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Top 10 missed Metro stations

What parts of the Washington region ought to have a Metro station, but don't?

Image from Google Maps.

I have long maintained that our region should be more open to transit modes other than Metrorail. Metro is great, but with its extremely high price tag and with over a hundred miles of it already in service, what our region needs most now is better network coverage. At this time, a billion dollars would be better spent on 10 new streetcar lines than one new suburban Metro extension, for example.

But that having been said, it's still interesting to look at Metro's missed opportunities. Considering its contemporaries, Metro is a shockingly well-planned system, but it obviously could have been better. So putting aside questions of maintenance, funding, operations, engineering, etc, and assuming the completion of the Silver Line, here are the top 10 places that deserve Metro stations. They generally fall into two categories: activity centers and dense walkable neighborhoods far from an existing station.

Number 10: Kalorama
Aka the Hinckley Hilton. Although you can get to this spot halfway between Dupont Circle and Woodley Park easily enough, the gap between those stations feels enormous. This is the sort of station that would make Metro more of an urban subway and less of a commuter operation.

Number 9: Cardozo
Same deal as Kalorama, except it's more important at 14th and Euclid because of the escarpment between Clifton Street and Florida Avenue, and because the neighborhood isn't as wealthy. There aren't many places so near the regional core that a strip mall could have survived so long. It wouldn't have if there were a Metro station nearby.

Number 8: Starburst
H Street will soon have a streetcar, lest the most isolated-from-Metro of the District's neighborhoods would have to be higher on the list.

Number 7: Brightwood
The Georgia Avenue corridor is the city's longest, and in some ways its most urban. A station at Brightwood would fill the long gap between Petworth and Silver Spring left by the Green Line's sudden turn east.

Number 6: Langdon Park
There is a tendency to think of everything in the triangle between North Capitol Street, New York Avenue, and Eastern Avenue, NE as "Brookland" and call it a day. Actually, the Rhode Island Ave corridor is a lot like the Georgia Avenue corridor. A station at Rhode Island and 18th, NE would open up dozens of city blocks to the primary transit network, and drastically improve Rhode Island Ave itself.

Number 5: Old Town Alexandria
The only non-District location in the top 10, this one is kind of a no-brainer. Only the most dedicated pedestrians walk from King Street Metro, and that fake trolley is a little embarrassing, on top of being slow.

Number 4: Adams Morgan
One of the city's biggest nightlife destinations as well as one of its most walkable neighborhoods. Adams Morgan is a natural. It might be even higher on the list if it weren't already relatively easy to access from Woodley Park and Columbia Heights.

Number 3: Truxton / Bloomingdale
Too big, too dense, and too close to the core not to have a direct connection.

Number 2: Lincoln Park
The Orange/Blue tunnel serves the southern part of Capitol Hill very well, but leaves the central part uncovered. A station exactly at the midpoint of the Capitol, the Anacostia River, H Street, and the Southeast Freeway - that is, right at Lincoln park - would serve the entire greater Capitol Hill area. It would be the go-to station for at least 100 of the city's most walkable blocks.

Number 1: Georgetown
Could number one on the list be anything else? Washingtonians have been lamenting the lack of a station in Georgetown for as long as I can remember, and for good reason. A Georgetown station would serve an area as large and walkable as Lincoln Park, and as much of a regional nightlife destination as Adams Morgan. It's the perfect storm of transit want.

I still think that streetcars, BRT and improvements to commuter interurban rail would be a better investment at this time than expanding Metro, but if nothing else fun exercises like this can inform us about what gaps in the system need to be filled, via Metrorail or other modes.

Honorable Mentions: Historic Anacostia, Glover Park, Cathedral Heights, Logan Circle, BWI, Shirlington.

Cross-posted at BeyondDC, where it is part of an occasional series of "Top 10" lists concerning DC-area urbanism.

Dan Malouff is a transportation planner for Arlington and professor of geography at George Washington University, but blogs to express personal views. He has a degree in urban planning from the University of Colorado, and lives in NE DC. He runs BeyondDC and contributes to the Washington Post


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Metro missed Georgetown on purpose. Georgetown sits on top of bedrock. Metrorail tunnels go through sediments. Even back then it was too expensive to run a line through Georgetown.

by drbubbles on Nov 30, 2009 4:26 pm • linkreport

drbubbles, I suspect that with deep-bedrock tunneling, prices have gone down significantly since the original Metrorail plans, not up. It's the near-surface work (like trenching huge thoroughfares through the city) that simply would not be tolerated today.

by Squalish on Nov 30, 2009 4:30 pm • linkreport

After BRAC: Newington Station. A Metrorail station there would cost $5k-$15k per worker currently designated for that area - if the bureaucracy can cooperate on plans it's already made, this is a dramatic cost-cutting measure over the parking lots & garages that would have to exist otherwise. If it can expand on plans and put even more people to work near the $2.5 billion complex it's already going to create, it's even more effective; To say nothing of the number of people who might use the garages rather than polluting the Springfield Interchange.

by Squalish on Nov 30, 2009 4:36 pm • linkreport

As I mentioned in BDC's comments, the Cardozo station won't really fit. The current entrances to the Columbia Heights station are at the far northern end of the platform. The train room itself extends quite a ways south underneath 14th street. If you were to add a new mezzanine and entrance at the southern end of the station, you'd have an entrance somewhere in the vicinity of 14th between Harvard and Girard - just two blocks away from the proposed station.

1 - that means the proposed station is waaaay too close to the existing one to work; 2 - the track further down the hill on 14th is too steep to make a station work. The Kalorama station has the same issue, as the Red line has to duck under Rock Creek Park there, making a station at Kalorama impractical.

Regarding some of the others on the list, it's fun to think about what might be, but at the same time, Metro stops have to be part of a line. The station has to serve trains that go somewhere. It's not entirely clear to me where many of these stations would connect to. Some make sense (like Georgetown and Starbusrt as part of the New Blue line) but some don't - what would Lincoln Park connect to on either end?

by Alex B. on Nov 30, 2009 4:37 pm • linkreport

Yes, there is bedrock in Georgetown. And there are hills at Kalorama and Cardozo prohibiting stations there. The point here is to ask where we want stations, not necessarily where we can realistically have them. As I said, "put aside questions of maintenance, funding, operations, engineering, etc."

by BeyondDC on Nov 30, 2009 4:39 pm • linkreport

Can we get a map with the proposed locations? It's hard to imagine all 10 at the same time.

As for missed stations, I maintain that all lines should be extended outbound further. And we need a circle line. The purple line is a good start, but needs to be pulled over both ends of the Potomac into Virginia. Finally, we need more capacity downtown. A lot more.

by Jasper on Nov 30, 2009 4:50 pm • linkreport

Jasper: click the station names.

by Squalish on Nov 30, 2009 4:52 pm • linkreport

I'd add Washington Hospital Center, a ton of people work there.

by Pat O on Nov 30, 2009 4:56 pm • linkreport

@Alex B. cough cough, northern blue line, cough cough.

Well, a lot of these places would be best covered by streetcars, but again, three words: comprehensive regional plan.

by Neil Flanagan on Nov 30, 2009 5:01 pm • linkreport

Many of the suburban Metro lines also went right thru bedrock- the engineers had to blast their way pretty much all the way out Wisconsin Avenue to the Naval Medical center.
NE DC is left out of here- parts of DC like over by Bladensurg Road and Lincoln Town should get better transit, IMO.

Yes- a line needs to somehow serve Washington Hospital center- if only because I was born there if for no other reason.

by w on Nov 30, 2009 5:01 pm • linkreport

@Alex B: Judging by the distance between the exits at the U St. stop, A new southern exit from Columbia Heights could go right where the new park is at 14th and Girard. I don't want to mess with a perfectly good park, but that would also shorten the transfer distance for buses running up and down 16th St, all of which stop at that huge intersection (Three Steeples?)

by Ted on Nov 30, 2009 5:08 pm • linkreport

This isn't the first time Metro's alleged absence from Old Town has been mentioned here. I've lived there for 5 years now and neither I nor any of my friends have ever found the "distance" prohibitive. But for those who consider walking 10 blocks "dedication", in addition to the trolley (which is slow because there's traffic on King Street, so anything on King Street will be slow), there are 3 DASH lines and one Metrobus line that service Old Town from the King Street station, and more from Braddock Road (which is the station of choice for residents of North Old Town).

If one's ultimate destination is east of Washington Street, the trolley/bus makes a little more sense (because then you're facing a distance of almost a full mile!), but really....the King Street station drops you off just a few blocks away from "downtown Old Town".

It's not that I don't appreciate that access could be better--it would be great to roll out of bed and run across the street to Metro (except for that pesky issue of that would probably mean I'd have to live in some new construction highrise monstrosity)--it's just that it's really not a really an under served area in my book, particularly in relation to places like Arlandria, Del Ray, Potomac Yards, Baileys Crossroads, Shirlington, Park Fairfax, Fairlington etc. Yes, there's more nightlife in Old Town than those other areas and maybe that's why you think the Metro is more "missed" there than the other places, but most of those places (Del Ray aside because Braddock Road at least nominally serves that neighborhood) are completely UNserved by Metrorail as opposed to Old Town's "distance" issue.

And also---where on earth would a station go? There's really no room left, without bulldozing a bunch of 200 year old buildings. The solution I've longed for is shutting down King Street to car traffic, getting rid of the on-street parking and using the space for the trolleys to move quickly and for bikes/peds. Never going to happen, and would cause King Street traffic to spill onto my (currently) quiet residential street which is kind of a downer, but it's fun to dream.

by Catherine on Nov 30, 2009 5:12 pm • linkreport

Surprised to see BWI as an honorable mention. I always thought it would have been better served by Baltimore Metro.

I might also throw Lamond-Riggs in there, around where Kansas Avenue and the Red Line intersect. Excellent comprehensive list though. It's one to think about when we finally get around to core capacity improvement.

by Dave Murphy on Nov 30, 2009 5:14 pm • linkreport

@ Catherine

I have to agree, I walk that distance frequently, and have seen others do the same. Besides if they built an old town station it would have to be a spur line. Metro is not meant for spur lines, light rail here would be much more productive and cheaper.

by Joshua Davis on Nov 30, 2009 5:22 pm • linkreport

Number 9 and 10 should come off the list. Cardozo and Kalorama are each a short walk or few bus stops from at least two rail stations. Georgetown and 16th St. Heights are the most obviously underserved West of the River sites. Metro to Hospital Center would be pretty nice.

by Ward 1 Guy on Nov 30, 2009 5:27 pm • linkreport

I'm really happy to see this post and read the comments. A lot of good points made.

Old Town: an underground station would require a spur from the blue/yellow line. Not sure of the benefits of the cost versus having light rail/trolley in place to connect to King St. (in a dedicated ROW).

Adams-Morgan: my preferred alignment of the green line would have taken it further west along U St. and up 18th St. rather than 14th St. Have one station in A-M near the intersection of 18th/Columbia/Harvard and continue the line up Columbia Rd. to 14th where the current Columbia Heights station is and continue the current path. The U St. Station could serve as a potential transfer station if the yellow line was extended along U St. and then down NH to Dupont Circle station (transfer) and along M St. through West End and Georgetown and south to Rosslyn.

by Mark on Nov 30, 2009 6:32 pm • linkreport

Pat O has a great point - Washington Hospital Center. I would pick Glover Park over any of your #6-10 choices - the D2 is absolutely packed whenever I happen to ride it, and it could provide a closer link to Georgetown University and the GU Hospital.

by grumpy on Nov 30, 2009 6:42 pm • linkreport

I like these; if I were to add to it I would add one somewhere on the Mall to the west of the Washington Monument. That area's basically a dead zone for Metrorail. You've got Foggy Bottom, Federal Triangle, and Smithsonian sort of around there, but anyone who's had to walk from, say, the Lincoln Memorial to one of those stations knows it can be a bit of a haul. Particularly in rain or snow.

by Dan Franzen on Nov 30, 2009 7:11 pm • linkreport

I'd have to say

Anywhere along Bladensburg RD & South Dakota Ave 90% of the ave there is not even bus service near by so it definitely needs something.

Cottage City

Ft. Lincoln

Mt Rainer they should have built the green line going south to Mt. Rainer instead of Hyatsville

Area between Capitol Heights station and Naylor Rd Station
somewhere around the southern portion of Ft. Dupont Park

14th & Colorado it would be walking distance to the S, 50 & 70 routes and would lower travel on each the majority of 50 bus riders get off there.

Near the CIA headquaters

New Carrolton a station thats actually in the city and not near Lanham

District Heights



Oxon Hill


and everywhere else the original plan had but was changed.

by Kk on Nov 30, 2009 8:11 pm • linkreport

Was there ever a plan to bring LRT or rapid transit service to Shirlington?

I'd also like to mention some missed places that haven't been mentioned yet:

Mount Vernon/US 1 area
Fairfax City
Aspen Hill
White Oak
Upper Marlboro

by Zac on Nov 30, 2009 9:59 pm • linkreport

Not a fan of these lists for the very fact that they are not realistic and petty. According to most transit blogs, we might as well put up a metro station every mile, much like we do with the bus lines and the way they stop every block up to the point where people will simply not use the bus and opt to drive.

Some of these proposed sites are jokes (Kalorama?) Catherine hit the nail on the head with Old Town - unreal to me that people have to deemed "dedicated" to walk a mile (might help with out health care crisis". That 1 mile walk is one of the most beautiful in this area, especially around Christmas.

And what is Starburst?

by Matt on Dec 1, 2009 12:15 am • linkreport


There are lot of mile of the system that were tunneled through bed rock.

A Route:
Connecticut Avenue and N Street NW to east side of Rock Creek up stream from Taft Bridge
West side of Rock Creek up stream from Taft Bridge to Rockville Pike and Pooks Hill Road Bethesda.

B Route:
16th Street at Noyes Lane Silver Spring to Georgian Woods Place Glenmont.

C Route:
New Hampshire Avenue and I Street NW to Tunnel portal north of N Jefferson Davis High and N Marshall Drive Arlington.

K Route:
Rosslyn to 15th Street and N Courthouse Road Arlington.

The only segment that was tunneled using a boring machine is the segment west of Rock Creek.

by Sand Box John on Dec 1, 2009 12:20 am • linkreport

@ Ward 1 guy, Matt

It seems to me that the only stations on this list that are even minutely realistic (besides those along the "New" Blue Line route) are the ones along existing lines (Potomac Yards, Kalorama, etc). Otherwise there is nothing to connect these orphan stations to any other part of the Metro system. Kalorama especially because there's no other stretch of line so close to Downtown (besides the stretch of lines that traverse the river) with such a large gap between stations as Woodley Park to Dupont Circle (compare them to the distances between Van Ness-Cleveland Park-Woodley Park). Look on a map yourself, Kalorama would absolutely fit, although it'd make an unbearingly long commute on the A route even longer. It also is a convenient transfer point between the Red Line and my fantastical Columbia Road Line that would connect Georgetown, A-M, Columbia Heights and Washington Hospital Center.

@Dan Franzen
Going to Lincoln Memorial? Try Arlington Cemetery.

by Reza on Dec 1, 2009 2:37 am • linkreport

@Reza: Arlington Cemetary is closer, but it's not terribly convenient. That entire section of the Mall is a dead zone as far as good transportation is concerned. The options available to any tourist in that section are pretty limited; you either have to walk a long distance along the Mall to the Smithsonian/Fed Triangle stations or an almost-as-long distance across the river to Arlington Cemetary. Seems to me that with a huge influx of tourists we get every year that that area - from the Lincoln to the WashMon - is really underserved in terms of transportation.

Not to mention that parking down there can be a real bear before 6:30 pm.

by Dan Franzen on Dec 1, 2009 6:57 am • linkreport

I don't really get this. The proposed locations for Kalorama, Cardozo and Adams Morgan are all within 1/2 mile of existing stations.

If these were part of existing lines, would you really rather add 1 or 2 stops to save, at most, a half mile of walking? For the Kalorama and Cardozo stops, who are you serving? Those aren't especially likely destinations for people who are non-residents, compared to Columbia Heights, Dupont or Cleveland Park, and adding a stop for residents would simply take riders away from other stations. Only those who live within 1/4 mile of each station would even be better served by it than an existing station.

Even if there were no physical limitations, these don't make a lot of sense to me. There are plenty of other places where more people would be far better served by adding a station.

Putting in a metro station should serve either people who live there, or serve people trying to go there because it's a shopping or nightlife destination. People who live there are already pretty well served by transit. The actual shopping destinations nearby already have metros.

by Jamie on Dec 1, 2009 8:41 am • linkreport

I'd have to join the chorus of the western Mall folks. Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, Jefferson Memorial, World War II Memorial, generally East/West Potomac Park ... it's all a dead zone. And I think a station like Arlington Cemetery sets the precedent that it's okay to build a station that's almost completely for tourists.

I guess I don't quite know how that would work logistically, though. Maybe an east-west line from Arlington Cemetery, across Memorial Bridge, down the Mall, then through Capitol Hill right under East Capitol Street? Or maybe up Maryland Ave instead, and it could serve Starburst. It'd be a bitch to build under the Mall though, so maybe not.

by Tim on Dec 1, 2009 10:00 am • linkreport



by Frankfurt Freddie on Dec 1, 2009 10:31 am • linkreport

Love the idea of adding a southern entrance to C. Heights station. That should be something the city should pony some money up for. Anyone know if its ever been considered?

by himle on Dec 1, 2009 11:11 am • linkreport

This is a fun list but I agree with previous posters that a lot of these stops are unrealistic but have a few new comments.

Two areas missing from this list that badly need metrorail are the West End and NoMa. These two areas could be served by the new and inevitable blue line that will need to be built once the Dulles extension is completed and that line would also obviously include Georgetown and could include Lincoln Park as well. It has been discussed on here several times but someone previously came up with a good and realistic route map for a new blue line. And once that line is built we could tear down the Whitehurst Freeway!

The other thing we really need to be working on that is realistic and relatively affordable is extensions to the existing system from end of the line stations.

This has been discussed on here but I think the average distance people are traveling via car to end of the line stations is about 20 miles and many of these end of the line stations are already at capacity and are near the beltway/66/370/50 in areas with very serious vehicular congestion so extending these lines could greatly reduce congestion in edge areas near the beltway. Extending these lines would also increase the likliehood of reverse commutes and suburban to suburban commutes (eg Germantown to White Flint) utilizing empty seats on metrorail and providing revenue in places not currently creating it. And the existing end of the line stations could become more TOD oriented rather than car oriented zones.

So for example extend the Orange line in VA to Centreville and in MD to Bowie with the potential to go further out towards Annapolis later. The Red Line gets extended to Germantown on one side and Olney on the other. Maybe extend the Blue line in VA to the Woodbridge area but I am not sure that area would not be better served for less money by 7 day a week VRE service. And extend the Yellow line from Huntington to Ft Belvoir.

You could also extend the Blue and Green lines deeper into PG County but I am not sure I would spend any more money on metrorail in PG until PG county demonstrates a serious and concerted effort to build TOD.

A street car line on Wisconsin would serve Glover Park/Burleith, Cathedral and West Cleveland Park as well as north Georgetown.

And a 16th Street streetcar line could serve Walter Reed, Carter Barron, 16th Street Heights and also come close enough to Adams Morgan at both Columbia Road and U Street that I think that neighborhood would be well served by transit from multiple directions and that would also touch on the west border of Logan Circle which does not really have rail transit now.

And if we could get jurisdictions to think about streetcars regionally instead of locally then perhaps a Georgia or New Hampshire Avenue Street car line could be extended from DC out to White Flint with a connection to the purple line on the way.

The Obama administration is supposedly trying to rework the funding formula for transit to make more projects eligible and there is also presumably some BRAC money available and a potential congestion tax in downtown DC as well as the money MD wants to spend widening 270 all of which could be used.

But I think some of these transit projects are going to be inevitable and the sooner we get local leaders not just talking about them but planning for them the cheaper and more realistic they will be and we can stop our daydreaming on this blog.

by TomQ on Dec 1, 2009 11:15 am • linkreport

TomQ - While on one level I agree with you, at a certain point Metro extensions may present a moral hazard of sprawl.

Take the following assertion - "Developers will always build at least one mall-area's worth of development (with a central mall, a surrounding CBD with apartments and offices, and new single-family subdivisions in a ring around that) on the cheap but accessible land beyond the last Metro station."

Debate the validity of this assertion as you will (I can think of numerous examples), but if it is at least partly true, every line extension that goes further away from the core in order to make these places slightly less car-dependant infact creates more car-dependant area. People around here accept that this is true for highways, but is there a reason Metrorail should work differently?

by Squalish on Dec 1, 2009 11:56 am • linkreport

"Debate the validity of this assertion as you will (I can think of numerous examples), but if it is at least partly true, every line extension that goes further away from the core in order to make these places slightly less car-dependant infact creates more car-dependant area."

Unless those extensions occur in areas that have long-been which case a Metro extension would promote redevelopment.

For example, the Route 1 corridor between Huntington and Ft. Belvoir. On numerous levels, one could compare this corridor to the Ballston-Rosslyn corridor of 30 years ago...

by Froggie on Dec 1, 2009 12:18 pm • linkreport

I find it interesting how reactive this list is. There are so many places on this list that are served by high quality transit (Kalorama & Adams Morgan by the 42 bus, for example), while other areas of very high density are served by really bad transit, either due to traffic congestion or lack of service. Instead of stations we'd want to get to existing places, why not dream of new great places in the region that don't exist now but could?

by michael on Dec 1, 2009 12:49 pm • linkreport

While weÂ’re at itÂ…

Extension of Yellow Line –

• Extend yellow line from Fort Totten to West Hyattsville
• Branch off from green line northwest under Ager Road to East West / Riggs Road intersection (stop would be called “Chillum”)
• Continue northwest to New Hampshire / University Blvd intersection (“Langley Park”)
• Continue along New Hampshire and come above ground (travelling along the median) at some point before the next stop at 495 (“Hillandale”)
• Continue along New Hampshire to White Oak Shopping Center (“White Oak”); with shuttles to the nearby FDA campus
• Turn northeast and travel along Colesville Road to Tech Road (“Tech Road”)
• Continue along Colesville Road to ICC overpass (“Briggs Chaney / Fairland”)
• Continue along Colesville Road to terminus at redeveloped Burtonsville Shopping Center (“Burtonsville”)

The line should also be extended southward (past Huntington) under Route 1 to Fort Belvoir (I would include stops but IÂ’m not that familiar with this area of VA).

“Federal City” Streetcar Line (along Florida, except for U Street between 9th & 18th) –
• Starburst
• Gallaudet East (@ West Virginia Ave)
• Gallaudet West / Fla. Ave Market (@ 6th)
• NY Ave Metro (stop under the bridge with underground transfer to metro)
• Truxton Circle (@ N. Capitol Street)
• LeDroit Park (@ Rhode Island / NJ Ave intersection)
• 7th Street
• Vermont Ave
• 13th St
• 14th St
• 16th St / New Hampshire Ave
• Lower Adams Morgan (18th St)
• Dupont North (Connecticut Ave)
• Embassy Row (Massaschusetts Ave)
• 23rd & N (southbound only)
• 22nd & M (northbound only)
• Washington Circle (completely redesigned circle where streetcar “roundabout” is incorporated

by Frankfurt Freddie on Dec 1, 2009 12:57 pm • linkreport

Well, I think the list is valid more as a realization of which areas could use more transit service (and service of a higher quality/frequency) in general, rather than a Metro station in particular. We associate that with Metro, of course, because Metro usually provides high quality service - fast, frequent, etc.

So, the list identifies areas that need more, but makes the mistake of framing it in a way that dictates mode. For some, Metro makes sense (new Blue line), while for others, additions to the current system make sense (such as a new station mezzanine/entrance), and others still would be better served by light rail/streetcars. Point being, the mode used has a whole other set of requirements and limitations.

Nevertheless, it's a useful exercise to determine what areas need more quality transit - even if not strictly Metro.

by Alex B. on Dec 1, 2009 12:59 pm • linkreport

You could probably think up two dozen places region-wide that could use metro stops, but I like to look at infill stops almost in a different category. We can spur TOD in suburbs while functioning as a system that has a lot some commuter rail characteristics, but we can also build infill stops to increase density inside and close-to the city and serve dense areas that don't have enough mass transit options. This way, it's more like an intercity subway system. With the way a lot of people tend to think w/ respect to our Metro, it's unfortunate that we have to almost pick between those two priorities. There are benefits but also some compromises.

I think developing a list like this to pinpoint places that need metro access, and then deciding between a new entrance, new stop, bus/streetcar line is a pretty good way of going about it. Maybe we will need to expand our coverage across the city better before more infill stops, who knows.

by Vik on Dec 1, 2009 1:20 pm • linkreport

Gaylord National Harbor. The NH-1 bus takes 30 minutes from Branch Avenue to reach this huge resort, housing, and employment center. The bus route uses I-495 so delays are common. Amazingly enough, the Gaylord people suggest a $8 water taxi ride to Alexandria, the free bus from the Alexandria harbor to King Street, and then the $3+ Metro into the city.

by Tour Guide on Dec 1, 2009 1:21 pm • linkreport

But infill development is tricky too because it will slow down current riders which is why in many cases I think streetcars might be a better fix.

For example I can think of 3 or 4 places on the Red Line between Dupont and Shady Grove (including the previous Kalorama suggestion) where there is enough current density to justify a stop. But adding 4 more stops probably adds 7 more minutes to everyones commute - I'd rather add those stops at the end of the line (and for less money) and slow no one down while also creating a constituency of folks who drive and would see some benefit and thus be willing to support transit.

And a Wisconsin Ave streetcar line for instance would serve maybe 20 stops AND feed all of those people, some of whom may not currently be users, onto the Red Line at Tenleytown or onto a new Blue Line stop in Georgetown. And I think you would see similar benefits with a Georgia Avenue street car line that feeds people to the Green Line who might otherwise not use transit or not transfer from a bus to a train.

So I think you have to try to match the density up with the cost per rider of different modes of transport and also think about how long you are potentially taking someone off the road - for example lets suppose extending the Red Line to Germantown adds 10,000 additional riders and two Red Line infill stations (say Kalorama and North Bethesda) add the same number of additional riders. In this case the additional riders from Germantown are almost certainly removing far more vehicle miles travelled than the in-fill riders would and I also bet a higher percentage of the riders from Germantown would be converted transit users as opposed to the new riders of infill stations who almost certainly already have access to transit if they want it and may in some cases already be using it.

It needs to be a mix but heavy rail needs to remain fast which also keeps its capacity up to deal with the additional riders.

And to respond to Squalish I am cognizant of the induced sprawl argument but that is more a result of bad planning/zoning and is happening anyhow and all of the suggestions I made for extensions are into areas that are already developed though in most cases not in a particularly wise manner but it is hard to make the existing sprawl smarter without transit.

by TomQ on Dec 1, 2009 1:36 pm • linkreport

Yeah, it would slow things down, maybe skip-stops are the answer. If the transportation engineers/planners can figure out a way to do it effectively, I think that would have to be the next step since an express track is out of the question.

Hopefully the streetcar is successful, this may be the real answer for some of the menial intercity travel a lot of us do, in addition to buses and biking.

by Vik on Dec 1, 2009 1:48 pm • linkreport

Given that keeping trains from crashing into each other as things are now is apparently a baffling conundrum, I think "skipping stops" is a non-starter.

Even if Metro had their act together, physics would prevent that from working very well. That is, the train that's skipping stops would gain on the one ahead of it that's not every time it skipped a stop. Eventually it would have to wait anyway, wouldn't it?

by Jamie on Dec 1, 2009 1:50 pm • linkreport

Another vote for a southern entrance to Columbia Heights! Adding entrances should be a preferable option whenever possible, since it's cheaper than building new stations or tracks and it is less likely to disrupt commutes. The distance down to the stations actually becomes an advantage in terms of placement, since elevators and escalators can be arranged to fit the easiest or best route around existing buildings and utilities.

I think at least two other neighborhoods on this list would be well served by a second entrance, rather than a new station. Maybe more; I don't know the station locations that well.

1. I believe the plan to create a second Rosslyn entrance has already been approved. This will make it a bit easier to reach Georgetown from that station, and easier to find the station from Georgetown!

2. In addition to a Cardozo/Columbia exit, another spot that would make Adams Morgan more accessible is a southern entrance to Woodley Park, perhaps near Calvert St and Woodley Pl.

In each case, you'd still have to cross a bridge, but I know I don't mind walking those bridges even late, and it's still a significant change in distance.

by Taylor on Dec 1, 2009 1:58 pm • linkreport

Could you make a map showing what lines you think the stations should be on? The Google map helps, but I'm having trouble overlaying it.

Wouldn't a lot of these stations require new track between existing stations because the new stops aren't right above the current system?

by Chad on Dec 1, 2009 2:20 pm • linkreport

Infill on the Yellow line in East Potomac Park where the train exits/enters the tunnel to L'Enfant. It'd give closer access to the Jefferson/Roosevelt, and there's already two parking lots there which could be taken up without any loss of "park" land.

by Moose on Dec 1, 2009 2:48 pm • linkreport

re Old Town: I can walk from the King St station to the waterfront, but my elderly parents couldn't. The buses work, but it's not easy for a first-timer to use. Wasn't Wilson Bridge designed to hold a rail line? If so, put a station somewhere between Jones Point and King Street, and on the other side let it go to National Harbor. And it would be nice to have both stations close enough to the river that passengers can easily connect to water taxis.

by michael on Dec 1, 2009 4:53 pm • linkreport

Shirlington should rank far higher than Old Town, Kalorama or Columbia Heights. Yes, there's seemingly a lot of bus service to the Pentagon, but much reduced on the weekends, and not timed to the train schedule, so a 7 mile trip from Shirlington to Dupont Circle can easily take 1.5 hours or more. The much touted ART 'Express' bus from Clarendon to Shirlington alas only runs from the morning rush hour through the evening rush hour, so if a Shirlingtonian wants to do dinner and a movie in Clarendon, the car is the only option. If a North Arlingtonian wants to catch a show at Signature Theater in Shirlington, again, the car is the only viable option. At least consider a streetcar running every 10-15 minutes! Or make Shirlington part of the 'Circle Line' proposed by another poster.

As for the Old Town suggestion, I agree with previous posters -- it's .7 miles to the corner of King and Washington; 1.1 to the Torpedo Factory. In other words, a 20 mn walk to the river. That is far from unreasonable. Love the idea of closing King Street to motorized transport except for streetcars, but not sure how that would work with cross traffic, especially the very busy Route 1 traffic.

I also agree with the poster arguing for a stop west of the Washington Memorial (perhaps near Jefferson/Roosevelt memorials?). Arlington Cemetery is theoretically close, but walkers/runners/cyclists take their lives into their hands each time they try to cross the roundabout on the Virginia side of Memorial Bridge.

by Ellen on Dec 1, 2009 5:02 pm • linkreport

TomQ- The Obama administration is supposedly trying to rework the funding formula for transit to make more projects eligible and there is also presumably some BRAC money available and a potential congestion tax in downtown DC as well as the money MD wants to spend widening 270 all of which could be used.

RE: Excuse me but are you implying that MD should be Denied Money in order to help pay for Rapid Transit Projects(Silver Line Subway) that will more than likely Benefit Virginians especially since VA I-495, I-66, and I-395/95 will be getting Widen........

If soo I'm sorry to inform you that it will not ever happen.

With all of the money that METRO takes from the common people daily the already have the money to fund Metro Rail Extensions....

by Paul on Dec 1, 2009 9:39 pm • linkreport

There should be no stations that are for the benefit of tourist; residents of the area should always come first to visitors any stations in Potomac Park, the mall, etc should all be last on the list residents should come first.

by Kk on Dec 2, 2009 8:20 am • linkreport

Residents never visit the mall?

by ah on Dec 2, 2009 8:27 am • linkreport

Um, so I guess we don't really need to 5 billion dollars spent by 20 million tourists in DC every year, either, or the money spent by the million or so commuters every day?

Umm... metro stations should be designed to serve places where transit is needed, not "residents." If people want to go to a place, then people want to go to a place.

Apart from the foolishness of a DC-centric view which ignores the huge financial benefits of tourism and commuters, Metro is not owned by DC, it's paid for by the entire region and serves the entire region.

by Jamie on Dec 2, 2009 8:41 am • linkreport

I think about this a lot too when I'm out and about in DC, but looking at that map and imagining what could have been makes me sad.

by Lauren on Dec 2, 2009 11:56 am • linkreport

And also---where on earth would a [Old Town] station go?
How about that ugly-ass plaza between Royal & Fairfax.

by Jo Momma on Dec 2, 2009 1:00 pm • linkreport

You mean Market Square, in front of City Hall--community center and site of the oldest continually operating farmers' market in the country and where George Washington sold produce from Mount Vernon?

What's so ugly about a fountain, trees, benches and brick? Brutalism, neon and grime would go great . ::Eyeroll::

by Catherine on Dec 2, 2009 3:02 pm • linkreport

I quite enjoy that location...especially when the farmer's market is going on.

by Froggie on Dec 2, 2009 3:08 pm • linkreport

There should be no stations that are for the benefit of tourist; residents of the area should always come first to visitors any stations in Potomac Park, the mall, etc should all be last on the list residents should come first.
What's that? Residents like athletic fields, and feel there is a lack of space? The government wants to inject more money into the economy through the Smithsonian complex but can't find places for buildings? Golf courses have orders of magnitude more square feet per user than athletic fields or museums? We have a massive underutilized park in the city, half the size of Central Park with fewer automotive/hydrological obstructions, currently used for golf? There's already Metro track running there, with the least-used line in the system?

But it would benefit tourists as well. So that doesn't make any sense, I suppose.

by Squalish on Dec 2, 2009 3:09 pm • linkreport

@ Squalish

I mean that places that serve the residents such as areas that are not covered at all and will not fluctuate during different times of the year should be first and then places such as Potomac Park & the western portion of the Mall should be built

A Potomac Park station would be just like Arlington Cemetery nothing around it but the cemetery unless they would plan to connect to the area outside of the island, A station near the western portion of the mall should be closer to the office buildings and not the grassland and memorials. I will support it if the Federal Governt. was to fully pay for it but not DC or WMATA taking more than 1/4 of the price each is a waste of money when lots of things could be put to better use.

They are places within the beltway that are near no stations and they should be first before any station on the mall should be built they would have an amount of riders that wont change daily. Pull up a map of the area that has the metro lines and you can see the large areas that are not served.

Also what percentage of DC residents even go to the mall or the museums how does a station on the mall benefit DC the people going would go anyway and the ones going because of the new line wont be a significant percentage.

by Kk on Dec 2, 2009 6:06 pm • linkreport


Historic Anacostia.

St. Elizabeths.

Congress Heights: MLK @ Alabama Ave.


Pennsylvania Ave SE @ Minnesota

Barracks Row South

by DG-rad on Dec 2, 2009 11:47 pm • linkreport

I see the next logical stop on the Green/Yellow between Petworth and Fort Totten. That area north of Petworth is so dense and under-served. Depends on where the line travels, but perhaps they had the foresight to go up NH AVe to Grant Circle? If you look at a map, Grant Circle is about the same distance from Petworth as Columbia Hts. Are there any maps that actually show where the tunnels go?

For those posters who say that some of the top ten places are too far away from current lines; there is always the spur option. See Boston Red Line map and scroll down to where the Red line branches off:

by PleasantPlainer on Dec 3, 2009 10:25 am • linkreport

GreaterGreater: Might you be willing to do a "Top Ten Metro Stations in need of Another Exit and/or Wider Platforms" posting? Boston and NY systems have dedicated passages and means to exit only that bypass the main entrances/exits. This would alleviate so much of the chaos at connecting stations where people trying to get to trains collide with those trying to get in/out. I don't think Metro stations were designed for the current train car numbers/frequency as getting in/out of stations is madness. It would make the Metro easier and get trains loaded and unloaded faster, reducing delays.

by PleasantPlainer on Dec 3, 2009 10:31 am • linkreport

PleasantPlainer: Do you want to create that list and submit it as a guest piece? Send it to

by David Alpert on Dec 3, 2009 12:11 pm • linkreport

I really wish each of the Metro stations was designed so that trains on either track could empty out either side. In other words, in a typical station you'd have Platform, Track, Platform, Track, Platform.

Then people would enter the train from the two outermost platforms, and people exiting the train would go out the other side of the car, onto the middle platform.

This, I would think, would aid passenger congestion, as we would avoid having ten people exit a car at the same time and through the same door that twenty people are entering it. It would be a more efficient traffic flow.

Even if future stations employed this sort of setup, you can't have cars using both sides of doors at some stations and not at others. So it's not doable, but what a shame.

by Dan Franzen on Dec 3, 2009 12:27 pm • linkreport

Dan, you're talking about the 'Spanish Solution.'

I don't see why you couldn't do that in some stations and just operate trains normally in the current stations. You can absolutely have trains use both sides in some stations and only one side in others. Why not?

The thing I'd point out, however, is that Metro's stations are already spacious and wide, and increasing the volume of underground excavation needed for new stations, thus increasing the cost. Even so, you'd only need this kind of station arrangement at certain, busy stations. Not all of them on the line would require that kind of investment.

by Alex B. on Dec 3, 2009 12:57 pm • linkreport

I think doing it at some and not at others would be too complicated for most travelers to figure out. Maybe if it were only at, say, transfer stations. But look at commuters and tourists now and how they behave. There's a lot of befuddlement, even if you've been riding the rails for a while.

Let's say you're on a train approaching a station. Now you need to remember which side to exit, as both sides would open. People now can't even get it together to remember to let people off before they charge on.

That's why I feel it wouldn't work unless it was all stations. Then it'd be easier to train people. (Besides, what I was aiming for was one-way flow, and if you alter that depending on the station, it's not as useful.)

by Dan Franzen on Dec 3, 2009 1:03 pm • linkreport

I don't think so, Dan. Sure, casual riders might be confused, but that happens now. Frequent riders I see constantly line up on the platform knowing which car they want to get on, so when they arrive at their destination, they're near the exit they want. Likewise, train doors switch sides all the time, most riders know to expect that. They know which ones are island platforms and which ones are side platforms.

As for remembering which side to exit, that's easy - as the Wiki article notes, many stations with this set up have the exiting side doors open first, so people know that's where to leave. They then close, and the entry doors on the other side of the train open. It's like a roller coaster queue.

by Alex B. on Dec 3, 2009 1:10 pm • linkreport

Alex, I think there are a couple of additional problems with that.

First, since there is such a limited time for trains to be in any given station, opening one set of doors and then the other might not be feasible. There simply wouldn't be enough time to get everyone off and on.

Second, when there are twenty people crammed into the doorway area of a train, you can't have the doors open on both sides at one station and then only on one side at the next; in many cases - personal experience here - it's almost impossible to tell at which station the train is, you're so squashed against everyone else. I guess what I'm getting at here is that not having them open the same way at each station would only add to the chaos we already have. (Yes, many riders know where to stand, but most certainly don't.)

Here's a third problem. Metro runs these trains. Metro has a proven poor track record (no pun intended) at communicating change. Or communicating in general. I wouldn't trust them to get this change communicated to riders efficiently.

by Dan Franzen on Dec 3, 2009 1:27 pm • linkreport

But they don't open the doors on the same side now.

People are smart enough, they'll figure it out. They did when trains started stopping at the end of the platform.

Give the riders some credit.

by Alex B. on Dec 3, 2009 1:34 pm • linkreport

What change? If Metro used the Spanish Solution, it would only be in new stations. I'm sure there would be press.

And yes, people understand how to manage doors that change sides.

by Neil Flanagan on Dec 3, 2009 1:48 pm • linkreport

Roll your eyes all you want, hag. You would'nt have to eliminate the plaza to add an entrance to a Metro station, nor would you need to "demolish 200 year old buildings".

by One who knows on Dec 3, 2009 2:36 pm • linkreport

@PleasantPlainer: The Archives station needs an entrance on the southern end of the platform, perhaps exiting in a corner of the NGA Sculpture Garden, or outside Natl Archives itself. This station's lone set of escalators gets long backups during rush hours.

re Market Square: that'd be a great location for a Metro exit. The location may be historic, but the plaza certainly isn't, and a simple entrance certainly wouldn't take much space. Isn't there a garage under the plaza now anyways? (I'd still like to push for a station on the waterfront that could connect to water taxis.)

re Yellow Split: I'd love to have the Yellow split from the Green after U St, and give Adams Morgan a true station. I picture exits at both ends of the platform: The southern entrance would be at 17th & U, under a new mixed-use development replacing the dumpy police garage ( The northern entrance would be at Marie Reed - also prime real estate potentional for development, perhaps at 18th & California, where the tennis courts are. From there the Yellow Line could either merge with the Red, or cross it and head into Georgetown.

by michael on Dec 3, 2009 3:50 pm • linkreport

@One who knows: It's out of line to insult another commenter by referring to her as a "hag". You may have a disagreement with the substance of her comment, but that's no reason to resort to such attacks.

by Michael Perkins on Dec 3, 2009 3:57 pm • linkreport

@ Dan

So what would happen when I want to transfer to a train on the same track?

Do I have to go out go up or down some escalators to get to the other side if so its a waste of time and people will just exit through the enter side.

It would be hell at say Rosslyn, Le'Enfant Plaza, King Street, Stadium Armory if those stations were built like that you will have people breaking the rules 5 minutes after implemented.


New metro lines should just go understreets and follow the route the cars take its the route the people are taking so a portion will transfer to the train for example Georgia Ave run a train straight down from Waterfront to Silver Spring and just have a drop area/park and ride/parkinglot for customers at like every 7th or 8th station

Have lines laied out in a star shape like the Moscow metro where trains travel all directions from the center; example lets say Metro Center and have lines go North, North East, North West, West, East, South, Southeast, Southwest from there

by Kk on Dec 3, 2009 6:43 pm • linkreport

@Kk, that's certainly true. I'm not sure there's a way around that. So yeah, maybe it wouldn't work at those stations.

by Dan Franzen on Dec 3, 2009 7:41 pm • linkreport

My original point was that compared to many other places, Old Town is very well served unless you're older or infirm or the type of person who considers a half mile walk unduly long (and then most places not within 4 blocks of a Metro station are "underserved" for you). There are many other residential and entertainment centers that are completely UNserved my metro rail.

200 year old buildings was in reference to a suggestion made previously on this site about locating another Old Town stop at King and Washington, but I guess you'd also have to be One Who Pays Attention and Knows What He's Talking About to have realized that.

If you REALLY think that Old Town needs more Metro accessibility (and I disagree, only in comparison to other major residential and entertainment centers), you'd be best putting it way down Washington street near where it passes over the Beltway--there are many large apartment complexes in there, many houses, is the area of town currently furthest from a metro stop and according to the 2000 census, is the area of Old Town whose residents commute by public transport the least.

A stop at Market Square or the Waterfront, I think is a complete and utter waste of time and money--there should be much better connectivity to National Harbor than an $8 water taxi to an out-of-the-way Metro stop in an area full of busses and trolleys only 1 mile from an existing stop. Even then it would mainly be for tourists or the relatively few people who live at NH.

by Catherine on Dec 3, 2009 9:02 pm • linkreport

Yes adding stations at the ends promotes sprawl, because a lot of other things have to change to make transit a better option for people. That's Belmont's point about polycentrism and the WMATA system.

Adding stations in closeby inner core areas depends on whether or not there is really potentially significant demand. I.e., the Brookland station seems lightly used, yet 13,000+ people use it each day. Many of the station ideas in the thread (i.e., Barracks Row South) would likely have less ridership than that.

I would have liked the list better if it would have differentiated between opportunities on the existing system and then expanded opportunities.

Connecting an area like Brightwood requires a new line, Dave Murphy's separated yellow line.

With these kinds of questions the issue becomes what kind of time frame are you looking at, what kind of long term changes do you want to achieve in Land Use.

If you look at it how it is today, a separated yellow line like Dave suggested doesn't make sense, but on a long term basis, expecting land use to change, it does.

So of all these stations, from a practicality standpoint, I liked the idea of a Kalorama station the best. It would serve the hotel area and it could provide a bit better connection to Adams Morgan than the Woodley Park station maybe. And it can be done on the present system, unlike any of the other proposed stations, with the exception of Cardozo.

But yes a separated blue line should be a priority, it would capture need in Georgetown, the West End, H Street, Mount Vernon Triangle, etc.

And wrt the general comments about identifying areas that need better upgraded service, that's the basic foundation of my point that DC's surface rail transit planning needs to be rethought and regionalized, and include the possibility of light rail in some situations rather than streetcar.

And oh, time length of trip due to more stops. This is a classic problem. DC people want more access to places by transit. Suburban places want speedier trips. Without an express system, those two desires can't be adequately balanced.

Be happy you have a subway system and bite the bullet on the increased time. As it is, DC pays more into the system because of the number of stations. With more infill stations, and a separated blue line, it would pay more still.

Oh and yes, the system isn't just for residents, but is to serve the transit needs of the various rider groups. So yes, it is folly to ignore the needs of tourists, and a Lincoln Memorial stop as suggested by the National Coalition to Save the Mall should be considered. Same with a Potomac Yard stop.

by Richard Layman on Dec 5, 2009 8:47 pm • linkreport

Speaking as someone clearly in the burbs (nearest Shady Grove in MD), I would trade a speedier commute for extra stops.

Here's a personal angle. Each year a few of us play coed softball downtown, usually on the Mall. Afterwards, us old bastards need to get home and would be immensely grateful if there were a stop closer than Foggy Bottom, Smithsonian, Arlington Cem., et al. And it seems to me that that area down there isn't exactly a wasteland - people go there, to the monuments and such. I'm sure a station there would not be underused.

by Dan Franzen on Dec 5, 2009 9:01 pm • linkreport

From my understanding, the King St metro station was placed where it was for two main reasons. One, the existing train tracks there made it cheaper for metro to use that right of way instead of tunneling at Washington and King. The second is that the city wanted to extend the usage of King St. If the station was at Washington and King, nobody would go down the western portion of King St. Now they are forced to and creating a mile plus of restaurants, stores, etc.

by Scott on Dec 7, 2009 6:46 pm • linkreport

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