(Updated at 9:25 a.m.) Metrorail riders, especially those heading toward D.C. on the Orange/Silver line, are experiencing major crowding due to an incident in the District overnight.
Two trains, neither of which were carrying passengers, collided near the Foggy Bottom and Farragut West Metro stations around 1 a.m. Both train operators were injured.
An investigation into the crash has prompted single-tracking past the scene, leading to major delays during the Monday morning commute. Trains on the Orange, Blue and Silver lines are only running every 15 minutes, while the Silver Line is only running between the Wiehle-Reston East and Ballston stations.
Significant crowding has been reported at the East Falls Church and Ballston stations in Arlington. The cost of Uber and Lyft rides has also reportedly spiked.
More via social media and the Unsuck DC Metro Twitter account:
— Alison Sweet (@cat3ali) October 7, 2019
I've never seen the Ballston Metro this hectic. Silver line is shut down except between Ballston and Wiehle Reston. Orange running every 15 min. They are queuing people up to head into D.C. from Ballston. #dcmetro #commute @DCMetroandBus @dcmetrohero pic.twitter.com/deClwCTPrc
— Ashley Hopko (@AshleyHopko) October 7, 2019
Due to a collision between 2 non revenue trains outside Farragut West at 12:54 am, the following service changes are in effect:
BL/OR: Every 15 minutes
Single tracking from Foggy Bottom to McPherson Sq
SV: every 15 minutes from Wiehle to Ballston ONLY https://t.co/sgY4AuKzqG
— Rail Transit OPS Group (@RailTransitOPS) October 7, 2019
Arlington County firefighters are on scene of a reported track fire near the East Falls Church Metro station.
The fire was reported just outside of the station, along the Orange and Silver line tracks. Metro workers have extinguished the fire, according to scanner traffic.
Metro trains were temporarily single-tracking in the area as a result of the fire.
UPDATED: Orange/Silver Line Delay: Trains are single tracking thru East Falls Church due to a track problem outside East Falls Church. Expect delays in both directions.
— Metrorail Info (@Metrorailinfo) September 24, 2019
UPDATED: Orange/Silver Line Delay: No longer single tracking. Residual delays continue in both directions following an earlier track problem outside East Falls Church.
— Metrorail Info (@Metrorailinfo) September 24, 2019
Metro’s Fire Hydrant Problem — “A fire safety advocate and a D.C. firefighter took to social media Tuesday to criticize the transit agency after a Metrobus was spotted parked in front of a hydrant in Pentagon City for about 10 minutes. They also said it’s a chronic problem.” [Washington Post]
Va. Was Amazon Oasis After NYC Debacle — “In late January, Holly Sullivan, the head of world-wide development at Amazon, returned to Washington, D.C., where she and some colleagues dined with executives from JBG Smith, the real-estate firm managing the Arlington County site.. A JBG Smith official remarked that Amazon’s team looked like it had come from a war zone. ‘How much more space can we get in Virginia?’ one of the Amazon executives joked.” [Wall Street Journal, Twitter]
Ballston Office Building Sold — “Hines Interests LP has acquired Ballston’s Two Liberty Center” — where ARLnow has its offices — “from New York-based real estate investment management company Westbrook Partners for $93.2 million. Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. (NYSE: JLL) brokered the Aug. 20 sale of the 178,000-square foot, nine-story building.” [Washington Business Journal]
APS Expanding Healthy Lunch Options — “In 2017, Café + Teria was originally introduced to high school students attending Arlington, Virginia’s three public high schools, Wakefield, Yorktown and Washington-Lee. Due to the success at these schools in Arlington it will also expand to The Heights (the new home of H-B Woodlawn) and the Arlington… Career Center on September 3.” [Press Release]
Metro removed a bus stop, citing Amazon’s planned HQ2 construction, but it’s not clear whether the transit agency told riders first.
Metro’s website now lists the stop at S. Eads Street and 15th Street S. as being out of service for the 7Y route, as well as the 7A and 7F Lincolnia lines, and the 10N line to Reagan National Airport. However, as of Thursday afternoon, the transit agency’s website still listed arrival times at the stop for buses with the Barcroft-South Fairlington Line (22A.)
The stop was reporting missing last week by rider Scudder Waag, who told ARLnow he rode his usual 7Y route from Alexandria to Pentagon last week with no problems.
“But on Thursday I pulled the cord because we’re going to get off the bus, but the driver just get going and I hollered, and other riders were hollering,” he said.
Ultimately, the driver was able to drop passengers off on the entrance ramp to the newly renamed Richmond Highway, before the bus continued on into D.C. Waag he said the new stop is further from his office, and while he can walk longer distances, not everyone has the ability to do so.
The transit agency initially told Waag it would replace the missing sign. Five days later, Metro replied replied that the “bus planning team informed us that the bus stop… has been temporarily abolished due to the construction of a new office building, which is expected to take 6-9 months.”
The Eads Street stop is located right where Amazon is currently constructing the two, 22-story office towers that make up the first phase of its new headquarters in Pentagon City — though the project is still early in the county’s approval process and months away from starting construction.
Hi, our bus planning team informed us that the bus stop (S Eads St & 15th St S) has been temporarily abolished due to the construction of a new office building, which is expected to take 6-9 months. -AF
— Metrobus Info (@Metrobusinfo) July 30, 2019
“As the WMATA RAC’s Virginia Co-Chair, it’s distressing to see this happening in the middle of the BL/YL shutdown in Alexandria,” said WMATA Riders’ Advisory Council (RAC) member Andrew Kierig, referring to the ongoing Metrorail shutdown. “The best solution would be to have temporarily relocate the stop instead of ‘abolishing’ it without warning.”
Waag, a senior associate for a private transit planning firm, has worked with Alexandria’s DASH bus service, as well as Richmond’s GRTC. He told ARLnow that changing schedules and alerts for bus stops is “phenomenally complicated and takes a ridiculous amount of time.”
“Overall my experience riding with WMATA most days is quite nice, and quite good,” said Waag. “That day was certainly strange.”
Making the matter more complicated is Metro’s own confusing communications with riders. The transit agency shared an advisory alert about the project this week that stated the station, “has been permanently closed, effective immediately” — contradicting their earlier tweet about the station only closing temporarily.
It’s also not clear when Metro posted that alert to the website. The alert is listed as being effective from July 15, however an archived copy of Metro’s website from July 17 shows no alerts regarding the staton.
Metro also deleted its Wednesday tweet which shared the advisory alert.
The transit agency did not respond for requests for more information in time for publication.
“As someone who works with APIs and is also personally interested in transit service schedule data APIs like this, I’m concerned that this continues to be an issue that WMATA isn’t making a priority,” said Kierig. “I’ve raised this question at multiple RAC meetings with bus planning staff in regards to the replacement shuttles on the Metrorail shutdown. I’ll continue to do whatever I can to get them to fix this particular thing.”
“Winning back ridership means fixing the service and reliability side but also having the communications infrastructure and quality to make people aware that WMATA is truly #Back2Good,” Kierig added.
Map via Google Maps
Update at 9:55 a.m. — The issue has been resolved and Blue Line service resolved, Metro says, though residual delays remain.
UPDATED: Blue Line Alert: Trains operate btwn Nat'l Airport & Largo Town Center following an earlier signal problem at Rosslyn .
— Metrorail Info (@Metrorailinfo) August 1, 2019
Earlier: Metro riders are facing delays this morning due to a reported signal problem at the Rosslyn station.
Currently, Metro says the Blue Line is no longer running to Largo and shuttle buses are being requested to run from Rosslyn to the Pentagon. Service at Arlington Cemetery station is said to be suspended.
Delays have also been reported on the Orange, Silver and Blue lines since the problem was first reported around 8 a.m.
More via social media:
UPDATED: Blue Line Delay: Arlington Cemetery: No train service to Largo due to a signal problem at Rosslyn. Buses requested btwn Rosslyn & Pentagon.
— Metrorail Info (@Metrorailinfo) August 1, 2019
As a result of the OR/SV/BL Line disruption, some Blue Line trains will operate as Yellow Line trains between National Airport & Mt. Vernon Sq. Please check destination sign, announcements or next train signs as you board. #wmata
— Metrorail Info (@Metrorailinfo) August 1, 2019
Orange/Silver/Blue Line Delay: Expect delays to National Airport. Vienna and Wiehle-Reston due to a signal problem at Rosslyn.
— Metrorail Info (@Metrorailinfo) August 1, 2019
⚠️ ALL #WMATA trains currently departing National Airport are signed as either YL/Greenbelt or YL/Mt. Vernon Sq.
To reach OR/SV lines transfer at L’Enfant Plaza
— Rail Transit OPS Group (@RailTransitOPS) August 1, 2019
L’Enfant was chaos, as per usual pic.twitter.com/4yAFUuTxVt
— Christian Paz (@realcpaz) August 1, 2019
New Lyon Park Neighborhood Plan Approved — “The Arlington County Board today accepted the first update to historic Lyon Park’s Neighborhood Conservation plan since 1973. The update, spearheaded by the Lyon Park Citizens Association, seeks to address increased non-resident traffic and other challenges through 19 recommendations for improvements.” [Arlington County]
ACPD Traffic Enforcement in Crystal City — “Motor Officers conducted high visibility traffic enforcement along Crystal Drive today to curb illegal practices including stopping/parking in the bike and travel lanes. Increase roadway safety [by] being a PAL — Predictable | Alert | Lawful.” [Twitter]
How to Beat the Heat in Arlington — With a scorching weekend of dangerous heat ahead, and an Excessive Heat Watch issued, Arlington County is reminding residents of some ways they can keep cool, stay informed and help at-risk individuals. [Arlington County]
Metro Waterfall, Explained — Metro has an explanation of why a waterfall developed in the ceiling of the Virginia Square Metro station and inside a passing train during the Flash Flood Emergency last week. [DCist]
Grants for African-American Heritage Projects — “Two Arlington-based organizations are among 25 non-profits statewide that will share more than $140,000 in new grant funding from Virginia Humanities” for projects exploring local African-American heritage and history [InsideNova]
Beyer on Trump Impeachment Vote — “I strongly support an impeachment inquiry into the conduct of President Trump. I voted to table H. Res. 489 because it would effectively prevent the House from conducting such an inquiry… It would initiate an impeachment trial in the Senate solely to consider whether the President should be removed from office for his recent racist tweets.” [Twitter, Blue Virginia]
Dueling APS Letters to the Editor — On one hand, Arlington Public Schools should stick to funding only the basics, like providing textbooks and pencils, according to one letter to the editor published in the Sun Gazette. On the other hand, APS should have a comprehensive approach to sustainability, including recycling and excess cafeteria waste, according to another letter to the editor writer. [InsideNova, InsideNova]
(Updated at 9:27 a.m.) Commuters on Metro’s Orange and Silver lines faced minor delays this morning after smoke filled the tunnels of the Ballston station.
A Metro spokeswoman told ARLnow that a train suffered a brake malfunction and offloaded passengers at the station.
“The fans will be turned on and the smoke will dissipate,” said the spokesman. He added he not aware of any health concerns for those who breathed in the smoke.
As of 9 a.m. the gray smoke was still visible and smelled of burning rubber, but crowds has dissipated and first responders had left the scene.
Dozens of emergency vehicles, firefighters going down the escalator, smell of burning rubber, and smoke in the tunnels. Just another day at metro! pic.twitter.com/9t5lj7oEhO
— Baris Tezgel (@BarisTezgel1) July 2, 2019
First responders were dispatched to the scene around 8:45 a.m. this morning to reports of smoke filling the tunnel.
Metro-tracking bot Metro Hero Alerts reported that a train went out of service at the Ballston station at 8:43 a.m. this morning and that riders disembarked the train at the station.
Outside, one commuter ditched Metro and was waiting on an Uber to get to work.
“I could smell it going down,” Ashley McMahon said of the smoke as she walked down the escalator to the tunnel earlier that morning. “There was a lot of people.”
— Maggie Urbanik (@maggieurbanik) July 2, 2019
Photo courtesy of Ashley McMahon
Real Estate Smoking Hot Near HQ2 — “Since Amazon announced in November its choice of Crystal City and Pentagon City, the median home sale price in that area has increased 17.7%, leaping to $655,000, and the typical home was placed under contract in just six days, down from 10 days last year, according to fresh data from real estate brokerage Redfin.” [Washington Business Journal, Axios, WTOP]
Marymount Names Tech-Oriented Interim Business Dean — “Tech expert and entrepreneur Jonathan Aberman is the new interim dean of Marymount University’s School of Business and Technology. Aberman replaces outgoing dean Marianne Ward-Peradoza and officially takes the reins of the school July 1.” [Washington Business Journal, PRNewswire]
Missing: Firefighter’s Keys — “A firefighter left his keys on the bumper of a fire truck while rushing to an emergency! If you happened to pick up this set of keys along Wilson Blvd from Ballston to 7 Corners, kindly return them to Fire Station 2!” [Twitter]
Water Main Work in Lyon Village — “Emergency Water Main Repairs: Crews are working on an 8-inch main at the 2800 block of Key Boulevard. Some 150 water customers could be affected. The street is detoured around the work site.” [Twitter]
Metro Summer Shutdown Underway — “After long lines and packed buses shortly after opening, commuters on Metro’s Yellow and Blue lines are seeing more frequent pick-ups but some traffic delays… Tuesday is the first work day that six stations on Metro’s Blue and Yellow lines south of Reagan National Airport are closed for platform repairs and other upgrades until Sept. 8.” [WTOP]
Photo: Tomb Sentinel in Thursday’s Storm — “On Thursday, Arlington was hit hard with rain and wind with gusts up to 70mph, but that didn’t stop one man from honoring the fallen. A Tomb Sentinel withstood torrential rains and wind gusts to honor the fallen at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.” [WJLA, Facebook]
Photo courtesy Peter Golkin
Several Blue Line trains barreled through Arlington Cemetery station without picking up passengers this past month as Metro gave little to no notice to riders.
Inbound Blue Line trains have not stopped at the station several times due to repairs, transit agency spokespeople told ARLnow, but riders waiting on the platform have few ways to learn they might as well have been waiting for Godot.
The trains have stranded passengers seven times since March 13, as seen by this reporter and according to alerts from transit tracker Metro Hero.
— Phoenix Robles (@detectedbeats) March 26, 2019
The only alert for riders waiting on the platform during a March 19 incident was a loudspeaker announcement which, according to tipsters, was unintelligible on the echoing platform.
Spokespeople for the transit agency told ARLnow that trains were directed to pass through the station to arrive faster at Rosslyn, and avoid an ongoing bottleneck caused by a “signal problem” at Stadium Armory station.
“Because the issue involved the junction where three lines diverge, fewer trains could get through the area, and the delays were starting to grow as more trains arrived,” said Metro spokesman Ian Jannetta.
To decrease the number of trains headed to the junction, Jannetta said Metro’s Rail Operations Control Center (ROCC) also directed Silver Line trains to turn back at Ballston. ROCC also directed three Blue Line trains to skip Arlington Cemetery and arrive earlier to Rosslyn and avoid bottlenecking with the rescheduled Orange Line train also arriving at Rosslyn.
Three more Westbound Blue Line trains have skipped Arlington Cemetery this week, one on Tuesday and two more today (Thursday.) Trains also skipped out on the station on March 13 and 18.
Westbound BL/Franconia-Springfield Train 405 may have passed through Arlington Cemetery without picking up passengers on the track 2 platform. (7:46am) #wmata
— MetroHero Alerts 🤖 (@metroheroalerts) March 28, 2019
The transit agency did post an alert that Blue, Silver, and Orange line riders may “experience minor delays when traveling through the work area” as upgrades are made to Stadium Armory until March 29.
The alert does not mention trains passing by the station, nor were there signs posted at the station by March 19.
Jannetta said passengers on the selected train were alerted two stops from the cemetery that the train would not be stopping there. He added that the transit agency’s reimbursement for late trips applies to anyone affected.
“Arlington Cemetery ridership during the AM commute is extremely light, which factored into the decision making process,” Jannetta told ARLnow. “On the other hand, the action benefited several hundred customers aboard trains approaching Rosslyn.”
Arlington Cemetery experiences the largest ridership increase of any Metro station during the Cherry Blossom season, per Metro’s now-defunct planning blog. Earlier this month, Metro cancelled some track work in Arlington in anticipation of the arrival of the tourists.
Metro is shutting down three Arlington stations on the Blue and Yellow lines this weekend, in order to allow for some major lighting improvements set to make each station substantially brighter.
The Pentagon, Pentagon City and Crystal City stops will all be closed both Saturday and Sunday (Jan. 12-13), WMATA announced last week, work that is sure to create substantial disruptions on both lines.
Metro plans to run Blue Line trains on its regular weekend schedule between the Franconia-Springfield and Reagan National Airport stations and between Arlington Cemetery and Largo Town Center each day, with free shuttle buses providing a bridge between the closed stations. After the cemetery closes at 7 p.m. each day, Blue Line service will end at the Rosslyn station.
As for the Yellow Line, Metro expects it will only run trains between the Huntington and National Airport stations, with free shuttle buses on that line too.
The exact details for the shuttle buses are as follows, per a WMATA press release:
- Blue Line Shuttle (No stop at National Airport) – every 5-10 minutes between Braddock Rd, Crystal City, Pentagon City, Pentagon, Rosslyn
- DC-Airport Express Shuttle – every 5-10 minutes between Reagan National Airport and L’Enfant Plaza Metro Station in Downtown DC
- Pentagon-Airport Shuttle – every 15 minutes between Reagan National Airport, Crystal City, Pentagon City, Pentagon only
Metro is warning anyone hoping to use the rail service and shuttle buses to allow an extra 30 minutes of travel time to reach their destinations this weekend.
Officials chose to kick off work this weekend because they’re counting on “lighter post-holiday travel” patterns, easing demand for service reaching DCA. Metro made a similar assumption back on Veteran’s Day in closing the National Airport station, only to see huge traffic snarls as frustrated commuters turned to the roads instead.
This latest construction project is aimed at installing new LED lights in all three stations, part of a $50 million project that involves lighting upgrades at all of Metro’s 48 underground stations. WMATA says that stations generally become about six times brighter after the new lights are installed.
The station closures will also let Metro “perform additional track work, including concrete grout pad replacement, installation of radio communication cables and tunnel leak mitigation” at all three locations.
The troubled transit system remains beset by questions of how to best complete needed track work while improving service and luring riders back to its trains. Metro leaders are proposing some key rush hour service increases in WMATA’s new budget, but it remains an open question whether Arlington and other Virginia localities will be able to help pay for those changes.
Photo via WMATA
Snow Coming This Weekend — Gas up the snowblowers: accumulating snow is likely this weekend. By county ordinance, all snowfall under 6 inches must be removed from sidewalks within 24 hours of the last flakes. That gets bumped up to 36 hours for 6 or more inches of snow. [Capital Weather Gang]
New ‘Best of Arlington’ List — The 2019 “Best of Arlington” list is in. Among food-related winners, Ambar was named Best Restaurant, Barley Mac was named Best for Date Night and Matt Hill of Liberty Tavern Group and Hungry was named Best Chef. [Arlington Magazine]
AWLA Dog Featured in People Magazine — “One of our AWLA alums, Lucy, is featured in People Magazine this week! Here’s the online article about her weight loss journey after being adopted — her owner helped her go from 26 lbs to 14 lbs.” [Twitter, People]
Case of the Disintegrating Coffee Cups — On four separate occasions, a Washington Business Journal reporter had a coffee cup from Compass Coffee in Rosslyn start to disintegrate and leak in her hand. The company says they were sent a bad batch of paper cups and are working to remove all of the faulty cups from their cafes. [Washington Business Journal]
Va. Legislature to Consider Housing Bills — “A new surge in development in parts of Northern Virginia could come next year under a proposal to overhaul 2016 proffer legislation in this year’s General Assembly… Another proposal would ban discrimination by local governments through land use decisions against low-income or other specific types of development.” [WTOP]
Power Issue at Ballston Metro Station — There are reports that power was out at the Ballston Metro station this morning, meaning no working elevators, escalators or fare kiosks, and only minimal lighting. [Twitter, Twitter]