Metrorail station with nearby neighborhoods. The study assessed the lines in detail, identified traffic issues and crowding concerns, and recommended service changes. As a result of the 2014 study, we have restructured the U and V lines to make them clearer and more reliable.

U_V_All_Lines_Final_June_2015_Brochure

The following changes are effective Sunday, June 21, 2015:

  • the elimination of Routes U2, V7, and V8,
  • the shortening of Route U8,
  • the restructuring of Route V9 as the new Route V1, and
  • the addition of new routes U7, V1, V2, and V4.

Take a look at our detailed U and V Line brochure and the new timetables (U7U8V1, and V2,4) and let us know what you think of the new service.

There are no changes to the other U and V routes (U4, U5, U6, and V5).

This post is Part 2 of 4 in a series spotlighting major changes from Metrobus’ June 2015 Service Change. 

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Quarterly Metrobus Service Change Takes Effect June 21

June 12th, 2015 No comments
New NH1 map 6-21-15

Metro’s bus planners always aim to provide you with a Better Bus, and on June 21, timetables are changing for over 40 bus routes. Here’s what you need to know, starting with a closer look at the NH1,  NH3 line.

This post is Part 1 of 4 in a series spotlighting major changes from Metrobus’ June 2015 Service Change. Stay tuned for details on the revised E Line, U and V Lines, and 22 and 25 Lines.

Metrobus planners are constantly reviewing bus service and routes and bringing changes four times a year. Regular assessments including daily weekday passenger boardings and passengers per revenue trip, along with data from customer participation and feedback from our Metrobus operators, point out routes that need attention. Sometimes the resulting changes are small, such as adjusting trip times to more evenly space trips and better accommodate passenger loads or adjusting to traffic patterns. Other changes have a bigger impact, perhaps influenced by passenger demand, construction detours, budget constraints, or political pressures. No matter the reason, Metro Bus Planning is always working for a Better Bus.

Here’s what’s happening with the June 2015 service changes (detailed future timetables are available too): Read more…

Planning Tool Update Sheds Light on Rail Car Crowding Distribution

May 18th, 2015 19 comments

Latest version of Line Load tool will feature modeled car-crowding numbers.

Many factors influence which car number of a Metrorail train a customer rides.  Infrequent riders may wait for the train near the escalator and board the nearest rail car. Savvier customers may prefer to ensure they are the first to exit at their destination station or have an shorter walk at a transfer station.  Others may board cars based on understanding where seats are more likely to be available.  All of this activity can result in uneven loading of Metrorail cars across a given train, with some rail cars crowded and others near empty.

As we mentioned in 2013, the Office of Planning has an in-house tool that allows planners to estimate how crowded trains are based on origin-destination ridership data. Currently we are in the midst of a few updates, which will include the Silver Line that opened last year.  Another of the new features that we are excited about is a rail car crowding analysis for the system’s most critical segments.  Based on over six months of rail car-crowding data that was collected at selected stations by rail passenger “checkers,” the train-based ridership data will be distributed across the cars so we can estimate what kind of crowding we have by car number, at the peak load points. The following graph illustrates the observed car crowding variations at Gallery Place.

carcrowding

Customers may experience crowded conditions even when the average rail passenger per car (PPC) numbers (PDF) would indicate otherwise. This new feature is an important addition that will help Metro planners better understand the customer experience.  The car crowding analysis will begin to identify which cars of a train tend to be crowded in the peak hours, and which are less crowded.  This information will the be used as a starting point for devising strategies for better spreading customers across all cars of a train.

How do you choose which rail car you ride in?  Other than berthing trains at the center of the platform (see this informative article over at Greater Greater Washington on that topic), what strategies might Metro consider to better balance customers across rail cars?

 

 

Metro Pitstops on Bike to Work Day – Friday!

May 14th, 2015 No comments

Bike to Work Day is tomorrow, Friday, May 15. Roll by, say hello, and pick up free goodies at a Metro-hosted pitstop.

BTWD5-15-15

Click to register for Bike to Work Day!

Register now for free at www.biketoworkmetrodc.org and enter your pitstop as East Falls Church, Fort Totten, or College Park-U of Md. Metro will be distributing t-shirts, maps, free goodies, and information on using bikes with Metro. In addition, Metro Transit Police will also be at East Falls Church, Fort Totten, College Park-U of Md., King St-Old Town, and Braddock Road Metrorail stations from 7:00 – 9:00 am  to distribute FREE U-Locks when you trade in a less secure lock (e.g. chain or cable lock) and register your bike with MTPD!

If biking from home to work isn’t an option for you, make Bike to Metro part of your commute. You can park your bike at any Metrorail station or a bus stop, and complete your journey using Metro. You can also take your bike with you on Metrobus at any time, as our entire bus fleet is equipped with bike racks that can carry 2 bikes on each bus. Or bring your bike on a Metrorail train at anytime except 7-10 am and 4-7 pm.

The three Metro-hosted pitstops at Bike to Work Day 2015 are:

See you out there!