Greater Greater Washington

Transit


See the view from a Silver Line train with this video

Can you barely wait until Saturday to ride the Silver Line? Get a sneek peek of the new line with this video from WMATA.


Video from WMATA. The video has no audio, so if you don't hear anything, your sound isn't (necessarily) broken.

This shows the view from a Silver Line train as it travels from Ballston to Wiehle-Reston East.

Silver Line trains began running simulated service over the weekend. Trains carry passengers from Largo to East Falls Church under an Orange Line banner, then offload and continue on to Wiehle without any passengers.

Cross-posted at BeyondDC.

Dan Malouff is a professional transportation planner for the Arlington County Department of Transportation. He has a degree in Urban Planning from the University of Colorado, and lives a car-free lifestyle in Northwest Washington. His posts are his own opinions and do not represent the views of his employer in any way. He runs the blog BeyondDC and also contributes to the Washington Post Local Opinions blog. 

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A few thoughts:

1- Could really be a game-changer for Tysons. If nothing else, young professionals living in Rosslyn-Ballston and reverse-commuting to Tysons.

2- That's a long ride from Tysons to Reston.

3- East Falls Church. Pretty much built-out with SFHs around it; why not be bold and invest in a special bus/bus lane/BRT/streetcar which runs down Roosevelt, hitting up Eden Center, then down Leesburg Pike (VA-7) hitting up Seven Corners, and then Bailey's. It would complement the Columbia Pike streetcar. The routes on VA-7 are heavily ridden so could probably justify a BRT/bus lane down that way.

Also then people in South Arlington would one have connection to the Silver Line going out west. Right now, your options are either taking Metrorail via the Pentagon and Rosslyn, which bulbsy you too far eastward, or taking one of the 28 lines which get eaten alive in congestion.

by observer on Jul 21, 2014 11:35 am • linkreport

Observer:

There are prelimnary plans for WMATA to sell off the parking at EFC for Development and the State/Arlington recently came to an agreement about decking that section of 66 as well which would enable more development there.

Plus there is a study going on about transit on route 7 but it seems like whatever is introduced (light rail hopefully) will include a transfer at EFC.

by drumz on Jul 21, 2014 11:58 am • linkreport

Seven Corners is a mess. I don’t see how you could fit a streetcar (or even BRT) into that area unless you completely reworked the intersection. It’s long overdue, but by no means a quick or cheap fix. For one, ideally, Hillwood Avenue, Wilson Boulevard and Sleepy Hollow Road should no longer connect at the intersection. Once you remove these three smaller/local roads, leaving only grade-separated VA 7 and US 50, you can do something about pedestrian access in the area (which is abysmal at the moment). Since all the various turning lanes could be simplified if you remove the three local streets, you have more space to work with for improvements. At that point, maybe transit makes sense, but with the current setup, adding additional transit options to the corridor would make things worse, not better. Currently, the 28X bus (an express route) goes along that corridor. Half the time on a typical trip is spent waiting in traffic at Seven Corners. Fix Seven Corners, and you might make a streetcar connection unnecessary.

by Jason on Jul 21, 2014 12:00 pm • linkreport

There is currently a study taking place of transit on the Tysons to Baileys corridor

http://www.fcrevit.org/baileys/download/TaskForce-WGs/130910_TF/Presentation_NVTC.pdf

and a study of changes to Seven Corners

http://www.fcrevit.org/baileys/7corners.htm

by CrossingBrooklynFerry on Jul 21, 2014 12:07 pm • linkreport

Well, I'm moving up the area in a week to take a job at McLean, and commute from Reston, so this is fun to see.

I knew the Reston/Spring Hill distance was long, but I was also surprised at the distance from EFC to McLean. It's a bit deceptive on the scale map, because the line twists a bit, and runs along the orange for part of the way. Those have to be two of the longest runs without stops in the system, right?

by SYH on Jul 21, 2014 12:11 pm • linkreport

Hillwood is a relatively easy fix...just truncate it with a cul-de-sac right before it hits VA-7. People can still access the businesses there by using the existing street grid. No idea how to deal with Sleepy Hollow or Wilson without really throwing some dirt around.

by Observer on Jul 21, 2014 12:11 pm • linkreport

Looking at the roads *around* Seven Corners (not so much the interchange itself), it becomes painfully clear that a sort-of Balkanized approach to neighborhood planning (namely, nobody wants a through street going through their neighborhood) forces EVERYONE to go through the central hub.

I would encourage a stronger network of second-tier roads in order to get people to the various links without forcing them to use the central node.

by observer on Jul 21, 2014 12:20 pm • linkreport

They are missing one key ingredient: The view of the car pulling away after you are offloaded.

Also note how much faster even the buses are traveling than the rail car.

by Centrist on Jul 21, 2014 12:50 pm • linkreport

SYH - the distance from King St. to Van Dorn is also pretty lonth, but generally passes quickly and the view isn't too bad, either.

by JDC on Jul 21, 2014 12:51 pm • linkreport

Atleast we know where we can put infill stations in the future if there is ever a need!

I would really love to know why they didn't just send the Silver to end at Reston Town Center for phase 1 instead of Wiehele. Its not that much further and its probably closer than Spring Hill & Wiehele are.

Whats with the walls on the side of some outside stations and not others is there a structural reason or a design reason ? Its like many of the newer stations are like this but not many of the older ones except for East Falls Church, West Hyattsville & Cheverly

Any reason why the McLean station wasn't closer to say Mclean such as in the Toll Road median ?

Why are there so few switches for trains to crossover between tracks. Its gonna be hell the day there is single tracking between Wiehele & Spring Hill or Tysons Corner

From reading info on the site with this last train leaving Wiehle at 11:10 wtf time will the last train leave from 772 when phase 2 is done 10 something ?

by kk on Jul 21, 2014 1:16 pm • linkreport

I beleive the reason to end at Weihle and not at RTC is because of the natural tendency of the last station to become the parking area for people from further out. That makes much more sense at Wiehle than at RCC, since Wiehle is the one designated for a large garage, and RTC is walkable urban place. Running phase 1 to RTC would have delayed the completion of phase 1, and led to folks from Herndon, Loudoun, etc driving into RTC to park which would hav conflicted with County goals and left Reston people resenting the SL more than some already do.

by CrossingBrooklynFerry on Jul 21, 2014 1:21 pm • linkreport

Re Observer and the need for a better Seven Corners street network: The Seven Corners study http://www.fcrevit.org/baileys/7corners.htm cited by Crossing Brooklyn Ferry includes concepts for additional street connections across Route 50 to reduce the traffic load on the main interchange at Route 7. The draft plan update, http://bit.ly/1qXQ4TF, on pages 7 and 23 shows the conceptual connections. Note that they have a public comment time at the August 12 task force meeting.

by Stewart Schwartz on Jul 21, 2014 1:22 pm • linkreport

@kk

"Why are there so few switches for trains to crossover between tracks. Its gonna be hell the day there is single tracking between Wiehele & Spring Hill or Tysons Corner"

It actually has more than some current stretches of track.

Between Wiehle and Spring Hill, a 7 min trip per WMATA, there are 2 crossover switches. (Technically 3 if you count the one on the west side of Spring Hill.)

Compare this to currently between Van Dorn and Braddock., a similar 7 min. trip, where there's only the one on the east side of Van Dorn.

Even worse, with the pocket track not fully operational at Reagan Airport, there's a *long* stretch between Braddock Rd. and Pentagon City without a useful crossover. (Although this will change as the pocket track should be restored to full functionality shortly.)

by Rob K on Jul 21, 2014 1:57 pm • linkreport

Thanks. I recommend playing Headlong Flight by RUSH as the accompanying music!!

by Jay Roberts on Jul 21, 2014 2:02 pm • linkreport

Also, forget the section between Spring Hill and Wiehele- that passenger walkway over 267 looks nearly as long as that.

by SYH on Jul 21, 2014 2:12 pm • linkreport

@rob_k Any idea what the hold-up is? I was in a train a few weekends ago that used the pocket track due to single tracking, and figured it was good to go already.

by Chris on Jul 21, 2014 3:04 pm • linkreport

@kk,

Regarding the McLean station: Not sure how political the process was, but the McLean station is right next to the Capital One headquarters. I’m sure Capital One was very involved in the decision making that created that particular station. Capital One gets a metro station on their doorstep, and Fairfax County gets the jobs, tax revenue, and other positive externalities associated with a major corporation expanding their footprint in the county. While it’s not located in downtown McLean, buildings in that area do have McLean addresses (with Vienna addresses in other parts of Tysons, and more recently, actual Tysons Corner addresses), so it’s not completely inaccurate to name it the McLean station.

by Jason on Jul 21, 2014 3:18 pm • linkreport

The metro isn't meant to be competitive off peak, it's meant to move people during rush hour. Obviously the off peak circulation is an important service but no one expects the Metro be be faster at noon on a Wednesday or Saturday night. I've drive on 66 a couple of times during rush hour, the amount of traffic is almost unbelievable.

by BTA on Jul 21, 2014 3:26 pm • linkreport

@ Chris

It *may* be fully functional right now - I don't use the YL/BL regularly. The heavy lifting work of switch installation is done. However, I do know that I saw a lot of WMATA construction crews/contractors parked under the station (next to the terminal road) just last week. This made me think there was still a few tweaks left to do. WMATA may not say anything public about completion of the work though.

It's entirely possible the pocket track was used during weekend single tracking while work was done to connect the additional switches.

by Rob K on Jul 21, 2014 3:37 pm • linkreport

Metro has posted a return video, from Wiehle back to Ballston. AND the video is in real time: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Hnn1OTa8fg

My impression: boy that looks like one smooth ride from Wiehle to Tysons.

by JDC on Jul 21, 2014 6:20 pm • linkreport

I guess anything is an improvement, but I'm just struck by how little progress we're making in this country -- all this money and a few elevated stations with headways no shorter than 6 minutes?

Even the Sicilians have built three entire new tram lines in their capital in less time: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qNWJh6cmhlc

If we really want to stem America's relative decline -- and become a more sustainable society -- we'll need to think bigger than projects like this one.

by James on Jul 21, 2014 10:59 pm • linkreport

All I want it some to do add this song youtu.be/x5kr--mN7n8 to the video

by Veronica O. Davis (Ms V) on Jul 22, 2014 7:31 am • linkreport

Here is the eastbound rail fan window view in real time:

by Sand Box John on Jul 22, 2014 10:19 am • linkreport

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