Greater Greater Washington

Three ways Metro's loop proposal could get better

Metro's proposed loop has generated much discussion about the future of the transit system. While new capacity is an important goal, it's not the only goal. Metro should also try to avoid designing in problems. A few tweaks could greatly improve the proposal.


Gallery Place crowding. Photo by the author.

One of the challenges of adding in a new crosstown line where one was never envisioned is dealing with transfers.

It's absolutely essential that Metro get these transfer stations right. Today, Gallery Place is a nightmare due to its flawed design. That station was designed with two major flaws. The off-center meeting of the Green and Red Lines is due to the Red Line swinging south to Judiciary Square. The narrow platforms are because of the historic art museum upstairs. We're still paying for a design decision made 40 years ago, and it really illustrates the need to get it right this time.

Metro's loop proposal is still very nebulous because it's so early in planning. Much could change. But the conceptual alignments shown in their map suggest the potential for inefficient transfer stations.

Building better transfer stations

At Waterfront, for example, the Green Line follows M Street. The proposed loop would run under Eye Street, 3 blocks north. Right now, riders from Alexandria and South Arlington have a straight shot on the Yellow Line to the 7th Street subway and the eastern side of downtown.


See the Waterfront station under: Eye Street M Street. All graphics by the author.

If the new loop station is built at 4th and Eye, those riders will have to walk over 1,000 feet to change from the Yellow to the Green. That's as long as the walk from Metro Center to Gallery Place. The additional inconvenience and time it takes to transfer will make transit less competitive for many riders. And it may create future crowding issues, like those faced at Gallery Place.

Locating the new station adjacent to the existing Waterfront stop would make transferring much easier and less time-consuming. And that would be a boon for many riders, especially those who would need to transfer under the new scheme, like anyone who takes the current Yellow Line from Virginia to downtown DC.

There's an even better solution than just building the new station next to the old one: Build a new station for the Green Line and the loop line.

A four-track design like the one above would make transferring very easy. Many riders wouldn't even need to use an escalator. Inbound trains would be on one level and outbound trains would be on another. This is exactly like the design of the Lionel-Groulx transfer station in Montreal.

This would probably not be possible as a reconstruction of the existing Waterfront station, but would probably need to be new construction adjacent to the current stop.

In this design, a commuter riding from Suitland to Union Station could simply exit her Green Line train at Waterfront and walk across the platform to board a Loop train on the outer loop headed toward Capitol South and Union Station.

Similarly, a person commuting from Huntington to Archives could get off his Yellow Line train at Waterfront and just walk right across the platform to a waiting Green Line train headed toward L'Enfant and Gallery Place.

Similar situations exist where the proposed loop line crosses the Red Line. Metro's proposal seems to keep the new line under H Street near Union Station and under M Street where it crosses Connecticut Avenue.

The Red Line is currently Metro's busiest line, and it provides access to many destinations. Forcing riders to make long walks is inefficient, and if the tunnels deposit riders at one end of the platform, a situation similar to the one at Gallery Place is likely to arise again.

The transfer at Farragut North/Longfellow isn't as bad as the potential one at Waterfront. But the walk between the stops would still be almost 750 feet. Instead of keeping the line under M Street, the loop could swing down Vermont Avenue to either K or L Street. That would allow a much shorter transfer between the Red Line and the Orange Line as well.


See the Farragut station under: M Street K Street

At Union Station, Amtrak has grand plans to expand the station and create a second front along H Street on the north side of the complex. In that regard, Metro's loop wouldn't be too inconvenient to commuter and Amtrak trains. Of course, if the redevelopment of the station doesn't happen, riders would have a less pleasant trek to connect to their trains.

But the walk to connect to the congested north end of the Red Line platform is over 600 feet. And that means that riders connecting to trains bound for Metro Center or Silver Spring would also have an inconvenient transfer.

Locating the new loop station on the south side of the station, under Massachusetts Avenue, could make transfers much easier, and it wouldn't sacrifice access to commuter or Amtrak trains either.


See the Union Station station under: H Street Massachusetts Avenue

The Massachusetts Avenue alternative also seems to make it easier to extend the M Street subway east across Capitol Hill and/or the 2nd Street subway up North Capitol Street should future demand warrant that expansion. Ideally, the station under Massachusetts Avenue would include 4 tracks and 2 platforms so that if the loop were split into an east-west and a north-south line trains wouldn't have to share tracks.

Tradeoffs

One of the bigger tradeoffs is the discussion of whether increasing the area within a 5 or 10 minute walk of transit is more important than easy transfers.

For example, if the new loop line is pulled down to K Street at Farragut Square, the West End station would be farther south, closer to the existing Foggy Bottom station. That means that less new territory would be within a 5 minute walk of Metro. On the other hand, essentially all of the West End is already within a 10 minute walk of Metro.

Compare some alternatives below. Note that the tan and gray areas are within 10 and 5 minute walks of existing stations. Light pink areas would be new areas within 10 minutes of Metro and dark pink areas would be new areas within 5 minutes of Metro.


Walksheds from existing stations.


Walksheds from Metro's loop proposal.


Walksheds from a K Street/Mass Ave alternative.

Better transfer stations could mean fewer headaches for future commuters. But it might also mean less area is available for new development in the core, lowering tax revenues for the District. Co-locating stations is also likely to be more expensive and disruptive to riders. But in many cases, it may well be worth it. It's certainly worth having the discussion.

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

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Moving walkways like in airports could work? Although no one really trusts with escalators so maybe not a good idea :) I've pointed out before that there are long transfer stations in other major cities. I've personally used them in New York and Paris off the top of my head.

by BTA on Dec 20, 2013 11:28 am • linkreport

Having more entrances can alleviate some of the reduced walkshed issues as well.

Though in the case of downtown I think I'd favor a shorter transfer over greater walkshed coverage. The former seems like more of a benefit for commuters while the latter is great for residential/other uses. For these areas three areas in particular you're not likely going to see much residential growth under our current development regs.

by drumz on Dec 20, 2013 11:36 am • linkreport

The other thing to consider is that streetcars may make multimodal transfer more viable with the proposed N/S corridor running 4th being a solid alternative for consideration. Same thing with the Union - Georgetown line with will almost certianly run along K st most of the way.

by BTA on Dec 20, 2013 11:44 am • linkreport

I think the transfer issue is most important in SW, because the plan proposes to remove direct Yellow line service to 7th Street and route those trains through the loop.

The challenge, of course, is that re-building any of the existing stations would be tremendously challenging. To really get the benefit of the cross-platform transfer, you would need to get Loop and Green line services on the same platform, which means not just adding more tracks but completely reconfiguring the tunnels and interlockings that feed into the old and new platforms - all while maintaining existing Green Line service.

The M St NW service isn't as big of a deal for the transfer - the walks within tunnels are slightly shorter and the new routing is similar enough to the old routing that many people will be able to continue walking to their destination (Example: a blue line commuter to Farragut Square who currently complains about Rush Plus service cuts would likely just remain on the new loop to the Longfellow station and then walk to their destination, not transfer).

Union Station, too, might not require a close transfer. If the Union Station master plan is executed, and the rail station adds new concourses beneath the existing rail yard, having a second metro station that is more distant from the red line station could be advantageous - most transfers here would be from commuter rail and Amtrak to Metro, not necessarily between Metro and Metro (though the proposed Columbus Circle option could still work well for this task).

by Alex B. on Dec 20, 2013 11:45 am • linkreport

These are great, Matt. Obviously the less interlining the better and yours shows this well. I fear that WMATA will be tempted, if the stations are as close together as your Waterfront/4th & I example, to interline the platforms or something equally counterproductive. Hopefully we'll get some sort of good design out of this (not holding my breath, though).

And above all, you've done an excellent job by adding as many exits as possible. I would hope that we take a harder look at the current monumentalesque quality that we've given current station exits and entrances. At a minimum, we need mezzanines at both ends of a platform (and above ground), and having an entrance at all corners a la New York would be idea (and shrinking the surface footprint of Metro stations in general is probably a win-win).

by Low Headways (frmly MetroDerp) on Dec 20, 2013 11:51 am • linkreport

I concur with Low Headways.

There is no reason that 'new' core stations need to be identical to existing stations. They should not be ugly, but I really doubt that if we design smaller, less monumental and more practical stations that 50 years later people will be kicking themselves for having a usable but less grandiose system.

by JDC Esq on Dec 20, 2013 12:04 pm • linkreport

Another alternative is high speed elevators only at one entrance which would could make having a seperate elevator location redundant and could serve as an elevator alternative for stations it links too.

Also another arguably cost effective tweak would be running the loop out to 8th st NE instead of 2nd st. It would implicate one or two extra stations and move the Orange transfer from Capital South to Eastern Market, but the increase in coverage would be pretty significant in Capitol Hill.

by BTA on Dec 20, 2013 12:15 pm • linkreport

I agree with your solution for the SW and Union Station, not so much M versus K. Maybe L St as a compromise?

by NikolasM on Dec 20, 2013 12:17 pm • linkreport

How would the Massachusetts Avenue realignment work with the VRE lines that go into Union Station. I originally thought this would make more sense but then I figured they may have to go really really deep to avoid those tracks.

by xtr657 on Dec 20, 2013 12:22 pm • linkreport

I like your new idea for a 4-track Waterfront station, although I had also been wondering about moving the southern section of the loop north a few blocks and running it under E Street. This would allow it to connect directly with L'Enfant, enabling loop line riders to transfer directly to the Orange Line, instead of requiring an intermediate ride on the Green Line (similar to the current situation between Gallery Place and Metro Center).

The 4-track station under Columbus Circle is also a great idea, although as long as the Union Station master plan is constructed the H Street idea wouldn't be that bad.

I also like the idea of running the M Street Subway under K Street at Farragut Square, although I would prefer that west of the station it shifts back up to M Street for the West End station. I would assume that the new station would have to be underneath the current Red Line tracks/station. Would that be deep enough to be able to tunnel under those buildings?

by Brian on Dec 20, 2013 12:22 pm • linkreport

Great idea in the SW, where the shorter transfer would make a big difference. I also like your Union Square idea better as well.

At Farragut Sq, though, the transfer between the new M St line and the Orange/Silver line will be much less important, as it can be done in other locations (e.g. Rosslyn). More important in this area, is covering a larger area by Metro, and making a good connection to the Red Line.

by TransitSnob on Dec 20, 2013 12:26 pm • linkreport

I always loved the 4-track transfer station at Lionel-Groulx in Montreal. It made for very easy transfers across the platform.

by Gray on Dec 20, 2013 12:32 pm • linkreport

@xtr657:

I would assume you could do it with some sort of tunnel-jacking, which is how Boston extended the Mass Pike under all the tracks of South Station.

by Low Headways (frmrly MetroDerp) on Dec 20, 2013 1:11 pm • linkreport

Awesome plan considering how cheap the Big Dig was.

by MLD on Dec 20, 2013 1:15 pm • linkreport

@MLD:

You know, I would have preferred it without the cost overruns and the nepotism and the death of Milena Del Valle, but it was worth every penny. It has radically transformed Boston for the better, reconnected the city to itself, shunted traffic underground, away from pedestrians, enabled the viability of the entire waterfront as a desirable place to live, and (many years later) pushed an extension of the Green Line into Somerville.

Big idea require big investments. But bonds are cheap. Let's put people to work and build this city for the future (and that would also include decking over 395).

by Low Headways (frmrly MetroDerp) on Dec 20, 2013 1:20 pm • linkreport

I totally agree that cross-platform transfers between the Yellow and Green Line in SW would be ideal, particularly since Yellow Line riders will lose their direct connection to old downtown under the new scheme. I'm not sure if you're proposing paired cross-platform transfers (a la Hong Kong) at both SW Waterfront and Navy Yard, but that would be truly ideal (though certainly more expensive).

I was initially skeptical of the loop primarily because it forced some riders to take more roundabout trips; if the Yellow/Green transfers are improved (and/or if the SW Waterfront and lower NoMA became bigger primary destinations and trip generators) then I think I'd be less concerned.

It's true that some cities have long transfers (I think Les Halles in Paris is around 2600 feet) but those are usually megastations that serve half a dozen lines or more (and sometimes serve two stations on the same line). Most transfers at those stations are shorter. The worst are the stations that were always planned and conceived as transfer stations, but ended up being wickedly long because of poor planning (*cough* Beijing *cough*).

by Steven H on Dec 20, 2013 1:28 pm • linkreport

Big idea require big investments.

And part of the problem with the Big Dig was the very idea.

A really bold plan would've torn down the central artery and just not replaced it with another highway. Instead, build the North-South rail link and electrify all of Boston's commuter railroads, turning them into a through-running kind of rapid transit.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North%E2%80%93South_Rail_Link

http://nicksherman.com/design/northSouthRailLink/westMedford-450.gif

by Alex B. on Dec 20, 2013 1:31 pm • linkreport

I don't understand the benefit of transferring at Waterfront instead of L'Enfant Plaza … it seems to me that Metro is throwing away a huge benefit for NoVa commuters by eliminating direct service from Virginia to downtown over the bridge on the Yellow Line. Is the eastern half of the city expected to grow that much?

by Omar on Dec 20, 2013 1:47 pm • linkreport

Farragut North is not set up to be a transfer station. It has one central narrow platform. The loop should go further north and interchange at DuPont circle which has wider side platforms.

Moving the union station loop station to mass ave is also a bad idea. while it provides similar access to the station, where one can buy tickets it is a significant extra hike to get to the tracks where thousands of MARC and VRE commuters arrive and depart every day without buying tickets.

I agree with waterfront though, it is way too far away.

by Richard on Dec 20, 2013 2:06 pm • linkreport

Union Station, too, might not require a close transfer. If the Union Station master plan is executed, and the rail station adds new concourses beneath the existing rail yard, having a second metro station that is more distant from the red line station could be advantageous - most transfers here would be from commuter rail and Amtrak to Metro, not necessarily between Metro and Metro agree

by Richard on Dec 20, 2013 2:11 pm • linkreport

Thank you Matt for including the idea for the second Union Station stop I made in the last paragraph of this post. Accompanying map

I will also note, a passageway under the center line of Connecticut Avenue from the north mezzanine of the Farragut North station to the M Street station is not possible. There is a chiller plant and traction power substation directly above the tracks on the other side of the north wall of that mezzanine. There is enough room for the passageway under the sidewalks on either side.

The configuration of the Gallery Place station had nothing to do with the presents of the National Portrait Gallery. The width of G street is the same at Gallery Place as it is a Metro Center. The reason why the station has narrower platforms is because the studies done at that time determined it would not be as major a transfer station as Metro Center and L'Enfant Plaza and the area would not be developed its present density. WMATA also never envisioned that an arena would be built adjacent to station. As a matter of fact the unused H Street pedestrian tunnel from Union Station was built on the assumption that an arena would be built north of H Street between North Capitol Street and 1st Street NE.

by Sand Box John on Dec 20, 2013 2:12 pm • linkreport

The worst are the stations that were always planned and conceived as transfer stations, but ended up being wickedly long because of poor planning (*cough* Beijing *cough*).

Beijing has the worst transfers(I'm looking at you Xizhimen) and the most bad transfers of any system I have encountered. 1000ft seems bad? try 5000ft with lots of stairs.

by Richard on Dec 20, 2013 2:14 pm • linkreport

Richard, alternatively, a new M st station could connect to both Dupont on the south side at ~ O st. and Farragut North on the north side at L st. Really if dont right you could have on continuous transfer corridor from Dupont Circle to Farragut West. Considering how built out that area is you might even have some retail potential underground between those stations considering they are 4th, 5th, and 6th busiest in the system.

by BTA on Dec 20, 2013 2:18 pm • linkreport

We need a 21st Century McMillan Commission for mega infrastructure projects in the National Capital Region, or something that could jump start a handful of larger local and federal infrastructure projects simultaneously. The local Metrorail Loop Line fits in with larger federal/national interests when you factor in the eventual Union Station expansion.

In the case of the future Metrorail Loop line, I'd build a new 3-4 track rail tunnel for intercity passenger rail (Amtrak + VRE + MARC) from Union Station underneath the Third Street Tunnel and Maryland Avenue SW to the future expanded Long Bridge with a station at L'Enfant Plaza as part of the redevelopment of the future Southwest Eco District.

I'd then retrofit the First Street Tunnel for WMATA's future Loop Line, with a transfer at Capitol South, with new station platforms south of the House office buildings and northwest First & D streets SE.

As for having a Loop station on south side of Union Station versus the north side adjacent to the future new H Street front:

1.) There's going to be some major transformation down the road of how H Street interacts with Union Station as part of the Burnham Place air-rights development. If the Union Station Red Line entrance at First Street is being expanded (and there's an existing but unfinished pedestrian tunnel from that point northward toward H Street) then it might make sense to build a super entrance that can handle the passenger capacity going between Amtrak/MARC/VRE + Metrorail + H Street Streetcar + Union Station shops.

2.) The south side of Union Station could better serve pedestrians headed toward North Capitol Street & Massachusetts Avenue and beyond. There are complexities with the lower level Amtrak/VRE tracks at Union Station coming in from the south, but with a Metrorail Loop station on the side side of the station (roughly underneath Massachusetts Avenue/Columbus Circle) you could funnel commuters into the Metrorail complex well outside of the main Union Station footprint, with entrances at North Capitol Street & Massachusetts Avenue and/or North Capitol & E streets. That would help reduce commuter congestion heading into/out from the portico adjacent to West Hall.

I'd like to know how Amtrak sees fitting Metrorail expansion into its long-range master plan for Union Station. If we play our cards right, maybe the nation's capital can get a new intercity rail tunnel and a new Metrorail line as part of the same deal.

by Michael_G on Dec 20, 2013 2:28 pm • linkreport

Matt I have to hand it to you, the Union Station solution is brilliant. I was hoping it would be possible to do this while leaving open the possibility to extend the lines into Capitol hill and up North Capitol Street. What a great solution.

I feel a little differently about connecting the east west line to Farragut. It hits the Orange Line in Rosslyn. Why not jog up and make a transfer at Dupont Circle instead?

by Dave Murphy on Dec 20, 2013 3:22 pm • linkreport

There are also a couple of long transfer on the London Tube, I used to make transfers at Paddington and several other stations where it was 5 minutes or more between platforms (and many times that included going up/down escalators). One advantage the Underground has is the ability to make line changes by walking above-ground between stations (since their fare structure has a daily max).

by Thad on Dec 20, 2013 3:22 pm • linkreport

I agree with your proposal for Farragut/ Longfellow, however the Union Station transfer you propose down Mass. Ave would cross routes with the 1st St. tunnel which carries 2 VRE lines and 7 Amtrak lines including the very busy NE Regional. To avoid disruption with the tunnel (and weakening the structure for that matter) the loop would probably have to be inconveniently deep with a very long escalator transfer.

I think metro's proposal is the only practical solution but I would add a moving walkway to speed things up. Let's hope Union Station's other entrance gets built!

by urban infrastructure on Dec 20, 2013 4:13 pm • linkreport

Agreed that it makes more sense for the new loop to transfer at Dupont Circle. With respect to the loop and Orange line, the focus should be maximizing ease of transfer between those lines at the Rosslyn and Capitol South stations. When locating stops on the loop between those stations, the focus should be on maximizing the walkshed.

by BHO on Dec 20, 2013 4:29 pm • linkreport

Farragut West/Farragut North already has a virtual transfer. It could probably be implemented elsewhere.

by BTA on Dec 20, 2013 4:41 pm • linkreport

Except the virtual transfer sucks because you have to go all the way out of the station and then all the way back in, making it much longer than if there were a tunnel.

by MLD on Dec 20, 2013 4:45 pm • linkreport

Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't the Red Line tunnel and the First Street tunnel at about the same depth? I understand that would encumber the engineering somewhat going under two tunnels, but if it's deep enough to go under the Red Line it should be deep enough to go under the VRE trains without conflict.

by Dave Murphy on Dec 20, 2013 5:53 pm • linkreport

RE: The First Street Tunnel

The existing First Street Tunnel, which carries Amtrak and commuter trains south from Union Station is very shallow. And while it is old, it is not impossible for Metro to burrow under the tunnel. The line would not need to be exceptionally deep.

The Baltimore Metro was put under the Howard Street Tunnel without any problems, and other construction projects have dealt with similar issues.

RE: Farragut or Dupont

I've seen a lot of people suggest that the Loop should be sent further north so as to hit Dupont. I'm not sure why people think Dupont is such an important area.

Right now, during the AM peak, 14% of all exits in the Metro system happen at Farragut North and Farragut West (combined). It is a huge destination for people headed to work on Metro.

If the Loop bypasses the Golden Triangle/Farragut area, those riders on the Blue, Yellow, and Silver Lines will have to transfer either to the Orange or Red lines to get there, and that will cause crowding on the trains (which the loop is intended to alleviate).

The loop needs to be close enough to the job centers around Farragut Square that riders can walk directly from the Loop's nearest station, rather than forcing them to transfer.

by Matt Johnson on Dec 20, 2013 6:02 pm • linkreport

In the case of Union Station why not have the second station at North Capitol & H Street. This location has a huge amount of people transferring between buses the X2, 80, 96 & D8 in addition to transferring from those buses just listed and the Red line.

The location has a community college, a high school, offices, new residences and retail nearby in addition to current residences along North Capitol, K & New Jersey Ave NW nearby which would be closer than current stations of Judiciary Square or Noma.

Waterfront; what about just building a completely new station for both lines nearby and simply abandon Waterfront for the new station this has been done in other cities so its not unknown.

The only thing I would suggest for all stations is a mutilevel walk area such as how Farragut North has above the Red Line platform. But instead of being just over a certain part of the platform but the entire platform so that you have twice the space for people to walk therefore clearing some space below for just those getting on or off the red line.

by kk on Dec 20, 2013 7:09 pm • linkreport

An MAJOR issue overlooked by WMATA and most other analysis is operating revenue minus increased fare revenue; the operating subsidy.

Another significant issue is how much more TOD can be added. TOD is, amongst other things, "locked in revenue".

Ed's estimate is that our overall plans (more modest than the plans for Paris in 2030), will triple urban rail ridership. This is easy enough to do if one just adds lines everywhere. The hard part is the other half - triple ridership (by passenger miles) and reduce the operating subsidy below today's level of subsidy.

More later on the details

by Alan Drake on Dec 21, 2013 6:17 am • linkreport

The core of our plans is the Rose Line. And the core of the Rose Line will be four track, as illustrated here (we envisioned both levels being bi-directional, but the other option is interesting).

We plan on 2 over 2 track on the following route:
- Washington Circle
- N Street below DuPont Circle
- Thomas Circle
- Mt. Vernon Square
- New York Avenue
- N Street at right angles to NOMA
- across NEC at N Street and down 2nd street to
- Union Station at 2nd & F (400' away with covered sidewalk or tunnel)
- Hart Office Bldg (secure access to Senate subway)
- Capital South

Two tracks would continue to terminus at Navy Yard.

This half loop (with stations that could be extended to ten car platforms) would have extremely high capacity. It would allow a number of lines to interline and would transfer with every other line (both ends of all but Yellow).

by Alan Drake on Dec 21, 2013 6:33 am • linkreport

The Short Red Line (Silver Spring to Grosvenor) would be replaced by the Plum Loop and Rose Line.

The Plum Loop could, with later enhancements, increase Metro capacity in Montgomery County by 50%.

Phase I of the Plum Line would continue under Connecticut Avenue north of Van Ness to the Purple Line. Phase II would go further north (over or under CT Ave) to the Beltway. Then at grade next to the Beltway to join the eastern Red Line north of Silver Spring.

The terminus of the Rose Line would be NIH Infectious Diseases and HQs of Lockheed-Martin & Marroit. This would replace Grosvenor. At grade next to Eisenhower Highway to Red Line. Interline Red Line to Tenleytown.

Continue south under Wisconsin Avenue to one of three options through Georgetown 35th, 33rd or WS Ave) to Washington Avenue.

Then 4 track section above.

by Alan Drake on Dec 21, 2013 8:46 am • linkreport

RE: Farragut or Dupont

I've seen a lot of people suggest that the Loop should be sent further north so as to hit Dupont. I'm not sure why people think Dupont is such an important area.

Right now, during the AM peak, 14% of all exits in the Metro system happen at Farragut North and Farragut West (combined). It is a huge destination for people headed to work on Metro.

If the Loop bypasses the Golden Triangle/Farragut area, those riders on the Blue, Yellow, and Silver Lines will have to transfer either to the Orange or Red lines to get there, and that will cause crowding on the trains (which the loop is intended to alleviate).

The loop needs to be close enough to the job centers around Farragut Square that riders can walk directly from the Loop's nearest station, rather than forcing them to transfer.

Farragut North and West are indeed busy, but so is Dupont. The numbers many people look at also were taken when Dupont's south escalators were completely shut and a lot of people had to travel further down to FN and then slug back on foot.

The area around Farragut North and West is also as close to built out as it gets in the region. It is unlikely that in the future there will be more trips through these stations. With many of the office buildings putting condos on the upper levels, there may be less trips.

Dupont is not fully built out, so in future there might be more trips there.

Then there is the station. FN is a horrid horrid station is part because it is so small. The north side has no where to expand out to to meet a new line. The middle platform is small and would be cramp with a transfer there.

A line on O street would be better.

by Chipz on Dec 21, 2013 12:08 pm • linkreport

@Dave Murphy:
The red line and the 1st Street tunnel may be the same depth but since the first street tunnel was built circa 1906 and carries double-decker heavy rail trains in addition to not having a concrete lining on its floor (as the red line does) it may not be the best plan to burrow right under it for structural purposes.

by urban infrastructure on Dec 21, 2013 5:18 pm • linkreport

@urban infrastructure:
It occurred to me after my last comment that there was no need to use the Howard Street Tunnel as an example.

Because, we've already built Metro under the First Street Tunnel. The Blue/Orange Line crosses underneath it between Capitol South and Eastern Market.

And the Capitol South station did not need to be exceptionally deep, nor did the construction of Metro cause the tunnel to collapse.

by Matt Johnson on Dec 21, 2013 5:31 pm • linkreport

Swinging up to Dupont rather than Farragut North allows a route down P rather than M, which would serve Logan Circle as well and bring Metro access to the city's densest residential area.

by Phil on Dec 22, 2013 9:34 am • linkreport

I found an image on Metro's PlanIt blog that makes much more sense for extending core capacity: keep Yellow Line service across the 14th Street Bridge and expand Yellow Line service to Union Station. It sounds like the details are still being worked out.

by Omar on Dec 23, 2013 4:15 pm • linkreport

This would also explain the long transfer between Longfellow and Waterfront. It's not the primary way of switching between the two lines; it's just an added benefit.

by Omar on Dec 23, 2013 4:16 pm • linkreport

Omar: The yellow line to Union Station is MARC not Metro. But it's still a reasonable idea - half the yellow line trains on the current route, half on the loop.

by Eric on Dec 24, 2013 10:43 am • linkreport

I have a question about building a transfer tunnel between Farragut North and Farragut West if a line is constructed under K-Street. Should the new line be built at a lower level in a separate tunnel? Should the configuration of the existing Farragut North Station be changed from a single center platform to two-sided platforms, similar to the upper level of Gallery Place?

by Michael Schaeffer on Jan 9, 2014 12:48 pm • linkreport

This still seems like the best, cheapest, actionable in 3-5 years, solution. Not that other alternatives shouldn't also be addressed . . .

http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/17643/metro-beyond-2025-possible-futures-with-new-connections/#comment-170540

Just as he says, run EMUs from College Park, Greenbelt, Rockville on the Penn, Camden and Brunswick lines every 9 minutes peak and 12-15 minutes off-peak and have the trains run through to Backlick and Franconia.

You keep a large cohort of peak period riders off of Metro to begin with and you wind up with a completely new, high capacity, trunk line service through the core every 3-5 minutes.

by Jim on Apr 25, 2014 10:22 am • linkreport

Michael Schaeffer - The only changes that would be made to Farragut North would be a connection to the new platform, whether inside or outside fare control. It would be incredibly expensive to convert Farragut North to two side platforms and it would provide almost no benefit. Plus, the Red Line wouldn't be able to run through the station during the construction. And yes, the new line would be in a new tunnel underneath the existing line.

by Brian on Apr 26, 2014 12:39 am • linkreport

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Save my name and email address on this computer so I don't have to enter it next time, and so I don't have to answer the anti-spam map challenge question in the future.

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