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Metro Plans Lengthy Yellow Line Shutdown Starting Next Week

Metro is planning a full Yellow Line shutdown starting next week, and is warning riders of hefty delays along the Blue Line the two-week-long construction work.

The rail service hoping to complete major renovation work on the Yellow Line bridge over the Potomac River, prompting the closure. In all, the work will run from Nov. 26 through Dec. 9.

“During rush hour, trains will run about half as frequently as usual, due to capacity limits at the Rosslyn tunnel,” Metro wrote in a release. “Customers may experience crowding.”

Blue Line trains will run every 16 minutes on weekdays through 8 p.m., then switch to 20-minute headways. Riders can also expect 16-20 minute headways on weekends.

The transit agency will offer free shuttle bus service to compensate for the shutdown, including:

  • Between Franconia-Springfield and Pentagon and between Pentagon and L’Enfant Plaza from opening until 8 p.m.
  • Between Franconia-Springfield and L’Enfant Plaza and between Crystal City and L’Enfant Plaza, rush hour only.

Metro is urging riders to consider Virginia Railway Express service between Franconia-Springfield, Crystal City or King Street to L’Enfant Plaza or Union Station, or local bus options instead.

The shutdown will also coincide with a weekend shutdown of five Green Line stations from Dec. 1-2, when the Navy Yard, Waterfront and Archives stations will be closed, along with the Yellow and Green Line platforms only at Gallery Place-Chinatown and L’Enfant Plaza.

This construction is Metro’s last planned major construction work of the year, and comes on the heels of a Veteran’s Day shutdown on the Blue and Yellow lines that prompted huge traffic woes for travelers hoping to reach Reagan National Airport.

Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman

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Metro Shuts Down Crystal City, Reagan National Stations Over Holiday Weekend

Expect major delays on Metro’s Blue and Yellow lines this holiday weekend, as the rail service is shutting down both the Crystal City and Reagan National Airport stations to allow for some major construction work.

Starting today (Friday) and running through Monday, Metro will run shuttle buses between the Pentagon City and Braddock Road stations to compensate for the closures. Trains will operate on substantially extended headways as well, particularly on Saturday and Sunday, and Metro is warning of heavy delays across the two lines.

Metro plans to upgrade several switches leading up to the airport station, as well as “install new concrete grout pads beneath the rails along the aerial structure there,” according to a press release.

Full details from the release:

On Friday & Monday:

  • Blue Line trains will operate in two segments: between Franconia-Springfield & Braddock Road every 12 minutes during daytime hours and between Pentagon City & Largo Town Center every 12-16 minutes.
  • Yellow Line trains will operate in two segments: between Huntington & Braddock Road every 12 minutes during daytime hours and between Pentagon City & Mt Vernon Square every 12-16 minutes.
  • Buses will replace trains between Braddock Rd, National Airport, Crystal City and Pentagon City. Additional Express shuttle buses will operate between Braddock Road and Pentagon City from 5 a.m. – 8 p.m. and between Franconia-Springfield and Pentagon from 5 a.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Rush Hour Promise will not be in effect for trips on the Yellow and Blue lines on Friday, November 9, but will remain in effect for customers on other lines.

On Saturday & Sunday:

  • Blue Line trains will operate in two segments: between Franconia-Springfield & Braddock Road every 12-15 minutes during daytime hours and between Pentagon City & Eastern Market every 24 minutes all day.
  • Yellow Line trains will operate in two segments: between Huntington & Braddock Road every 12-15 minutes during daytime hours and between Pentagon City & Mt Vernon Square every 24 minutes all day.
  • Buses will replace trains between Braddock Rd, National Airport, Crystal City and Pentagon City. Additional express shuttle buses will operate between Braddock Rd and Pentagon City from 7 a.m. – 8 p.m. on Saturday and from 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. on Sunday.

Metro scheduled the shutdown for Veterans Day weekend, after originally planning it for last weekend, in order to reduce the impact on commuters. However, some stations still saw big crowds on Friday as people adjusted to the closures:

Metro recommends that commuters turn to local bus service if possible, or even VRE train service between Franconia-Springfield, Crystal City or King Street in order to reach L’Enfant Plaza or Union Station.

Anyone heading to DCA this weekend may also want to allow for extra time. The airport is already facing transportation challenges associated with “Project Journey,” major renovations primarily impacting Terminal B/C, and the Metro closure could worsen those conditions substantially.

Flickr pool photo by Dennis Dimick

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Shutdown for Repairs Rescheduled for Metro’s Blue, Yellow Lines

A four-day construction project for Metro’s Yellow and Blue lines has been rescheduled to reduce the impact on commuters.

Work on replacing a series of switches and installing new concrete pads outside of Reagan National Airport will close the Reagan National Airport and Crystal City stations. The project was originally scheduled for Friday, Nov. 2 to Monday, Nov. 5 but has been moved to the following weekend, Metro announced today (Friday).

The stations will be closed from Friday, Nov. 9 to Monday, Nov. 12, which is Veterans Day. The change will reduce the commuting days impacted by the work from two to one.

During the closure, shuttle buses will replace trains between the Braddock Road and Pentagon City stations. Metro warned that customers on the Blue and Yellow lines will likely experience additional crowding due to less frequent service during the repairs.

Later in November, repairs to the Yellow Line Bridge will shut down the Yellow Line completely for ten days. Between Nov. 26 and Dec. 9, the Yellow Line will not be functioning and customers wishing to travel between Virginia and D.C. will need to use the Blue Line.

File photo

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Metro Warns Silver, Orange, Blue Line Riders: Stay Away, Starting Saturday

Metro officials are sending an unusual, and perhaps alarming, message to commuters ahead of two weeks of major construction on the Silver, Orange and Blue lines: stay away, if you can.

Starting Saturday (Aug. 11) and running through Aug. 26, Metro will shut down the Blue Line completely starting at the Arlington Cemetery station, and single-track between the McPherson Square and Smithsonian stations. Officials expect that will result in 20-minute headways on the Orange and Silver lines “at all times,” and it’s urging riders to “only use Metrorail if you have no other option.”

That’s sure to create huge headaches for commuters all over Arlington, but county officials say there just isn’t much they can do to mitigate the impact of the track work.

“There’s just no way we can replace the capacity that’s going to be lost,” County Board Vice Chair Christian Dorsey, who also serves on Metro’s Board of Directors, told ARLnow. “There are alternatives, but the only way this is really going to work is if people who can and are able to find alternatives, do so.”

Dorsey suggested that some commuters could turn to Metrobus, or perhaps to Arlington Transit — Metro recommends ART’s 42 line between Ballston and the Pentagon and the 43 line between Courthouse and Crystal City, as both could help commuters transfer to the Yellow Line, which will have some enhanced service.

Dorsey added that the county will be able to bump up service on some ART routes reaching the city, but only slightly, noting “we just don’t have enough buses to be deployed” to fully compensate for the construction work.

Fundamentally, however, Dorsey expects “extreme crowding” and “incredible chaos” at Metro stations in D.C.’s urban core, particularly during the first few days of the track work before commuters fully adjust. That’s why he’d rather see people turn to teleworking, if possible, or adjust their commutes to arrive in D.C. a bit later than normal.

“We want to make sure to level-set expectations, and let them know that getting them there within an acceptable time frame not going to be possible,” Dorsey said. “But this is being done with the expectation, too, that fewer people will be affected at this time of the year.”

Yet some of Metro’s (many) critics suggest that WMATA isn’t doing all it could to make life easier for commuters as the work gets going. Stephen Repetski, a close Metro observer and contributor at Greater Greater Washington, has suggested that WMATA could “turn back” trains at select Silver, Orange and Blue stations, in order to ease the pain at stations outside of the work zone.

In particular, Repetski believes Metro could reverse trains at Arlington stations like Ballston or Clarendon, which would be a boon for county commuters. He argues that failing to do so “will result in severe, and unnecessary, service cuts for riders.”

But Metro spokeswoman Sherri Ly wrote in an email that turning back trains at Ballston, Clarendon, Foggy Bottom or stations in the eastern half of the city “would not address the capacity issues in the downtown core, requiring customers traveling to/from downtown D.C. to offload and board already crowded trains.”

“In this scenario, it could create dangerous crowding conditions on platforms as trains would likely be too crowded for customers to board,” Ly wrote.

As for McPherson Square and Smithsonian, Ly says “the location of the work zone” makes turning trains around at the stations a real challenge.

“The work zone…extends beyond the platform at both McPherson Square and Federal Triangle,” Ly wrote. “Turning a train would block trains coming through the single track, while a train offloads and turns back. For service efficiency, we would need both platforms to turn trains back.”

All those specifics aside, Dorsey reiterates that two solutions remain the simplest for commuters: “Either don’t ride, or temper your expectations.”

“If you’re able to do one or both, then you’ll be fine,” Dorsey said.

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Morning Notes

Two ART Routes End Today — ART Routes 54 and 92 will cease operations after the end of the day today. Per a press release: “The two routes were eliminated as part of Arlington County’s FY 2019 budget and to improve efficiency of ART service. Both bus routes perform below ART’s minimum service standards of 15 passengers per hour.” [Arlington Transit]

Arlington Cemetery Station to Close This Weekend — The Arlington Cemetery Metro station will be closed this weekend so workers can install cables “for cellular communication,” WMATA says. Shuttle buses will be available but the Blue Line will only run from Franconia-Springfield to National Airport. [DCist]

Windy Run Improvement Project Complete — “There will soon be an official ribbon cutting to celebrate the renovated Windy Run. And in the meantime, the trail and park have re-opened and can be enjoyed by Arlington residents.” [Arlington County]

Suspected DUI Hit and Run in Clarendon — A man was arrested after an alleged DUI hit and run in Clarendon yesterday evening. At least two vehicles were struck, though the suspect’s SUV appeared to have suffered the most damage. [Twitter]

Arlington is No. 2 on New Livability Ranking — “Arlington placed second in its size category in the updated AARP ‘Livability Index.’ Arlington ranked behind only Madison, Wisc., in the ranking for communities with populations between 100,000 and 500,000. The survey, updated for the first time since 2015, used more than 50 data sources to score communities on areas ranging from housing and transportation to social engagement.” [InsideNova]

Photo by @thelastfc

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Service Restored Between East Falls Church and Clarendon Metro Stations

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.

File photo

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Reagan National Airport, Crystal City Metro Stations Closed This Weekend

Shuttle buses will replace trains this weekend on a section of Metro’s Yellow and Blue Lines in Arlington County.

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.

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Morning Notes

A lineman working on power lines (Flickr pool photo by Alan Kotok)

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

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Crystal City Metro Station to Close Tomorrow, Reopen Next Week

Metro SafeTrack Surge 4 service changes (Image via Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority)Arlington is set to lose one of its Metro stops on the Blue and Yellow lines for seven days as part of another “SafeTrack surge,” which is set to start tomorrow.

“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

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

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Metro’s Third Stage of SafeTrack Begins Tonight

Starting today, the third stage of Metro’s SafeTrack maintenance plan begins, affecting Blue and Yellow line service in Arlington.

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

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Morning Notes

Cupid's Garden Sculpture in Rosslyn

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

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County Plans Transportation Changes During Metro SafeTrack Work

SafeTrack logo (image via Metro)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.

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UPDATED: Here’s How the Metro ‘Safety Surge’ Will Affect Arlington

Weekend Metro track work outside of Reagan National Airport station (file photo)

(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.

Metro SafeTrack logoJuly 5-12
National Airport to Braddock Road

Impact: Entire line segment shut down
Service Reduction: Trains running every 12 minutes at Virginia Blue and Yellow Line stations

July 12-19
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.

Nov. 2-12
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

Dec. 6-24
Pentagon to Rossyln
Impact: Entire line segment shut down, Arlington Cemetery station closed
Service Reduction: Reduced service at all Blue Line stations

March 6-14
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.

Here’s what Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) had to say about the plan.

After the jump, the full press release from Metro.

Metro General Manager/CEO Paul J. Wiedefeld today released SafeTrack, an expanded track work plan to improve Metrorail safety and restore service reliability.

Wiedefeld’s SafeTrack plan includes 15 “safety surges” over the next year that will accelerate maintenance on Metro’s rail system from the ballast up. By closing the system at midnight on weekends and expanding weekday maintenance opportunities, the plan addresses FTA and NTSB safety recommendations and deferred maintenance backlogs while restoring track infrastructure to good health.

SafeTrack accomplishes in one year, work that otherwise would take about three years to complete.

Fifteen “safety surges” are planned that will allow track crews to exponentially increase productivity and achieve safety results for customers faster. These long-duration track outages use either around-the-clock single tracking or line-segment shutdowns that will impact rush hour commutes. Metrorail riders will be encouraged to consider using alternate travel options while safety surge work is in effect on their line.

In addition, Wiedefeld announced a moratorium on early openings and late closings. Closure of the Metrorail system at midnight seven days a week will begin Friday, June 3.

“This plan is going to take some sacrifice from all of us,” Wiedefeld said. “But it is clear that the current approach is not working, more aggressive action is necessary.”

Following the review and consideration of traffic mitigation and alternate travel options by the Department of Transportation (DOT) agencies in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia, regional law enforcement, Office of Personnel Management (OPM), Department of Homeland Security and General Services Administration (GSA), a final version of SafeTrack will be released for riders on May 16.

“Metro’s safety culture change depends on support from the entire region,” said Wiedefeld. “We have to begin by understanding that safety trumps inconvenience.”

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Several Snowball Fights Scheduled for Sunday

2014 Battle at Ballston snowball fightYou’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.

File photo

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Morning Notes

Fall foliage outside a house in Arlington (Flickr pool photo by Wolfkann)

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

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