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.
“If I’m a Blue Line rider in Virginia, what are my bus options once the Silver Line opens?”
We get asked this question quite a bit, and even more so now that the opening of the Silver Line is rapidly approaching. As we have written about extensively on PlanItMetro, the start of service on the Silver Line will mean a reduction in the frequency of rush hour Blue Line trains. Average headways will increase from 8.5 minutes to 12 minutes. For most riders, once they arrive at a Blue Line platform their quickest ride will still be via train (even with an additional few minute wait), but there are numerous options for riders looking to switch from rail to bus or new riders looking to commute via bus.
Here are some of your best bus options if you are a Blue Line rider going to, or coming from:
On Sunday, March 30, 2014, Metro will improve bus service in the Tysons-McLean-Crystal City corridor. The changes, which will affect Metrobus routes 23A and 23C, were part of a series of improvements presented at our public hearings in the fall of 2013 and will provide significantly improved bus service for the majority of riders on these routes. This restructuring will also allow better coordination between Metrobus, Metrorail and Fairfax Connector bus service once Silver Line service begins.
What these changes mean for you:
Route 23A riders:
Route 23A will operate between Crystal City and Tysons Corner Center weekdays during non-peak periods and at all times on weekends. During weekday peak periods, new routes 23B and 23T will replace Route 23A service. New Route 23W will replace all service between Tysons Corner Center and Tysons-Westpark Transit Station.
Route 23C riders:
Routes 23B and 23T will replace all 23C service between the intersection of Old Dominion Drive and Chain Bridge Road in McLean and Crystal City. Route 23C service will be discontinued. Alternate service in the McLean and Langley areas is provided by Metrobus Routes 15K and 15L on Chain Bridge Road and Dolley Madison Boulevard. Read more…
Metro 2025 would bring significant benefits to northern Virginia, allowing the region to thrive economically while preserving regional vitality.
Think Metro’s Momentum plan is all about “downtown?” Think again! Our seven Metro 2025 initiatives – from eight-car trains to bus-only lanes will bring dramatic improvements to the quality of life and transportation to northern Virginia.
Supports Virginia Transit Projects
Virginia is planning big for transit, which is great – but all of the planned projects rely on a robust Metrorail and Metrobus “backbone” to succeed:
- The Silver Line extends Metrorail by over 20 miles, and will generate tens of thousands of new riders per day when Phase II opens – many of whom will travel into Metrorail’s already congested core.
- The Columbia Pike Streetcar will transfer 32,000 riders per day to and from Metrorail at Pentagon City – at a point in the system that is already maxxed out.
- Two other planned busways (Crystal City/Potomac Yard, and Van Dorn/Beauregard) also connect with Metrorail stations.
By ensuring that Metro services can keep pace with congestion and demand, Metro 2025 is critical to making Virginia’s transit projects a success, and critical to helping the region and the state reach its transportation goals. Read more…
In anticipation of the Silver Line, nearly twenty development projects, with an estimated value of more than $18 billion, are underway near the Metrorail stations, helping attract riders and generating valuable benefits for Fairfax County.
In a new report, the real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield documented twenty real estate development projects “in the pipeline” near the five new Silver Line stations. Some are under construction now, others are in the approvals process, and a few are on hold, but together they total:
- Over 20 million sq. ft. of new office space, which would increase the total office space in the Tysons area by 40%.
- Over 2 million sq. ft. of new retail space. That’s more than twice the size of the Tysons Galleria mall.
- 17,800 new residential units, or more than double the current population of the Tysons area.
- 9,300 hotel rooms
Metro estimates that these projects are valued at more than $18 billion, and will generate millions per year in tax revenue for Fairfax County (estimated using industry-standard construction costs). Some of this tax revenue will be captured by special tax districts in the Tysons and Silver Line areas. In 2011, we estimated that Fairfax County received around $30 million in tax revenues from properties within a half-mile of its five existing non-Silver stations.
The development brings great benefits to Fairfax County and will encourage riders to use the Silver Line, but there remains a strong need to improve the walking and biking environment near the new stations. Pedestrian and bicycle access will be key to meeting our ridership goals for the new Metrorail line, but walking and bicycling conditions remain challenging in the area.
The Silver Line will relieve traffic congestion on the Dulles Toll Road and I-66 when it opens in 2014.
This post is a continuation of our series that answers questions about the new Silver Line.
It’s no secret that the Washington region has some of the worst traffic in the country. Listeners to “drive time” radio are bombarded with rapid-fire traffic reports noting congestion on major regional highways, often caused by “nothing but volume”. This expression means there is no traffic accident, weather incident or excessive sunshine slowing cars down. Instead, too many cars are trying to squeeze into too few lanes at critical interchanges, resulting in traffic queues that can extend for miles and miles.
Not surprisingly, the highways along the Silver Line corridor are some of the region’s most congested. The merging of I-66 and the Dulles Toll Road was ranked fourth worst congested location (PDF) in the MWCOG Spring 2011 Traffic Survey. The survey showed the toll road has three major congestion spots in the AM Peak: the toll plaza, the interchange with the Capital Beltway and the merger with I-66. In all three cases, the recurring congestion was caused by vehicles weaving and merging.
According to the MWCOG report, the speed in the traffic queue is between 20 and 50 MPH. This would result in between 2 and 12 minutes of delay per vehicle joining the back of the queue heading to the toll plaza. Assuming a duration of 2 hours for the queue, average vehicle occupancy of 1.1 and 1,900 vehicles per lane per mile, this results in between 560 and 3,300 person-hours of delay per day, up to 840,000 person hours per year. Read more…
The stations on the new Silver Line are two minutes apart in the Tysons area, and the Tysons-area stations are eight minutes away from both East Falls Church and Wiehle-Reston East.
Earlier this year we published a series of posts about the region’s newest rail line, the Silver Line, due to begin service in early 2014. Those posts included answering the questions, “Where will it go?“, “What will happen to rail schedules?“, and “What will happen to bus schedules?“.
Now it’s time to talk about preliminary travel times between Silver Line stations. The map above illustrates the estimated travel times between the five new stations. These times are preliminary and may be refined after operational testing has been completed.
Below is a widget that can be used to look up the travel times between any two stations, including the five new Silver Line stations.*
Metro is pleased to release the update to the Metrorail system map that shows phase one of the Silver Line in service and phase 2 under construction.
Metro’s original system map designer, Lance Wyman, began working with Metro again a few years ago when we needed to update the system map to accommodate the “Rush-Plus” service plan. Since then, the team has been working to incorporate the Silver Line onto the system map. After several months and extensive customer feedback, Metro is pleased to release the updated map, above. Read more…
The Silver Line is coming soon, so Metro and original Metrorail map designer Lance Wyman are updating the current map. Based on extensive customer feedback from the last map revision, we made some general improvements such as making street abbreviations consistent and improving the geographic accuracy of the stations where possible. Cross streets will remain on the large version of the maps in stations and on trains, where it is most useful for customers as they are traveling on Metro. But in the interest of readability and streamlining, we will keep cross streets off smaller versions of the map often found online and in printed materials.
The first draft of the map
(Map 1) also featured 14 percent thinner lines to help readability, now that the Silver Line will travel through DC, and a new station icon with lines that extended across all three rail colors. This version also included the new Silver Line station names for Phase 1.
When we asked for feedback on the draft earlier this year, here’s what you told us: try even thinner lines, explore other station dot options, and “Center” and “Heights” should not be abbreviated.
So here are two new maps for your review. In both maps, “Center” and “Heights” are no longer abbreviated. Map 1 below is an update of the previous draft, with slightly longer “whiskers”. Map 2 incorporates some additional changes:
- 24 percent thinner lines, and
- the use of a capsule-shaped station icon.
Please compare the two maps, visible below, and let us know which one you prefer.
To compare the maps, slide the vertical bar across the image to show the differences between Map 1 and Map 2. Further below you will find a zoom-in of both maps, also with the vertical slider bar for easy comparison.
When the Silver Line opens, many bus lines will be reorganized – to serve the five new Metrorail stations, change routes that will become redundant, and to ensure an integrated approach to the overall bus and rail network.
The Metro Board of Directors approved the Metrobus service changes in December (details). Exact schedules are not yet finalized but will become available as we get closer to the Silver Line opening at the end of the year.
60 bus routes serve the areas affected by the Silver Line, 13 of which are Metrobus routes. Metro has been working closely with Fairfax Connector, Loudoun County, and other operators to be sure all the changes work together and make sense. Generally, here’s what to expect:
- All 5 new Silver Line stations will have bus service
- Many Metrobus routes will be re-routed to serve the Tysons Corner area. Affected routes include the 1C, 2A, 2B, 2C, 2G, 2T, 3A-E, 3T, 15K, 15L, 15M, 23A, 23C, 24T, 28A, 28T, and 28X. (See the more detailed Metrobus proposal).
- A circulator bus system will serve the Tysons area, including the new Silver Line stations in Tysons
- Many Fairfax Connector buses connecting Reston and Herndon to West Falls Church station will now serve the Wiehle Avenue Silver Line station
- 7 Loudoun County buses will move from West Falls Church to Wiehle Avenue station
- 3 Prince William County buses will move to Tysons Corner station
- Going to Dulles Airport? Metrobus 5A will remain unchanged, and the express Washington Flyer buses will move from West Falls Church to Wiehle Avenue station.
When does all this happen? All bus changes will need to take effect by the first day of Silver Line operations!
For more information on Fairfax County bus changes in particular, visit their extensive website on the Silver Line changes.