Ten years ago I moved to Tokyo for work. Unfortunately, my Japanese language skills were non-existent, so I spent much of those early months perpetually lost on Tokyo’s streets. But underground it was a different story. If you’ve ever been, you know that many of the central Tokyo stations are massive – multiple exits, mezzanines, pedestrian tunnels, and tons and tons of people. However, Tokyo Metro, the JR East Lines and the private rail lines that together create the city’s rail network have a good wayfinding system provided in Japanese and English that make it fairly easy to get around underground.
Pilot upgrades using energy-efficient lighting at three stations have been a success, so Metro is planning to ramp up the effort to 41 more stations by 2015.
Metro recently completed retrofitting the mezzanine-level lights at Judiciary Square, Gallery Place, Bethesda, Smithsonian and Metro Center. Through careful fixture selection, the new fixtures provide a higher quality of light with an improved Color Rendering Index (CRI) thereby improving both lighting levels and overall visibility. Significantly, the new lighting design offers better light levels without compromising the integrity of the original lighting design and station aesthetic. The retrofits also provide significant lifecycle cost savings for Metro through reduced energy consumption and maintenance requirements.
Following these successes, Metro General Manager/CEO Richard Sarles today that it plans to upgrade mezzanine lighting at the 41 remaining underground Metrorail stations by 2015. In addition to the five already completed stations, one station, L’Enfant Plaza is currently under construction. Read more…
As we continue to improve pedestrian and bicycle access to Metrorail, Metro has recently completed several improvements on the east side of Glenmont station.
Walking and bicycling are key access strategies for Metrorail, as Metro seeks to grow ridership in sustainable and cost-effective ways. As our studies have shown, accommodating new riders at our current access modal shares would be quite costly to the region. At Glenmont station, around 12% of riders in the morning arrive on foot or by bike, but there may be growth potential. Nearly 80 customers per day live within 1 mile of the station but currently park. Over 550 customers, or a third of all parking customers, live within 3 miles of the station but currently park.
To make Glenmont station more attractive and safe for pedestrians and bicycles, Metro’s Parking Office has constructed new paved pathways connecting the station to the intersection of Layhill Road and Glenallan Avenue, replacing a dirt path. Metro has completed this work as part of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Capital Improvement Program.
The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) is hosting its third and final round of public workshops in October to discuss moveDC, DDOT’s initiative to develop a strategic, multimodal long range transportation plan for the District. The public is encouraged to attend a workshop to review the draft plan and help prioritize the transportation options. The October workshops will enable you to:
- Share your ideas and observations on future plans for transportation;
- Learn how three approaches to a future DC transportation system perform;
- Review the results of our survey research;
- Provide input into the draft transportation plan; and
- Learn more about the moveDC local bus study.
Throughout October, you are also invited to participate in a survey to comment on and critique three approaches that have the potential to transform the way people travel in the District.
Public Meeting Dates and Locations
Monday, October 21
7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Tuesday, October 22
6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m., with a formal presentation 7 p.m.
Dorothy I. Height/Benning Neighborhood Library
Saturday, October 26
1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
DCUSA Retail Center, 2nd Floor, between Target and Best Buy
Wednesday, October 30
6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m., with a formal presentation 7 p.m.
Petworth Neighborhood Library
Visit www.wemoveDC.org for more details and to sign up.
October 24, noon – 1:00 p.m.
October 28, 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Metro is addresses crowding, integration of Purple Line in new Silver Spring Capacity Analysis.
Metro staff have recently kicked off a capacity analysis of the Silver Spring station. The purpose of this study is to evaluate how well the station is functioning currently in terms of access and egress, vertical circulation, and faregate crowding. The study is also looking at how to accommodate growth in demand due to the opening of the Purple Line as well as increasing job and household density in Silver Spring and the region between now and 2030.
The current conditions assessment is nearly complete, and shows that the station is performing well under normal conditions. The graphic above is a cumulative mean density map, illustrating the average amount of “elbow room” each passenger has during the peak 15 minutes. It shows that the current configuration of faregates at the two mezzanines (north is to the upper left corner) is adequate to service PM peak period demand, with only a little crowding (orange) near some faregates.
This post focuses on the PM peak period because Silver Spring has more station exits in the PM peak than the AM peak: exiting passengers all disembark the train at the same time, which can cause queues to form at escalators and faregates. Passengers entering the station, however, tend to trickle in and don’t put as much of a strain on station facilities. These passengers can crowd the platform waiting areas, which will also be evaluated under this study.
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.
Improving and expanding capacity at high ridership stations will ensure safe and efficient operations and facilitate passenger movements from street-level to platform as well as transfers between lines. The proposed stations, most of which are in the system’s core, already experience crowding or would reach capacity by 2025. Proposed improvements vary from adding escalators and stairs to building pedestrian passageways connecting platforms within a station and between stations.
Regular readers of this site know that Metro is developing a Strategic Plan, Momentum, which makes the case for additional major capital investments we’ll need to accommodate the region’s growth by 2025. For those of you unfamiliar with the details of Momentum, one of the driving factors behind many of the initiatives is the need for improved core capacity to boost Metro’s ability to carry more riders in the system’s core.
Metro’s Parking Office recently completed new bike rack installations at Shady Grove and Brookland-CUA stations, with parking for over 80 additional bicycles. This work was completed as part of our Pedestrian and Bicycle Capital Improvement Program.
The new racks at Brookland are located on the west side of the station, just off the Metropolitan Branch Trail. At Shady Grove, the new bicycle racks are in two places on the west side: near the station entrance and bus loop, and near the Kiss & Ride loop where bicyclists had previously locked to handrails.
Next up? Pedestrian improvements at Glenmont station – stay tuned!
While rail system ridership is up nearly 2% over 2008 levels, this growth in ridership is not spread evenly across the Metrorail service area. This map illustrates the locations of the stations in the top-ten for absolute ridership growth, 2008 to 2012.
- In general, the Green Line corridor in DC is responsible for much of the station ridership increases.
- Much of the ridership growth illustrated on the map can be attributed to redevelopment around some of our more recently opened stations, such as Georgia Ave-Petworth, Columbia Heights, Morgan Boulevard (off of image above), and NoMa-Gallaudet.
- Additionally, redevelopment near Foggy Bottom-GWU, Waterfront and Shaw-Howard U has contributed to increased ridership at those stations.
- The increase at Pentagon could be due to increased express bus and commuter bus activity, with federal workers heading to new BRAC-related work sites along the I-95/395 corridor.
For a full version of this graphic, download the PDF: Top Ten Stations for Ridership Growth, 2008 to 2012 (1 Mb)