Service was restored between East Falls Church and Clarendon Metro stations after grinding to a halt Thursday morning (April 5) for several hours.
Service was restored at about 8 a.m., but delays are expected to last at least throughout the morning. Metro referred to the incident as both a track problem and fire department activity at the Virginia Square Metro station.
The Arlington Fire Department tweeted that the Virginia Square Metro station was evacuated at about 6:20 a.m. due to smoke in the tunnel.
At about 6:58 a.m., the department tweeted that fire department units were going back in service, that much of the smoke was clear, and that commuters should expect “residual delays.”
The suspended service affects the Orange and Silver lines directly, though Metro tweeted that blue line delays were possible considering the congestion built up from the other lines.
On the highways, drivers reported heavier than usual traffic.
“We all suffer when the Metro fudges up,” one driver told ARLnow, who was stuck on I-66 in what she said was unusually heavy traffic for that part of her commute.
Several would-be riders took to Twitter to report long lines for WMATA buses and shuttles, as well as a general sense of “chaos” and “meltdown” at certain stations.
— Sally Harris (@sdadjou) April 5, 2018
It is 6:20 AM & my Orange Line train is holding due to smoke in the tunnel near Virginia Square. It’s been running for less than 2 hours – how is this happening?! @unsuckdcmetro @wmata #OrangeLine #fail
— Ashley Hollingsworth (@AshHollings) April 5, 2018
— Jim Mathews (@mathewsjh) April 5, 2018
Orange/Silver Line: Train service suspended btwn Ballston & Clarendon due to fire department activity at Virginia Sq. Bus service requested
— Metrorail Info (@Metrorailinfo) April 5, 2018
— Metro Reasons (@MetroReasons) April 5, 2018
— Maxine V Chikumbo (@mchikumbo) April 5, 2018
Buses will run between the Braddock Road and Pentagon City Metro stations from 7 a.m. Saturday through closing Sunday as crews install communication cables and rehabilitate platforms.
The Reagan National Airport and Crystal City Metro stations will be closed.
From a Metro announcement on the weekend work:
Blue Line trains will operate at regular weekend intervals between Pentagon City & Largo Town Center and every 15 minutes between Franconia-Springfield & Braddock Road.
Yellow Line trains will operate at regular weekend intervals between Pentagon City & Mt Vernon Square and every 15 minutes between Huntington & Braddock Road. Customers traveling to/from stations north of Mt Vernon Sq should use the Green Line to complete their trip.
Free shuttle buses will operate between Pentagon City, Crystal City, National Airport and Braddock Road. Please allow 15 minutes of travel time for each station stop.
Stations closed: Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and Crystal City.
To allow for shuttle bus connections, the last train will depart Franconia-Springfield at 11:56 p.m. Saturday and 9:56 p.m. Sunday, 30 minutes earlier than normal.
Work performed: Communication cable installation and platform rehabilitation.
For those not wanting to get on the free shuttle buses, ART’s 43 bus between Courthouse and Crystal City offers an alternative, as well as the Transitway along U.S. Route 1 between the Braddock Road and Pentagon City Metro stations via Potomac Yard and Crystal City.
High Water Bills Prompt Questions — A number of Arlington residents say their quarterly water bills for the summer and fall spiked to inconceivably high levels, in some cases in excess of $2,000. The county government, however, says no systemic billing issues have been found and blames the high bills on hot and dry weather combined with homeowners irrigating their yards. [InsideNova]
News Photog Saved By Arlington Medic — WUSA9 photographer Dion Wiggins suffered a massive heart attack while shooting video of traffic along I-395 last month. It was an Arlington County paramedic, Chris Abrahams, who together with firefighter Jason Griffith revived Wiggins from cardiac arrest, stabilized him and transported him to George Washington University Hospital. Wiggins is now back at home and on the road to recovery. [WUSA9]
ACPD: Don’t DUI After the Super Bowl — Super Bowl Sunday is two days away and the Arlington County Police Department is reminding residents to designate a driver for the big game. The Super Bowl is one of the biggest days of the year for DUI, with a third of all U.S. traffic deaths due to drunk drivers. [Arlington County]
D.C. Metro Work This Weekend — Major scheduled track work will close six downtown D.C. Metro stations along the Blue, Orange and Silver lines this weekend. The Blue and Orange lines will be split in two and the Silver line will end at Ballston. “Customers traveling between Virginia and DC are encouraged to use the Yellow Line, if possible,” Metro says. [WMATA]
Kudos for Sheriff’s Office — “The Arlington County Sheriff’s Office has been awarded reaccreditation by the American Correctional Association Commission (ACA), whose standards are the national benchmark for the effective operation of correctional facilities in the United States.” [Arlington County]
WHS Swimmers in Regionals — “With three Wakefield swimmers heading off to regionals — the most in recent history — the Wakefield community is overflowing with enthusiasm and excitement in anticipation of a splashing victory.” [Wakefield Chieftain]
Obit: Mel Labat — Long-time Arlington tennis coach Mel Labat passed away last week. A memorial service will be held tomorrow (Saturday). A scholarship fund has been established, with the proceeds going to the Arlington Youth Tennis Program. [YMCA, Legacy]
Flickr pool photo by Alan Kotok
“Surge 4” track repair work is slated to begin Tuesday and will keep the station closed through the following Monday.
Until the Crystal City station’s scheduled reopening on Tuesday, July 19, Metro will have free shuttle bus service to connect the stop with the Reagan National and Pentagon City stations.
Arlington and airport officials are encouraging travelers to avoid driving near the three stations and use buses and other modes of transportation to get around.
An Arlington County website has the following information those affected by the Metro maintenance work and station closure.
Street operations changes for Surge 3 and 4
- Temporary changes around the Pentagon City Metro station will accommodate alternate travel options.
- Includes removing street parking on east side of South Hayes Street to allow for shuttle bus drop-off and staging.
- Pentagon City bus service locations
- Changes for Surge 2 around the Crystal City and Rosslyn Metro stations will continue for Surges 3 and 4.
Supplemental local bus service continued from prior surges
- The new ART service and additional ART bus capacity on routes that parallel the Blue Line will continue through Surges 3 and 4:
- Midday, evening and weekend service for ART 43 (Crystal City-Rosslyn-Courthouse) – This route provides a direct connection from Crystal City to the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor. On weekdays, 40-foot buses will be used to add capacity.
- 40-foot buses for ART 42 (Ballston-Pentagon) to add capacity – Each 40-foot bus has five more seats and room for more standees compared to 35-foot buses normally used on this route.
- For changes to bus service operated by Metro and other jurisdictions, visit Metro’s website.
Alternate travel and work options
- The County continues to encourage telework/flex time, ridesharing, biking and walking – options other than driving alone:
- Arlington Transportation Partners is reaching out to employers and building managers to urge them to encourage telework or flex schedules and provide travel option information.
- Arlington’s Commuter Page has travel option resources for residents and businesses – for example, assistance for vanpooling and other car-free options.
- For teleworkers who can’t work at home, Arlington Public Libraries offer wifi, office equipment, design stations with Adobe software, and small meeting rooms.
- For those who bike, these changes are continued from prior surges:
- Additional capacity at Capital Bikeshare stations and bike parking around the Rosslyn and Crystal City Metro stations.
- Custom Bike Trains arranged for County residents upon request – contact [email protected]. BikeArlington also will support promotion of Alexandria’s bike trains that will run from Braddock Road Metro station to Pentagon City.
- Improved directional signage along bike commuter routes.
- For those who use transit, bike or walk:
- Ambassadors will be at Pentagon City Metro station to help travelers with their questions and trip planning.
- Enhanced wayfinding signage at affected Metro stations will point people along safe routes to buses, shuttles, bike parking, Capital Bikeshare, station elevators, and other service locations.
Image via Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority
The third stage will begin at 8 p.m. on July 5, continuing until July 11 and it will involve the Blue and Yellow lines being completely shut down between National Airport and Braddock Road, in Alexandria.
Blue Line trains will run every 15 minutes between Franconia-Springfield and Braddock Road and every 12 minutes between National Airport and Largo Town Center.
Yellow Line trains will run every 12 minutes between Huntington and Braddock Road and every 12 minutes between National Airport and Greenbelt.
Riders will be able to take Metroway BRT buses for free, between Pentagon City and Braddock Road, to bypass the closure. For airport customers coming from stations below Braddock Road, shuttle bus service will run between the station and the airport.
The fourth SafeTrack stage will run from July 12-18 and the same lines will be shut down between National Airport and Pentagon City. That includes a closure of the busy Crystal City station.
Blue Line trains will run every 12 minutes between Franconia-Springfield and National Airport and every 12 minutes between Pentagon City and Largo Town Center.
Yellow Line trains will run every 12 minutes between Huntington and Braddock Road and every 12 minutes between Pentagon City and Greenbelt.
Shuttle bus service will run to National Airport from Braddock Road and Pentagon City. Metroway shuttle service will also be available for free during this stage.
For its part, Arlington County will continue to run the expanded bus service implemented for SafeTrack’s second stage. That includes expanded midday, evening and weekend service on the ART 43 between Rosslyn and Crystal City and additional 4o-foot buses to increase capacity on the ART 42, which runs from Ballston to Pentagon.
Arlington County is encouraging alternative commute options during the surge, such as teleworking, ridesharing, biking and walking if possible.
Video Courtesy WMATA
Bracing for the Next Two Metro Surges — There will be no Metrorail service at the National Airport station during the next two Metrorail maintenance surge projects, from July 5 to July 18. Blue and Yellow line riders can expect major service impacts and should consider alternative means of commuting, from biking to Uber to taking the bus. The new Metroway Bus Rapid Transit line from Alexandria to Crystal City will be free during the two surges. [Washington Post, NBC Washington, Twitter, WMATA]
Tributes to Cafe Asia — As ARLnow.com first reported, today is expected to be the last day in business for Cafe Asia in Rosslyn. The restaurant was a go-to lunch, after work and event spot for some of Rosslyn’s media and political types, who have been posting memories of Cafe Asia on Twitter and elsewhere. [Washington Business Journal, Twitter, Twitter]
Garvey Profiled in Weekly Standard — Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey, who defeated challenger Erik Gutshall in the Democratic primary two weeks ago, has been profiled by the conservative political magazine the Weekly Standard. “From her fight for fiscal conservatism over a costly streetcar plan to her endorsement of Republican-turned-independent John Vihstadt (who eventually became a fellow Board member), it is no wonder that some of her fellow liberals are worried about the county’s direction,” the magazine wrote. [Weekly Standard]
Photo by Jackie Friedman
With Metro’s SafeTrack plan beginning June 4, Arlington County has released its response to the planned service cuts.
The first stage of SafeTrack involves single tracking on the Orange and Silver lines between Ballston and East Falls Church. Trains will run every 18 minutes, with additional Orange Line trains running from Ballston to New Carrolton.
In response, Arlington County will supplement WMATA’s efforts to assist travelers with its own. ART routes 55 (Rosslyn-East Falls Church) and 52 (Virginia Hospital-Ballston-East Falls Church) will use 40-foot buses instead of the usual 35-foot buses to add capacity during the surge. The county is also considering adding a bus lane on Lee Highway to speed up 55 buses during rush hour.
Capital Bikeshare will also be expanded, with capacity increases at the Ballston and Rosslyn stations along with a new Bikeshare station being installed at the East Falls Church station. For new or inexperienced riders, “bike trains” — bicyclists riding as a group — will be run between Rosslyn and East Falls Church, stopping at each Metro station along the route.
Along with the transportation additions, the county will make changes on the streets around the main Metro hubs, removing some street parking and converting streets to bus-only during rush hours.
Metro has released the following YouTube video to explain the SafeTrack surge.
(Updated at 4:35 p.m.) Metro has released its final version of the SafeTrack plan, beginning with work between the East Falls Church and Ballston stations.
This morning Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld outlined the agency’s plan for working through Metrorail’s deferred maintenance backlog.
The “safety surge,” dubbed SafeTrack, “accomplishes in one year, work that otherwise would take about three years to complete.” It comes at a time when major Metro track problems and electrical fires seem to be increasingly commonplace.
The plan involves fifteen long-duration track outages between June 4 and May 8, 2017, to allow for extensive track work.
The goal: to achieve “safety and state of good repair of basic track structure.”
So what can Arlington riders expect? First, there will be a moratorium on early system openings and closings — the system will close at midnight, seven day a week.
Additionally, the following track outages are planned.
National Airport to Pentagon City
Impact: Entire line segment shut down
Service Reduction: Trains running every 12 minutes at Virginia Blue and Yellow Line stations
Aug. 20-Sept. 6
Eastern Market to Minnesota Ave/Benning Road
Impact: Entire line segment shut down
Service Reductions: Three lines affected. Orange and Silver lines running every 10 minutes, Blue Line running every 12 minutes.
West Falls Church to East Falls Church
Impact: Continuous single tracking
Service Reduction: Trains on Orange and Silver lines each running every 16 minutes
Nov. 12-Dec. 5
East Falls Church to Ballston
Impact: Continuous single tracking
Service Reduction: Trains on Silver Line running every 18 minutes, Orange Line trains from Vienna to Ballston running every 18 minutes
Pentagon to Rossyln
Impact: Entire line segment shut down, Arlington Cemetery station closed
Service Reduction: Reduced service at all Blue Line stations
West Falls Church to East Falls Church
Impact: Continuous single tracking
Service Reduction: Trains on Orange and Silver lines each running every 16 minutes
April 16-May 8
Braddock Road to Huntington/Van Dorn
Impact: Continuous single tracking
Service Reduction: Trains on Blue Line running every 18 minutes
In order to maximize productivity, all of the track outages will be continuous and will affect rush hour service. For the line segment shut downs, buses will replace trains around the station closures.
The safety surge will not only affect Metro riders, it’s expected to affect those who drive as well, in the form of additional traffic.
— Adam Tuss (@AdamTuss) May 6, 2016
Metro shutdown is so huge, traffic signals may have to be retimed to accommodate more drivers. #wmata
— Will Sommer (@willsommer) May 6, 2016
Here’s what Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) had to say about the plan.
— Rep. Don Beyer (@RepDonBeyer) May 6, 2016
After the jump, the full press release from Metro.
You’ve probably watched everything Netflix offers, surfed the far corners of the internet, and will be ready to get off the couch. Well, you’re in luck because several snowball fights around Arlington could be the perfect way to release some pent up energy tomorrow.
The most hotly anticipated we’ve found, based on the nearly 630 people who have already responded on Facebook, will be near the Clarendon Metro station at noon on Jan. 24.
There will be another snowball fight less than a mile away in Virginia Square. That one begins at 1:00 p.m. in Quincy Park (1021 N. Quincy Street), and the organizer’s Facebook post claims the fun will keep going “until people have tired themselves out.” A similar Quincy Park snowball fight nearly two years ago attracted more than a hundred participants.
Not to be outdone, residents along Columbia Pike have posted a Facebook invite for a “neighborly” snowball fight at Penrose Square (2501 Columbia Pike). The snow flinging is set to start at noon tomorrow.
Metro will remain closed throughout the weekend and travel conditions are expected to be terrible, so it’s recommended that snowball fight attendees plan on safely walking to the events.
Board to Consider Mall Expansion Plan — The Arlington County Board is expected to vote on the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City’s expansion plans at its Saturday meeting. County staff is recommending approval of the plan, which would about 50,000 square feet of space for 5-7 new retail tenants to the front of the mall.
Shopping Center Cost $250k in 1940 — The strip mall at the northeast corner of Columbia Pike and Glebe Road represented an investment of $250,000 in 1940. At the time, traffic volume on Columbia Pike was about 12,000 cars per day and traffic volume on Glebe Road was about 600 cars per day. [Ghosts of DC]
Reminder: Yellow Line Closed This Weekend — The Yellow Line will be shut down this weekend for the annual safety inspection of the Yellow Line bridge over the Potomac River. The closure will begin at about 10:00 tonight (Friday).
Optimist Club Christmas Tree Sale Two Weeks Away — The Optimist Club of Arlington will kick off its annual Christmas tree sale on Saturday, Nov. 30. The sale will be held in the Wells Fargo parking lot at the corner of Lee Highway and Glebe Road. [Sun Gazette]
Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann
(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.
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.
It seems like nearly every weekend there’s track work impacting Arlington Metro riders. Not this weekend, though — the only track work causing delays is on the Red Line.
In case you want to plan for future weekend Metro delays and closures, the agency has released a schedule of major track work planned through the end of the year. The work includes Silver Line testing and track maintenance.
The weekend projects impacting Arlington riders:
- July 27-28 and Aug. 24-25 — Ballston is the western end of the Orange Line, with East Falls Church and other stations closed.
- Sept. 7-8 — East Falls Church station closed, buses replace trains between Ballston and West Falls Church.
- Oct. 26-27 — L’Enfant Plaza station closed, buses replace trains between the Pentagon and Archives.
- Dec. 7-8 — Reagan National Airport and Crystal City stations closed, buses replace trains between Braddock Road and Pentagon City.
- Dec. 14-15 — Pentagon station closed, buses replace trains between Pentagon City and Arlington Cemetery/L’Enfant Plaza.
- Dec. 21-22 — Rosslyn and Arlington Cemetery stations closed, buses replace trains between Court House/Pentagon and Foggy Bottom.
The schedule may change, Metro said, depending on weather and construction delays.
Closing stations and doing major work on weekends “allows Metro to complete rebuilding work faster and safer, while allowing trains outside of the work zones to operate with fewer delays,” the agency said. “While there will be delays and inconvenience associated with the critical work we’re undertaking, please be assured that we will take all possible steps to minimize your inconvenience.”
Flickr pool photo by Chris Rief
The Vienna, Dunn Loring, West Falls Church, and East Falls Church stations will all be closed from 10:00 p.m. Friday to system closing on Monday (Memorial Day). The closures will allow crews to perform switch replacements, rail joint eliminations and tie and insulator renewal, Metro said.
Orange Line trains will operate between Ballston and New Carrollton at normal weekend intervals.
Free shuttle buses will replace trains between Ballston and Vienna. Express buses will run directly from Ballston to Vienna and back, while local buses will stop at all the stations in between. Metro says those taking local buses should add up to 40 minutes to their travel time, while those taking the express bus should add 25 minutes.
(Updated at 3:40 p.m.) Track work will close Metro stations along the Orange Line this weekend, for the third time in the past month. This time the Ballston and Virginia Square stations will be out of service.
The closures begin at 10:00 p.m. on Friday, May 17, and run through closing on Sunday, May 19. Trains are expected to operate at normal weekend intervals even though service will be split into two segments — between Vienna and East Falls Church and between Clarendon and New Carrollton.
Free shuttle buses will replace trains between East Falls Church and Clarendon. Customers using shuttle bus service should add up to 25 minutes to their travel time.
The last trains of the night from Vienna to East Falls Church will depart 28 minutes earlier than normal — at 1:57 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights, and at 10:57 p.m. on Sunday.
The Orange Line closures are to allow for track circuit module replacement. There will also be work on the Red and Green lines this weekend. Information regarding those closures can be found on WMATA’s website.
The Ballston Business Improvement District expressed concern about the timing of the Ballston Metro station closure, considering the Taste of Arlington festival is expected to bring around 20,000 people to that area on Sunday.
Members of the BID have worked out a deal with WMATA. The station closures will remain in effect and passengers will still need to take shuttles between East Falls Church and Clarendon. However, starting around 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, additional shuttles will be put into service to accommodate the heavier flow of passengers expected to travel to Taste of Arlington, which begins at noon.
“They will add a whole crew of buses to the schedule for Sunday so they can ensure that nobody is waiting too long and can get to their destination in a timely fashion,” said Ballston BID CEO Tina Leone. “We’re not the first group this has happened to. They’ve assured us they will monitor the buses in making sure they’re arriving and leaving at a rapid rate. We’re just thrilled they were so responsive and so accommodating.”
Leone added that the bus trip is only about 10 minutes, so hopefully festival attendees won’t experience too many delays. Those who prefer to drive to the event should note that the cost is only one dollar for three hours to park at the Ballston garage.
Disclosure: Ballston BID is an ARLnow.com advertiser