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Metro listens to feedback, tweaks future map

When the Silver Line opens later this year, the Metro map will have to fit in a silver stripe where the Orange and Blue Lines traverse DC. Metro has a two new drafts of the new map and wants to hear from riders.

Click on the radio buttons to toggle: Current ("Rush Plus")  Previous "whisker" draft
New "whisker" option  New "capsule" option 
Click on an image for larger version including the legend.

The main challenge in the map's design is how to show 3 lines all running together. Until the Silver Line, no track segment had 3 lines. When there are 2 lines, the map shows a small dot in between the two. But what to do with 3?

In our 2011 contest, people tried a lot of solutions, like much thinner lines (like most transit systems), striped lines, pairs or triples of dots, or just bigger dots and much more.

Metro's first draft used little "whiskers" on each side of the circle. A few people liked them, but most hated them and pushed for "pill" or "capsule"-shaped station symbols instead, or thinner lines.

Metro now has a new version that incorporates those suggestions. It shrinks the line width by 24%, which still leaves fatter lines than in other transit systems, but much slimmer than the current map. In this option, the stations with 3 lines now use the "capsule" shapes. They also created a new version that keeps the "whiskers" but cleans up the map in other ways.

What works, and where there could be a few more tweaks

The capsule version is much better than the previous versions. The curves are very tight and clean. The thinner lines look better, and the capsules are superior to the "whiskers."

It seems to me that for consistency with the circles, the capsules should be as large on the rounded ends as the small circles are today—basically pulling 2 halves of one of the current circles apart and putting a rectangle in between. Or as Cameron Booth put it, "an elongated 'pill' symbol with the same cap radius and the normal circle." That would make them much larger in overall area, though. On the latest draft, they're much thinner. What do you think?

Booth had very harsh words for the current map (redesigned last year). He pointed out many technical errors, like the way the parking P and hospital H icons didn't line up with the text at all. Metro has corrected at least some of these, like one Booth pointed out:

Text alignment on part of the Red Line. Left: Current Rush Plus map. Image by Cameron Booth from WMATA base map. Right: New map. Image by David Alpert from WMATA base map.

Metro also abandoned an idea of abbreviating words like "Ctr" and "Hgts" in station names (another choice Booth panned), but they are abbreviating "Rd," "St," "Ave," and "Blvd" for all stations. The original map abbreviated some but not all road types.

As the map goes through iterations, some have repeatedly pointed out that there is considerable parkland east of the Anacostia, including right along the river, but none appears on the map. Given that even the Pentagon (a large office fortress with parking lots and highways around it) gets to be inside a "park" space on this map, it seems reasonable to put some green along the east bank of the Anacostia.

It continues to mystify why Metro doesn't want to put the "Farragut Crossing" out-of-system transfer on the map. If it did appear, that could entice some casual users to take it instead of crowding trains through Metro Center.

While Metro is adjusting lines a little, it also would be smart to move Metro Center and Gallery Place closer together, so that fewer tourists take the Red Line one stop and then transfer, and put Union Station nearer the Capitol, because it's the station closest to the Senate.

Overall, the capsule map seems best, and the map overall is moving definitively in the right direction. Especially compared to the pre-Rush Plus map, where curves were all uneven, some labels were not even at a 45-degree angle, and everything was just a mess in so many tiny ways, the map has gotten far more professional.

Update/note: The image at the top does not show the legend and other information that's at the top or bottom of the map. You can click on an image to see the full map including header and footer.

Update 2: The original version of this post said that Metro has a new version with capsule station symbols, but in fact they have 2 new versions, one of which has capsule symbols and the other with whisker symbols. I misunderstood the whisker version Metro posted as being the old one rather than a revised whisker one. The post has now been updated to show both new versions as well as the correct previous one and the current map.

David Alpert is the founder of Greater Greater Washington and its board president. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He now lives with his wife and two children in Dupont Circle. 


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A massive improvement, it looks just a little bit cleaner and tighter in my opinion.

by MLD on May 2, 2013 10:08 am • linkreport

The virtual Farragut crossing is little bit too abstract to put it on something that is supposed to simplify the metro system. A lot of people would expect a "real" crossing, like they are used to in other underground transit systems.

by aaa on May 2, 2013 10:08 am • linkreport

Just noticing the green space that covers National Airport to Pentagon city. It definitely doesn't represent Arlington Cemetary. What park is it suppose to be? The GW trail?

by drumz on May 2, 2013 10:08 am • linkreport

One suggestion would be to use lighter colored text for the labels on the DC/MD/VA borders. They stick out a bit too much in the current proposal.

by andrew on May 2, 2013 10:09 am • linkreport

Much better. But shouldn't Silver Spring be (pretty much) on the DC line?

by Michael on May 2, 2013 10:12 am • linkreport

@Michael, now that you mention it, I see that for some reason they moved both SS and Forest Glen farther out. I think their older locations were a bit more accurate, but I guess it's nothing major.

Friendship Heights is now exactly on the line, which seems appropriate.

by Gray on May 2, 2013 10:21 am • linkreport

Better, but still lots of room for improvement. I've always disliked the thick lines, the various angles of text alignment, and most of all the way some station name text overlaps the colored lines (check out McPherson Square - ugh).

by Rebecca on May 2, 2013 10:24 am • linkreport

The double circle for transfer stations should be made much larger at Rosslyn, Metro Center, L'Enfant Plaza, and Stadium-Armory - so that it covers all three lines end-to-end.

This would have the added benefit of covering up the awkward crossover where Silver dips under Orange if the Stadium-Armory station is realigned. (Of course, that's a problem we wouldn't be having if WMATA did the smart thing and routed Silver to New Carrollton instead, but I digress.)

by Ryan on May 2, 2013 10:29 am • linkreport

I like this. The suggestion of moving Silver Spring closer to the District Line is a good one. Also, long hyphenated station names like "Grosvenor-Strathmore," "Wiehle-Reston East," and "Franconia-Springfield" should have the second part in small type underneath. And "U of Md" should be removed entirely from the College Park station name, to avoid confusion with future Purple Line stations that will actually be on the campus.

by Ben Ross on May 2, 2013 10:32 am • linkreport

(Of course, that's a problem we wouldn't be having if WMATA did the smart thing and routed Silver to New Carrollton instead, but I digress.)
Why would that be the smart thing? They have to route it to Largo to maintain minimum service levels there.

by Gray on May 2, 2013 10:32 am • linkreport

Actually, let me amend my previous comment. Instead of just making the double-circle larger, make it into a (larger) triple-circle. Still realign Stadium-Armory to the right of where it is now so that the crossover is covered up by the icon.

by Ryan on May 2, 2013 10:34 am • linkreport

Kudos to Metro staff on this map and for taking suggestions to what may be the final version.

If there is concern about abbreviations, why don't they abbreviate "East" in Wiehle-Reston East take make that name shorter on the map. Or, just use Wiehle with the subname size text for the rest. Other than that I think this works.

by Transport. on May 2, 2013 10:35 am • linkreport

@Gray: It's the smart thing because 9/8/9 is a much more equitable distribution of trains along Silver/Orange/Blue at rush hour, but can only be accomplished if Silver goes to New Carrollton.

Conversely, the current plan of phasing the Blue Line out of existence by steadily taking more and more of its trains during Rush Plus (at this point, peak and off-peak service are exactly the same) is only possible if Silver goes to Largo.

by Ryan on May 2, 2013 10:38 am • linkreport

Sorry, I think I'm missing something...

Is there any action you can do on the impending Silver Line between Largo Town Ctr and East Falls Church that you can't already do on the existing Orange and Blue Lines?

If the answer is 'no', there's really no reason for the Silver Line to extend past East Falls Church and it only adds to the map clutter.

I think Metro also has to accept that different cartographic standards work in different situations (print, on-line, etc.) and needs to adopt a consistent but thoughtful, common-sense approach to all the system maps they need/create.

by Doug on May 2, 2013 10:38 am • linkreport

The "capsules" are kind of confusing because they look like a third type of station. The key shows only two classes of station, transfer stations with the double-circle "bullseye" and regular stations with the single circle.

by boybert on May 2, 2013 10:39 am • linkreport

@Doug, you can ride a train all the way from Largo to Wiehle Rd without switching, so doesn't that need to be represented? Otherwise a rider might think he would need to take an orange or blue train to East Falls Church in order to catch the silver line.

by boybert on May 2, 2013 10:42 am • linkreport

One other thing. I am totally mystified by why the Beltway stays on the map. It was useful to orient people on the original Metro map before the system was built, but now is not useful information. If you are going to show any streets - which I would definitely not recommend - they should be streets that riders are likely to be headed to like Connecticut and Georgia Avenues and Wilson Boulevard.

by Ben Ross on May 2, 2013 10:44 am • linkreport

Doug: If the visual line ended at EFC then people would think you have to transfer at EFC to continue. I've talked to a lot of people who think that anyway because they saw early maps in the Post or elsewhere where someone just drew a new line onto the existing map from EFC westward.

Also, people might be confused if they're standing at Smithsonian and a Silver Line train shows up. They'll only be expecting Orange and Blue trains and might decide not to ride the train to the hotel at Farragut West because they don't know where this train goes.

WMATA asked people about making the new line a branch of the Orange Line, which actually makes more sense in a way. Just like we now have 2 southern branches of the Yellow Line, the Orange could split into a Vienna branch and a Wiehle branch.

It would be like the NYC subway where the color is which route it takes in midtown and downtown Manhattan and then they split into same-colored branches outside of that. But people didn't go for it because we've been talking about the "Silver Line" for so long.

by David Alpert on May 2, 2013 10:45 am • linkreport

Improved. The Silver Line crossover east of Stadium Armory is still awkward. The placement of the angled Orange/Blue/Silver station labels in the core with the elongated marker is going to confuse people. Foggy Bottom label is too close to the Rosslyn marker. The Federal Triangle label is closer to the Smithsonian stop marker than to the FT marker. Is that the Smithsonian or FT stop? The Metro Center, Federal Triangle, Smithsonian labels should be moved up and closer to the station markers.

Does WMATA conduct test surveys for the system map? They should show the draft map to tourists and visitors who are not familiar with the Metro system and find out what parts confuse or mislead them.

by AlanF on May 2, 2013 10:51 am • linkreport

The new map is better, but I stand by my desire for even thinner lines! The Metro map is only going to get more complex in the future and the design can and should adjust to reflect that.

by dan reed! on May 2, 2013 10:51 am • linkreport

Echoing DA above, I actually just had a discussion with a coworker yesterday who had assumed from the current maps in trains that he would have to transfer at EFC to get to Tysons. I think this is completely understandable.

Now, if they were just calling this a branch of the orange, that would be one thing. But since they're not . . . the map needs to show the entire length of the actual line.

by Gray on May 2, 2013 10:55 am • linkreport

@Ben Ross: Agreed on the removal of the Beltway. It messes up the scale of the map. It shows West Falls Chuch being as close as Silver Spring - it isn't. It also has WFC being closer than Dunn Loring - it isn't, it's pretty much ON the beltway, like New Carrollton, which is also farther away than it should be.

by Michael on May 2, 2013 10:55 am • linkreport

I like the capsules, but maybe for consistency all of the multi-line stations should be capsules? Then you have the three types of stations - single line, multi-line (same platform), major (or final) transfer point?

by MLD on May 2, 2013 10:57 am • linkreport

Definitely an improvement.

However, there are still some issues:

  • I think the lozenge statons should be the same width as the diameter of the circle stations.
  • The lozenge for Eastern Market is at an odd angle, whereas everything else on the map is at 45 degrees or right angles. It stands out like a very sore thumb.
  • The station titles for Federal Triangle and Smithsonian are nowhere near the lozenges.
  • The short turn stations are still not indicated in any way on the map. Silver Spring, Grosvenor, and Mount Vernon Square really need to be easier to find on the map.
  • Based on my personal observations, people would have an easier time navigating the Mid-City section of the system if the Yellow Line was shown as dashed north of Mount Vernon Square. Yes, the part between MVS and Fort Totten is always served by the Yellow Line, but the service is intermittent and only to Franconia, rush hours, only to Huntington off-peak. A dashed line would indicate to riders that they should investigate the service, and perhaps take whatever comes first and transfer at Mount Vernon Square.
  • The Maryland/Virginia border is missing south of the Wilson Bridge.
  • The use of subtitles is still haphazard.

by Matt Johnson on May 2, 2013 10:59 am • linkreport

How the heck am I going to knit this?

by Michael Perkins on May 2, 2013 10:59 am • linkreport

If I didn't know anything about the Metro system, I'd assume the capsule shaped stations somehow operate differently than the circle shaped stations. But, they really don't. So, if they go with the capsule for those stations, I'd also switch other shared stations to capsules. In other words, make the Blue/Yellow and Green/Yellow shared stations (that aren't designated as transfer stations) capsules instead of circles.

by jh on May 2, 2013 11:04 am • linkreport

This new map will be, like it's predecessors, EVERYWHERE. For the life of me I don't understand why WMATA *STILL* hasn't put the MTPD phone number on the map.

by FixWMATA on May 2, 2013 11:09 am • linkreport

Also, just noticed that "Center" is still abbreviated "Ctr" in Largo Town Ctr.

by Matt Johnson on May 2, 2013 11:10 am • linkreport

It does look cleaner, but Metro should figure out a way to avoid superposing station names right on top of lines (e.g. McPherson Square, Archives, Lenfant Plaza).

I think also that the Mall should be eliminated from the map, or at least scaled down appropriately. Archives should not be right over the Mall. But I don't really have a problem with the Union Station - Judiciary Sq. placement. They both are about the same distance from the Capitol.

by Scoot on May 2, 2013 11:12 am • linkreport

Much better. I really like that they included my "pill-shape" recommendation for the Orange/Silver/Blue stations. However, I agree with Booth that they should "fatter" to match the existing circular symbols. Not sure if I like the thinner lines though...

by King Terrapin on May 2, 2013 11:15 am • linkreport

Metro often benefits from tourists incorrectly assuming that Archives is on the mall (so that people us it instead of Smithsonian during large events).

My guess is that this "mistake" is deliberate.

by andrew on May 2, 2013 11:16 am • linkreport

@Matt Johnson, why is the Reston East name not a subtitle at Wiehle?

by Transport. on May 2, 2013 11:17 am • linkreport

(copy/pasting from my comments on planitmetro)

- Love the pill icons but need to be wider; match radius of circles. As-shown they appear inconsistent with the established aesthetic.

- For consistency: *consider* using shorter pills across 2-line corridors, such as Yellow+Green or Blue+Yellow. I'm not sure if this would be positive or negative, but would be good to see for comparison.

- Ensure all station text+icons properly aligned. Some have been since the last iteration, but a few still aren't.

- Remove Pentagon park; add Anacostia parks

- Consider a band connecting both Farraguts; possibly clarifying in legend. Here's one example of a solid band; and another of a dotted (at the top).

- Consider a virtual tunnel between Metro Center & Chinatown, again potentially with a band connecting the two.

- Shift Silver+Orange+Blue further south from Mall
(will also help better align Fed Triangle / Smithsonian w/ respective stations; and equalise separation toward Capitol as compared to Union Station's proximity)

- A larger radius for the Silver Line as it curves beneath Orange east of Stadium-Armory.

- Increase the spacing of Red Line stops on its eastern run through Maryland. Bring SS closer to the border; Forest Glen closer to Beltway; spread out Wheaton & Glenmont accordingly to match spacing.

- Work w/ bus providers to ensure IAD routes will not be modified in response to Silver Line. Makes sense 5A may still service L'Enfant and Rosslyn, but might it also hit Silver Line through/past Tysons? Should MWAA's Washington Flyer be included, and will that still serve WFC?

by Bossi on May 2, 2013 11:27 am • linkreport

Transport.: Because Fairfax wanted it in the full title. Same reason Old Town is not in the subtitle at King St. and Ballpark is not in the subtitle at Navy Yard. WMATA board members were okay moving cruft into the subtitles that their predecessors had glommed onto the station names, but were not willing to subtitle the cruft they themselves wanted to stick on there.

Forest Glen almost became Forest Glen-Holy Cross Hospital but fortunately the rest of the board did not go along with the Montgomery members' push for that.

by David Alpert on May 2, 2013 11:31 am • linkreport

The slanted station names that AlanF is talking about weird. They don't overlap with the route lines on the B/O/S line (with the exception of McPherson), but do overlap with the G/Y stretch between L'enfant and Petworth. They should be able to move the station names a little closer to the corresponding circles on the B/O/S lines, to make it easier to determine which circle is which station. All the B/O/S stations should have their names be the same distance from their respective circles as McPherson's is.

by Chase on May 2, 2013 11:33 am • linkreport

The Pentagon and Reagan parks are the GW Parkway. It is odd that this park is represented as two smaller parks, one merged with the Cemetery.

Other than that, this map is better then the previous draft.

I am just curious why Huntington and the DC/PG border moved from the last to the current draft.

by Jasper on May 2, 2013 11:37 am • linkreport

Orange Line branch vs Silver Line naming: If the extension had just been to Tysons with 4 stops, then branding it as Orange Line Tysons branch might have worked. But when complete, the Silver Line extension will be 23 miles long, 11 stations, with a fair amount of the passenger traffic staying within the Ashburn to McLean segment. Calling it an Orange Line branch would be too confusing and misleading.

Beltway: The Beltway is on the map to orient people. ame goes for the National Mall, White House, and the Capitol. For people driving to DC, the map shows which stations with parking are close to the Beltway that they can park at. Inside and Outside the Beltway has become geographical identifiers for the greater metro region, whether people like it or not.

by AlanF on May 2, 2013 11:42 am • linkreport

The REAL question is: Since it takes SO LONG to build even above-ground lines like the Silver Line, why on earth aren't we getting started on lines under Rhode Island and North Capitol NOW?

by nomorevalines on May 2, 2013 11:58 am • linkreport


While I do think a line under RIA would be nice, I think building a line under north capitol would be a bit redundant, considering 4 red line stations are within 3/4ths of a mile from it.

by Snarky Jones on May 2, 2013 12:14 pm • linkreport

its amazing at how much time you people have to complain about a stinking map that most regualr riders never use...metro has more pressing issue that you all could be complaining about other than the freaking MAP

by Jerome on May 2, 2013 12:24 pm • linkreport

its amazing at how much time you have to complain about people complaining about a stinking map that most regualr riders never hear about...metro has more pressing issue that you could be complaining about other than people complaining about the freaking map.

by Matt Johnson on May 2, 2013 12:27 pm • linkreport

Why isn't anyone talking about running rapid bus service to IAD from the end of the Silver Line instead of the inadequate 5A service we have now?

by Phil on May 2, 2013 12:37 pm • linkreport

I'm going to second pretty much everything that Matt Johnson said.
* The short-turn stations are still not identified
* The Rosslyn-Stadium corridor needs thinner lines; they were too thick with only 2 lines to begin with. It's not hard to tell that all three colors follow this path; just reduce the thickness of each by 1/3rd to get the previous thickness.
* The MVS<>Ft.Totten corridor must have a different marking for YL. This stretch is barely serviced by YL during peak. Southbound tourists boarding at Shaw might mistakenly pass up GR trains to wait for a YL that never comes.
* The Federal Triangle title is closer to Smithsonian than to Triangle.

by Rich on May 2, 2013 12:48 pm • linkreport

Its amazing at how much time you people have to complain about a stinking map that most regualr riders never use...metro has more pressing issue that you all could be complaining about other than the freaking MAP.

Good point. We should have a regulars-only map:

by Scoot on May 2, 2013 12:49 pm • linkreport

@boybert, more about the "capsules": I don't understand the reason for them. If they are going to use capsules then they need to use them in ALL the stations where you can transfer between lines, which is almost everywhere!

by Jacquela on May 2, 2013 1:02 pm • linkreport

I would say, rather than the somewhat hard-to-see bending of the Silver Line under the Orange Line at the Anacostia River crossing, why not just continue the Silver Line and Blue Line straight out to the right, maintaining the three-line thickness with only the two lines? You could quibble with it aesthetically, but I think that would make it a lot clearer that two of the three lines are continuing together and only one of them is bending away in a different direction, instead of the Silver Line kind of seeming to disappear for a bit there.

by iaom on May 2, 2013 1:08 pm • linkreport

I totally agree with the Yellow Line comments. It does run to Fort Totten full time, but during Rush+ hours, most of the trains turn around at MVS. I think only 3 an hour go the full length. Either some other color distinction or even a note that says so should be on the map. I feel duped by the whole thing because I thought (and maps indicate) that every Yellow Line train goes to Fort Totten.

by Metro Rider on May 2, 2013 1:18 pm • linkreport

The Pentagon/DCA parks are not the GW Parkway (which would extend much further on the map, but Arlington Cemetery on the North, and Gravelly Point, Roaches Run and possibly even the new Long Bridge Park.

That said, I agree that if they make the cut, then places like the Anacostia River parks should also be on the map. I wonder if the decision was based on which parks have limited driving/pedestrian routes across?

by Jacques on May 2, 2013 1:43 pm • linkreport

@Phil -- Washington Flyer buses will run from Wiehle Ave to IAD (the same bus that currently runs from West Falls Church to IAD).

by c5karl on May 2, 2013 1:56 pm • linkreport

I've always wondered why only the first and last stops of possible transfers are labeled as such, e.g. Rosslyn and Stadium-Armory for blue-orange-silver, when obviously you can transfer at any station in between. It seems to me that you could reduce overcrowding at some stations, albeit it very slightly, by letting tourists who may not know better that they can transfer at any station on the shared lines. I always make a green-yellow transfer at Archives for this reason, it's just a much nicer waiting environment.

by Ted on May 2, 2013 1:57 pm • linkreport

*sigh* I'll probably get used to the pill-stations, the hyphonated names, the lack of short-turning designations on the Red Line, and the overlapping station names, but the bendy Silver Line at the Anacostia will definitely haunt my dreams at night.

Since there'll be an equal number of trains on the Silver and Orange Line (10 each, right?), and since we'll have to replace most of the signage on the Orange/Blue/Silver line anyway, I'd rather we just switch the OR and Silver Lines at Stadium-Armory. [my bad to @gray and @Ryan if y'all already discussed this] New Carrollton would gain a single-seat ride to Tysons on the Silver Line; Largo would still keep its single-seat rides to most of North and South Arlington on the Orange and Blue Lines. Same number of trains at each station (at least during Rush Hour). I sleep well at night. Problem solved.

Eh, I'm sure there really are a thousand, perfectly good reasons not to do that, but I just wanted to get that out there...for therapeutic reasons.

by Steven Harrell on May 2, 2013 2:09 pm • linkreport

There needs to be a Gold line between Grosvenor and Silver Spring.

Just stand on the Red platform heading to Shady Grove during the afternoon rush in the summer and you'll see tourists asking 'does this train go to ....' when the Grosvenor train pulls in rather than the Shady Grove train.

Plus, this balances out the map and doesn't make it seem so NOVA/DC focused.

Otherwise, I really liked the map that displayed each individual train run as a single thin line that grouped together.

by duncan on May 2, 2013 2:39 pm • linkreport

I like it quite a bit. However, there are a few geographic irritations.

It shows the two sides of the Red Line at approximately equal lengths. In actuality, the western leg is far longer. If they showed commuter rail service, the Frederick Line, which is northwest-southeast, could be mistaken for the east-west Purple Line; that's how distorted the map is (and has always been).

To fix this, the east leg should be shifted down a few pixels. This would have the added advantage of putting Silver Spring closer to the state line. Also, the west leg north of Bethesda should be shown as a vertical line.

Also, having the Silver Line as a straight spur is just silly. Ideally, it would go north, then west into Tysons, then north to the Toll Road, then west to Dulles, then northwest to Ashburn. Unfortunately, that wouldn't fit. A compromise to make it work would be either north or northwest into McLean, west into Tysons, north to the Toll Road, northwest to Dulles, and due north to Ashburn. It would be more geographically accurate, and still fit.

by ImThat1Guy on May 2, 2013 3:14 pm • linkreport

Regarding the Silver Line, see Cameron Booth's map: The EFC-McLean segment could be due north, to separate it further from the Orange Line. With that change and rerouting the Dulles-Rt 722 segment due north, the Toll Road segment could be shown as due west, which is more accurate.

by ImThat1Guy on May 2, 2013 3:55 pm • linkreport

@Steven Harrell, the Orange Line has been on the maps as going to New Carrolton from the original final layout. To shift the Orange Line to Largo would freak out a lot of regular riders and confuse tourists & visitors. Even if few passengers travel between New Carrolton-Minnesota Ave and west of East Falls Church. The Orange Line is going to stay on the New Carrolton branch.

If the Blue Line re-route to Georgetown, M street, Convention Ctr to Union Station ever gets to the serious study stage, there will be a lot of resistance from current Blue Line riders to the change. OTOH, after the Silver Line starts and creates even more crowded stations from Rosslyn to L'Enfant Plaza with cuts to Orange & Blue service, that could cut the resistance to the concept of a re-routed line.

Idea for the day: instead of re-routing the Blue Line, build a connecting interline Wye tunnel off the Orange Line between Court House and Rosslyn. It can connect to the Blue Line to the south. But re-route a split off Silver Line to a new connecting Rosslyn station, then Georgetown, M Street to Union Station. That would provide a 1 seat ride from Union Station, Convention Ctr, M St to the Rosslyn-EFC corridor, Tysons, and Dulles Airport. Sell it as Phase 3 of the Silver Line. The TAG reviews looked at a new route from EFC to Rosslyn for the Silver Line and then to Georgetown; don't know if they considered a split off Silver Line starting at Rosslyn.

by AlanF on May 2, 2013 5:21 pm • linkreport

I think the lozenge makes the central DC stations look like they function differently than the "dot" stations at the periphery of the system. I'd prefer a dot on every line at a specific station instead, i.e. Pentagon City would read as OO, Potomac Ave would be OOO, and Forest Glen would be O. I know this goes against the established logic of the original map, but going forward it seems to be more straight forward than whiskers or lozenges.

by merarch on May 2, 2013 5:44 pm • linkreport

@AlanF: Man, why'd you have to go and bust my bubble...I got through my day thinking "at least that icky bendy Silver Line problem has been solved!"

In all seriousness, though--and in addition to the point that you made--I realized after I posted that switching the Orange and Silver lines would mean that Metro would need to short-turn either the Orange or Blue lines at Stadium-Armory during non-rush hours. Neither of those options would be very good. So clearly we would need a reason beyond just my own neuroses to make a switch of that magnitude!

By the time the M Street subway is built (or a Rosslyn wye for that matter), the Blue Line brand will have been so degraded by Rush+ that riders will probably be happy that it goes anywhere at all--and service to either Tysons or M Street would be a pretty sweet up-side to any change. Besides, we'd probably need to significantly modify our color-coded lines by then anyway; unless we stopped sending the Blue Line to Largo altogether, either would add at least one new service pattern. The current color-coded system works great for three trunks and some simple branches, but it can't really keep up with our ambitions... but I guess that's a good problem to have?

by Steven Harrell on May 2, 2013 7:53 pm • linkreport

With all of the changes that have been done on the map I'm puzzled as to why some still persists.

Southern Ave has a hospital near it (United Medical Center) that is same distance as Shaw is to Howard Univ Hosp.

DC east of the Anacostia is out of proportion with the rest of the map. The Green Line is much longer in DC east of the Anacostia and the southern PG County States are further apart.

New issues-

Benning Road is to close to Capitol Heights and the MD line and to far from Minnesota Ave and Stadium

Silver Spring is too close on one DC on one map it is not at the line (Eastern Ave) and on the other it is too close to the Beltway.

With the addition of the Silver Line stations, & future stations and more room; you could push the western Red Line further north and be more accurate. Glenmont should not be be north of Shady Grove under any circumstances.

Van Dorn Street Station is not on the Faifax/Alexandria line

Potomac could be longer on the northern portion as well as the Anacostia to the east if it needs to be there. Potomac could continue to the black line and the Anacostia could split into the various creeks then disappear.

by kk on May 2, 2013 10:35 pm • linkreport

@Matt Johnson, how long has the MD/VA border been missing at the bottom of the map? The error has been on every Metro map I've ever seen, and Google seems to confirm this.

by Fran on May 2, 2013 10:41 pm • linkreport

As far as I can tell, at least since 1976.

by Matt Johnson on May 2, 2013 10:55 pm • linkreport

Put the Silver Line under the Orange Line at EFC. Then display it on sites like this and see what the response is. On the latest map they didn't consider it. I don't know what the reasoning is to keeping the knotted twist after Stadium-Armory.

Move the S/O/B Lines closer to Teddy's Island where they should be, but with thinner lines. Right now we wouldn't be able to fit a rerouted Blue Line through Georgetown to connect with MVS which is too low.

Move the S/O/B Lines headed to Stadium-Armory closer to the Anacostia River. And push South Capitol station to the lower right of the Capitol Building icon. And all other stations following that to the right also, until reaching Stadium-Armory.

I'm glad Friendship Hgts. is now on the DC bordor, but I don't think it would hurt to push the western part of the Red Line, along with Rock Creek Park a little further east. Friendship Hghts should be between Tokoma and Georgia Ave.-Petworth, not so far south.

I'd like to eventually see the Silver Line go from Smithsonian, diagonal on Maine Ave. at the Wharf, through Buzzard Pt., and down S. Capitol to National Harbor. Wouldn't that be nice. To even the visual blank space that that would create from the line going north-south to the Potomac River, I think the B/Y Lines on the other side of the Potomac should be further west of the Potomac. There is more space then is shown between the river and the King St. station. That should be reflected.

by Dave on May 3, 2013 3:20 am • linkreport

"its amazing at how much time you people have to complain about a stinking map that most regualr riders never use...metro has more pressing issue that you all could be complaining about other than the freaking MAP"

Yes, let's completely throw the entire thread off topic to complain about something else. Brilliant!

by Ben L on May 3, 2013 7:25 am • linkreport

@aaa, I don't think Farragut Crossing is "too abstract" to put on the map. The far more complex New York City subway map has a ladder-like symbol for "Free out-of-system subway transfer," with no apparent comprehensional difficulties. Why couldn't this be implemented on the Metro map?

by martindelaware on May 3, 2013 12:58 pm • linkreport


Because this is DC and if everything isn't exactly spelled out to the letter everywhere then it's too confusing and obviously not worth it.

by MLD on May 3, 2013 1:21 pm • linkreport

Why isn't DC's metro map proportional and accurate as to the true distance between all stops and the true route of a given metro line? For example, if you look at Metro's map it appears that Glenmont is more north than Shady Grove when in fact Shady Grove is farther north than Glemont.

by [Another Tina] on May 3, 2013 2:03 pm • linkreport

@Tina, a topographic map of the whole Metrorail system scaled to show the close-together stations (and their names) clearly would cover a lot of paper. They did have such things when the system was much smaller, but they were kind of unwieldy even then and the "standard" map was far more useful for actually getting around on the system.

Still, it would be kind of cool if they had such things on, for example, some station walls, like Boston used to do.

by A Streeter on May 3, 2013 3:08 pm • linkreport

Why isn't DC's metro map proportional and accurate as to the true distance between all stops and the true route of a given metro line?

What value would this bring to users?

The purpose of the map is to navigate the transit network.

by Alex B. on May 3, 2013 3:14 pm • linkreport

@Tina-I'm afraid you'll have to choose a different name. 'Tina' has been used by me as a commenter on this blog for a long time now. Thanks! BTW Your parents have great taste in names.

by Tina on May 3, 2013 3:15 pm • linkreport

Wikipedia has an image of the Metro system drawn to scale: Not very useful for locating the core stations or navigating the system. I think an accurate scale map with the major roads, airport locations, Amtrak, VRE, MARC routes, maybe major bus routes would be useful as a large wall map at the major transfer stations and at the outer stations with parking garages. Also could be on the website as an alternate navigation map.

One minor observation about the draft map: it will lose 2 cluttering items noting the 5A bus to Dulles when Phase 2 of the Silver Line opens. I expect the 5A bus will be dropped. Also, once WMATA has a new official version, someone should add the Purple Line for a preview version, incorporating the FEIS Purple line configuration. Add a streetcar line layer to see if it can be done w/o overly cluttering the Metro map.

by AlanF on May 3, 2013 5:31 pm • linkreport

On the map -- I read all this stuff about having equal radii with the capsules and the circles. Maybe, that's a prettier look, but the map is supposed to be functional, first. I think the capsules are great, except that they are too small. Looking at the map it is not at all celar that those capsules represent stops for 3 lines or just one. For that matter, the 4 circles at stations that show transfers between Silver/Orange?Blue to other, intersecting lines are also too small. It should be much more obvious that those 4 circles and the other capsules are stops covering all those lines....even if it means the capsules and those 4 circles have a wider diameter than the other transfer circles. At the very least, the capsules need to be extended to stretch farther into the blue and silver colored portions of the map. To my eye, it just isn't entirely clear that all 3 lines stop on those capsules.

Also, I have to say that I am confused about why the Silver Line goes to Largo instead of New Carrolton. The latter seems to me to make much more sense. My sense is there's more ridership on the eastern Orange than Blue, and then you could ride the Silver LIne from Dulles out to New Carrolton and jump on an Amtrak. Of course, the map would be cleaner too, but that's no reason to route trains one way or the other. If there's a legitimate reason why it makes more sense to have the SIlver switch to the Blue LIne path at Stadium , that's fine -- but it would surprise me.

by Fischy (Ed F.) on May 4, 2013 12:22 pm • linkreport

@Fischy (Ed F.):
The reason the Silver Line goes to Largo and not New Carrollton is because without the Silver Line, Largo would only have trains every 12 minutes during rush hour.

Remember, the Blue Line is being reduced to allow the Silver Line to operate. The plan is for there to be 5 BL trains per hour, 10 SV trains per hour, and 11 OR trains per hour, for the maximum throughput of 26 TPH.

Right now, the Blue Line has already been reduced to 7 TPH, and therefore 3 additional OR trains go to Largo as part of Rush Plus to make sure that at least 10 TPH serve Largo during peak periods.

If the Silver Line went to New Carrollton, then New Carrollton would have 21 TPH and Largo would have 5 TPH.

So the Silver Line will go to Largo, making the balance 11 TPH to New Carrollton and 15 TPH to Largo.

by Matt Johnson on May 4, 2013 12:27 pm • linkreport

@Matt Johnson:

But the Stadium/Armory-Largo segment is the least used throughout the whole system. What would make more sense is to send Silver to Largo, and Orange and Blue to New Carrollton. That way, Largo has 10TPH and New Carrollton has 16TPH, which balances better. Why is this not an option?

by ImThat1Guy on May 4, 2013 2:23 pm • linkreport

Either run the Silver Line to New Carrollton, and the Orange/ Blue to Largo Town Ctr., or put the Silver Line under the Orange Line at EFC and run it, and the Blue Line smoothly to Largo Town Ctr. If a line is going to join the Silver Line in the future with a wye south of Rosslyn, the Silver Line would best be possitioned south of the Orange Line. I hope Metro addresses this before the release of the final map.

by Dave on May 5, 2013 11:10 pm • linkreport

[This comment has been deleted for violating the comment policy.]

by Ironchef on May 6, 2013 2:50 pm • linkreport

David Alpert: Are you sure Fairfax officals specifically wanted Reston East to be in the full title? I remember talking with the county transportation staff at the Fairfax meeting in (the one at the school off Magarity) spring '12 and I am not so sure that is the case. In fact, the guy I spoke with manning the station name booth even mentioned the subtitling as he assumed most would use the Wiehle name instead of saying the formal (long) name. I have been out of the loop on this until today. I wish I could have commented sooner.

by Tysons on May 6, 2013 3:24 pm • linkreport

I agree with Transport's question above that the Reston East name at Wiehle should be subtitled. Is there a contact at Fairfax for this to ask the position from the county?

by Tysons on May 6, 2013 3:28 pm • linkreport

Tysons: Yes, Wiehle-Reston East was the county staff recommendation:

by David Alpert on May 6, 2013 3:29 pm • linkreport

David: I read the formal name in the report but I still wonder if the intent was for the name on the signs, etc... to be Wiehle. The new Metro installed signs within the Ballston station just show Vienna and not the Fairfax/GMU part of the name. I also remember talking about this with one of the staffers at a meeting (keeping the new names short for signs, map and the like). I wish that county info meeting was not so long ago!

by Tysons on May 7, 2013 12:11 am • linkreport

Don't forget about some of the "rush only" service errors. For example, I have yet to see a yellow train go up to Fort Totten during rush hour (except for the occasional "rush plus" train to Greenbelt), yet the map CLEARLY indicates that yellow line service to Fort Totten is to be full time. Most yellow line trains are still terminating at Mt. Vernon Sq.! Other than that annoying problem, I think Metro needed to go with slightly smaller lines rather than stack three huge lines on top of each other like that. If they insist on keeping the bold thick lines they should use the capsul format for the stations, NOT the stupid "whisker" thing.

by Matt on May 7, 2013 12:16 pm • linkreport

I was just looking at the map again and had the following thought - what if they swapped the position of the Silver and Orange lines on the map?

On the east side:
Orange would simply curve up, eliminating the weird dip down the Silver Line does.
This would give the designer some extra room to bump the Anacostia River to the east where it passes under the rail lines, which would give you a little more room to spread out those B/O/S stations between Federal Ctr SW and Stadium-Armory.

On the west side:
Shift the Beltway and the last 3 OL stations a little to the west, and shift EFC slightly to the east. The OL would continue straight and the SL would come out of EFC and then curve up at the angle it does now, passing either over or under the OL graphic.

by MLD on May 8, 2013 9:53 am • linkreport

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