Recent and upcoming Metrorail service changes to accommodate the Silver Line have been in the works for over a decade, and are better for Blue Line riders than originally planned.
Last fall we let you know about changes we proposed on the bus routes serving Hunting Point and the Mount Vernon Avenue/Jefferson Davis Highway corridor. We developed the original proposal based on recommendations that emerged from a comprehensive study conducted on Routes 10A, 10B, and 10E in 2013. In the weeks leading up to our September public hearings as well as in oral and written testimony given at those hearings we received numerous comments and opinions on the options we presented. We incorporated that feedback into an adjusted proposal and presented it to Metro’s Board of Directors for approval.
On Sunday, March 30, 2014, Metro will implement these changes that will impact Metrobus routes 9E, 10A, and 10E. We believe riders will benefit from faster travel times and improved connections between Alexandria, Crystal City and Rosslyn.
What these changes mean for you:
Route 10A riders:
During the a.m. peak period northbound (from Hunting Point) and the p.m. peak period southbound (to Hunting Point), Route 10R will replace 10A service. Route 10R will provide a direct connection between Crystal City and Rosslyn bypassing the Pentagon. Existing 10A passengers traveling to the Pentagon may take a Route 10E bus or transfer to Metrorail at Braddock Road Station. These changes do not impact off-peak, weekend, a.m. peak period southbound (from the Pentagon) or p.m. peak period northbound (to the Pentagon) 10A service. Read more…
Adding special types of tracks at key locations in the system will provide more flexibility to the overall system.
- Pocket tracks: allow trains to turn back in the direction from which they came (short-lining), gap trains to be stored until placed in revenue service, and the staging of track equipment until nighttime trackwork
- Crossovers: allow trains to single track during incidents or nighttime trackwork
The Metrorail system includes various single- and double-crossovers and additional ones will shorten the distance of single tracking. The system also has seven mid-route turnbacks, each of which is configured to operate as a third or “pocket” track capable of storing an eight-car train. To improve efficiency and reduce operating costs, certain lines could utilize a pocket track for a “short-lining” turnback to provide improved service to the highest-demand segments of the line. Other new pocket tracks would allow for storage of gap trains, disabled trains and track equipment. Read more…
Momentum’s outreach was unprecedented. Metro staff heard from almost 12,000 stakeholders during the process, which helped inform our understanding of the public’s short- and long-term needs. Below is a high-level summary of the most commonly-held viewpoints across region:
- Make no small plans for Metro;
- Recognize Metro is critical to the region’s future;
- Continue rebuilding;
- Reduce crowding;
- Provide better customer information; and
- Ensure predictable funding.
A next generation communications system would expand current communications infrastructure to provide an integrated one-stop communications hub for the region’s transit customers. Proposed improvements will capitalize on efforts already underway to improve the functionality of the rail control software. They include the next generation of the Passenger Information Display System (PIDS), new public address systems, improved station signage, and equipping station managers with mobile devices. Bus and train information will also be integrated, with real-time information displays to well-used bus stops.
Adding new Blue Line connections seeks to restore train frequencies to every six minutes during the peak period between Pentagon and Rosslyn stations, resulting in less waiting time and crowding for Blue Line riders in Northern Virginia. Once the Silver Line opens, the Blue Line service will operate every 12-14 minutes as opposed to the previous six minutes. The feasibility analysis is currently underway and has identified two potential alternatives to create new connections:
- Alternative 1: Add rail track that would create a new connection between the Blue and Orange/Silver Lines, or
- Alternative 2: A second Rosslyn Station for a new Blue Line with an underground passageway to the existing Rosslyn station, which would connect to the Orange/Silver Lines with a pedestrian tunnel.
Metrobus’ Priority Corridor Network (PCN) Plan will improve bus service, travel speeds, and reliability on 24 regional corridors, which serve half of Metrobus ridership. Improvements include:
- Improved operational strategies such as transit signal priority and exclusive bus lanes
- Increased frequency and span of service
- Improved customer information
- Added MetroExtra, Metro’s limited-stop bus service, routes and buses
- Expanded fare payment options
- Added safety, security and incident response measures
- Enhanced bus stops and facilities
Metro is the nation’s most accessible large transit system. All 86 Metrorail stations have elevators and the new 7000-series rail cars are designed to maximize accessibility. Metrobus operates 1,100 fully accessible buses, most of which are low-floor and ramp-equipped and all of which have automated stop announcements. Numerous other changes have been made by Metro to maximize usability so that many customers with disabilities are able to use Metrobus and Metrorail for some of their travel. However, inadequacies such as the lack of curb cuts, sidewalks and traffic signals impact disabled customers’ ability to use Metrorail and Metrobus. MetroAccess serves these trips and others and presently provides about two million trips per year.
Recently we showed you a visualization of Metrorail, Metrobus and Circulator transit created by a STLTransit. The developer had created the previous visualization from the GTFS file available from the WMATA developers resources page.
Metro regularly exports all of the data from our Trip Planner into a separate GTFS file which we share with COG/TPB for updating regional transit schedules in their travel demand model. We are working to make this file publicly available. In the mean time, we were able to share it with STLTransit who kindly created the updated fully regional visualization of Washington area transit, embedded above.
As with last time, this visualization is best viewed full-screen and in HD mode.
Some interesting things to note:
- Frederick County TransIT service use of timed transfers (or pulse points) at transit centers is very noticeable.
- MARC and VRE commuter rail are illustrated as white tadpoles, not to be confused with the colored tadpoles representing Metrorail service.
- The expansiveness of the commuter rail network becomes very apparent, as those white tadpoles shoot towards the edges of the map to the northeast, northwest and south.
STLTransit apparently cranks out one or two visualizations of a city or regional transit system every few days. Check out their YouTube channel and subscribe.
Metro is planning to alleviate these crowded trains and platforms by investigating the potential of running 100% eight-car trains, among other options. This option would require not only planning, but at the very least purchasing more cars, finding places to store and service these cars, and upgrading our power network to power the vehicles. Going “All 8s” is a major capital investment, which includes power upgrades, vehicle purchases and storage facilities. Additional operating (recurring) costs are also associated with running all 8-car trains, including increased car maintenance staff and additional power.
If we can reach this goal, each of the current six rail lines entering the DC core in the peak direction could handle a huge volume — upwards of 20,000 passengers per hour, up from between 14,000 to 17,000 depending on the line. Even with the growth expected through 2040 this would mean much less severe crowding than would occur without those additional cars. The graphic on the right, above, illustrates the additional system throughput provided by running 100% eight-car trains.
To read more about Metro’s future and join the conversation, visit www.wmata.com/momentum.