Greater Greater Washington

Posts by Matt Johnson

Matt Johnson has lived in the Washington area since 2007. He has a Master's in Planning from the University of Maryland and a BS in Public Policy from Georgia Tech. He lives in Greenbelt. Hes a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners. He is a contract employee of the Montgomery County Planning Department. His views are his own and do not represent the opinion of his employer. 

Here are the answers to whichWMATA week 30

On Monday, we posted our thirtieth photo challenge to see how well you know Metro. I took five photos in the Metro system. Here are the answers. How well did you do?

This week we got 21 guesses. Only one got all five correct. Great work, Peter K!


Image 1: Rhode Island Avenue

The first image shows the view looking south from the platform at Rhode Island Avenue. The height and clear view of the Capitol dome is distinctive of this station. Another clue are the construction cranes in NoMa at far right. Eighteen of you knew this one.


Image 2: Foggy Bottom

The second image shows an escalator at Foggy Bottom. This particular viewpoint is unique because this is the only island platform underground station in the system that has a solitary escalator, instead of a pair of escalators or an escalator next to a staircase. Pentagon and Rosslyn both have single escalators, but theirs are against walls on one side since those stations have tracks on two levels. Eight got this one correct.

Update: To clarify, Foggy Bottom has the only solitary escalator that comes down through a hole in the mezzanine. Other stations have single escalators from the end of a mezzanine. I was trying to say that in as few words as possible, and I realize I left out and important detail.


Image 3

The third picture was taken at Minnesota Avenue. This picture should have been easy to narrow down to two stations, since the CSX Landover Subdivision is off to the left. These tracks used to be electrified since the Pennsylvania Railroad ran electric freight trains. But the catenary wires have been removed. And while Deanwood is in a similar setting, north of Deanwood, the tracks curve off to the right, unlike in the straightaway pictured here. Eight of you knew this one.


Image 4

The fourth image depicts the western entrance at Cleveland Park. The distinctive Metro canopy visible at top narrows this to a street escalator entrance. The two signs also helped to narrow it. The "Downtown" sign means that we're at a station north of the central business district, and the "Zoo" sign should help you narrow it down to one of the Connecticut Avenue stations north of the Zoo. Fifteen of you guessed correctly.


Image 5

The final image shows Van Dorn Street, from a train on the adjacent CSX/VRE tracks. The clues here were the Gull I canopy and the Convanta trash incinerator visible just to the left of the elevator. Additionally, if you look closely, you can make out three words on the platform pylon at the left edge of the frame. And as one commenter noted, one of the pylons has both BL and YL Rush icons. Only two of you got this one.

Thanks to everyone for playing! Great work. Stay tuned. We'll have five more images for you next Tuesday.

Happy Thanksgiving!

How well do you know Metro? It's whichWMATA week 30

It's time for the thirtieth installment of our weekly "whichWMATA" series! Below are five photos of the Washington Metro system. Can you identify the station depicted in each picture?


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The answers will appear on Wednesday. We'll hide the comments so the early birds don't spoil the fun for the rest of you.

Update: The answers are here.

Here are the answers to whichWMATA week 29

On Tuesday, we posted our twenty-ninth photo challenge to see how well you know Metro. I took five photos in the Metro system. Here are the answers. How well did you do?

This week, we got 31 guesses. Nine of you got all five correct. Great work, Alex B, Peter K, Murn, DavidDuck, Justin...., coneyraven, Ian, DC Dave, and Cosmo!


Image 1: West Falls Church

The first image shows the north bus loop at West Falls Church. This loop was formerly home to many of the Fairfax Connector routes that served Tysons Corner and other places in northern Fairfax, but today is less important since the Silver Line has opened. The primary clue here is the unique canopy covering the bus platform. 21 of you knew this one.


Image 2

The second image shows an outbound Blue Line train approaching Arlington Cemetery station. In addition to the side platforms, which narrows the list of possible stations significantly, the bucolic setting and the Rosslyn skyline make this obviously Arlington Cemetery. 28 got this one right.


Image 3

The third image depicts the memorial pylon at Metro Center. This granite column is a memorial to fallen Metro employees. It stands in the southern mezzanine, which is an extension of the Shady Grove Glenmont platform above the Blue/Orange/Silver platform near the sales office. 19 of you correctly guessed Metro Center.


Image 4

This image shows a mirror on the platform at Silver Spring station. Because the platform here is curved, these convex mirrors are in place to allow the operators of inbound trains to see all the doors on the train. Only two stations have these mirrors. Other clues included the distinctive bridge between the MARC platforms and the buildings in the background. 18 knew this was Silver Spring.


Image 5

The final image shows a staircase at Wheaton station. These steps lead down from the southeast corner of Reedie Drive and Georgia Avenue into the mezzanine. The distinctive blue wall is a clue, as is the new residential tower above the Wheaton Safeway, visible in the glare. 14 correctly guessed Wheaton.

Thanks to everyone for playing! Great work. Stay tuned. We'll have five more images for you next week.

Do you know Metro? It's whichWMATA week 29

It's time for the twenty-ninth installment of our weekly "whichWMATA" series! Below are five photos of the Washington Metro system. Can you identify the station depicted in each picture?


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The answers will appear on Thursday. We'll hide the comments so the early birds don't spoil the fun for the rest of you.

Update: The answers are here.

Here are the answers to whichWMATA week 28

On Tuesday, we posted our twenty-eighth photo challenge to see how well you know Metro. I took five photos in the Metro system. Here are the answers. How well did you do?

This week, we got 24 guesses. Only one person got all five correct, though. Great work, Peter K!


Image 1: NoMa

The first image was clearly the easiest, garnering 23 correct guesses (one person didn't guess on it). From the photo, you can tell that the canopy is clearly of the "Gull II" variety, and since the next train is going to Glenmont, you know it has to be on the Red Line. The only Gull II station on the Red Line is NoMa.


Image 2: McLean

The second image shows McLean station. We got 16 correct answers to this clue. From the canopy supports on either side of the image, most of you were able to narrow this down to one of the "Tysons Peak" stations. You can also just barely make out the text on the sign with the Silver Line's end points. (Everyone who guessed guessed a station on the Silver Line).

While several of you guessed Spring Hill, which is this station's twin, the view of the buildings in the distance proves this is McLean.


Image 3: Forest Glen

This image of Forest Glen proved a little harder, getting only 13 correct guesses. There's not much context here, but the primary clue is the sign that says "elevators to exit." There are only three elevator-only primary exits in the system, so this had to be one of those stations. The shape of the vault (visible at left) and the lighting should narrow it down to Forest Glen.


Image 4: Takoma

Only six people correctly guessed Takoma for the fourth image. This hallway leads to the platform elevator and is in a different location than the primary (escalator) mezzanine. The reason this entrance exists is because the first phase of Metro (the stations that opened between 1976 and 1978) were designed without elevators. Later, the designs were changed to incorporate elevators, but that resulted in many of those stations having elevators in odd locations. Takoma (opened in 1978) is one of those stations.


Image 5: Southern Avenue

The final image shows station art at Southern Avenue. We actually featured this same art installation in Week 4, though from a different vantage point. Only three of you knew that this was Southern Avenue.

Thanks to everyone for playing! Great work. Stay tuned. We'll have five more images for you next week on our new day: Tuesday.

How well do you know Metro? It's whichWMATA week 28

It's time for the twenty-eighth installment of our weekly "whichWMATA" series! Below are five photos of the Washington Metro system. Can you identify the station depicted in each picture?


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The answers will appear on Thursday. We'll hide the comments so the early birds don't spoil the fun for the rest of you.

Note: From now on, the whichWMATA clue post will appear on Tuesday with answers on Thursday.

Update: The answers are here.

Here are the answers to whichWMATA week 27

On Monday, we posted our twenty-seventh photo challenge to see how well you know Metro. I took five photos in Metro. Here are the answers. How well did you do?

This week, we got 24 guesses. Seven of you got all five correct. Great work, thesixteenwords, Justin..., Aaron, MZEBE, Ken C, Mr Johnson, and Peter K!


Image 1: Union Station

The first image shows the never-finished H Street entrance at Union Station. Behind the wall (partially hidden by the advertisements) is an unfinished tunnel that runs almost all the way to H Street. One day, it may connect Red Line riders to the H Street streetcar or the proposed Metro loop line under H Street. Seventeen of you got this one right.


Image 2: Rockville

The second picture shows the canopy at Rockville and the MARC/Amtrak station next door. Everyone who guessed this week guessed a station that had a commuter rail connection (except one person who guessed Shady Grove), but the commuter rail station at Rockville is distinctive because of its canopy, side platforms, and lack of overhead wires. Fifteen of you guessed correctly.


Image 3: Clarendon

This picture shows the plaza along Wilson Boulevard outside Clarendon station. It's distinctive because of the covered bike parking and the nearby buildings. Fourteen of you knew this one.


Image 4: Franconia-Springfield

The fourth image shows Franconia-Springfield. This one was a little harder, since there's less context. However, the roof type is clearly "High Peak," which narrows it down to four stations. The sign in the distance references "commuter rail," further narrowing this to Franconia. Twelve of you got this one right.


Image 5: Twinbrook

The final image was quite challenging, but despite that, ten of you knew it. This shows the mezzanine at Twinbrook. There were two clues to help you on this one. First, you can see the whole mezzanine (since you can see the faregates), and the only entrance has one escalator and a staircase. Secondly, since the stairs go up, this has to be a station with a mezzanine below the platform.

Only Twinbrook fits the bill. Other stations have staircases, certainly. But they're in different configurations. Other common guesses included Brookland and East Falls Church, but those stations have side-by-side escalators, not a staircase. In fact, the escalator pictured here is the only escalator at Twinbrook. This station has only one escalator, the fewest number of any station (except Forest Glen, which has none).

Next Monday we'll have five more photos for you to identify. Thanks for playing!

How well do you know Metro? It's whichWMATA week 27

It's time for the twenty-seventh installment of our weekly "whichWMATA" series! Below are five photos of the Washington Metro system. Can you identify the station depicted in each picture?


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Image 5

The answers will appear on Wednesday. We'll hide the comments so the early birds don't spoil the fun for the rest of you.

Here are the answers to whichWMATA week 26

On Monday, we posted our twenty-sixth photo challenge to see how well you know Metro. I took five photos in Metro. Here are the answers. How well did you do?

We got 20 guesses this week. Only one of you got all five correct. Great work, Peter K!


Image 1: Fort Totten

The first image shows a northbound train leaving Fort Totten's lower level. There are several clues in this picture. The portion of the platform below the mezzanine has a unique ceiling, which is visible here. Additionally, the terminal supervisor's booth (the windows) narrows this down to a few stations that served as terminals. And in the reflection on the window, you can see that the station is partially above ground. Nine of you got this one right.


Image 2: Spring Hill

The next image depicts the Spring Hill station along the new Silver Line. The vantage point is from the pedestrian bridge over the southbound lanes of Route 7. This is distinctly Spring Hill (as opposed to the other Tysons stations) because McLean and Tysons Corner are not in medians, they're entirely on one side of Route 123. Greensboro, which is also in a median, has a completely different roof type (Gambrel) and the mezzanine is above the tracks, rather than below. Twelve of you correctly guessed this one.


Image 3: Takoma

The third image depicts art at the Takoma station, visible from the entrance. It's located on the retaining wall between the tracks south of the station, and is easily visible from the left side of southbound trains upon departure. Nine of you got this one.


Image 4: Braddock Road

The fourth image shows the view from the platform at Braddock Road. The clue here is the distance from and angle to the George Washington Masonic Memorial. Further confirmation comes from being able to see the southern end of the canopy (Alexandria Peak) and the railroad tracks, which makes it clear that this is not King Street. Nineteen knew this one.


Image 5: ShawHoward University

The final image was clearly the hardest. This shows the northbound trackway at Shaw. All stations have drains in the trackways. But they usually just have one or two. Shaw has drains at this interval for almost the entire length of the platform, and it's distinct in that regard. The base of the vault could have also helped you narrow it down, since it's a Waffle type. Only four of you knew this was Shaw.

Next Monday we'll have five more photos for you to identify. Thanks for playing!

Do you know the station? It's whichWMATA week 26

It's time for the twenty-sixth installment of our weekly "whichWMATA" series! Below are five photos of the Washington Metro system. Can you identify the station depicted in each picture?


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Image 2


Image 3


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Image 5

The answers will appear on Wednesday. We'll hide the comments so the early birds don't spoil the fun for the rest of you.

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