Greater Greater Washington

Transit


Metro closing Red Line for 8 months to accelerate repairs

This article was posted as an April Fool's joke.

Metro will suspend all service on the Red Line for the next 8 months to allow repair crews to finish work on the line more quickly. Shuttle buses will replace trains between Shady Grove and Glenmont.


Photo by ElvertBarnes on Flickr.

According to Metro spokesman Stan Dessel, Metro is tired of the constant weekend track work. "Frankly, we're just as sick of the slow trickle of repairs as the customers are. We decided it would simply be faster to just fix everything at once," Dessel said.

Dessel said customers should also consider alternative commuting methods, like driving. Customers who drive or take the shuttle buses should expect to add an additional 60-120 minutes to their travel time.

Riders from Shady Grove can also drive to Vienna and take the Orange Line.

Governors Bob McDonnell and Martin O'Malley announced plans to spend $10 billion to build a new freeway across the Potomac River in order to accommodate the Metro riders, but added that funding is too scarce to contribute more to speed up the Metro repairs. "We think this is the best way to use our state transportation dollars to help commuters," said Virginia Secretary of Transportation Sean Proaughton.

In addition, MARC will add new service on the Brunswick Line. CSX announced that it would allow MARC to run more trains and actually tell its dispatchers to give priority to passenger trains on the line, as opposed to previous times when they claimed to have done so but dispatchers did not actually follow through.

Metro is launching a new public relations campaign around the closure, called "Red Line: Deal With It." Customers will see construction walls at Red Line station entrances with slogans like, "8 Months Isn't So Bad, Is It?" and "No More Delays. No More Red Line."

Organizers of large national events are also being informed. A national tea party convention has already modified its website to inform attendees driving to the region from points north on I-95 to take the Beltway to Vienna instead of driving to Glenmont or using any other station.

Metro will suspend all work on other lines, including Silver Line construction, in order to complete the work in 8 months. "We hope that by the time the Red Line reopens, we'll only have to single-track twice a month," said WMATA CEO Richard Snarles.

Dessel said Metro is working with Mayor Gray to hire thousands of unemployed District residents to help with the 24-hour repairs. The program is part of a new employment program called "One City, One Line."

A social media component of the program, called "Metro Fast Forward," will equip track workers with helmet video cameras and editing software so that they can produce videos of the work in real time.

This concept has actually been in the works for over a year. Previous WMATA spokesperson Lisa Dystone planned not to tell riders about the closure, arguing that nobody would notice. However, Michael Perkins noticed an obscure footnote in a WMATA Board presentation and encouraged officials to mount a larger campaign to inform riders.

Some have already criticized Metro's plan. The critical blog DeCrapify DC Metro said 8 months is far longer than needed to finish the work. Another blog and popular Twitter account, WTF WMATA, wrote that customers deserve better treatment and vowed to hold Metro accountable.

How will you adjust to the Red Line closing? Let us know in the comments.

Jamie Scott is a resident of Ward 3 in DC and a regular Metrobus commuter. He believes in good government, livable communities and quality public transit. Jamie holds a B.A. in Government from Georgetown University and is currently pursuing a Masters in Public Policy at Georgetown. 

Comments

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I only wish the Governors of Maryland and Virginia would find the money on 1 April or another day to construct a new Potomac River bridge in the Rt. 28 corridor...

"Metro Fast Forward" helmet-cams and editing software...now that is funny!

by Poshboy on Apr 1, 2012 12:43 pm • linkreport

Is this a satirical piece? It's hard to tell.

by Ashley on Apr 1, 2012 12:44 pm • linkreport

Sometimes these posts are a little too close to reality. I am heartened to hear that the Silver Spring Transit Center has had its completion date moved up to 2042, and will now feature a gold plated podium for Ike Leggett to deliver press conferences from.

by Joe in SS on Apr 1, 2012 12:54 pm • linkreport

Argh! I could manage if they closed 16th Street to car traffic Monday to Friday and only allowed buses and pedestrians and bikes.

by King crab on Apr 1, 2012 1:02 pm • linkreport

This must be an April Fools joke. CSX would not allow VRE or MARC operate more trains as they need the tracks to operate their freight during day. Plus, would VRE and MARC be able to afford the addtionial track fees?

"Metro Speeding Foward" for your convience, not safety!

by Davin Peterson on Apr 1, 2012 1:14 pm • linkreport

Ya had me up to the increased service on the MARC.

Talk about panic attack.

by Alger on Apr 1, 2012 1:20 pm • linkreport

How will I adjust? Same way I have since the Red Line nonsense began. Drive.

by Fischy (Ed F.) on Apr 1, 2012 1:32 pm • linkreport

Some Big News:
https://sites.google.com/site/clevelandpark/aprilfool%27sday

Also:

DC DPW's In-Home Concierge Trash and Recycling Collection Service

As part of its continuing program to provide beyond-excellent service to District of Columbia residents, the Department of Public Works is pleased to announce in-home trash collection. For residents who don't have the time or desire to bring their trash out for weekly or bi-weekly collection, DPW will do it for you.

We know that taking out the trash is a chore. Otherwise, why would parents give an allowance to their kids? We know that you'd rather be talking a walk on a warm spring night than taking out the trash. We know that in the dead of winter, sorting recycling from household rubbish can't compare to reading a good book in bed.

Here's how the Department of Public Works Trash and Recycling Concierge Service works:

1. The fee is $25 per week for houses, and $15 per week for apartments. The fee includes both trash and recycling collection.

2. You need to be home during a two hour window between 7pm and 9pm on the night before your scheduled trash pickup. If you're going to be away, log in to your DPW Concierge Account and let us know at least 48 hours in advance.

3. Trash will be collected from up to 5 containers per household.

4. DPW will provide you with RFID (radio frequency identification) stickers to affix to your trash cans so that we can locate the trash cans when we arrive in your home. Using handheld receivers, DPW's Trash Collection Agents will swiftly find and remove your trash, without your having to point out each trash and recycling receptacle.

5. If you own an aggressive dog or cat please have your pet leashed on locked in a room.

6. There is a $5 surcharge per diaper can.

DPW's Concierge Trash Collection Agents are gloved and wear sanitary, earth-tone uniforms that go with the decor of any home. DPW's Trash Collection Agents will not use their cell phones while in your home. If your trashcan uses a standard white or gray plastic liner, we will replace it with a stylish magenta liner embossed with DPW's logo. As professional trash collectors, we will handle the job faster than you can, too. And remember, tipping isn't permitted!

This first-in-the-nation program is part of the "DC Is a Great City" Initiative. For more information and to sign up for DPW's Trash and Recycling Concierge Service visit http://tinyurl.com/cmqa52t .

by Tom Coumaris on Apr 1, 2012 1:36 pm • linkreport

@ Tom Coumaris--

Pssh...that happened about 14 years ago.

by WRD on Apr 1, 2012 2:11 pm • linkreport

Hilarious but ironically a good idea; use next years warmer winter to squeeze 6 years of weekend torture into 8 months of weekday madness. Only thing better would be a spur from Tysons to Bethesda along with the rebuild of the Red Line.

by John T on Apr 1, 2012 2:32 pm • linkreport

Jaime: You've just done Metro's job for when they actually do do this! Good piece.

by John Muller on Apr 1, 2012 2:57 pm • linkreport

They should take 12 months and get it done right. If they cut corners now, it's likely WMATA will need close the red line again next April 1.

by Rick on Apr 1, 2012 3:03 pm • linkreport

"One person's total system shutdown is another person's minor delay" -- ^DS

by Michael Perkins on Apr 1, 2012 4:05 pm • linkreport

Only partially crazy.

by Jack Love on Apr 2, 2012 9:39 am • linkreport

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