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Metro maps out loop line between DC and Arlington

To relieve congestion on the Orange and Blue lines and support future growth in the region's core, Metro is proposing a loop line between downtown DC and Arlington. They've just created a map of what the service might look like.

Detail of Metro's proposed downtown loop from PlanItMetro.

The loop is part of Metro's Regional Transit System Plan, which lays out a vision of how the transit system should expand over the next three decades to accommodate predicted regional growth. It incorporates previously studied ways to expand Metro in downtown DC, including new Blue and Yellow lines.

The loop line would go to areas that don't have Metro service, like Georgetown, while adding new connections to existing transfer points like Farragut Square and Union Station. It's unclear how Metro's service patterns would change to serve the loop. Right now, the map shows the Blue, Orange, Silver, and Yellow lines all running on the loop.

WMATA planners are also considering an express line on I-66.

Metro's also looking at a new express line along I-66 between Rosslyn and East Falls Church, which could give the Silver Line an alternate, faster path to downtown DC. This isn't a new idea, either.

What do you think of Metro's loop line?

Dan Reed is an urban planner at Nelson\Nygaard. He writes his own blog, Just Up the Pike, and serves as the Land Use Chair for the Action Committee for Transit. He lives in downtown Silver Spring. All opinions are his own. 


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I think its very worth of study and discussion.

I think this needs to be explicitly discussed by policy makers in NoVa. In particular planners and pols in Arlington and Fairfax need to address how much this would make possible more development (esp for ArlCo) and more transit extension (esp for FFX) that is now constrained by the eventual capacity limitations. Also Alexandria, Arlington and Fairfax need to address if less commuting to DC and more to Tysons, esp from Alexandria, South Arlington, and southern FFX is a serious enough possibility to present an alternative to major new capacity into the district. I would say serious scenario analysis is called for.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 6, 2013 11:30 am • linkreport

What's the service plan for this new route? I see a lot of shared track between the new loop line and other lines. Would this reduce service on any of the other branches? What is the service plan for off-peak and weekends?

Without knowing how often the trains come and how it would affect other lines, I don't know enough.

by Michael Perkins on Dec 6, 2013 11:30 am • linkreport

Am I the only one who is having a really hard time understanding that map?

by Zach on Dec 6, 2013 11:34 am • linkreport

A few really quick poorly thought-out ideas, conceived under the influence of a headache... no guarantees these are good ideas:

From that map I'm lost as to what follows the existing trackage & what follows the loop.

No more Yellow Line straight from midcity to NoVa... darn.

As I'd mentioned on Twitter (and have oft repeated for awhile now), I'm personally a bigger fan of running down P than M... breaks the distance between I and U (which sounds like the start of a pickup line) and helps focus somewhat on the growing commercial & residential densities north of the area traditionally considered downtown... basically, I see downtown shifting further north than an M line accounts for.

Looks to be a pretty incredible density of HRT in Southwest, unless the loop is going to share with O/S or Y/G

Potomac Park
I'm curious how this area will be straightened for the new station... not infeasible, but a number of horizontal & vertical curves that might necessitate a new bridge/tunnel, and I'd wonder how both new&old would be utilitised.

by Bossi on Dec 6, 2013 11:38 am • linkreport

Looks like the people who ride the YL/GR between Fort Totten and L'Enfant are big losers here. For that matter, this might not necessarily improve BL/YL service to and from Virginia, as it appears those lines will have to share space on the loop with OR/SV express runs. Really, this is just a very expensive way of dealing with the Rosslyn bottleneck and the Orange Crush.

by Sandy on Dec 6, 2013 11:38 am • linkreport

I hope the nursing home I'll be in by then has a good view of the construction.

by JD on Dec 6, 2013 11:39 am • linkreport

We need to be talking about it seriously now to get our elected officials and other movers and shakers thinking about it.

by drumz on Dec 6, 2013 11:39 am • linkreport

@ Zach - basically the loop works clockwise and counter-clockwise (like the beltway). So, Yellow/Blue trains heading north: some go to the 'right' and into DC, but some go left and to Rosslyn (new station) and then into DC. Both options' trains circulate through DC and come out the other end.

Likewise, for the new express Orange/Silver trains: some go straight into DC via Georgetown, others go 'right' and south to the Pentagon and then into DC. Once again both options' trains ride the loop round DC and come out the other end.

by JDC Esq on Dec 6, 2013 11:39 am • linkreport

This map does look to show a system that is almost too confusing to be effective. The "loops" are not true loops. Anyway, I agree with an article from a Georgetown paper a few years back about the lack of development potential where these new stations would be to significantly offset the capital cost of building the line in a built-out area. In this proposal, the cost would fall largely on the District. Not sure if they could look at other alignments through Arlington that could sap development some potential there, but Metro is going to struggle getting the District to shoulder the cost to fund such a project with little benefit it seems to adjacent localities. The Georgetown stations alone would be astronomical due to their depths.

by xtr657 on Dec 6, 2013 11:42 am • linkreport

It's explained pretty well on the PlanIt Metro post.

This plan seems to combine many of the advantages of the separated yellow line and separated blue line. Unless you also build the silver/orange express bypass, it will have a maximum capacity of 13 trains per hour. The silver/orange bypass allows you to run 26 trains per hour, and WMATA says their projections say that it will be needed by 2040 to avoid a renewed orange crush.

As they also point out, WMATA is required to base its planning on approved land use plans of the jurisdictions. Thus it assumes steady build-out of the vast development laid out in master plans for Tysons and the Reston/Dulles corridor, but no change in the DC height limit or DC zoning. That's why you get the orange/silver express ahead of more service in DC.

by Ben Ross on Dec 6, 2013 11:43 am • linkreport

@JDC Esq: I don't think that's the case. It looks like yellow/blue would only be on the outer loop, so that all yellow/blue into the city would head counterclockwise from Pentagon, then loop back around and head back south. Orange/silver would take the inner loop, so from NoVA head north to Georgetown and loop through DC and back around.

I asked in the other thread, because this doesn't appear to be mentioned at all in the PlanIt post. What's with the new stop on Yellow north of Pentagon? Any idea where that would be?

by Gray on Dec 6, 2013 11:45 am • linkreport

It seems to me, that if the goal here is to solve Rosslyn-Ballston congestion issues, there's a much cheaper solution: Close Arlington Cemetery station during rush hours, and provide a shuttle bus between Pentagon and Rosslyn. You then send all Blue Line trains to Fort Totten or Greenbelt. This means that you split 26 TPH between the Orange and Silver lines, and another 26 TPH between the Green, Blue, and Yellow lines. This has the added benefit of improving Blue line service without hurting Green or Yellow service much, and improving Orange service as well. Metro would need to improve the power systems, and buy more trains, but they would need to do that anyway, and that's still a lot cheaper than new subway tunnels.

by Sandy on Dec 6, 2013 11:46 am • linkreport

@ Gray - that new station would solely be for the Orange/Silver trains on the loop. It would have a passageway connecting to the current Pentagon station, which would be served by the Yellow/Blue trains on the loop. This actually fits with your idea that Y/B go counterclockwise and Silver/Orange go clockwise through the loop.

by JDC Esq on Dec 6, 2013 11:48 am • linkreport

Say it again: Duplicates too much service and doesn't new transit to areas that are slated for development.


I think there will definitely be support from Northern Virginia (especially Tysons) when the Silver Line's potential conflicts with the problems caused by an aging system with limited core capacity. There will likely be some political will there to make improvements, though I don't know if this is the plan to do it.

by Adam Lewis on Dec 6, 2013 11:49 am • linkreport

1. The alternate I-66 line should get a new color. The current graphic design, with two separate Orange/Silver Lines, makes this proposal extremely confusing.

2. There would be no direct Yellow Line connection to downtown DC. That's a big problem.

3. The East Potomac Park stop is interesting and may encourage the installation of national monuments in that area instead of the National Mall.

4. Is this heavy rail or street car?

by b on Dec 6, 2013 11:50 am • linkreport

@ Sandy - one huge source of traffic is passengers south of Pentagon heading north to Rosslyn. Diverting all those passengers to shuttle buses would not be effective or efficient. It's not Arlington that's the issue, its the Rosslyn tunnel.

by JDC Esq on Dec 6, 2013 11:50 am • linkreport

b - why is the Yellow Line into DC a problem? It moves a lot of people... Also, this is all heavy-Metro rail, not light rail.

by JDC Esq on Dec 6, 2013 11:52 am • linkreport

b - oops, I read your post wrong. I agree that no direct yellow into DC under this proposal is an issue.

by JDC Esq on Dec 6, 2013 11:52 am • linkreport

@Gray -- I don't think the map is intended to show the Orange/Silver on the inner-loop, any more than the existing orange and silver operate in opposite directions within DC. Just a decision not to have all four colors alternate in showing the loop.

The map could use some improvements, though. They might have been better off showing the Orange/Silver express line as different shades of orange and silver, which run on the same tracks from the western terminus to EFC, then split off toward the loop.

by Jacques on Dec 6, 2013 11:53 am • linkreport

@ Adam - that supposes that all traffic from Tysons is heading INTO DC during rush hour and likewise out of DC during evening rush hour. If traffic is instead flowing both into DC during morning rush hour but also towards Tysons, that balances the load a bit. Not that express trains would not be helpful. But as commuting patterns change so too might the load going all in one direction during each commuting period.

by JDC Esq on Dec 6, 2013 11:54 am • linkreport

@ Jacques - I agree. This map does no favors in terms of helping people understand this proposal. It's pretty bad, especially re: the loop and four colors all mixing it up.

by JDC Esq on Dec 6, 2013 11:55 am • linkreport

1. It reminds me of a chain link fence.

2. Is labeling the stations so much to ask?

3. By the time this is built, won't we all be arguing about drone parking capacity?

by MJ on Dec 6, 2013 11:56 am • linkreport

Definitely a losing proposition for Yellow Line riders. Instead of a quick 10-minute ride from Crystal City to Archives, there's a transfer to Green somewhere. But, as someone said elsewhere on the thread, I'll probably be long retired by the time anything like this gets built --at least I hope so, because it would seriously hamper how I get around.

by Mary on Dec 6, 2013 11:59 am • linkreport

the physical connection from the Pentagon to L'enfant would still exist. AFAICT It would still be possible to run yellow line trains north through the middle part of downtown, though that would complicate the operations further I guess.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 6, 2013 11:59 am • linkreport

Too duplicative. A circle line is an excellent idea, but it needs to be a bigger circle than what they have now.

by Ben on Dec 6, 2013 12:00 pm • linkreport

@JDC Esq

Not at all. As silver line trains are stuck in the Orange Crush, and get delayed by failing infrastructure, breakdowns, track/switch problems, they're going to feel the effects all the way down the line.

by Adam Lewis on Dec 6, 2013 12:00 pm • linkreport

JDC--In that case, the separate Blue Line tunnel at Rosslyn, plus the M Street line into DC, make sense. The rest of the loop still doesn't make sense.

by Sandy on Dec 6, 2013 12:03 pm • linkreport

You could also create some lines out of playing with the service patterns. You could keep the current yellow line routing and give it some designation (Not sure how many trains could be run/split between it but its possible).

Same if you allowed Orange/silver trains to switch to the blue line track to connect Tysons/Alexandria.

Then we'd probably have to switch from colors to something else.

by drumz on Dec 6, 2013 12:05 pm • linkreport

@JDC Esq:
@ Gray - that new station would solely be for the Orange/Silver trains on the loop. It would have a passageway connecting to the current Pentagon station, which would be served by the Yellow/Blue trains on the loop. This actually fits with your idea that Y/B go counterclockwise and Silver/Orange go clockwise through the loop.
That's not the one I meant. I'm referring to the station shown as the next stop counterclockwise on the loop from Pentagon.

by Gray on Dec 6, 2013 12:09 pm • linkreport

The orange line was originally proposed to go in the I-66 median through Arlington. Rosslyn-Ballston wasn't as big of a deal back then, and planner saw the orange line in Virginia has more of a line for car commuters.

Arlington pushed hard to have the line go where it is now. It was a lot more expensive to have it underground and to buy the necessary property (VDOT was already buying the I-66 corridor from the Washington, Arlington and Falls Church Railroad anyway). But the Rosslyn-Ballston route prevailed.

by Tim on Dec 6, 2013 12:10 pm • linkreport

Also, the Moscow Metro has a circle line. There's an urban legend that Joseph Stalin had the originnally plans for the metro on his desk and accidentally put his coffee cup on the map. When he picked it up, there was a circle line, and he liked it:

by Tim on Dec 6, 2013 12:18 pm • linkreport

Why can't this just be a true circle line?

What's with all the hashed lines and the confusing connections in/out of Virginia?

A true circle line would relieve congestion, and be immensely easier to understand & use, from a rier's POV.

by Dan on Dec 6, 2013 12:18 pm • linkreport

Good starting point, and always a fun topic.
I have to look at the Planit Mtero links. When I do I hope I will see that they've accounted for a future line branching off east of Union Station and running more or less along the H Street corridor. Not that it needs to be built as part of this vision, but at least there should be the basic connections which would allow it to be inserted later without massive interruptions to the existing lines. Because I am sure my great-grandchildren (or their great-grandchildren) will appreciate it out there in the 22nd century.

by DC20009 on Dec 6, 2013 12:19 pm • linkreport


by Dan on Dec 6, 2013 12:19 pm • linkreport

Re the loop -
I agree w/ other comments that it seems duplicative and confusing. What's more, I wonder if another river crossing (for Metro) is justified within the next 40 years.

The PlanItMetro website references MWCOG's regional activity centers and Aspirations Land Use scenario. (
It seems that much of the coming growth will be in the suburbs (e.g. Tysons, Reston, Fair Lakes). I think the transformation of Tysons will need VA planners to deal more with county to county transportation. Commuting to DC may be crowded, but I wonder how much more growth there can be in that VA-DC pattern? (That's not a rhetorical question. If anyone knows of any studies done, I'd be interested to read them.)

Re the "express line" -
I'm not super well-travelled, but I've been to Hong Kong and London, and they both have rail links (separate from their subways) between their airports and their cores. 2040 may still be too early for an express Dulles train, but I hope WMATA wouldn't steal the airspace over I-66.

by Rich 'n Alexandria on Dec 6, 2013 12:20 pm • linkreport

Pardon my ignorance, but...what are the new proposed stations supposed to actually BE, apart from Georgetown?

(I fail at map-reading, sorry.)

by Ser Amantio di Nicolao on Dec 6, 2013 12:22 pm • linkreport

"It seems that much of the coming growth will be in the suburbs (e.g. Tysons, Reston, Fair Lakes). I think the transformation of Tysons will need VA planners to deal more with county to county transportation. Commuting to DC may be crowded, but I wonder how much more growth there can be in that VA-DC pattern? "

I think thats a key issue, and thats why I suggested studying that in my initial comment. In fact considerable growth is planned for the City of Alexandria, for South Arlington (Crystal City, Pentagon City, Columbia Pike Corridor) and southern Fairfax (rte 1 corridor, Springfield Mall, Annandale commercial area, and Baileys Crossroads)

Historically those are areas from which people commuted into DC, not Tysons. It seems clear that FFX county, at least, wants more commuting from southern FFX to Tysons - from Baileys via a new dedicated ROW on Rte 7, from springfield via express buses on the HOT lanes. Its not clear to me how successful that will be, or if it makes sense at all for Alexandria and S Arlington.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 6, 2013 12:25 pm • linkreport

Thats an excellent idea to reduce congestion.

The service plan will be so confusing all the riders will give up and sue CaBi instead or a taxi.

by JJJJ on Dec 6, 2013 12:29 pm • linkreport

Re: Express Line

I'm dubious. London's express train doesn't get nearly the traffic that they expected. Turns out most people (including me) are just fine with taking the Tube, even with all the intervening stations.

by Adam Lewis on Dec 6, 2013 12:30 pm • linkreport

would this enable an all-VA springfield to tysons route?

by Mike on Dec 6, 2013 12:30 pm • linkreport

A loop seems to work well for Chicago, Moscow, London...

by Capt. Hilts on Dec 6, 2013 12:52 pm • linkreport

I'd like to see the part of the loop in Southeast/Southwest DC dip down into Buzzard Point a bit, as long as it keeps a connection to the Green Line and wouldn't add too much time to the route. That would support development there more effectively than the planned streetcar line. Seems like a missed opportunity when you're mostly just duplicating existing stations as this plan does.

by jimble on Dec 6, 2013 12:52 pm • linkreport

@AWalkerInTheCity: I agree about the need for more transit development out in the suburbs. A circle line is a great idea, but I think one mirroring the Beltway, at least, would be better. And once the Yellow Line extensions (as I hope they are) in southeastern Fairfax are taken into account, there needs to be some kind of connector between those and Tysons. As it stands, when the Silver Line opens I can get to Tysons Corner from Huntington only going via L'Enfant or a double transfer through Rosslyn. That's absurd.

Perhaps a double circle line? One in the Beltway median and one connecting some of the outer limits? Could be interesting...or it could be too much.

by Ser Amantio di Nicolao on Dec 6, 2013 12:56 pm • linkreport


Kinda getting off topic, but there's this (re Tysons-Alexandria):

by Rich 'n Alexandria on Dec 6, 2013 12:58 pm • linkreport

Dc20009 +1000

by h st ll on Dec 6, 2013 1:00 pm • linkreport


Personally Im skeptical that there will be density to justify a heavy rail line around the beltway by 2040. What we can expect are light rail on Rte 7, maybe light rail or BRT on Gallows from Tysons as far as Inova Fairfax, and more express buses on the HOT lanes (some connected to radial BRT corridors). Given that I am skeptical of Tysons proving a substitute for a new Potomac River crossing, but I wouldnt exclude the possibility

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 6, 2013 1:08 pm • linkreport

Why not just have the Silver Line be the express into DC. Make Falls Church the transfer station and then send it straight to Rosslyn via 66.

Thus, if you're on the Orange Line from Vienna you can transfer or ride the 'local' to downtown.

Personally, they should be working away from interlining, not increasing it.

by Rob P. III on Dec 6, 2013 1:24 pm • linkreport

Maybe if we plant the orchard of money trees now, they will produce the ~50 billion dollars required to do this by 2075?

by Huh on Dec 6, 2013 1:30 pm • linkreport

The interlining would allow folks from Tysons and beyond on the Silver Line a one seat ride to the local stops in North Arlington, and would allow the WFC, Dunn Loring, and Vienna folks the benefit of the express.

I know theres this whole transit thing about interlining and one seat rides vs frequency and transfers. Im not sure how it plays out here.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 6, 2013 1:31 pm • linkreport

I think the colors on the map and our understanding of how the lines all relate currently make it look there is more interlining than there is or being proposed. It'd be interesting to see someone make a map of this concept with completely new colors to remove that bias from our minds.

What this will do is make 4 lines through downtown DC compare to the current three. Then you can see it as the red line, the green line, the Silver line (with branches to vienna and new carrollton), and the Blue/yellow loop (blue and yellow make green but we already have a green line).

by drumz on Dec 6, 2013 1:31 pm • linkreport


its expected that the NVTA funded out of the new transport bill will have 300 - 350million plus per year to spend. Assuming The local share is half the cost. (Feds doing the rest) and assume half the local cost is NoVa. Thats less than 7 billion for NoVa, about 20 years of NVTA revenues. Eminently doable IF we decide this is the key transportation priority in the region. DC, OTOH, will still need to come up with a mechanism (I would guess value recapture in some form) to fund its share.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 6, 2013 1:39 pm • linkreport

A loop seems to work well for Chicago, Moscow, London...

Actually, of those systems, only Moscow actually has a "true" loop, i.e. a line that continuously runs around in a circle.

London actually consciously de-looped its Circle Line (so now it looks sort of like a "P" on its side) and the Loop in Chicago is similar in that inbound trains travel around the Loop but then head back out. (AKA, in both systems you can't continuously travel around the loop -- at some point you will either exit the loop or the train will stop.)

While they're slightly easier from a rider POV, true loops tend to present a number of operating issues -- the location of operator layovers, recovering from delays, timetabling/reliability issues, etc.

by Andrew on Dec 6, 2013 1:45 pm • linkreport

Wait, so am I hearing that all lines would go in both directions around the loop? How would you possibly signal which is which for trains heading to the loop?

I get that this is done in Chicago, but their Loop (a) is much smaller, and (b) has defined directions for all lines.

by Gray on Dec 6, 2013 1:47 pm • linkreport

Overall, the concept is good. A little tweaking might help.

East of 16th Street, the city would be better served if the loop is extended a bit northward so that a station entrance could be positioned at Logan Circle. If this is done, both the downtown business edge along and south of Massachusetts Avenue and the densifying Logan Circle neighborhood (i.e. 14th Street) would gain Metro access.

by Sage on Dec 6, 2013 1:54 pm • linkreport

I can't imagine anything less useful than more trains going through the Cemetery stretch. Fill in central Arlington!

Georgetown -> Rt.29 [pick the least-NIMBY spot] -> Ballston [transfer OR/SV] -> [via Glebe Rd.] Arlington Blvd -> Columbia Pike -> Shirlington -> Four Mile Run [transfer BL/YL]

by Dan on Dec 6, 2013 1:54 pm • linkreport

Love the complaints about confusion. Are people in the DC area just dumber than everywhere else? Are they dumber than Chicagoans, who seem to have figured out the loop (5 lines running different directions)? This is really not that hard.

This region's motto seems to be "this is new and different and therefore must be bad."

by MLD on Dec 6, 2013 2:02 pm • linkreport

Maybe this concept should be considered Stage 1 of an eventual larger regional-core loop.

A Stage 2 expanded loop, for instance, could run down Arlington's Columbia Pike, then swing north up Glebe Road to Ballston. Now that would be a very significant and heavily travelled LOOP!

by Sage on Dec 6, 2013 2:03 pm • linkreport

"Thats less than 7 billion for NoVa, about 20 years of NVTA revenues"

You are assuming NOVA would dedicate a minimum of 20 years of NVTA revenue to ONE project. Highly unlikely.

by Huh on Dec 6, 2013 2:03 pm • linkreport

Lets say it was done over 30 years not 20. So its not all the revenue. Also its not clear that the Commonwealth will provide nothing, or that there might not be other funding mechanisms.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 6, 2013 2:09 pm • linkreport

@AWalkerInTheCity: Regarding density:

I'm not sure. I think there will be enough selective density - density at certain nodes along the line - to make a Beltway loop viable. Tysons, for instance. Alexandria. National Harbor. Some places up in Bethesda/PG County. Connect those, look to the long view, and build a line in which stations can be added as necessary.

That would be the best kind of loop, I think - anything farther out would be too much right now.

by Ser Amantio di Nicolao on Dec 6, 2013 2:10 pm • linkreport

Are they dumber than Chicagoans, who seem to have figured out the loop (5 lines running different directions)?

Lines that go all the way around the El Loop only go in one direction (see pink, purple, orange, brown above). Some have implied that these Metro lines should go in both directions. How would you, in a non-confusing way, communicate the difference between a blue line train that will go clockwise around the loop and one that will go counterclockwise, so that I know when I board in Pentagon City where I will be going?

by Gray on Dec 6, 2013 2:12 pm • linkreport

If you look at a map you could split the Orange/Silver just before EFC Metro and have it follow Washington Blvd the whole way to the Pentagon and connect into the loop under the south Pentagon parking lot. That would be a hell of a lot easier to build than what they are proposing here with two new tunnels under the Potomac river into Georgetown. There would be easy transfer/parallel stations at EFC, Ballston, and Clarendon before bending south to one of the major jobs/transportation focii in NoVA (Pentagon).

by NikolasM on Dec 6, 2013 2:13 pm • linkreport

I don't think metro has said anything about service yet. Just showing you where the stations are supposed to be generally.

To use the chicago example. It's as if they're just showing what the loop is rather than the specific services you can expect.

by drumz on Dec 6, 2013 2:23 pm • linkreport


You could switch to a number system so you have the 1,2,3 trains like on the NY Subway. You could also send Blue trains in one direction and Yellow trains in another direction. You could call them Blue East or Blue West trains if you want to have all kinds of trains go all kinds of directions.

It is a complicated service pattern for sure. But the idea that it can't be done or it's "too confusing" for people to figure out is bogus.

by MLD on Dec 6, 2013 2:45 pm • linkreport

@Ser Amantio di Nicolao

Here's a guess at what the new stations on the "loop" might be called, going clockwise starting at Rosslyn.

**Georgetown University** (M & Whitehurst NW)
**Georgetown** (M & Wisconsin NW)
**West End** (M & 23rd NW)
**Golden Triangle** (M & Connecticut NW) (xfer w/ Farragut)
**Logan Circle** (M & Vermont NW)
Mount Vernon Square
**Sursum Corda** (K & New Jersey NW)
Union Station
**Capitol North** (Constitution & 2nd NE)
Capitol South
Navy Yard
**Potomac Park** (Buckeye Dr. SW)
Arlington Cemetery

It's somewhat unclear when stations would be new or share their names with existing stations, so I'm making lots of assumptions. (Odds are Sursum Corda will be bulldozed by 2040 so that whole area might have a new name)

by Hagiographer on Dec 6, 2013 2:48 pm • linkreport


I think I can guarantee the New Jersey ave station will not be called "Sursum Corda" bulldozed or not.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 6, 2013 3:03 pm • linkreport

There is no set service plan yet. Over at PlanItMetro, Allison writes that there will be service in both directions. However, it's premature to say which lines will run which way -- or even which lines will run in the loop vs. the Blorange [Eye/12/D/Penn] tunnel.

As Andrew mentioned, most "circle lines" in the world are actually "sash" shaped lines. I'll add to his list that the commuter rail circles in Tokyo and Osaka do have circular-route trains, but most of the rail traffic is from trains running through, or that terminate at the loop.

The beauty of a loop arrangement isn't to let someone ride around; it's to distribute passengers to their final destinations once they've arrived downtown. A rail system does a great job at funneling trainloads of people to downtown, but once they've arrived they need to disperse, especially given the flattened nature of downtown DC. A loop doubles the number of downtown destinations that one line can serve, and has the operational benefit of turning the train while it's in revenue service.

As for further Metro extensions within DC, I just don't see that happening until more areas are up-zoned beyond rowhouse densities -- which existing zoning, and the existing comp plan, just does not foresee. DC won't look like Paris anytime soon: it's not going to be blanketed with mid-rises, and it won't be filled with Metro lines from everywhere to everywhere. Those two facts go hand in hand.

by Payton on Dec 6, 2013 3:11 pm • linkreport

@Hagiographer: Thanks. I do hope they keep the name Sursum Corda - whatever is bulldozed there, the name is wonderful.

I realize the stations are preliminary, to say the least, but having names helps me better vizualize where they're supposed to go, better than the map does. Well..this map, anyway.

by Ser Amantio di Nicolao on Dec 6, 2013 3:27 pm • linkreport

Also, "too confusing"? Ha! Tokyo's rail network is confusing, but it also carries half of all trips in the world's 2nd-largest metropolitan area.

by Payton on Dec 6, 2013 3:30 pm • linkreport

Everyone is forgetting about one of the more interesting circular subways in the world, in Glasgow!

It is like a mini-Underground (with a 4 ft track gauge and a total length of 6.5 miles)! Definitely worth taking for a spin when you are in Glasgow ...

by Thad on Dec 6, 2013 3:32 pm • linkreport


Yeah, I know the odds are less than zero but a man can dream.

by Hagiographer on Dec 6, 2013 3:57 pm • linkreport

I find it somewhat disconcerting that federal employees are paid to sit in their offices yet spend their days on GGW and other Internet forums waxing eloquent about model transportation plans for 2040. How about they try to fix our current, ailing infrastructure, or we spend the money wasted on their salaries on bridge and tunnel repairs?

by Inspektor Generale on Dec 6, 2013 4:32 pm • linkreport

I find it somewhat disconcerting that people see fit to opine on matters without knowing basic facts about them, such as the fact that WMATA is not a federal agency and therefore its workers are not federal employees.

by Dizzy on Dec 6, 2013 4:42 pm • linkreport


Its pretty clear the Inspector wasn't saying WMATA was a federal agency, or its workers federal employees.

He was talking about the number of federal employees who spend all day on this site waxing poetic about better metro while being paid at work.

by Huh on Dec 6, 2013 5:24 pm • linkreport

Who's a federal employee? How does he/she know who is who?

by MLD on Dec 6, 2013 5:32 pm • linkreport

I am so sick of talking about what to do. People have been talking about the Rosslyn tunnel bottleneck for decades. Start building this loop tomorrow.

by Jon on Dec 6, 2013 7:06 pm • linkreport

I think it makes senses from an incremental point of view. Yeah not as great as a grand master plan but I guess the political calculus is that without a suburban extension/express implicated it will be hard to get buy in for the route. The question is whether this is still modest enough to get done.

Assuming it happens it could evolve in a couple of ways.

1) Separated Yellow could branch off at head north possibly via Union Station which would effectively be a new Metro Center. It could go into Maryland if there was will there for an extension. Probably would be better off heading due north to Silver Spring and back toward Bethesda/Rockville which would bring some redundancy to the Red Line.

2) Silver could cross Orange at W Falls Church (slightly mess exchange but could be doable. Continue down Rt 7 and then Columbia Pike to Pentagon tunnel under the Potomac and make its way to RFK then on to Largo. That would be pricey but would result in a separated Silver and Orange which would double capacity on those lines effectively.

The only major remaining bottle neck would be the blue loop and yellow on the bridge. Possibly you build the Silver tunnel at double capacity to serve Blue as well or add tracks whenever the bridge gets rebuilt.

If that all works out you have 6 fully separated rights of way. I am leaving out the express which to my mind would need it's own ROW to be express anyway.

If needed to make them palatable they would all be combined with the various extensions to Columbia, Bowie, Manassas, Woodbridge that have been called for.

Obviously this is like a 50 (100?) year plan but I guess my point is that the loop could be a first step rather than a death blow to further development.

by BTA on Dec 6, 2013 7:54 pm • linkreport

Beating up Metro for this plan is unfair - they're just solving the problem they're given.

It sounds like there's no leadership from MWCOG to plan land use at the same time as transportation. I'm disappointed that Metro's staff are being asked to solve issues like engineers, rather than planners. 2040 is almost as far from now as 1999 was from the publication of the ARS. Too bad we don't have that kind of leadership.

by Neil Flanagan on Dec 6, 2013 8:00 pm • linkreport

This proposal suffers from three serious flaws...all are to some extent equally bad.

1) Loops are bad from an operational standpoint because they lack built-in recovery time. London's Circle line is no longer a circle simply because it's more reliable as a spiral with defined end points.

2) The lack of Yellow Line service from L'Enfant and beyond is a serious blow to those who commute across the Potomac, most of all to those who live north of Mt Vernon Square.

3) Metro should be aiming to reduce interlining at all costs, with the ideal being that all lines are operationally independent. This proposal only serves to make the system less efficient and removes the benefits of redundancy, not to mention the befits of a separate Blue Line.

Also, M -> NH -> P -> diagonal to M -> NJ -> Mass -> Stadium-Armory has a far higher catchment base and will improve crosstown service and transit accessibility for some of the city's densest areas.

by Phil on Dec 6, 2013 9:11 pm • linkreport

I didn't realize we had tens of billions of surplus dollars.

by Tom Coumaris on Dec 6, 2013 11:49 pm • linkreport

Add Seoul, Shanghai, and Beijing to the list of cities with circle lines. Beijing has two of them, in fact: Lines 2 and 10.

That said, having lived in or near all three of those cities, I'm not sure circle lines are good things in-and-of-themselves: if you're making a trip more-or-less tangential to the circle, then they're fine; but if you need to get to a point on the far side of the circle, then those loops can force you to travel out of your way. Seoul's Line 2, for instance, is really two great East-West lines that happen to interline; it's NOT really useful for North-South trips, or trips between those two East-West lines. Because all three of those cities have a dense grid-work of subway lines, most riders are probably using the loop lines to make tangential trips and to transfer to perpendicular lines anyway. I doubt anyone goes around more than one corner if they can avoid it.

People don't travel in loops; they like to travel in more-or-less straight lines, sometimes even if that means forgoing a one-seat ride. Since all of that interlining will guarantee lower frequency service on the branches, I'd be hesitant to also force riders to make more circuitous or the other would be fine, but not both!

Also agree with others that we'd be better off with a new North-South Arlington connection on the other side of the cemetery.

@IG: Considering how much time some federal employees spend on Facebook and YouTube, I doubt any real IG would care if employees spent some de minimis down time on a public interest blog! Besides, I can't speak for other agencies, but folks in mine work 60-80 hour weeks. We'd burn out if we didn't get some free time to think about other things.

by Steven H on Dec 7, 2013 12:55 am • linkreport

Ed Tennyson's role in the 1962-1963 planning of the current Metro system was not to"draw lines", but to evaluate the lines drawn by others.

He is not impressed by these plans.

We, he and I, have prepared a better alternative in our blog (which will be updated in a few days).


Three "core" lines -

Replace short Red Line Grosvenor to Silver Spring) with Rose Line & Plum Loop

Rose Line - inter line Red Line from Medical Center to Tenleytown. North spur to NIH Infectious Diseases @Beltway. South under Wisconsin to M Street, Pennslvania Ave, Washington Circle, 2nd Dupont Circle station, Thomas Circle, Mt Vernon Square, New York Ave, NOMA (subway station at right angles to Red Line station) , under NEC then 2nd St to F Street (400' from Union Station), Hart Office Bldg (secure entrance to Senate subway), Congress South terminate at Navy Yard.

More later or see blog in a few days

by Alan Drake on Dec 7, 2013 8:20 am • linkreport

Plum Loop - interline Red Line Silver Spring to Van Ness. Under Connecticut Avenue to Purple Line (phase I). Phase II elevated above Connecticut to Beltway, turn east at grade next to Beltway to merge with Red Line north of Silver Spring.

Copper Line - Single track express track in median of I-66. Two track over two track station at Harrison for Peak terminus. Rebuild high school parking garage into two track elevated station (for passing). Go to two tracks under Key Blvd. to second Rosslyn station, under Potomac to Kennedy Center, then merge with Rose Line atWashington Center (two over two tracks there).

by Alan Drake on Dec 7, 2013 8:30 am • linkreport

Loops are inefficient. Better to build more lines radiating out from the core. I think this is a terrible plan.

by Sam on Dec 7, 2013 9:05 am • linkreport

Maximum Copper Line service would be one train every 5 minutes due to single track (Phase I version every 7 minutes). Most riders would be transfers from Silver & Orange Line wanting a faster trip and destinations served by Rose Line (see above). Kennedy, Washington, Dupont, Thomas, Mt Vernon, NOMA, Union, Hart, Capital South, Navy Yard.

This should be enough to relieve the "Orange Crush".

Off peak, the Copper Line track could be used for a premium price "Dulles Express" that bypasses a number of Silver Line stations.

There is enough room in the I-66 median for one track at grade (cheap) or two elevated (not so cheap).

by Alan Drake on Dec 7, 2013 9:07 am • linkreport

It sounds like there's no leadership from MWCOG to plan land use at the same time as transportation.

I think it's a bit worse than that; it's not just a lack of leadership to plan for intensified land use at the regional scale (and therefore lead the local jurisdictions in that direction), but planners are often hamstrung by the rules and regulations that force consideration of compromised alternatives.

For example, Metro can't plan lines based on speculative land use plans; yet cities won't speculate on upzoning and intensification without the committment for improved transit.

by Alex B. on Dec 7, 2013 11:01 am • linkreport

To complete that thought: it's not that Metro can't think about those scenarios, but the federal rules for planning limit what is allowed.

by Alex B. on Dec 7, 2013 11:03 am • linkreport

Another idea worth considering:

by Eric on Dec 8, 2013 8:03 am • linkreport

The map presented by PlanItMetro is really confusing, but based on the elaboration there by Allison (i.e. new track all the way to East Falls Church on the "express line"), it seems like the obvious and quite clear service pattern would be:

Orange remains orange - Vienna to New Carrolton.

Silver comes in from Tysons and runs express, goes around the loop in one direction only (say clockwise) and then back out on express track. Note that it never shares track with Orange.

Blue returns to full blue - Franconia to Largo.

Yellow run on the loop in the opposite direction to Silver, so in this example counterclockwise.

Nobody is confused about direction around the loop since colors only have one direction.

On the other hand, this doesn't seem to solve much of anything. The express Silver to Georgetown modeled poorly in the early posts on this subject, and you'd be eliminating Yellow into the downtown core without gaining a straight shot from Arlington OR Alexandria onto the M (N, P) Street subway. I can see the Rush+ Green trains from Huntington to Greenbelt (at the expense of Yellow loop trains) now...

by Jack on Dec 8, 2013 10:29 am • linkreport

A loop like this appears to be an efficient way to address these five goals: (1) fix the Rosslyn bottleneck, (2) fix the L'Enfant/7th bottleneck, (3) better Union Station access, (4) better Georgetown access, (5) better access to the expanded downtown [NoMa, Yards].

Since DC's comp plan makes it clear that growth won't happen outside of downtown, it therefore doesn't provide the land use basis for new lines outside downtown. With construction costs being what they are, the days of building heavy rail lines into low-rise neighborhoods are over.

@Rob P/drumz/Phil: The map overstates the interlining issue. An additional Great Thing about a loop is that, because it has two legs, it can handle two lines' worth of traffic. Here, the Blue/Yellow trains could take the clockwise loop, and the Orange/Silver trains take the counter-clockwise. Both lines can run at full throughput of 26 TPH.

by Payton Chung on Dec 8, 2013 11:27 am • linkreport

A loop like this appears to be an efficient way to address these five goals: (1) fix the Rosslyn bottleneck, (2) fix the L'Enfant/7th bottleneck, (3) better Union Station access, (4) better Georgetown access, (5) better access to the expanded downtown [NoMa, Yards].

The concern I have is on #2. Currently, the Yellow line offers direct access to downtown. Now, such trips will require a transfer. That isn't terrible in and of itself, but I do worry about the quality of such a transfer.

Metro's existing transfer points aren't great, but they're pretty good. Ideally, you'd have transfers at four-track stations with simple cross-platform transfers to minimize walking distance for transferring passengers. If Metro were to build a loop like this and use Eye st SW, that would mean a long walk from Eye down to M for passengers from VA to get directly to Downtown.

Unlike the fix to the Rosslyn bottleneck (where the destinations along M St NW aren't so far from Eye st NW), the difference between the 7th St subway and heading into SW/SE DC and towards the Capitol and Union Station is big.

by Alex B. on Dec 8, 2013 12:05 pm • linkreport

The concept need considerable refinement. Before I get into that I will start out by saying I think WMATA should finish building the original 103 mile system before undertaking ambitious expansion plans in the urban core.

Procure more rolling stock and the infrastructure need to maintain it to allow the operation 8 car trains on all lines during peak at 90 second headways. I have said it once and I will say it again, the signaling and train control system is designed to accommodate 90 second headways. I have never beveled the propaganda stated by WMATA that the system can not accommodate headways under 150 seconds. WMATA can't run 90 second headways because they don't have sufficient rolling stock do so. More trains per hour would reduce number of passengers per train, fewer passengers per train would allow faster boarding and discharging, faster boarding and discharging would allow shorter dwell times, shorter dwell times would allow more trains per hour.

The second Pentagon station is in the wrong place, it should be next to the existing station with the route from Rosslyn tunneling under Washington Boulevard to get to the south end of the station. Access to the second Pentagon station would be from the lower level platform of the existing station through a passageway passing under the upper level. Section of second Pentagon station at entrance passageway

The second Rosslyn station as a 90 degree transfer station seems redundant. Passenger heading to Rosslyn from the south would use clockwise loop trains. Passenger heading to Rosslyn from points on the south and east side of the urban core would use trains running on the existing railroad or counter clockwise loop trains.

Build the second Rosslyn station as depicted in my 2030 track schematic. The second Rosslyn station would be next to the existing station under Fort Myer Drive, Access to the station from the surface would be from a new landing from the new elevator entrance. The second station would be shallower and a mirror of the exiting station, lower level inbound, upper level outbound. Access to the second station from the existing station would be through a passageway between the existing escalators to escalators that would ascend to the upper level platform. A fare collection mezzanine similar to the new one in the existing station would be built off the passageway between the escalators form the existing station and the upper level of the new station. Section of second Rosslyn station at escalators.

The "express" from Rosslyn to Falls Church would run under the existing K route along Wilson Boulevard and Fairfax Drive, on the existing K route along VA I-66 from the portal to Great Falls Street the existing K route would run on track above the existing tracks, a second platform would be built above the existing platform at the East Falls Church station.

What is the purpose of the station in East Potomac Park? There isn't enough tourist traffic to justify it unless the federal government wants the pay for 100% of the capital cost to build it like they did for the Arlington Cemetery station. What happened to the Yellow line between Pentagon and L'Enfant Plaza? Does WMATA intend to abandoned that route or keep it to allow for operational flexibility.

Also what's up with 2 stations near the Capitol? Seems kind of redundant to me.

The Loop station at Union Station should not be behind the railroad station it should be in front under Columbus Circle, west entrance would utilize the existing west portico entrance to the existing station, east entrance on the south side of Massachusetts Avenue between 1st and 2nd Street NE.

by Sand Box John on Dec 8, 2013 1:17 pm • linkreport

@SBJ: the map's schematic, not an engineering drawing, so actual station locations have not been set.

by Payton Chung on Dec 8, 2013 9:45 pm • linkreport

Procure more rolling stock and the infrastructure need to maintain it to allow the operation 8 car trains on all lines during peak at 90 second headways. I have said it once and I will say it again, the signaling and train control system is designed to accommodate 90 second headways.
And no matter how many times you repeat this fact, it won't change that the real gating factor here is, has been, and will remain the track switches, which are capable of accommodating 26 trains per hour and not a single one more.

Get faster switches and you might be able to get to 30 TPH - but you're never getting 40 TPH without a system-wide third track.

by Ryan on Dec 9, 2013 8:35 am • linkreport

@Payton Chung

The first sentence in my post was "The concept need considerable refinement". I offered up my ideas to that effort. At the time I wrote that post I had not finished this:
2040 Urban Core Loop. You will notice I retained all of the existing trackage to allow for operational flexibility.

by Sand Box John on Dec 9, 2013 8:45 am • linkreport

. . . the real gating factor here is, has been, and will remain the track switches, which are capable of accommodating 26 trains per hour and not a single one more.
That is also BS. The interlockings can reset to accommodate the path of the next train in less then 30 seconds after being cleared by the proceeding train. I stood on the end of platform at Rosslyn on the day the Orange line opened and heard the motor move the points and reset the signal for the next train seconds after the tail lights were out of sight.

by Sand Box John on Dec 9, 2013 9:03 am • linkreport


Here is another thing WMATA has'nt openly admitted. All of the newest and rehabilitated rolling stock is not being operated to their maximum performance capability. All of the rolling stock equipped AC propulsion systems have been detuned to maintain compatibility with the DC choppers in the 4k cars.

by Sand Box John on Dec 9, 2013 9:54 am • linkreport

@Sand Box John

Agree totally - there are 1000 things that are completely screwed up due to the mixing of series. I wish WMATA would just admit that bellying the 1000 series cars is BS and quit it - I don't understand why the ops and maintenance people aren't screaming bloody murder about all the problems that are caused.

by MLD on Dec 9, 2013 10:28 am • linkreport

Though this plan has some major long term improvements - mainly new service to Georgetown etc. - I believe many of the benefits (to riders using existing stations) could be more easily accomplished by changing the route of the Silver line to head south to the Pentagon from Rosslyn instead of continuing to Foggy Bottom. The Silver could then continue on current Yellow line tracks then switch to the Green line to Branch Ave. This would allow riders traveling from the west to directly access major employment areas: the Pentagon, L'enfant Plaza and the Navy Yard. It would also provide easier access to Nats' stadium and improve the commute from SE DC to Tysons etc. This will require some major work at various points to allow trains to travel this route, but it could be done much sooner and cheaper than the loop proposal, which is confusing and does not address the scarce capacity of the Blue/Orange/Silver line from Rosslyn east.

by Clay Gottschall on Dec 9, 2013 10:37 am • linkreport

@Tim re Moscow Metro:

A good story, or perhaps Stalin's teacup inadvertently put a ring on the map and he took no notice. But when Stalin's aides got the file back, everyone assumed the Vozhd wanted a circle line and, of course, all were afraid to raise questions!

by Alicia on Dec 9, 2013 11:07 am • linkreport

Wait, so am I hearing that all lines would go in both directions around the loop? How would you possibly signal which is which for trains heading to the loop?

The same way they do the beltway. Inner and outer loop.

by Richard on Dec 9, 2013 12:04 pm • linkreport

@Sand Box John

I like your metro loop map. That makes much more sense and should be far more reasonable to implement than multiple new tunnels under the Potomac.

by NikolasM on Dec 9, 2013 1:25 pm • linkreport

I like your metro loop map. That makes much more sense and should be far more reasonable to implement than multiple new tunnels under the Potomac.

It has the same number of new river crossings as the Metro concept.

by Alex B. on Dec 9, 2013 1:31 pm • linkreport

@Alex B. The Metro proposal has two separate lines under the Potomac from Rosslyn to Georgetown - one for the silver and one for the blue. Sand Box John's map only has one.

by NikolasM on Dec 9, 2013 1:56 pm • linkreport

The Metro proposal has two separate lines under the Potomac from Rosslyn to Georgetown - one for the silver and one for the blue. Sand Box John's map only has one.

The Metro map is a schematic. I think you are reading it too literally.

Those two lines merge into one in Georgetown, whether they merge into one before crossing the river or after isn't really relevant because (as Metro notes) any actual construction will be accompanied with much more study and engineering.

The important part is that the Metro scheme does not require two additional river crossings, it only requires one.

by Alex B. on Dec 9, 2013 2:03 pm • linkreport


There are 99 codes in the table of destination codes used to route trains to their final destination of the 12 that are not used roughly half will be used for the Silver line. There are another 23 non revenue codes that are used to route trains to yards, pocket tracks, connector tracks and destinations that have revenue assigned codes. All of the interlockings will allow from 1 to 97 different codes to select a different route.

Many of those non revenue codes can be consolidate to route trains to multiple non revenue destinations to allow the freeing up of the others. As an example 31 is the Yellow line destination code for Huntington, 97 is the non revenue destination code for Huntington. 31 would still route trains from Fort Totten and Greenbelt to Huntington as well as route trains counter clockwise around the loop and back to Huntington, 97 could be reassigned to route trains clockwise around the loop and back to Huntington. 16 and 79 can be used to do the same for Blue line trains.


There are the same number of crossing of the river, the difference is there is no 90 degree crossing transfer station in Rosslyn and the second Pentagon station is a short walk from the existing station and bus terminal.

by Sand Box John on Dec 9, 2013 2:15 pm • linkreport

The same way they do the beltway. Inner and outer loop.
Say I'm waiting at Pentagon to go into the city. A train arrives. Will it be labeled:

(3) something else?

Option (1) would mean that all blue trains would go in one direction on the loop, and all yellow trains would as well.

Option (2) seems incredibly complicated. If I get on at Huntington, should I take the yellow outer train if I want to get to Georgetown? Should I try to transfer at Pentagon to a blue inner train? And at this point, what good are colors?

More importantly, what does this added complexity buy me over simply having all blue trains go in one direction around the loop?

by Gray on Dec 9, 2013 2:26 pm • linkreport

This seems like it would primarily benefit Virginia neighborhoods and serve wealthy neighborhoods. The circle line almost seems to try to avoid transit-deprived neighborhoods.

It's going to be tough to get DC on board with this plan (and especially to get us to chip in the money to pay for it). It's not going to meaningfully improve transit service for those of us who actually live here.

by andrew on Dec 10, 2013 12:33 am • linkreport

*benefit Virginia commuters

by andrew on Dec 10, 2013 12:34 am • linkreport


its designed to address a crisis of congestion on the existing lines - including the routes from NoVa and all the transfer stations in the center of the city. Anything that addresses that congestion is not going to address transit deprived areas. Its up to DC to address transit deprived areas in DC (as NoVa addresses places in NoVa they want to add transit) WMATA is involved because of their particular concern with operations.

How the DC share of this would be financed is a good question. This would strengthen the CBD as an employment center - it would seem logical to institute some value capture mechanism to get financing from the land owners who will mostly benefit. It also benefits the federal govt as an employer, and so some federal contribution over and above the normal FTA New Starts money would seem appropriate.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 10, 2013 9:05 am • linkreport

Who ever writes the plan it metro blog said one reason there is t more expansion in DC is that there isn't really the land use planning in any DC corridor present that would match up with a metro expansion.

by Drumz on Dec 10, 2013 10:27 am • linkreport

What I don't get why don't they just build the VA portion of the loop route to the west of Arlington Cemetery, the cemetery is of no use to 99.99997 % of the areas residents who don't work there and is just a waste of time & space that should have never been built.

Rosslyn does not have to be the transfer point it could be Court House or Clarendon which would be much better if they ever decided to get rid of or only run small trains between Rosslyn and Pentagon via Arlington Cemetery.

Raising the loop north to U Street or Florida Ave would help alot with transit in the city, and routing the line around Arlington Cemetery by traveling along Columbia Pike, Washington Blvd & Arlington Blvd would survive many Virginians better.

by kk on Dec 10, 2013 1:04 pm • linkreport

"What I don't get why don't they just build the VA portion of the loop route to the west of Arlington Cemetery,"

This has been raised by a few people.

again, the goal is to relieve rail gridlock on the potomac crossings and at the tunnels and transfer stations in downtown DC. The line from Pentagon to Rosslyn currently has only the blue line, and has room for another line. Its not a bottleneck. And adding another N-S line in Arlington would add substantially to the total cost.

Its possible that Va and Arlington would be willing to pay a billion bucks or more for the line (though I doubt it) but that is not what the WMATA plan is trying to address.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Dec 10, 2013 1:11 pm • linkreport

I agree that Arlington Cemetary is a barrier to efficient circulation but I think in the meantime you could accomplish that need with better bus service from Pentagon City/Crystal City to Ballston and Courthouse as demand dictates. But really the Blue to Orange Rush Hour transfer in Rosslyn means you're reverse commuting for one half of the trip so its not really that bad.

by BTA on Dec 10, 2013 1:20 pm • linkreport


Just splitting the yellow line off of the green line will be a huge benefit to all the communities along the green line. Access to employment will become much easier, as well as to all manner of other activities that are part of life. This is a much overlooked benefit of this proposal. If I were Prince George's County -- not to mention SE DC -- I would be stoked about this proposal.

by jnb on Dec 11, 2013 9:12 am • linkreport

All this talk about the loop is seriously overwhelming. Can't we just talk about shoes?

by bsl on Dec 11, 2013 12:30 pm • linkreport

Building new separate blue and yellow line tunnels is clearly not ideal because they would be running at half-capacity. The loop is WMATA's attempt to try to fill that tunnel to full-capacity, which is certainly the desired outcome.

However, the biggest problem is I can't look at it without making my head hurt. The current network is rather simple; five colors, 3 lines downtown. In contrast, the proposed loop is so complex that there is no operational scheme for it that can be illustrated in an understandable way on a map. And imagine actually trying to navigate the system: suppose I want to go from Capitol South to Rosslyn; which color of train should I take? What should its destination sign say? Which platform should I be standing on?

I think WMATA is looking at the problem the wrong way. Rather than jamming lots of lines into the new downtown tunnels in order to fill them, why not untangle the system to remove the interlining? That would allow all lines to run at capacity for their entire length, including through the new downtown tunnels. I believe Alex has the right idea:

by Andrew on Dec 17, 2013 9:49 am • linkreport

We need Bus Service RIGHT NOW -- 7 days a week - between Arlington/Pentagon and DC. Extend the 16x and/or 7Y to a 7 day-a-week schedule

by A ATTURA on Dec 19, 2013 12:13 pm • linkreport

How about instead of a loop, there would be multiple independent lines forming the shape of a loop? A Gold Line starting at Pentagon, then turn east onto L Street SW/SE with transfers to the Green Line, and turn north onto 2nd Street with a transfer at Capitol South, heading north with a station at Capitol Hill with a transfer to a future rerouted Blue Line, then stop at Union Station and continue north along North Capitol Street. The Blue Line would be rerouted under M Street NW like most proposals, except it would turn south onto 2nd Street NE after Union Station with a station at Capitol Hill, same as the Gold Line and with a transfer to that line. Then the Blue Line would turn east under East Capitol Street with a station at Lincoln Park and join up with the Orange Line south of a new 4 track station at Oklahoma Ave with a transfer to a future Silver Line reroute under H Street/Benning Rd. The Silver Line would end at Oklahoma Ave.

by YoungTransitSupporter on Jul 4, 2014 2:27 pm • linkreport

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