(Updated at 10:35 a.m.) Metro to Offer Limited, Free Service Today — Metrorail opened this morning at 7 a.m. with limited service. Trains on the Red, Orange and Green lines are running every 20-25 minutes. At 11 a.m., Metro will extend service on all three lines to include some above-ground service:
- Orange Line is running between Ballston and New Carrollton
- Red Line will run between Medical Center and Glenmont
- Green Line will run between Fort Totten and Branch Avenue
Some Metro bus lines will also operate between noon and 5 p.m. today. Buses on the following routed will operate in D.C.: 32, 33, 36, 53, 70, 90, A6, A8, S4, U8, V4, X2. [WMATA]
Despite School Closures, Eastern High School and Jefferson Middle School Will Serve Breakfast, Lunch Today — D.C. Public Schools and charter schools are closed today as the District works to clear snow-covered roads, but schools throughout the District, including Eastern High School at 1700 East Capitol St. NE and Jefferson Middle School Academy at 801 7th St. SW, will still serve breakfast and lunch for students and their families today. D.C. Public Schools is asking for volunteers to help put together meals between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. [WTOP]
Water Main Break Causes Overnight Water Outages on Capitol Hill — Houses near the intersection of A and 6th streets SE lost water for most of last night as DC Water repaired a broken water main near the intersection. [DC Water]
Trash Collection Cancelled for Monday, Tuesday — The District Department of Public Works announced that it will not be able to complete trash pickup today or tomorrow and is currently assessing its ability to collect trash for the rest of the week.
Metro trains on all lines will shut down at 11 p.m. on Friday and not reopen until Monday morning. Buses will also not run over the weekend.
MetroAccess will suspend service at 6 p.m. tomorrow.
The interim general manager of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, Jack Requa, defended the decision to limit Orange and Silver line service to the Stadium-Armory Metro Station in a letter to ANC 6B commissioners.
The top Metro official also said he is confident but not certain that full service will return to the station by the end of the year.
The letter, which was sent on Tuesday, is a response to a letter that the ANC sent to WMATA at the beginning of October.
The commissioners’ letter asked for clarification on why Metro chose to limit service and what alternative options were considered. It also called for more regular updates on the construction on the power substations that forced the delays.
In his letter, Requa explained that the service cuts had to be made to limit the amount of electricity required from the damaged substation. Because trains use more electricity when accelerating, Metro made the decision to have less trains stopping and starting at the Stadium-Armory station. He also clarified that WMATA is not considering alternatives to the service cuts.
“We are currently focused on bringing the traction power substation back into service as quickly as possible and are therefore not exploring alternatives to the current service operations,” he said in the letter.
In response to questions about his confidence that construction would be finished by the end of the year, Requa said he is not certain but is confident in that estimate. However, Metro officials won’t know for sure if the construction will finish by the end of the year until they know if the two power line-ups that were only moderately damaged can be salvaged.
Photo via Flickr/NCinDC
Metro riders can now go online to follow progress on the Stadium-Armory substation repairs that have caused service disruptions on the Orange and Silver lines.
The new Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) webpage also outlines stages of the project, estimating full service will be restored to the station by the end of this year.
The project is focused on restoring the other two substations that were not directly damaged by the fire. Work on phase two is now underway. It involves testing each piece of electrical equipment in the stations to ensure the components meet factory standards before they are approved for service.
An update to the site yesterday said the first week of testing was successful and the project schedule remains on track.
Community leaders have criticized WMATA for the decision to suspend service and the lack of communication about the project with residents. At the beginning of the month, ANC 6B commissioners sent a letter to officials addressing these concerns.
The Commission has since approved and sent a ratified version of the letter. It expresses disappointment in the lack of direct response from WMATA and outlines questions community members still have.
“The website goes a long way toward satisfying our concerns,” ANC 6B Chair Kirsten Oldenburg said. “Besides progress and communication, our first letter had other questions, and those have not yet been answered.”
Some of these questions cover why suspending service was chosen over other alternatives and how confident officials are about having that service restored in less than three months.
Still, Oldenburg was mostly encouraged by Metro’s efforts.
“I’m very pleased with the fact that the website exists, and we expect a response to our letters by our November meeting,” she said. “[Progress on the project] is looking good now, but anything can happen.”
Photo via Flickr/NCinDC
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.
— 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
Residents can complete a online survey that asks how happy they would be if Metro terminated the 93 bus line, which has stops at the Eastern Market and NoMa-Gallaudet University Metro stations. The survey also requests that respondents indicate how happy they would be if Metro stopped weekend service on the 34 bus line, which travels along Pennsylvania and Independence avenues SE.
Locals have other ways to tell Metro what they think about the modifications to the 93 and 34 bus lines; the proposed elimination of the D3 bus line; service reductions for the 80, A42, A46 and A48 bus lines; and service enhancements for the 97, D4, X1, X8 and X9 bus lines.
Metro Sued Over Alleged Anti-Gay Attack on X2 Bus — A woman filed a lawsuit against Metro and an X2 bus operator accusing the driver of “verbal and physical attacks” based on the woman’s sexual orientation. [Washington City Paper]
New Housing Construction in D.C. Concentrated on Waterfront — The waterfront planning area, which includes Navy Yard and the Southwest waterfront, has seen the highest housing growth of all areas in the District. [Greater Greater Washington]
Package Theft Suspect Filmed on Capitol Hill Appears to Have Ankle Monitoring Device — The suspect in a mid-July theft on Capitol Hill appeared to have an ankle monitoring device on him when he allegedly took a package from outside of a home. [FOX 5]
Garrison’s Bite-Sized Cheese Puffs on Barracks Row — Diners at chef Rob Weland’s new Barracks Row restaurant Garrison can start their meal with Gougères, savory French pastries that he describes as “a little addictive.” [Washington Post]
Send Hill Now a Letter — Have something you want to share with Hill Now and our readers? We publish article and opinion contributions pertaining to local issues in the Capitol Hill community and Ward 6. [Hill Now]
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
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority today unveiled a 72-inch touch screen that features an interactive map and transportation information for Metro users at Capitol South. The screen, which also displays ads, is part of a digital advertising pilot program launched at Capitol South and seven other Metro station in D.C.
With the screen, users can pull up Metro and Hill maps, as well as information on train arrivals and departures, bus connections and bicycle rack availability, among other details.
“We are excited to pilot these new touch screen displays which provide real-time passenger information in a rider-friendly design, while expanding advertising opportunities throughout the Metrorail system,” WMATA Assistant General Manager Lynn Bowersox said in a statement. “WMATA advertising generates about $20 million annually in revenues that support bus and rail transportation and help keep fares affordable for riders.”
The pilot program will run for three to six months.
Hill Life Savers — U.S. Capitol Police on June 1 revived a man they discovered wasn’t breathing. The man, who was near the Library of Congress, appeared to have overdosed on heroin. [Roll Call]
Metro Safety — Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton and other D.C.-area members of Congress called on Metro to quickly fix a safety problem concerning power cables for train tracks. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating whether the track-based cable flaw played a role in the electrical meltdown that left one person dead near the L’Enfant Plaza station earlier this year. [Washington Post]
NoMa Buses — The Council of Governments is considering using NoMa to stage commuter buses in the afternoon. [WTOP]
Southwest Ground Breaking — St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church officially has broken ground on its new sanctuary in Southwest. [Hill Rag]
WMATA is changing the route of the 96 bus line to provide new service along Massachusetts Avenue NE near Stanton Park.
The new route — which is scheduled to begin June 21 — departs from the current route by connecting Lincoln Park directly to Union Station.
This change will make it easier for Near Northeast residents to reach the bus line, which helps Capitol Hill-area locals access U Street NW, Adams Morgan and Woodley Park.
The 97 bus line — which shares much of its route with the 96 bus line — will to continue to service all of East Capitol Street, Constitution Avenue and Louisiana Avenue.
Ridership on the X2 Metrobus line, which travels the Benning Road/H Street NE corridor, jumped an estimated 14 percent between October and February, according to data released this week by Metro.
An average of 13,800 people rode the bus every weekday in February, up from 12,700 people in October, the data shows. Metro attributed the spike in ridership to improvements they made in December, including increasing the frequency of buses to every 8 minutes from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays, and keeping buses evenly spaced.
“Overcrowding (particularly during the midday) has been virtually eliminated, and on-time performance has grown to 83% — a remarkable achievement for a heavily congested urban corridor,” a post to the PlanItMetro blog says.
X2 riders told officials last week 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.
Hat tip to @WCPSarah. Image via PlanItMetro
D.C. Won’t Scrap H Street Streetcar Project — The District won’t abandon the H Street/Benning Road streetcar project after an outside group discovered “no fatal flaws” with it, the head of the District’s Department of Transportation said. But D.C. officials still don’t know when streetcar service will begin. “We have the independent third-party assessment that we needed. But there’s a lot of work ahead,” Leif Dormsjo said. [Washington Post]
What Delayed Emergency Response to L’Enfant Plaza Metro Smoke — Emergency calls about the deadly smoke near the L’Enfant Plaza Metro station in January were routed to a 911 call center supervisor, which delayed firefighters’ response. Smoke in the tunnel near the station killed one woman and sickened 80 others. [Associated Press]
Cat Shot in Eye Near H Street Corridor — A cat with a BB gun pellet lodged in its eye was found alive near the H Street corridor. The Washington Humane Society is offering a $5,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest and conviction for animal cruelty. [FOX 5]
Community Meetings This Week — A meeting will be held tonight on a 45-unit mixed residential project planned for the 1300 block of E Street SE, where Jerry’s Custom Automotive Center and a warehouse are located now. The Eastern Market Community Advisory Committee will give an update Wednesday night on construction plans for Hine Junior High School. [Capitol Hill Corner]
Riding the X2 and X8 buses often means having to cope with delayed service, disruptive passengers and impolite drivers, about two dozen locals told transit officials at a community meeting last night.
Pat Allen, who lives on Maryland Avenue NE, said she was frustrated with the bus operators.
“The kids get on the bus and they’re a little rowdy, but I can overlook that,” she said. “But when you got nasty bus drivers, I got a problem with that.”
Norman Williams, WMATA assistant supervisor of street operations, defended drivers and said they need to avoid becoming targets for violence. He admitted the buses often get unruly.
“Any time you get on the X2, you get a show,” he said. “At night, you’re going to get a real show. If you want some action, you ride the X2 at night.”
Kathy Henderson, the chairwoman of ANC 5D, described trouble with passengers.
“They curse the bus driver out. Sometimes it can be a wild card, an experience that really is stressful for everyone,” she said.
As plans falter for the H Street/Benning Road streetcar, the thoroughfare’s main mode of transportation has been in the spotlight. Frozen Tropics and The Washington Post recently gathered 24 tweets about life aboard the bus, describing everything from a woman going into labor to a rider trying to pay his fare in sunflower seeds.
Henderson described the meeting as a “good first step” in working with WMATA to improve service on the X2 and X8 lines. WMATA officials agreed to another community meeting, a commitment Henderson said she appreciated.
“We want to have a dialogue that results in an effective empowerment of this community and long-term improvement,” she said.
(Updated at 7:25 p.m.) A man was shot to death by a Metro Transit Police officer last night in a tunnel near the Potomac Avenue station, and as of this afternoon no information has been released on what preceded the shooting or whether the man was armed.
A female officer fired multiple shots at the man about 9:10 p.m., Transit Police said in a statement. The man, whom police identified as 35-year-old Bobby Gross, was not authorized to be in the tunnel.
“A responding MTPD officer encountered a male subject in the westbound tunnel approximately 400 feet east of Potomac Avenue Station,” a statement from Transit Police said. “During that encounter, the MTPD officer discharged her department-issued service weapon, resulting in fatal injuries to the male subject.”
No information on whether the man was armed or what kind of interaction occurred before the shooting had been released as of 2:45 p.m.
The incident began when a train operator reported at about 8:50 p.m. seeing a person in the tunnel between the Stadium-Armory and Potomac Avenue stations.
Metro cut power to the tracks at 8:52 p.m. and dispatched Transit police at 8:53 p.m., Transit Police said. The first officers arrived on the scene four minutes later and began investigating the tunnels.
The officer shot the man during an “encounter,” Transit Police said without elaborating. The man was pronounced dead on the scene, officials said.
The man was partially clothed, the Metropolitan Police Department said in a statement this afternoon.
The name of the officer, who has more than 10 years of service, has not been released. She has been put on paid administrative leave during the review of the use of force, as is standard police protocol.
The station reopened this morning. A roll of yellow “Do Not Cross” tape placed on the escalators was the only indication of an event.
The shooting remains under investigation, Transit Police said. Anyone who witnessed the incident or may have seen the man in or near the Potomac Avenue station or nearby stations is asked to call the MPD at 202-727-9099 or Transit Police at 301-955-5000.
Transit Police investigated a separate incident in Hill East earlier this week, when a man jumped onto the tracks of the Stadium-Armory station Wednesday afternoon.