(I’ll preface this by saying that I’ve only lived within the parameters of the Ballston-Rosslyn corridor, so if what I’m saying doesn’t make sense, please feel free to take me to school.)
I’m not quite sure how I feel about this one. I admit that it would make things more convenient for those who live on the western end of Ballston or the northeastern reaches of Bluemont, but is that really enough to justify dropping a combined $75 million on the project? Sure, a more convenient entrance might inspire more people to start using the Metro to get to where they need to go, but I’m wondering what the ramifications of that would be. I’m assuming there won’t be a garage component; anyone looking to get in from, say, the further reaches of Bluemont, Westover, Boulevard Manor or Glencarlyn would probably be better off looking into a bus route. Would said bus drop them off at the main bay over by the existing entrance?
I lived in Ballston for two years and was a regular (5+ round trips per week) Metro rider. It can get pretty crowded, but not much more so than, say, Courthouse, which has three entrances. I’m not sure what the endgame is--I wonder if the county board aims to increase ridership, or simply make it easier for those who already ride. Seems to me that it could create an extra burden on the rail system. From my firsthand experience, a train toward New Carrollton in the morning rush is already pretty well occupied by the time it gets to Ballston from everyone who comes in at the stations toward the western terminus of the Orange Line. Granted, some of that might ease up once the Silver Line gets put into place and those who boarded at points farther west can switch trains at the transfer point in Falls Church, but the last time I checked, even a 2014 opening was looking somewhat dubious. I don’t know, I just feel as though there are a lot of variables in this equation.
In closing, at least it’s not a gondola from Rosslyn to Georgetown like some yutz on Greater Greater Washington proposed awhile back…
Well stated, Tom. And I can only imagine how crowded the Orange/Silver rails will be. We used to get on at Courthouse and it was pretty horrendous much of the time, not necessarily because of the entrances, but the size of the platform when compared with the number of riders.
But don’t you dare disparage the gondola! I won’t have it! It would be a delight.
I for one think it will increase ridership. I would probably be 50/50 (and 95/5 if it was raining) on driving vs taking the train if I worked at Marymount, or 1110 Glebe, or the GWU and VT buildings present day. Think about what would happen to clarendon station turnstile counts if there was a second entrance where the Hess station is? It would be silly because it would be so close to the Virginia Square entrance, but the entire neighborhood behind mario’s would benefit and I bet a few of those residents jump on the train instead of driving to work. And, lets be honest, the county is gonna take plenty of our money – $75 mil for a new train entrance is a way better way to spend it than dog parks with fountains the dogs can’t use, or speed humps, or the turd polishing sweet sweepers that just seem to kick up all the pebbles from our crumbling asphalt.
Thanks, Hank! The platform size is a good point, too--at least Ballston isn’t an island platform. Courthouse can be quite a mess some days (secondhand reports from my roommate--I walk to work now). As far as Ballston is concerned, I’m very curious how many riders would be using that Vienna-bound platform, though, if a new entrance were to be added. I may be missing the point, though…
Bahaha the gondola crack was an afterthought. Cool, yes, but it’s a pretty short walk across the Key bridge. (Which I guess that wouldn’t matter much if you weren’t able to walk--or simply lazy, as is my case some of the time.) Sidenote: the word “disparage” will forever remind me of the Simpsons episode where Bart gets charged with fraud in Australia and they kick him in the butt with a giant boot. “Please, Mr. Simpson! Disparaging the boot is a bootable offense; it’s one of their proudest traditions!” Sheer, purest genius.
Rick, you make one hell of a good point, especially in the case of rain. Admittedly, I’m more comfortable knowing my parking tickets will go to a project like this, as opposed to a dog park in which the paving erodes the pads off their paws.
The additional entrance also adds elevator redundancy and speeds evacuation in event of an emergency.
Technically all of this money is from the additional Sales Tax you’ve been paying since July 1st and not parking tickets, etc.
The new entrance would be accessible from both platforms. It is just at the other end of the platforms from the existing entrance.
Ahh, but that also means more elevators to be broken down constantly even taking up more of the train arrival display time.
I like the idea. If ridership increases by a significant amount, hopefully Metro can put the extra revenue into more trains (and shorter wait times). I think more people on Metro is generally a good thing long-term- certainly better than more cars on the road.
Not to mention the scads of homeless smokers an additional entrance will attract.
Sorry to foul your post, Tom.
@NS wrote “Ahh, but that also means more elevators to be broken down constantly even taking up more of the train arrival display time.”
In all honesty, I can’t make heads or tails of the logic behind this statement, and it makes no sense to me. NS could you provide some explanation of how adding an additional entrance relates to both your points?
Dezlboy: Do you live in the DC area? Do you ever take metro? If you did, you’d know what a disaster the elevators are and how they are constantly broken down. You’d also know that train arrival displays are dominated by the elevators being broken announcements and spend only a fraction of the time displaying train arrival times.
Chris, an excellent points regarding evacuation and accessibility. I, for one, thoroughly enjoy having an entrance at both sides at stops like Columbia Heights and McPherson Square (although neither are in Arlington) because that availability can make things slightly more convenient if I’m in a rush or inclement weather. Sidenote: sometimes I’ve noticed that they lock up one of the entrances at Farragut West during weekend hours (possibly off-peak as well, but can’t confirm based on firsthand observation) and am wondering if that’ll be standard practice in Ballston if the new side doesn’t get much foot traffic outside of peak hours. Only time will tell, I suppose.
Andy, I also like the idea of less cars on the road. Unless it’s absolutely necessary to drive, I’d rather take the Metro. I just hope the work WMATA is doing to repair the system can support the additional riders--looking forward to seeing some of those 7000 series railcars!
I really wish WMATA would put elevator outages on a second PID, though, even if it did require stumbling upon a hidden cache of funds. Granted, I have an iPhone app that tells me train wait times now, but I used to hate waiting for the elevator outages at L’Enfant/Woodley Park/Bethesda to scroll across the screen so I could find out how long it’d take for a train to arrive in Ballston station. While localized elevator outages for individual lines wouldn’t help for on-the-stop trip planning, it certainly might behoove us to know which elevators were out while above ground, before one entered the Metro system. (Especially if one were disabled and could really benefit from knowing that before s/he gets into the system.) Which, I suppose, would open up a whole host of criticisms, like what to do when some jerkoff decides to break the PID above ground. I guess the jury’s still out on that one.
@NS wrote, “Dezlboy: Do you live in the DC area? Do you ever take metro? If so, you would know…..”
Yes, I live in the metro area, and yes, I take the metro. Note, I was not disputing your statement, just didn’t understand it. Your reply, as accusatory as it was, did explain what your original statement meant, and I now understand it. For that thanks, for your other “stuff” no thanks.
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