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Morning Notes

by ARLnow.com June 18, 2012 at 8:45 am 4,297 72 Comments

Rush Plus Starts Today — This morning marks the start of Metro’s “Rush Plus” modified rush hour rail service. So far, via Twitter, numerous problems and crowded trains have been reported on the Blue Line. Initial reviews have been mixed on the Orange and Yellow lines.

Hearing Set for Pike Neighborhoods Plan — A public hearing about the new Columbia Pike Neighborhoods Plan will be held on Saturday, July 21. The plan envisions the addition of 6,000 new rental apartments (to the existing stock of 9,000 apartments) along the Columbia Pike corridor over the next 30 years. Arlington County says the goal of the plan is to “Preserve affordable housing… encourage private investment… create a more pedestrian-friendly community… [and] strengthen the Pike corridor’s transit network.” [Washington Post, Arlington County]

Streetcar Agreement Approved — The Arlington County Board and the Alexandria City Council have approved an agreement to move forward on a plan to build a streetcar along the Route 1 corridor. The streetcar line could open in Crystal City as soon as 2019. [NBC Washington]

Second Phase of Crystal City Road Project Approved — The second phase of a major road project in Crystal City has been approved by the Arlington County Board. The project will convert Crystal Drive to a two-way road between 23rd Street and 26th Street. The project includes bicycle lanes, new traffic signals and street lighting, intersection improvements and ADA-compliant curb ramps and sidewalks. [Arlington County]

Fourth Name on 8th District Ballot — Independent Jason Howell has qualified for the 8th District congressional race. Howell joins incumbent Democratic Rep. Jim Moran, Republican Patrick Murray (R) and Independent Green candidate Janet Murphy on the Nov. 6 ballot. [Sun Gazette]

  • NrNy2ArlVa

    Looks like “Rush Plus should have been called “Crush Plus”

  • JohnB2

    My commute seemed typical today. Trains were bunched up coming into Ballston (2 within sight of each other, then 8 mins til the next one) and we got stacked up before Rosslyn waiting for blue line trains (so the conductor told us). The train didn’t seem any less crowded for a Monday. I’ll give it the week to pass judgment though.

    • Tabby_TwoTone

      My childhood was typical, summers in Rangoon, luge lessons. In the spring we’d make meat helmets. When I was insolent I was placed in a burlap bag and beaten with reeds. Pretty standard really.

      • Josh S

        If you invented this yourself, I like.

        If you’re simply quoting from a movie or the like, then two thumbs down.

        • Dr. Evil


  • Josh S

    Yeah, it’s definitely gonna take a week or two before we can tell if it’s helping.

    I wonder how Metro enforces their schedule? Like, if a train operator is late, does he suffer at all?

    Cause otherwise, how do you end up with train bunching between Vienna and Rosslyn? Is that built into the schedule? If so, why?

    • drax

      What, Josh, you think the operators driving too slowly is the cause of backups?

      • Josh S

        I don’t know. Or not leaving on time? This is certainly a problem with buses. I sometimes take the 16Y home from where the bus originates on McPherson Square and it’s like these people have no clue what the schedule is.

        With the trains, I guess I’d give ’em more leeway what with 18 (or more) doorways at which passengers can make mistakes / slow things down at each stop.

        But I often think about the Japanese and Swiss (and German) train systems and how incredibly punctual they supposedly are. How do they do it? I would expect that at least part of it is a greater sense of responsibility on the part of the average train operator to maintain the schedule.

        • Ben

          The metro was a lot more punctual when it was on automated control.

          You could actually look up online at the schedule and be able to figure out when trains would be there. Not so much anymore.

        • South Awwlington

          Until we add to the tunnel and track infrastructure, we are going to bunching of equipment and delays.

          You think it’s bad now, wait until the Silver Line commeth…

          • Metro rider

            The Silver Line will take the place of some of those extra Orange Line trains. There shouldn’t be extra train traffic through the Rosslyn tunnel beyond what there is now (this week). Rush Plus is partly designed to prepare for the addition of Silver Line trains, by removing some of the Blue Line rush hour trains through Rosslyn.

          • South Awwlington

            So the same tunnel will accommodate the addition of the Silver Line, the Orange Redux (when silver starts) and what’s left of the blue?

            Yeah right…and if you knew enough to post that comment (ie transportation employee or geek), you know an additional crossing is needed and has been for years.

            Nice to see someone paying attention though.

          • Justin Russo

            You might as well give up on this. Another river crossing ain’t gonna happen in our lifetimes.

          • JohnB2

            Some of the Metro plans over the years have split off the Blue and Orange into separate tunnels, here’s an example: http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/790/what-wmata-is-really-suggesting/

          • South Awwlington

            @Justin and JohnB –

            For some reason, METRORAIL to Pennsylvania is sexier to METRO Planning folks than increased core capacity.

            I guess while it is needed, it’s no where near as exciting as “new service.”

            Have you ever tried to transfer from Red to Yellow during evening rush?

            How long until someone is knocked off the platform and on to the tracks and killed?

        • drax

          Josh, really? What are they supposed to do? Go faster? It’s like saying you’re responsible for being stuck in traffic. You can’t go any faster than the train in front of you.

          Those other countries train systems are probably more punctual because they spend more money making sure their capacity is adequate.

          • Ballstonian

            I think that’s why he asked the question in the first place. If its something that can’t be helped, then it can’t be helped. But if there are certain people who, for whatever reason, aren’t properly doing their job, then maybe there’s something that can be done to improve it.

          • Ballstonian

            Put another way, I’m curious as to whether the schedule for Orange Line heading in this morning was designed to have 7 minutes between trains followed by 1 minute between trains, and if not, why there was the spacing and then bunching. If its designed that way (probably to allow Blues to cross over in between), or things just get backed up, then that’s one thing. But if a conductor is dawdling, and its causing bunching/spacing, that’s another thing.

          • Strato

            I would also like to know why we sat at Court House for about 5 minutes for a “schedule adjustment”, only to have to then wait outside of Rosslyn because a train was on the platform ahead.

            If you pause a train to get it on schedule, shouldn’t that mean the road is open ahead?

          • speonjosh


            To be honest, I think it’s actually scheduling. Cause you see the same pattern even as far out as EFC. Also, you see the pattern day in and day out, which leads me to conclude it’s scheduling.

            So – can anyone explain why you would schedule two trains within two minutes of each other and then wait 6 or 7 minutes for the next one, in rush hour?

            Cause I thought I had learned somewhere along the line that the switch at Rosslyn can cycle from OL to BL in 90 seconds. So why do you need such a huge gap btwn OL trains?

          • drax

            But how could anything a driver does slow the train that much?

            Are they too lazy to close to doors fast enough? They aren’t going full-speed? (Until recently, they weren’t even driving at all, it was all computer-controlled.)

            I don’t see how the operators could possibly be doing anything that would significantly slow the system. Sure, they can screw up alot of things, but not this.

          • Ballstonian

            Again, Im not sure what the reason is or if its deliberatately built in to the schedule.

            But, there are a lot of stops on the Orange line, so if you build in repeated minor overstays (or slowness, I dont know how much control they have in that regard), over the course of several hours, it could add up.

          • JohnB2

            It’s probably like the busses people here complain about on the Pike. If the lead Orange train is delayed by people being stupid with the doors, the one behind it catches up eventually. Should the second train slow up to put more space in between them, further delaying the official schedule? Or should we have two trains within sight of each other?

          • drax


            Do you really see operators keeping the doors open too long? I don’t see this as a major source of slowness.

          • JohnB2

            I don’t think they’re purposely keeping the doors open too long, more that idiots keep trying to jam in and then end up either blocking or leaning on the doors. That causes the annoying reminder lady to get fired up while the train stands there longer than the operator planned.

            With 7 stops between Vienna and Rosslyn, even 15 seconds per stop of idiocy means an almost 2 minute delay by the time reaches Rosslyn.

            Meanwhile, the train behind it ends up being much less crowded and doesn’t need to deal with 15 seconds of delays per stop and therefore starts to close the distance.

  • barry2

    If the Pike Revitalization is so great why are residential neighborhoods in the Pike corridor opposing it?

    • Josh S

      Because people don’t liike change?

    • G Clifford Prout (now moderated for extra purity)

      Not opposing development at all. Just questioning some silly things they have included that make little sense.

  • KalashniKEV

    “The county hopes to preserve 4,500 of them as affordable housing.”

    4500 Section 8 families??!?! Why on earth would they want to do that??

    “The Columbia Pike housing plan is aiming for denser, pedestrian- and transit-oriented neighborhoods with more VIBRANT commercial and office uses…”

    Ahhh, VIBRANCY strikes again!

    • Josh S

      A little education would do you good.

      Affordable housing, in this case, does not equal Section 8.

      • Arlingtonian

        He seems to lump together affordable housing, Section 8, thugs, art fans, cyclists, and wrong thinkers into one great big undesirable mass.

        • Church Lady

          Don’t forget the homeless.

          • Ren

            Don’t you mean?…

            “Don’t forget…hmm, now who was it I had mind, oh, I don’t know…the HOMELESS!!!!!!”

            “Yes, Church Lady…”

        • South Awwlington

          How much affordable housing can we purchase for one Artisphere and one black box theater?

          • Bluemontsince1961

            Probably a fair amount.

          • Mc

            Not much. the County spends $50 million a year on affordable housing, and spends arounds $2 million on arts. It wants to spend $72 million on the new Long Branch swimming pool.

  • BangBrahs

    Dude rush doesn’t start til September.

    • v true, brah. so stoked for some new pledges.

    • Mary-Austin

      Dude you went to George Mason.
      Definitely not a true bro.

      • WeiQiang

        Don’t harsh on the Patriots, brah

      • BangBrahs

        Mason has frats, GDI.

        • Prefontaine

          Being in a frat at Mason is as bout as close to a real frat experience as little league baseball is to the Majors.

  • Ryan

    I took the Blue Line in from Crystal City this morning. Everything seemed exactly the same, but I think I got on a train that was 6 minutes behind another one.

    It’s this afternoon that I’m worried about. I get on the blue line at Farragut West a few minutes after 5 and it’s often completely jam packed.

  • Juanita de Talmas

    My Orange Line train from Rosslyn going toward Vienna seemed a bit more crowded than usual. But like the others above said, I’ll give it a week or two before I pass judgement.

    • drax

      Wait – people on ArlNow waiting to pass judgement on something?

      People are routinely declared guilty of murder or the police or County Board convicted of corruption within hours here with nothing but a preliminary, short new story to go on, but everyone wants to wait a week to judge Metro’s new schedule?

      • arlnow Reader

        Yes, we all learned our lesson after the elderly bicyclist hits elderly pedestrian fiasco.

        • drax

          Not everyone.

          • Opie

            Especially the guy who lied about the victim having Alzheimer’s.

          • South Awwlington


          • SomeGuy

            Opie, by “guy,” I presume you’re referring to the person operating under a female name here? http://www.arlnow.com/2012/06/11/woman-seriously-injured-after-being-hit-by-cyclist/#comment-175025

            And by “lied about,” you probably mean that he/she echoed what another source allegedly reported.

            And by “especially,” I’ll assume you thought that an apparent misreporting of the facts by another news source was more egregious than jumps to conclusions based on blatant and admitted bias by the other commenters.

          • Opie

            There was no other source.

          • Crampton

            And the “hearing loss” folks.

  • Pike

    2019 until the street car? How does it take that long to lay some track and put some power lines up?

    • drax

      Perhaps, just perhaps, there is more to this project than that. And you could, like, go look it up instead of assuming.

      • South Awwlington

        Like a wider bridge over Four Mile Run…

        • FrenchyB

          I think there’s excess bridge space on Potomac Ave.

          • South Awwlington

            Over my head…??

          • drax

            Very old and possibly crumbling bridge space though. Might not be viable as a crossing for the trains, or in the right alignment.

    • Vicente Fox

      Look at DC. They have laid the track AND have the streetcars, and they still haven’t started running the things.

  • South Awwlington

    According to Rush+, yellow line termini are now Fort Totten and Greenbelt…

    so why was I on a yellow train to Mt Vernon???

    • Bad Jokes

      I think that the train operator announcing that, “You have now entered the Twilight Zone” would have been enough of a clue…….

      • South Awwlington


  • WeiQiang

    In other news, my eight block commute to Crys City was uneventful … except that I left my passenger side window open in my car last night – in the rain.

    and not incidentally, both Crystal Drive 2-way conversions [12th-15th and 23rd-26th] are in front of my works sites, so I’ll get all the road projectainment I can handle.

    • Southeast Jerome

      You drive eight blocks? Girl, you be way lazy.

  • South Awwlington

    Someone please tell me you heard the comment from Saturday’s Board meeting that went something like “when will Arlington support potty parity for Rupual?”

    True Story.

    • Freddie

      We have it at Freddie’s. Three potties, no waiting.

      • South Awwlington

        🙂 Hearing Ru’s name invoked at the ACB meeting = Priceless.

  • brian

    why the picture of rosslyn. which article did it match up to? i don’t see the connection

    • Aaron

      How hard is it to ban comments by IP address? It seems like it would be relatively easy to stop all the GD “da picture dont look like da thing” posts with just a couple quick strikes of the banhammer.

  • Dr_Klahn

    Is that woman on the way to her clown job?

    • Lady Haha

      …asking questions of Bryce Harper.

  • Ballston Resident

    I have made my first observation about the results of Rush+. More trains running on the Orange Line means more breakdowns, and delays for broken down trains.


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