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Morning Poll: Metro Fare Hikes

by ARLnow.com | December 5, 2013 at 9:55 am | 891 views | No Comments

Money (file photo)Will a new round of Metro fare hikes convince more commuters to drive?

Metro General Manager Richard Sarles’ budget calls for bus fares to increase by 15 cents, Metrorail fares to increase by 10 cents, and parking fees to increase by 25 cents. Will that lead to significantly more commuters hitting the road in cars? Probably not, says AAA Mid-Antic.”

“Even with a three percent average increase, area commuters will still save by using public transit after doing the math,” said John B. Townsend II, AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Manager of Public and Government Affairs. “After adding up the costs of driving and parking, commuters will often find that public transit is a more economical way to get to work and stick with Metro.”

For instance, AAA says a commuter who drives to work in downtown D.C. from Alexandria pays about $500 per month in vehicle costs, gas and parking. Someone who parks and rides from the Huntington Metro station will pay about $330 per month after the fare hike.

Will the new Metro fare hikes convince you to drive rather than taking public transportation?
 

Temporary Closure on Portion of Four Mile Run Trail

by Katie Pyzyk | November 26, 2013 at 9:45 am | 778 views | No Comments

Four Mile Run trail detour (map via Northern Virginia Regional Commission)A section of the Four Mile Run trail along the Arlington-Alexandria border will be closed periodically until the spring, starting next Monday, December 2.

A portion of the trail near the junction with the Mt. Vernon Trail will close during the day in order to demolish a bridge overhead. Closures will be in place from 5:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays, and 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Saturdays. The trail will be open on Sundays.

The Northern Virginia Regional Commission (NVRC) notes that a detour will be in place for ADA compliance, but it may not be the best option for some trail users, such as bikers. The detour diverts traffic off of the trail and onto the west sidewalk of Jefferson Davis Highway, then across the highway at the S. Glebe Road signal. Those using the detour can reconnect with the trail farther east via new switchback ramps.

The closure and detour should be in place for about six months. Updates will be available via the NVRC website and on the BikeArlington blog.

Cracked Rail Causing Orange Line Delays

by Katie Pyzyk | November 13, 2013 at 12:00 pm | 936 views | No Comments

Metro logo on an Orange Line stationUpdate at 12:30 p.m. — WMATA reports that repairs are complete and trains are no longer single tracking between East Falls Church and Ballston, but residual delays continue in both directions.

Earlier: It’s been a rough morning for Metrorail. First, a dangling cable prompted major delays on the Red Line, and now a cracked rail is causing minor delays on the Orange Line.

The cracked rail is on the inbound track of the Orange Line between East Falls Church and Ballston. Repairs are underway and are expected to be completed before the evening rush hour.

While repairs continue, trains will be single tracking between East Falls Church and Ballston. According to WMATA spokesman Dan Stessel, right now there are only delays of about five minutes because trains are currently operating on an off-peak schedule.

The cracked rail is reportedly “almost certainly” the result of the recent temperature drop. Stessel explained that because metal expands and contracts with temperature fluctuations, over time that can cause cracks in the rails.

Yellow Line to Shut Down This Weekend

by ARLnow.com | November 12, 2013 at 1:25 pm | 772 views | No Comments

Pentagon City Metro stationArlington residents who take the Yellow Line to and from the District will have to take the Blue Line instead.

Metrorail service on the Yellow Line will be suspended from 10:00 p.m. Friday through system closing on Sunday, to allow the annual safety inspection of the Yellow Line bridge over the Potomac River.

Yellow Line riders in Virginia are instead advised to take the Blue Line, which will run at normal weekend intervals.

Orange Line riders, meanwhile, will be subject to delays this weekend. Orange Line trains will run every 20 minutes, starting Friday night at 10:00, due to track work and platform reconstruction at the Minnesota Avenue and Deanwood stations.

Veterans Day Weekend Track Work on Metro

by Katie Pyzyk | November 7, 2013 at 4:05 pm | 581 views | No Comments

metro2Leave some extra time if you plan to use Metro this Veterans Day weekend, because there will be longer than usual intervals between trains.

Orange, Yellow and Blue Line trains will all arrive every 20 minutes, beginning at 10:00 p.m. on Friday, November 8, and continuing through closing on Monday, November 11. All Yellow Line trains will run only between Huntington and Mt. Vernon Square.

The system opens at 5:00 a.m. on Monday and will close at midnight. Additional trains will operate on Monday between Vienna and Stadium-Armory from 6:30-9:30 a.m. and 3:30-6:30 p.m.

Crews working on the Yellow and Blue Lines will improve track infrastructure, including installation of new ties, fasteners, insulators, grout pads and cover boards. Orange Line workers will reconstruct station platforms at Minnesota Avenue and Deanwood stations, as well as performing tie renewal, insulator renewal and structural improvements.

More information about weekend schedule alterations throughout the Metro system can be found on the WMATA website.

NPR Profiles Arlington’s Smart Growth Policies

by Ethan Rothstein | October 24, 2013 at 12:00 pm | 1,325 views | No Comments

Clarendon Metro stationNational Public Radio kicked off a nationwide series on commuting Thursday morning with a lengthy profile of Arlington’s transit system on Morning Edition, saying the county “sets the bar for suburban transit.”

Morning Edition host David Greene interviewed former Arlington County Board member Jay Ricks, who was on the Board when it decided to build the Orange and Blue Metro stations underground, spurring the eventual urban development around each station.

Greene, reporting from the Ballston Metro Station, interviewed commuters and Robert Brosnan, the director of the county Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development.

Greene noted that because of the Metro’s appeal, housing prices have skyrocketed — which is forcing out some of the county’s lower-income workers. Additionally, Greene reported, the county’s reliance on Metro means that a train or track malfunction during the commute affects thousands of Arlington residents simultaneously.

Rosslyn Skybridge Escalator to Close

by Ethan Rothstein | October 10, 2013 at 2:50 pm | 737 views | No Comments

Rosslyn Metro construction noticeThe escalator from the Rosslyn Metro Station to the pedestrian skybridges will close Monday night for a six month renovation project.

The north entrance to the station — the side that includes the skybridge escalator — will also be closed while WMATA starts Phase 1 of its renovation of the Rosslyn station.

“The bridges themselves are going to stay open, but the access to the escalator will be closed off,” said WMATA’s site supervisor, who declined to give his name.

One alternate way to reach the skybridges is via a staircase between N. Moore and Lynn Street, next to the new Rosslyn Metro elevator entrance.

Escalator at Rosslyn metro stationThe renovations are expected to take until April to complete. During that time the two up-and-down escalators will be replaced with staircase. Also, a connection to the new skyscraper next door, 1812 N. Moore Street, will be built, the official said.

The escalator removal is taking place despite earlier objections from the North Rosslyn Civic Association, which called the escalators “the only assistance provided to residents in negotiating the tremendous change in elevation between the center of Rosslyn and the adjacent community to the West.”

The removal of the escalators is necessary to make way for a new Arlington Commuter Store.

After Phase 1 is finished, the north side of the station will reopen and the south side will close for construction, the supervisor said. Phase 3 will be renovations to the N. Ft. Myer Drive entrance.

This weekend, the sidewalk that runs along the 1812 N. Moore project, north of the station, will reopen, and the temporary pedestrian walkway that juts into the street will close.

Rosslyn Metro Entrance Opens to the Public

by Ethan Rothstein | October 7, 2013 at 11:45 am | 1,857 views | No Comments

The new entrance and elevators to the Rosslyn Metro Station are now open.

Across N. Moore Street from the main entrance, three high-speed, high-capacity elevators are ready to take on passengers. This morning, as a rainstorm rolled in, Arlington County Board Chairman Walter Tejada, County Board member and Metro Board member Mary Hynes, and Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) spoke at the project’s unveiling.

“What a wonderful improvement for the people who work here,” Hynes said. “It’s a big safety improvement, and it’s 20 seconds on the elevator compared to two and a half minutes on the escalator.”

Besides the elevators, the construction also includes a new station manager kiosk, new pay stations, an emergency stairwell and a connecting passageway. County officials say the changes will improve passenger flow. The county paid 42.2 percent of the project’s $49.9 million cost; the rest of the funding came from a mix of other governmental and private sources.

“It is a symbol of this community’s and our partners’ hard work, and another amenity for one of America’s preeminent places to live, visit and do business,” Tejada said.

The Rosslyn Metro Station serves almost 30,000 riders per day, according to WMATA, and ridership is expected to only increase when the Silver Line opens.

The project’s completion doesn’t mean the end of the daily construction activity Rosslyn residents and office dwellers have gotten used to. Construction will continue in the area around the Metro station as 1812 N. Moore Street, the new skyscraper being built adjacent to the Metro stop, nears completion.

Major Delays Reported on Orange Line

by ARLnow.com | September 30, 2013 at 8:45 am | 1,317 views | No Comments

Clarendon Metro signMajor delays are being reported this morning on the Orange Line.

The Metrorail Twitter account suggests several problems are plaguing the Orange Line this morning, including a switch problem at West Falls Church and disabled trains at Dunn Lorning and Metro Center. Inbound Orange Line trains were also offloaded at Clarendon and East Falls Church to return to Vienna for service, Metro said.

On Twitter, passengers have been reporting long waits on both the Orange and Blue lines.

WMATA Considering Eliminating Bus From Rosslyn to Dulles

by Ethan Rothstein | September 19, 2013 at 5:00 pm | 2,159 views | No Comments

Metrobus 5A to Dulles from RosslynWith Metro’s Silver Line soon to open, WMATA is considering eliminating a Metrobus route that stops in Rosslyn on the way to Dulles International Airport.

The agency held a public hearing this week on changes to dozens of bus routes, during which it presented three options for the future of the 5A route: eliminating it completely, only running it between Dulles and the Wiehle-Reston East Metro stop (the end of the Silver Line when it opens in early 2014), or only running it before and after Metrorail’s hours.

Rob Stern, an Arlington-based vacation planner, spoke out against the proposed changes to bus service at the public hearing Tuesday night.

“Metrobus 5A provides fast, affordable transportation for local residents, visitors, students, airport employees and commuters,” he said in an email. “Alternatives like the Washington Flyer and the Fairfax Connector would require a change and paying an additional fare, as well as taking more travel time. This is a burden for those with heavy baggage, and in bad weather. Taxi service from the airport can cost $60, 10 times more than the 5A’s $6 one-way fare.”

“The heavy use of both the Orange line and Silver line rail service at evening rush hour would make the rail option difficult for many travelers, as Dulles Airport’s peak travel time is in the evenings,” he continued. “As a travel agent I mentioned that many of my clients choose the airport to fly from based on ease of access, and while Washington National Airport has direct rail service, and BWI Airport has both Marc Train and Express Metro Bus Service, on the B30, this change would put Dulles Airport at a competitive disadvantage. ”

Those interested in giving input to WMATA’s community outreach can fill out a survey by Tuesday, Sept. 24 at 5:00 p.m. After the public comment period closes, the WMATA Board Customer Service and Operations Committee will consider the feedback and proposed changes at their meeting in November, according to WMATA spokeswoman Morgan Dye.

If any of the options are approved, they would go into affect soon after the Silver Line opens, which is expected January or early February 2014. Phase 2 of the Dulles Corridor Metro Rail Project, which will extend the Silver Line to the airport and beyond, is not expected to be completed until July 2018.

The changes to the 5A route were first proposed by the District Department of Transportation.

Orange Line Delays This Weekend, More to Follow

by Ethan Rothstein | September 19, 2013 at 12:00 pm | 762 views | No Comments

Clarendon Metro stationOrange Line Metro riders will have to wait 24 minutes between trains this weekend.

The delays, which begin at 10:00 p.m. Friday and continue until closing at midnight Sunday, are again results of platform work between at the Deanwood and Minnesota Avenue stations in Prince George’s County, Md., and track work between Stadium-Armory and Cheverly.

This will be the fourth consecutive weekend customers on the Orange Line will have their service affected. Last weekend, trains ran every 20 minutes from Friday night to Sunday on the Orange Line. The weekend before, all stations from Vienna to East Falls Church were closed entirely, with buses running in between. Labor Day Weekend before that saw the Orange Line run every 24 minutes, even on the holiday.

Riders should also expect delays the weekend of Sept. 27-29, according to WMATA spokesman Dan Stessel. The weekend of Oct. 4-6 is expected to be delay-free.

“This is the level of intensity that Red Line riders have been experiencing for the past two years,” Stessel wrote in an email. “The rebuilding effort on Orange/Blue is now ramping up. Green/Yellow will follow.”

The Blue and Yellow Lines will have normal service this weekend.

DCA, Crystal City Metro Stations to Close this Weekend

by Katie Pyzyk | September 11, 2013 at 4:00 pm | 796 views | No Comments

metro2(Updated at 4:10 p.m.) Work on the Metrorail system this weekend will affect all of the lines that travel through Arlington, including shutting down the Reagan National Airport and Crystal City stations. Disruptions begin at 10:00 p.m. on Friday, September 13, and continue through closing on Sunday, September 15.

Blue line trains will operate at regular weekend intervals (every 12 minutes during daytime hours, and every 15-20 minutes at other times) in two segments: between Largo Town Center and Pentagon City, and between Franconia-Springfield and Braddock Road. Yellow Line trains will also operate at normal weekend intervals in two segments: between Mt. Vernon Sauare and Pentagon City, and between Huntington and Braddock Road.

Customers on the Blue and Yellow lines will need to take free shuttle buses between Pentagon City and Braddock Road while the two stations are closed. Express buses will operate non-stop between Braddock Road and Pentagon City. Customers should add up to 15 minutes of travel time. Local buses will operate between Braddock Road and Pentagon City, making intermediate stops at Reagan National Airport and Crystal City stations. Customers should add up to 20 minutes of travel time.

Riders should note that there are also alterations to the times for final trains. The last Yellow Line train from Huntington to Braddock Road will depart 22 minutes earlier than normal to allow for shuttle bus connections. It will depart at 2:12 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights, and at 11:12 p.m. on Sunday. The last Blue Line train from Franconia-Springfield to Braddock Road will also depart 22 minutes earlier, at 2:07 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights and at 11:07 p.m. on Sunday.

WMATA says the closures are due to crews replacing junction boxes and performing various maintenance and rehabilitation tasks.

Due to work in the District, customers riding the Orange Line this weekend should expect trains to come at 20 minute intervals.

More information about all of the work on the Metrorail system this weekend can be found on WMATA’s website.

Rosslyn Metro Entrance To Open Oct. 6

by Ethan Rothstein | September 10, 2013 at 1:30 pm | 2,113 views | No Comments

New Rosslyn Metro station entranceThe Rosslyn Metro Station’s new entrance is expected to open to passengers on Sunday, Oct. 6.

The new $32.6 million facility, on the opposite side of N. Moore Street from the current entrance, will feature three high-speed, high-capacity elevators.

The entrance will be able to serve up to 2,000 riders per hour, according to Arlington’s Dept. of Environmental Services. Officials have said that they hope the entrance will help keep pace with the station’s soaring ridership, which has increased 23 percent in the past decade and is expected to increase even more with new office and residential development in the area.

Arlington County will be holding a grand opening ceremony for the new entrance — at 1811 N. Moore Street — on Monday, Oct. 7 at 9:30 a.m. The event will feature members of the County Board and will be open to the public.

In addition to the elevators, the station improvements include an emergency evacuation stairwell, a mezzanine passageway, a new station manager kiosk and new fare collection equipment. The Rosslyn Metrorail station is the busiest in Virginia, servicing more than 36,000 passengers per day, according to DES.

Orange Line Closed West of Ballston This Weekend

by Ethan Rothstein | September 5, 2013 at 4:30 pm | 641 views | No Comments

Metro logo on an Orange Line stationBuses will replace trains between Ballston and Vienna this weekend on the Orange Line.

Starting at 10:00 p.m. Friday and continuing until closing Sunday, East Falls Church and points west will not have Metrorail service.

An express bus will travel from Ballston to Vienna and add approximately 25 minutes of travel time. Local buses will stop at East Falls Church, West Falls Church, Dunn Loring and Vienna, taking approximately 15 minutes between each stop.

The station closures will allow track maintenance and signal system testing in preparation for the opening of the Silver Line.

Fewer Trains on the Orange Line This Weekend

by ARLnow.com | August 30, 2013 at 9:45 am | 406 views | No Comments

Metro logo on an Orange Line stationConstruction, maintenance and testing will result in longer wait times for Orange Line trains during the long Labor Day weekend.

Trains on the Orange Line will run every 24 minutes from 10:00 p.m. tonight (Friday) through system closing on Monday. The normal interval is every 12-20 minutes.

WMATA says the delays are necessary in order to facilitate various improvement projects.

“Crews will continue platform reconstruction work at Deanwood and Minnesota Ave stations, as well as track maintenance, fastener renewal, and grout pad rehabilitation between Stadium-Armory and Cheverly,” the agency said. “In addition, signal system testing will continue for the new Silver Line.”

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