‘Next Generation’ Metro Plan Includes New Stations, Tunnels

by ARLnow.com January 24, 2013 at 3:30 pm 2,871 76 Comments

Illustrations of capital improvements proposed by Metro

A long-range strategic plan for Metro, released today, includes the possibility of two new stations in Arlington, a new tunnel from Rosslyn to Georgetown, and a new streetcar bridge from Arlington to D.C.

The “next generation” plan, dubbed “Momentum,” would expand the Metro system to “help ensure the long-term competitiveness of the National Capital Region and keep pace with demand from expected population growth,” according to WMATA.

The plan calls for the following to be completed by 2025:

  • Upgrade of Metro’s electrical system to allow the system to operate 100% 8-car trains. (Cost: $2 billion)
  • New connection from the Orange/Silver Line to the Blue Line, bypassing Rosslyn station. Alternatively, the plan calls for a new Rosslyn Metro station. (Cost: $1 billion)

The plan calls for the following to be completed by 2040:

  • New Pentagon Metro station that would allow Orange/Silver Line trains to reach D.C. via the Yellow Line bridge. (Cost: $600 million)
  • Orange/Silver Line “express track” from West Falls Church to a second Rosslyn Metro station. (Cost: $2.3 billion)
  • Extending the Orange Line to Centreville and Bowie, and the Blue Line to Potomac Mills. (Cost: $6.8 billion)
  • New Yellow Line alignment from Pentagon to Thomas Circle via tunnel under 10th Street. (Cost: $2.7 billion)
  • New Blue Line tunnel from Rosslyn to Georgetown, new tunnel from Georgetown to Thomas Circle via M Street. (Cost: $3.3 billion)
  • MARC commuter rail extension from Union Station to Crystal City. (Cost: TBD)
  • Connection between Columbia Pike/Crystal City streetcar and D.C., across the Potomac. (Cost: $200 million)

WMATA, which is funded by contributions from the federal government and D.C. area localities like Arlington, says it would need an addition $500 million in funding per year to accomplish its 2025 goals, and an additional $740 million per year for the 2040 projects. That’s on top of the $1 billion per year it needs just to maintain the existing system.

Without the pricey improvements, Metro officials say the system will soon run out of ridership capacity.

“Our customers know that many trains, stations and buses are already crowded and we need to begin planning now to prevent that from worsening and prepare for more riders,” Metro General Manager and CEO Richard Sarles said in a statement. “As the jurisdictions plan various expansion projects, we also need to make sure that we have a seamless, multimodal, transit network and Metro is in a unique position to serve as the transit planner for the national capital region.”

The Washington Post has additional details about the Metro Momentum plan, including D.C. improvements to Metrorail and regional improvements to Metrobus.

  • YTK

    Well.. that’s nice. Now how about running some 8 car BLUE LINE trains NOW, since you are so stingy with the 6 car ones on the Blue lIne (i see 3 Orange line trains for every blue line train every evening without fail!).

  • Taylor

    Before expansions and extensions, it would be nice if Metro could prioritize MAINTENANCE of what’s already existing. The rail system is crumbling, the bus system is dysfunctional, they have more incompetent employees and managers than any other employer I can think of… and they want to just keep adding on?

    Let’s fix what’s now broken, and then we can worry about extending the system.

    • Sam

      They are. That’s why the system is basically unusable on the weekends and holidays.

    • Hysterical angry poster

      Uninformed comment expressing outrage that something isn’t being done!

      • Calm, well-informed poster

        Reply to comment explaining that Hysterical angry poster’s concerns are unfounded because of factual information that Hysterical angry poster didn’t bother to learn before posting.

  • novasteve

    Given they can’t even get escalators to work, I don’t have much confidence in their competency to do much of anything else.

    • Josh S

      The system has expanded steadily since first opening in the 70s. It continues to serve hundreds of thousands of riders a day (second only to NYC, IIRC).
      There are many frustrating things about WMATA, but a wholesale condemnation of their competency is just not fair.

    • Stitch_Jones

      Self-important northern virginian that can’t resist being snarky on a message board. Boisterous opinion that will be summarily criticized because all parties are and are not experts in all subjects. Minute fact presented as the sweeping reason for all problems. Rejection of fellow citizens’ right to express an opionion. Continued election of public officials that overspend and poorly manage the local coffers. May the self-righteousness never end.

      Four years ago I could not wait to move back to Arlington. Two days ago I voted with my feet and left for greener pastures out west. Goodbye Arlington – you have gone from a dynamic community filled with sharp people to a ubiqiutous complaint and smug machine. Rarely have I seen so many who actually do so little think that they are so smart and deserving of attention and treasure.

      I will miss ARLNOW.com as they do a pretty good job of finding the little stories that make a small town more close (my opinion).

      Later. Enjoy your million-dollar condos…

      • Agent

        See ‘ya.

      • drax

        Hey, Stitch, this board isn’t Arlington, it’s a blog. The Internet isn’t reality.

    • Rory

      The Metro was not designed to become the mass transit system it has become, I understand.

      But I agree with Steve. THe incompetence is on display everyday, and is compounded by their PR flaks and management.

      Escalators and elevators are out for months and months, repairs go on indefinitely, employees do whatever they want with no repercussions, etc.

  • novasteve

    Seriously, the Red line needs to be extended to Frederick. The entire system needs to be massively expanded, but they’re so woefully incompetent they can’t even handle what they currently have… I pray to God I’m not going to still be in the area in 2025 let alone 2040, because it will be a complete and total nightmare to make any kind of a commute driving or metro.

    • Hank

      Serious question… and I’m not urging you to leave… where would you like to go, ideally?

      • ARL’ian

        Methinks Idaho or Montana. Right demographics. Open space so he can smoke. No inconvenient Th i r d W o r l d e rs.

        • internet tourettes

          I’m from Montana and people are far more openminded that they are here. Steve wouldn’t last one winter out there….

        • novasteve

          I love how you guys stereotype and generalize. If someone doesn’t agree with you, they are a white supremacist, and these other states, where I call them “flyover land” is full of people like that.

          • Hank

            I’m genuinely curious, though. Where would you like to be?

    • Mary-Austin

      We pray too. Move to Oklahoma.

      • Agent

        Please join him.

    • AL

      Be careful what you wish for.

    • drax

      The MARC train goes to Frederick.

    • WeiQiang

      That’s what MARC is for … even if Point Of Rocks is the closest station (I think). Rail lines exist and the distances between stops aren’t appropriate for a Metro-like system. I’m surprised you would advocate for a new, more expensive system (and the attendant bureaucratic processes) than the MARC that exists, but which might only need bo be expanded.

      • Brian

        I used to commute from Frederick to Arlington every day. At times, I had to take the MARC train. Did you know if you just miss your train that you have to wait another HOUR to get the next one? That would increase my two hour commute into a three hour commute, which is why I live here in Arlington instead of Frederick.

  • high

    as balls

  • Wow&Flutter


  • DCBuff

    File this under “dare to dream” and give them Legos.

  • South Side Chris

    Darn, had my fingers crossed that they would finally push forward with the Taupe Line to South Arlington.

    • YTK

      Oh I thought it as designated as the Puce Line.

      • Penrosey

        Get it right, it’s the Ochre Line.

  • Arlington Skeptic

    This will be built about the time the 895 DC Bypass is completed

  • JimPB

    Sounds great.

    But costs will undoubtedly come in well above projections. Then there’s the additional costs for more train cars and to operate and maintain the additional facilities and tracks.

    How likely is a substantial Federal $ contribution?

    If the Federal $ contribution is minute, what would the expected state and local government contributions be (based on existing formula)?

  • CW

    I would just like to say that I am thankful that our country was built by people who thought “What can we achieve, and how can we do it?” rather than the group of naysaying, “it’ll never happen”, “it costs too much” doubters who dominate today’s landscape and prevent any major infrastructure projects from ever taking off. If it weren’t for the ones who dared to think big and then put their heads down and made it happen, we would all probably be out gathering firewood right now rather than sitting here posting on website comment sections.

    • Lumberjack

      You mean that Arlington still might have trees!? And less internet trolls? What a terrifying alternative reality.

    • R. Griffon

      This. All we have to do is look at the great infrastructure investments that we get so much benefit from – from Interstates to Metro, bridges, and beyond. Can you imagine how much more of a CF this area would be without Metro? I think it’s easy to look back now and think it was a no-brainer, but back then it generated as much controversy and nay sayers as the Streetcar does today.

      I look back at these investments in engineering and I can’t help think that we as Americans have collectively lost our ability to attempt, and perhaps even accomplish, great things. I just can’t see us doing anything like the national highway system, the space race or the Panama Canal today. We haven’t the stones.

      There’s an old quote that I love that essentially says that the future is made better by men who are willing to plant trees in whose shade they will never sit. I’m glad at least SOMEONE is looking forward.

      • jan

        Griffon is right

    • ARL-VA


      Even with smaller projects like Capital Bikeshare, there were a lot of naysayers. Opponents kept saying that “no one will use it.” And yet, for a tiny fraction of the cost of a new highway or bridge, Capital Bikeshare has been used for millions of bike trips in its brief existence (just over two years).

    • drax

      Fantastic post, CW.

  • Mr. Infrastructure

    Borrowing costs are the cheapest they have ever been. Instead of buying home mortgages every month and lining the pockets of the financials, the government should be investing in our infrastructure. Not only would this produce tangible, needed results it would also add millions of real jobs for people who will spend the money—instead of becoming profits for the privileged few. Should of done this from the beginning but I digress…

    • Mr. Instrastructure

      which, let me add, that those who get those jobs will then be able to buy and afford homes—and the govt doesnt have to buy them any longer…

    • Tea Bagger


    • Clarendon

      Not only interest rates but commodities needed to build things are still pretty low due to suppressed private sector activity and labor is available. Now is a great time to be building stuff. I have a feeling the commodity prices will rise pretty quickly if/when the economy picks up because we seemed to havereached some kind of limit when the last economic boom was here.

  • South Awwlington

    Should folks want to contribute rather than gripe: http://wmata.mindmixer.com/

  • bdog375

    “…it would need an addition $500 million in funding per year to accomplish its 2025 goals”

    The two 2025 goals cost $1 billion and $2 billion. Why do they need $0.5 billion, per year, until 2025??? The math is quite a bit off.

    • We only list the goals relevant to Arlington — there are other components of the 2025 and 2040 plans.

  • James Moron

    Hmm, I’ve got 8 hours. Can’t decide if I want to fly to London or take the Orange Line to Centreville.

    • Ben

      Ha yea I agree.

      Metro should have never gone past Ballston. Instead light, high speed rail should be connecting metro to the burbs. A good 100+ mph train would make commuting from anywhere outside of DC a breeze.

      • CW

        Agree. This week, Amtrak announced that it was buying a bunch of very high speed trains over the coming years. Hopefully they do it right, with the needed upgrades to the NE corridor, and we finally get a precedent for good, working high speed rail in this country.

  • John Fontain

    I completely support all of the goals and costs listed in the 9 bullet points, except for that last $200 million item. That last item pushes the total price tag way past the point of reasonableness.

  • NIMBY The Chicken

    The streetcar bridge between the Memorial and the Arland Williams bridge, if not placed directly next to the Arland Williams bridge, would ruin probably the best sightline from the GW parkway… I really hope they’re kidding.

    • novasteve

      They still have the caissons for the aquaduct bridge right next to key bridge, maybe they can rebuilt it as a trolly bridge?I mean they stil have the trolley depot in georgetown.

      • NIMBY The Chicken

        Well the plan does call for a bridge up there too. Which side of Key Bridge are those on?

        • John

          The streetcars went over Key Bridgr until the 60s, so that’s the likely route for a connection to VA.

        • novasteve

          Take a look next time you walk across. It’s on the side if you were heading towards montgomery county.

  • Mike

    An easy way for metro to cut costs is to remove escalators and replace them with good old fashioned steps. Certainly escalators are needed at “deep” stations like dupont circle or bethesda, but many of the escalators are 1 to 1.5 stories high — easily navigated on foot. Seems like a no brainer.

    • JimPB

      I understand that New York City transit recommended elevators (large, high speed); no escalators. Switch to elevators now?

      • malaka

        You will never move people out of the stations fast enough without escalators, causing huge jams on the platforms. I just wish the escalators were faster – like in London

    • Banksy

      People with disabilities — even temporary ones, like crutches or an ankle sprain — disagree. And taking the elevator isn’t a satisfactory solution, because they’re only at one end of a station, often increasing the distance you have to walk if your ultimate destination is past the other end of the station.

      • DCBuff

        Uh, your point doesn’t make sense–“taking the elevator isn’t a satisfactory solution, because they’re only at one end of a station”–as at many/most stations there are escalators only at one end.

        • Banksy

          I was thinking of Dupont Circle, which has escalators on both ends, but an elevator only at the north end. Walking to the south side isn’t insignificant, if you’re on crutches.

  • NIMBY The Chicken

    Are we still waiting on 4420 Fairfax to be demolished before we get the Ballston West entrance? Or is that why there’s the empty space in front of that little takeout place at Fairfax and Vermont, for a phantom set of escalators

  • Sha

    The streetcar may eventually go to DC? I did not know this. That sort of changes my view of the streetcar. I could see myself walking to the streetcar and taking it into DC. Someone mentioned a streetcar in the 60’s. Where did that run?

  • pdarl

    Well, it doesn’t have to be a streetcar bridge. It could be a bus bridge and open up many more possibilities for transit.

  • USS Arlington

    Coming Soon. Vote for your favorite NextGen Metro map to appear on the 2013-14 Arlington property tax vehicle sticker

  • Goofy

    A streetcar-only bridge is a crazy idea. Build a brand-new Metroline under 16th St NW that goes over the river and then under Columbia Pike – that maybe makes sense. But to spend millions to build a new bridge for low-capacity transit (compare to Metro) is plain silly. A VRE/MARC bridge is also more sensible.

    • Rick

      There’s already a VRE bridge

      • drax

        Yeah, I think that’s owned and used by CSX. VRE uses it, so put the trolley on it too if the tracks are the same size. Problem solved.

        • ChooChoo Charlie

          Streetcar and longhaul freight are likely different gauges. I understand that Streetcar and Metro gauges are the same. Metro reportedly is storing DC streetcars in Metro yards.

          • drax

            I looked it up – Metro is standard gauge (same as freight), and the DC streetcar will also be standard gauge.

            Don’t know about Arlington, but I’d imagine it will be the same. No reason to use any other gauge.

            Learned something interesting too – in 1886, all U.S. railroads converted to the same gauge. They pulled up hundreds of miles of track and moved it over a few inches in just two days.

  • WeiQiang

    Silver Line: Annapolis to Ashburn!

  • Ya right

    How about getting the crap we have now to work first?


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