WMATA will shutter rail service between some of its stations starting June 4 as part of its “SafeTrack” initiative, the agency announced in its final plan today.
The plan includes 15 “safety surges” that would shut down portions of several lines for days or even weeks at a time. The plan will also close all Metro stations at midnight every day of the week.
In the Capitol Hill area, “SafeTrack” will stop service between Eastern Market and Minnesota Avenue and Benning Road from June. 18 to July 3 and between NoMa and Ft. Totten from Oct. 10 to Nov. 1.
Each surge period “will result in either around-the-clock single tracking or shutdowns of selected track segments and will have a significant impact on rush-hour commutes,” Metro said. The surges are also expected to “severely reduce the frequency of trains, resulting in crowding and extended wait times.”
The complete schedule of Safety Surges can be viewed here. Read the full press release below:
D.C. and federal officials still are looking at connecting Union Station to Georgetown, via a streetcar line through downtown, despite the trouble the District had adding trolleys to a 2.4-mile stretch of Northeast.
The District Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration are scheduled to host a public meeting later this month to talk about the project that could bring 3.3 miles of streetcar track from 3rd Street NE to 33rd Street NW, mostly centered on or near K Street.
The May 17 discussion at the Carnegie Library (801 K St. NW), the first public gathering on the expansion since 2014, will focus on the environmental and cultural effects of a new streetcar line in Northwest. Community meetings on the project also are slated for fall 2016 and early 2017.
After years of delays and setbacks, the District’s new streetcars started picking up passengers for the first time along H Street and Benning Road NE in February.
It’s unclear when a line to Georgetown would open.
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority is slated to cut back on bus service in the Capitol Hill area starting this weekend.
Buses are scheduled to stop running on the 93 route beginning Sunday, according to WMATA. The 34 route that day also is set to lose bus service on Saturdays and Sundays and after 9:19 p.m. on weekdays.
The 93 route travels from Adams Morgan to Congress Heights, venturing onto Florida Avenue and 8th Street on its way through Capitol Hill. Its journey through the Capitol Hill area follows the path of the 90 and 92 routes, which are slated to receive more early morning and late evening buses.
The 34 route runs from downtown to the Naylor Road Metro station, traveling on Pennsylvania and Independence avenues SE as it traverses Hill East and Capitol Hill. The path of the bus through those neighborhoods is the same as the 32 and 36 routes.
WMATA said it ended the 93 route “due to low ridership.” But it didn’t elaborate on why it cut back service on the 34 route.
All Metrorail service will be suspended Wed., March 16, for emergency inspections: https://t.co/OPr8Ia6Vgt #wmata pic.twitter.com/YEXPL1cm2s
— Metro (@wmata) March 15, 2016
(Updated at 4:50 p.m.) Metro will close its rail system to riders for a full 24 hours starting tonight at midnight. The transit agency announced the news at a press conference this afternoon.
More information from a Metro press release:
Metro General Manager/CEO Paul J. Wiedefeld, with support from the Authority’s Board of Directors, today announced the full closure of the Metrorail system on Wednesday, March 16, for emergency inspections of the system’s third-rail power cables following an early morning tunnel fire yesterday.
The inspections of approximately 600 “jumper cables” will occur along all tunnel segments on the Metrorail system. At the conclusion of the inspection process, there may be a need for additional rail service outages. Any further service impacts will be announced to the public as soon as they are known.
News of the shutdown also appeared to crash the WMATA website:
oh my god did the wmata site crash pic.twitter.com/SUgSjbAMVS
— Tim Regan (@MrTimRegan) March 15, 2016
The move comes just one day after an early morning cable fire caused massive delays on Metro’s Blue and Orange lines.
Capitol Hill-area community leaders have sharply criticized Metro’s decision to suspend rush-hour Orange and Silver line service to the Stadium-Armory station, calling the agency’s outreach to locals about the disruption “unacceptable.”
In a letter sent to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority this week, ANC 6B commissioners wrote that Metro officials have not adequately communicated with community members about the service interruptions, which are set to last six months. WMATA decided to cut rush-hour service to Stadium-Armory to repair a 9-megawatt power substation that helps power Metro trains, which caught fire last week.
“The advance communication so far has been unacceptable,” the letter says. “WMATA didn’t notify the local schools, so many children were late yesterday morning and marked tardy.”
The commissioners requested that Metro officials provide more information on why the plan to cut service to the station was chosen, what other alternatives were considered and how confident Metro is that the service disruptions only will last six months. They also requested monthly updates from WMATA on construction progress.
“ANC 6B residents aren’t faceless numbers,” the letter says. “Over 20,000 individuals live in ANC 6B and until yesterday, they relied on Metro to go to work, transport their children to school and visit with friends in other parts of the city.”
A WMATA representative didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Residents who live near the station have complained that Metro officials have not made enough of an effort to alert riders about the service cuts. Earlier this week, Tim Krepp, an area resident and husband of ANC 6B commissioner Denise Krepp, posted his own signs around the station warning people about the service changes after noticing that WMATA had not yet posted any notices.
Never mind, @wmata. We got this. pic.twitter.com/OTWoOsPsfQ
— Tim Krepp (@timkrepp) September 28, 2015
On Monday, Councilman Charles Allen of Ward 6 and Councilwoman Yvette Alexander of Ward 7 wrote an open letter to WMATA officials asking them to reconsider their decision to suspend service to the station.
Photo via Twitter/Tim Krepp
Some Metro riders could lose access to the Stadium-Armory Metro station for months as the transit agency works to repair a power substation that caught fire last week.
Only Blue Line trains will stop at the station during the morning and evening rush hours beginning tomorrow, according to Metro. Orange and Silver line trains will bypass the station during those times.
Metro’s rush-hour service is weekdays from 5 to 10 a.m. and 2 to 7:30 p.m.
Commuters who need to travel from Stadium-Armory to Orange Line stations east of that stop can use free shuttle buses for their journeys.
Last Monday, a 9-megawatt power substation that helps power Metro trains near RFK Stadium caught fire. Later that week, Metro reduced the number and speed of trains that pass through the station to avoid overloading the system.
Repairs to the substation are expected to take more than six months.
Photo via Flickr/NCinDC
The Stadium-Armory and Potomac Avenue Metro stations are scheduled to shut down this weekend as crews repair rail lines and police, firefighters and paramedics respond to a fictional fire.
The closures are slated to run from 12:01 a.m. Saturday until the end of Sunday, according to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. Free shuttle buses will replace Blue, Orange and Silver line trains between the Eastern Market Metro station and stations east of Stadium-Armory.
From 7:45 to 10 a.m. Sunday at Stadium-Armory, Metro Transit Police and the D.C. Fire and EMS Department are scheduled to run a “full-scale emergency response drill” intended to help emergency personnel practice their response to fires and smoke in the Metro system, according to a WMATA news release.
The simulation is designed to be similar to an incident in January when the L’Enfant Plaza Metro filled with smoke, leaving one Metro rider dead and 84 hospitalized.
The Metropolitan Police Department and the D.C. Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency will also participate in the drill.
In addition to testing the on-the-scene emergency response, the drill will test the station’s ventilation fans, which are controlled remotely from Metro’s Rail Operations Control Center. Problems with Metro’s radio communication systems are believed to have caused some of the confusion and late response to the incident in January.
The stations are expected reopen Monday morning.
Photo via Flickr/NCinDC
Riders of Metro’s X2 bus line soon will have the opportunity to see themselves and their fellow passengers on surveillance video monitors as they travel through the H Street corridor.
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority next month will place the screens in 22 buses on the X2 line, which runs on H Street and Benning Road NE, the agency announced today. The monitors are part of an $81,000 pilot program that is set to run for several months in an effort to improve security along the line.
Each of the buses will receive two monitors. One of the screens will go above the bus driver and show real-time footage of passengers entering and exiting the bus. The other monitor, which will go behind the driver, will show live feeds from four cameras that film the interior of the bus.
WMATA’s announcement came after a shooting, knife attacks and, according to the agency, assaults on four bus drivers on the X2 line this year.
“Every Metrobus is equipped with multiple cameras, and those cameras are capturing activity on the bus — inside and out,” Metro Transit Police Chief Ronald Pavlik said in a statement. “Our hope is that showing riders what our cameras see will serve as a deterrent against crime, including assaults and fare evasion.”
A Metro bus slammed into a light pole in NoMa this morning, but didn’t injure anyone, a Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority representative said.
The crash happened about 8:45 a.m. at North Capitol and M streets, WMATA spokeswoman Morgan Dye said.
The bus wasn’t carrying any passengers at the time of collision, she said. The driver was bringing the bus back to a garage.
The cause of the crash wasn’t immediately clear.
Photo via Twitter/Rhett Mitter
Capitol Hill residents and visitors will have a new way to travel from Union Station to the National Mall starting this weekend.
D.C. Circulator buses will run a 15-stop loop from Columbus Circle and E Street NE to the Lincoln Memorial beginning Sunday. The buses also will stop near the Thomas Jefferson Memorial and each of the Smithsonian museums on the Mall, among other places.
A bus will arrive at the stops every 10 minutes. The buses will operate from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays from April 1 to Sept. 30. From Oct. 1 to March 31, the buses stop running one hour earlier on weekdays and weekends.
The fare is $1.
“The DC Circulator’s expansion is a win for the District, its residents and visitors as a sustainable solution for moving people around the National Mall and into our unique and diverse neighborhoods,” Mayor Muriel Bowser said in a statement. “This route will provide people with greater access to the nation’s most iconic monuments, memorials and museums while boosting economic activity in the District.”
Photo via Twitter/D.C. Circulator
Two bridges in Ward 6 need major repairs, according to a new report.
The Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge over the Anacostia River and an overpass near Barney Circle SE made the American Road & Transportation Builders Association’s list of the Top 10 Most Traveled Structurally Deficient Bridges in the District.
The bridges aren’t “imminently unsafe,” but are “in need of significant repair,” according to the trade group.
Built in 1950, the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge records 53,800 daily crossings as drivers travel South Capitol Street to and from Navy Yard.
The Barney Circle area overpass, which opened in 1963, has 2,250 crossings daily. The bridge is Ramp 6 over the Park Road Connection, according to the ARTBA.
Of the District’s 253 bridges, 14 were deemed structurally deficient. These crossings are among more than 61,000 bridges across the country that need major repairs.
ARTBA based its findings on data from the 2014 National Bridge Inventory, which the Federal Highway Administration released in January.
Photo via Wikimedia/BrianAdler
(Updated at 10:25 a.m.) Two people on board an X2 bus are being treated for injuries after someone reportedly threw a brick through the windshield.
Officials were notified of the incident at 19th Street and Benning Road NE at 9:45 a.m., a Metro spokeswoman said.
Two people on the westbound bus were hurt. It’s not immediately known whether the driver was injured, Metro said.
No information on a suspect was provided.
X2 riders told officials earlier this month that they’re frustrated with delayed service, disruptive passengers and impolite drivers, as Hill Now reported.
“Any time you get on the X2, you get a show,” a WMATA street operations supervisor admitted.
Ridership on the line has climbed an estimated 14 percent in four months.
Ward 6 will soon have another transit option on weekends.
Starting Monday, the D.C. Circulator buses will run on Saturdays on the Union Station-Navy Yard Metro and Potomac Avenue Metro-Skyland routes.
Service on those routes will run from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday. The weeknight service times have been extended by two hours for the summer.
On nights with Washington Nationals night games, the Union Station-Navy Yard buses will run until midnight. They’ll run from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. when the team plays home games on Sundays.
For full information on schedules and routes, see the Circulator website.
Photo via Facebook/DC Circulator
(Updated at 10:20 a.m.) Service on the Blue, Orange and Silver lines is delayed after smoke in the Federal Center SW Metro station was reported.
Firefighters were dispatched to the station about 9:50 a.m., D.C. Fire and EMS spokesman Oscar Mendez said. First-responders found an “arcing insulator on the track,” he said. No injuries were reported.
Blue, Orange and Silver line trains were running on a single track between the Smithsonian and Federal Center SW stations after the incident, delaying service. Residual delays remain, Metro said in an update.
(Updated at 11:30 a.m.) Firefighters rushed to Union Station and Hopscotch Bridge this morning after commuters saw smoke rising from outdoor tracks.
Smoke was spotted about 10 a.m. on tracks just west of Union Station. D.C. Fire and EMS units were still on the scene at 10:30 a.m. The station is not being evacuated, fire officials said.
The smoke was exhaust from an Amtrak train, not a fire, Metro spokesman Dan Stessel told The Washington Post. No one was reported injured and no trains are delayed, according to WMATA.
Smoke rising near train tracks at Union Station in DC. pic.twitter.com/uyE9TZDZ4L
— Chris Moody (@moody) March 25, 2015
Hey @Amtrak, any idea what’s happening behind Union Station? Plume of smoke from the tracks and lots of DC fire trucks
— Matt Spence (@mattspencedc) March 25, 2015
Metro did not immediately respond to an inquiry.