Greater Greater Washington

What WMATA is really suggesting

Metrorail is nearing its capacity, with heavy load in many key points throughout the system. At last week's WMATA board meeting, staff presented recommendations for capital improvements to increase capacity at the bottlenecks.

Press outlets covered the topic, but often with confusion on details. WTOP covered the Georgetown/M Street proposal but wrote that the new line would run "through the top of the District," adding, "It's not known if the new line would be a tunnel or an aerial structure." The ridiculousness of an elevated trackway up Wisconsin Avenue led to this incredulous story on DCist, generating more meta-discussion.

What is WMATA really proposing? Based on this presentation, here's a handy map of what Metro could look like in 2030 if WMATA gets its way:

Below, a detailed list of the improvements in the WMATA presentation and this map.

Silver and Purple Lines built as proposed by Virginia and Maryland.

Separate Blue Line. This new line through downtown, originally proposed in 2001, would split off from the Orange Line at Rosslyn, cross the Potomac in a new tunnel to Georgetown, then run east along M Street to Mount Vernon Square and then Union Station.

The WMATA presentation's map shows the line heading down Massachusetts Ave from Thomas Circle to Union Station, but my map shows it continuing along M Street to facilitate a better transfer at Mount Vernon Square (since the station is actually on M rather than at the square itself).

Reports are vague on what the line would do east of Union Station; the old Post map showed it going to Stadium-Armory, but it would make more sense for it to run straight down H Street and cross the river with the Orange Line, letting riders connect between the two at a new infill station between River Terrace and the soon-to-be-closed Pepco plant.

Update: I've modified the map to show the Blue Line running to a separate Rosslyn station one block west of the current one, connected by an underground walkway, to better match WMATA's best thinking on the physical reality. The previous map is here.

The "Blue Line split". Not to be confused with the M Street subway, this is a short-term proposal by WMATA to send some trains from Franconia-Springfield up the Yellow Line and then to Greenbelt. WMATA's map is horribly confusing; as I've argued before, it makes much more sense to simply call those trains Yellow Line trains.

Pedestrian walkways. Farragut North and Farragut West were originally supposed to be one station with a transfer, according to The Great Society Subway, but the National Park Service blocked that plan. A walkway would allow transfers from Red to Orange without riding an extra three stops down to Metro Center and back.

Likewise, Metro Center and Gallery Place are actually very close together, but many people ride the Red Line one stop when going to or from one of those stations. And people transferring from Yellow/Green to Orange/Blue have to use the Red Line or ride five extra stops down to L'Enfant Plaza and back.

Track connections. The presentation recommends adding connectors between lines so WMATA can route trains around problems or add extra service in high-traffic spots. They're proposing connectors between Court House and the Blue Line toward Arlington Cemetery; between the Blue Line on the other side of Arlington Cemetery and the Yellow Line bridge over the Potomac; between the Red Line north of Farragut and the Orange Line at McPherson; and between the potential M Street line around Thomas Circle and the Yellow/Green at Gallery Place.

The one useful connection missing from the WMATA presentation is one between the Yellow Line bridge and Waterfront. Being able to run trains from Virginia directly to the new ballpark would give Virginians an easy Metro route to baseball games and relieve a lot of congestion at L'Enfant Plaza. Coupled with the Orange-Blue and Blue-Yellow connectors also proposed, they could even run Orange or Silver Line trains from Fairfax or Leesburg/Dulles/Tysons all the way around to the ballpark without having to pass through downtown DC.

Infill stations. Alexandria has proposed new infill stations at Potomac Yards and Eisenhower Valley. An Oklahoma Avenue station between Stadium-Armory and the Anacostia River has also been kicking around for years (in fact, it was planned for the original Metro system and then canceled). This stations aren't mentioned in the WMATA presentation.

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

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I know this is a little off topic, but what is the purpose behind three UMD stops on the Purple Line? It seems a little excessive. One stop and a decent shuttle bus seems like it would be sufficient.

by Mario on Apr 28, 2008 7:54 am • linkreport

A shuttle bus introduces an additional transfer for many riders. More transfers make the travel time longer and more uncertain, making transit less appealing and driving more appealing and driving down ridership.

The Purple Line should be appealing to a UMD employee who lives in Silver Spring, or a student who works part-time in Bethesda. Those people won't want to walk/bus to the Purple Line, ride it to UMD, and then have to take a shuttle to get to their part of campus.

Plus, the Purple Line should reduce the need for the shuttle buses between the College Park Metro station and the rest of campus. One stop would only do that for the portion of UMD students and employees who are located right near the stop.

by David Alpert on Apr 28, 2008 8:35 am • linkreport

I'm pretty sure one of those 'connectors' already exists - the one between the Orange/Blue lines and the Red line between McPherson and Farragut North. It was built as part of the original system, since when it first opened, the Brentwood yard on the Red line was the only shop, and they needed a physical connection to move trains back and forth for maintenance, inspection, etc.

If you're on an Orange/Blue train heading towards Vienna or Franconia, you can see the tunnel on the right hand side of the train. Right after you leave the McPherson station, you hit a crossover, and right after that, the tunnel wall magically starts drifting away. It's just a single track tunnel, nothing too fancy. I believe it connects up to the Red line just prior to entering the Farragut North station, where there's another crossover switch.

One thing I'm just noticing with the proposed Blue line and the new connectors is that you could do a loop service - not that it would be that useful, since it would bypass the Pentagon, making the only stops in VA be Rosslyn and Arlington Cemetery - but you could do it.

by Alex B. on Apr 28, 2008 10:11 am • linkreport

Mario-

The three UMD stops are most definitely necessary. The distance between the proposed East Campus and West Campus is several miles, and the large student body at UMD makes College Park the 5th most populous city in Maryland.

by Chris Loos on Apr 28, 2008 11:32 am • linkreport

So, I'm curious: Do you know what the exact location of the "Longfellow" station on the Separated Blue line/M Street subway would be? -Would it be at 16th Street, 17th Street, Connecticut Avenue?

by hiya on Apr 28, 2008 2:17 pm • linkreport

The document Metro released placed the conceptual Longfellow station directly under Connecticut (see link). I would think they should add a pedestrian tunnel to Farragut North with that, as it would be advantageous to have a transfer to the Red line earlier than going all the way to Union Station (if you were coming from VA).

by Alex B. on Apr 28, 2008 3:28 pm • linkreport

Who came up with the name for the new "Starburst Plaza-H St/Trinidad" station? It follows Metro's odd habit of forming 3-part names, but using a hyphen between the first two names and a slash between the last two names.

Metro needs to decide whether to use slashes or hyphens. I prefer slashes. But better yet would be be mandate shorter names for all stations - so they fit better on a map and on electronic signs, and are easier to describe in a consistent manner.

by Michael on Apr 28, 2008 3:29 pm • linkreport

hiya: As Alex said, the sensible place for the stop is at Connecticut Avenue, at the intersection of Connecticut, Rhode Island, and 18th that has no name (with the Longfellow statue, which is where I got the name). I'd maybe put a stairway just west of 18th and another one just east of Rhode Island Avenue.

As for the pedestrian walkway, I included that in my original transit vision map. It's not on here, though, because WMATA isn't proposing it (and it would be fairly long and probably expensive).

Michael: I came up with that name, trying to emulate WMATA's hyphen-slash behavior as well as the long names. In the February map people suggested various names for it, and so I decided to do what WMATA does and satisfy them all. DC called it Starburst Plaza on their streetcar diagrams; H Street is a well-known name that should be part of it; and Trinidad, as the nearest neighborhood, was something several commenters wanted included.

by David Alpert on Apr 28, 2008 3:34 pm • linkreport

With the ped connection between the hypothetical Longfellow station and Farragut North, even though it's not listed, it should be. Realistically, any station there is going to cause a lot of disruption on the surface anyway, so you might as well built the ped tunnel then - like ripping the band-aid off real fast.

by Alex B. on Apr 28, 2008 4:17 pm • linkreport

Thanks, David and Alex. I agree- a station at Connecticut and M makes the most sense, and it should definitely have some sort of pedestrian tunnel connecting it to Farragut North.

by hiya on Apr 28, 2008 5:58 pm • linkreport

I'm interested in where Alexandria envisions "Eisenhower Valley" to go. My vote would be at the end of Bluestone Road just west of the Metro Rail Yard. You could from there build a pedestrian overpass of the CSX and NS rail lines to Wheeler Avenue and turn all that junkyard industrial land into something of greater value.

by NikolasM on Apr 28, 2008 6:10 pm • linkreport

Thanks, this is really helpful. I'm struck that there's no connection between the Red Line and Blue Line on west side of the city. It seems like anyone coming from either Purple or the Shady Grove end of Red would have to go all the way to Union Station to turn around and go back to Georgetown. This seems particularly strange since the Blue line would go right between the Dupont and Farragut North stations. Couldn't it intersect with one of these? Or am I missing something?

by DCMike on Apr 28, 2008 6:48 pm • linkreport

For the Georgetown line, I like my vision where to cross the Potomac, the line crosses on a new bridge next to Key Bridge, with tunnel entrances at either side. It would be cool seeing Metro trains popping out of the side of the steep banks. Now somebody move the Ukrainian embassy and let's go.

by Brendan on Apr 29, 2008 7:13 am • linkreport

I like that idea as well Brendan about Metro trains popping out onto a bridge over the Potomac before diving under Georgetown again. It also definitely seems like the new blue should be connected to either Dupont Circle or Farragut North OR Metro needs to implement a new scheme where you can get out at Farragut North or Dupont Circle and have 10 minutes to get into "Longfellow" at no additional cost.

by NikolasM on Apr 29, 2008 10:58 am • linkreport

re "Longfellow" station - you might want to consider naming it "Golden Triangle." Not sure of the origin, but it is used by http://www.gtbid.com/, though not by most folks I know. (Just don't call it "Golden Triangle-Longfellow/South Dupont.)

by Michael on Apr 29, 2008 11:16 am • linkreport

Nikolas,

I know that's certainly possible with the SmarTrip card, as it already does that for rail to bus transfers.

In fact, even with the pedestrian tunnels proposed, I seem to recall reading somewhere that the plan was to keep all the fare controls in place, and have that be a free transfer - even though you leave the gates and then re-enter. I think they might be able to make that work with the paper farecards as well.

by Alex B. on Apr 29, 2008 12:20 pm • linkreport

IMO, as the Metro system gets more and more complicated...

We should be moving to either a subscription system, or simply doling out all-date passes at a cheaper rate, to entirely replace fares. Trying to manage all the details of what system goes where gets geometrically more difficult/confusing as you add infill stations and lines. MoCo's Ride-On bus system gets loads more passengers because it offers free rides to Montgomery College students and other groups. That's partly the general cost, but also partly the convenience of not having to pay a marginal cost for extra travel.

Imagine how many cars a $100/month Metro(train, streetcar, light rail, and bus) subscription could pull off the road.

by Anonanomie on Apr 30, 2008 12:12 am • linkreport

I like this map, especially the pedestrian walkway between Gallery Place and Metro Center. It seems like the Georgetown route isn't connected to anything good, though. I'd hate to have to go a stop to Rosslyn just to get on the Orange line.

by Will Sommer on Apr 30, 2008 2:02 am • linkreport

I just wonder why have the blue line go the new route and not the new silver line.

Why not just connect Farragut West and North to be one station and call it Farragut Square.

Where would the blueline connect to union station at;it would have to dodge the redline and amtrak plus the tunnels from the post office to union station and it would most likely have to go under buildings like the GPO. The only way I see that even remotely working is if they tear up everything infront of Union Station and that would make even more problems for traffic and metro because they would have to reroute all there buses that go around there.

Maybe when there done with this they could remodel the original 6 stations, Rhode Island Ave & Farragut North could use some big time remolding.

Also how do yall think traffic would be affected in georgetown and downtown dc for residents and workers a new line down there would be hell on traffic

by kk on Apr 30, 2008 4:48 pm • linkreport

kk,

The reason to send the Blue Line over the new route is that the Silver and Orange already have to merge at East Falls Church. It's easier to keep them together and keep the Blue separate. Otherwise, if Silver goes in the new route, then there could be delays if a Blue and Orange train arrive around the same time, followed by a big gap, and so on. It's best for service reliability to minimize merges.

Farragut West and North were originally supposed to be one station, but the National Park Service wouldn't let WMATA build it under the park. They could rename both of them Farragut Square, but since the walkway will be about a block long, it might be easier for people to know that if they want the Red Line it'd be better to go down the escalator north of the square versus west. Not a big deal though.

Nowadays most subway construction is done with tunnel boring machines that gradually dig the tunnel from one end to the other. That prevents having to tear up the streets, though it's also more expensive. If the Blue Line went down H Street it'd actually end up running behind Union Station, not in front.

by David Alpert on Apr 30, 2008 5:03 pm • linkreport

@ David,

Good Point I was just going by if the line was going the route that is depicted on the map above which would have it most likely going straight down Mass. Ave.

and even with the boring Machines they would still run in to some difficulty especially at Union station. If they went straight down H street they would either have to extend Union Station outside further north otherwise it would be more dificult to have the trains run down h street make a right go to union station and then make a left an then another left or u turn and go back north so that they could end up at 7th & H NE.

Or by going straight down Mass. Ave and then having the blue line platform under, beside or somehow above the redline and then go straight then making a slight 20degree turn left would be awhole lot easier than digging under h street and then under the 1st street and under all the amtrak platforms to make a platform and a walkway long enough to connect to the red line that platform would have to be atleast 2 or 3 stories under ground from where the redline platform is; from an engineering standpoint having the trains going down Mass. Ave and then some how meeting directly under the circle would be the easiest in terms of trying to connect the platforms without a long walkway in between them since the blueline would have to go back north to hit 7&H streets anyway

by kk on Apr 30, 2008 6:27 pm • linkreport

The tunnel would probably be deep enough for the escalator to have its top in Union Station if the tracks were under H. The Rosslyn station, for example, is actually a whole block east of where the entrance is.

by David Alpert on Apr 30, 2008 6:31 pm • linkreport

Re Farragut stations - WMATA has drawn up plans for a connecting tunnel, but it remains unfunded. The drawing is at http://www.dupontcircle.biz/pix/farragut.gif

by Michael on May 1, 2008 12:51 pm • linkreport

Just a couple of questions from looking at the map:

* This map includes Purple Line light rail but excludes the sections which are being built right now -- H Street/Minnesota Avenue and the line in Anacostia. Was that intentional or an oversight?

* Is the stop on 7th and H, NE something that you came up with or was it part of a Metro proposal?

by b on May 1, 2008 3:51 pm • linkreport

God help us all if the silver line isn't a three- or four-track solution west of Falls Church. As nice as the AirTrain-LIRR/E train connection is, it only works because of limited service. Assuming you lose ~90 seconds in slowing from >50mph, stopping, and accelerating again you're adding another 15 minutes if there are no delays. Beyond that, people are going to demand reliability from this, and having third track or extensive siding would allow that.

Actually, I guess you could probably get by with a passing siding at EACH station, but you have to figure the cost of additional track would get amortized pretty quickly.

by dino on May 1, 2008 4:05 pm • linkreport

b: No deliberate intention to leave out the other light rail lines. My light rail transit vision map does include them.

As for 7th and H, Metro hasn't given any real idea of what the line would do east of Union Station. Some maps show it running to Stadium-Armory, but a line on H Street would make much more sense than a line on Massachusetts Ave through Capitol Hill (since there's no real room for new development there while H Street is one of DC's top potential growth areas). That's why I made those stations italicized.

by David Alpert on May 1, 2008 4:06 pm • linkreport

David, and all commenters, this is fascinating! Well done, thanks so much.

My only question, why 2030 - I prefer 2000-now. Let's get this party started (well, like Brendan says, once we move the Ukranian embassy and get the trains to pop out of the embankments! If some could splash into the river (I mean lt. blue line now and again) all the better! ;)

Thanks. glad i found you (via dc'ist)

by washwords on May 6, 2008 12:02 am • linkreport

A wonderful vision of what the future could be if we were not ruled by people who believe all taxes are evil. Keep up the discussion - perhaps one day the US will again have a government that wants us to be the greatest.

by Dan Gamber on May 22, 2008 12:33 am • linkreport

As someone else pointed out, the non-revenue track connection downtown between the orange/blue lines and red line already exists. The other existing non-revenue track connection is between the green and red lines near Fort Totten.

by Kelly on May 22, 2008 3:37 pm • linkreport

The Blue Line needs to be extended to Woodbridge. Allot of people live south of Franconia/Springfield and take VRE to the Metro station in Springfield. The problem is that the VRE has limited service, so it would be convinent if Metro went to Woodbridge. Prince William Co is part of northern VA as Fairfax is.

by Davin Peterson on May 23, 2008 8:48 am • linkreport

A wonderful vision of what the future could be if we were not ruled by people who believe all taxes are evil. Keep up the discussion - perhaps one day the US will again have a government that wants us to be the greatest.

What would also be nice would be if VDOT and the other local authorities would also spend more money towards the Metro. Why does everything have to wait on the Federal government? VDOT spends a lot of state money on state maintained roads like the VA28 interchanges or 7100, why not more on Metro?

I understand the appeal of Blue Line to Woodbridge, especially considering how crowded I-95 is, but as pointed out, there is already the VRE. Sure, there's limited service, but why not increase VRE service instead of building Metro track? The SEHSR project is going to upgrade the rail lines anyway, once the Environmental Impact Studies get finished.

If we're talking fantasy, extending the Orange Line west along I-66 through Fair Oaks Mall, the Stringfellow Road park and ride, and the Lee Highway/VA28 intersection would be nice. Then throw in light rail basically along VA28 from Manassas to Dulles Airport if you really want to get into fantasy.

by John Thacker on May 23, 2008 10:49 am • linkreport

At the very least, one capacity that needs to be increased-- the number of parking spaces at the Vienna stop at the end of the Orange Line. It's ridiculous that potential Metro riders are turned away every day because they can't find parking (and other people don't even bother to try because of the known lack of parking.)

by John Thacker on May 23, 2008 10:51 am • linkreport

It would be a lot easier and cheaper if the new proposed blue line be elevated with a three track design (like NYC). And as for the proposed purple light rail line, that should be underground and elevated. So in simpler terms, the purple would run light rail trains, but it would operate as a heavy rail line.

by MetroMike on May 27, 2008 9:48 am • linkreport

MetroMike,

I agree that a three track design would be nice, but to elevate it through all of DC would be a disaster and I am sure a nonstarter. It would be ugly and destroy many people's property values.

by NikolasM on May 27, 2008 10:57 am • linkreport

I do not think an elevated track would make it off the administraive assistant's bin at the Commission on Fine Arts.

by William on May 27, 2008 2:07 pm • linkreport

The current version of the map fails to show the Corridor Cities Transitway, which, if plans are followed as seems likely, should be complete and operating by (and hopefully long before) 2030. The current master plan route will probably be modified slightly to provide service to the Shady Grove Medical Center/Johns Hopkins University and Shady Grove Research Campus in (actually, near)Rockville and the planned Kentlands Downtown in Gaithersburg.

by Richard on May 27, 2008 6:22 pm • linkreport

I would suggest a heavy rail service west from the Navy Yard stn (one end of the line) along a new wye track to across the current Yellow Line bridge to the Pentagon and then south/southwest on an elevated structure in the I-395 HOV right of way.

There is a proposal to add a third HOV lane (as a high occupancy toll lane) - instead I would just use that "extra" space for the structure columns. Stops could be added just south of the Pentagon, Shirlington, Glebe Road, the Mark Center area, Landmark/Linconia, Springfield, ending with a large commuter facility at I-95 and the Fairfax Co. Parkway in the Newington area ("Newington Station"). The large garages at the present Franconia-Springfield stn could be removed allowing a mixed use development (commuters could park further south) to be constructed.

This also allows Metro to better serve the new Nats ballparg and the growing M St., SE business corridor near the USDOT HQ.

by New on May 29, 2008 9:42 am • linkreport

For the Blue Line, I recommend that the first east-of-Union-Station stop at H St., NE to be at 8th and H, NE (instead of the 7th & H on the map--was that DDOT's idea?). That's where all the bus stops are for both the 8th St. routes (90 & 92) and H St. routes (X1, X2) and it's a much busier street. Anyway, great map.

All of this would have to be underground. Supposedly, laws on the books don't allow power lines in the old city, which includes the east-of-Union Station portion of H St. I hope that would apply to power lines for trains in the air, as well.

So... when is the groundbreaking ceremony?!! (I can dream, can't I?)

by Rich Luna on Jun 3, 2008 11:31 am • linkreport

RE: the Purple and Silver lines, why not kill two birds with one stone? Instead of having the Silver Line jog to the east after leaving Rosslyn, how about it heading north to Georgetown and then continue north and meet up with the Purple Line in Bethesda? Heck, make the whole thing one line and make it all HEAVY rail! This would remove the need to build another crossing further up the Potomac, i.e. Bethesda to Dunn Loring line and remove the redundant Silver/Orange trains into the city. It would also address the western leg of the Red line being somewhat isolated outside the city core.

by Ed on Jun 21, 2008 7:37 am • linkreport

I agree with the post regarding extending the blue line further south. VRE only addresses workday needs and it already depends on the good graces of CSX so adding more trains as one person suggested is not a viable option. Furthermore, typically Metro is used to get to destinations and the VRE stations are rather removed from a destination such as Potomac Mills that people might like to visit or to use as a commuter station.

by John on Jul 6, 2008 1:49 am • linkreport

I agree with you WMATA surely must be thinking about a link at Mt Vernon with the new M St Blue Line. They have to want to reduce the congestion on the Red Line caused by people transfering. Union is less important as a transfer - but I have to think that will come as well. All they have to do is come down G.

As far as their current Brown line. That is aburd to think they would give a new color to a temporary service. people will be looking for it then have to read to find the service hours. let the regular commuters at the extremities of the lines do the reading, your ideas to use a faded yellow at Springfield Franconia are dead-on.

by bob previdi on Nov 20, 2008 4:24 pm • linkreport

I was looking over your proposal for the new M Street blue line, and I've got an idea. I say the line should stop at Georgetown (presumably Wisconsin & M) and then West End (around 22nd & M), but then from there I don't think the line should continue on M Street as you suggest. Wouldn't more development opportunites be created if the line then ran up New Hampshire, stopped at Dupont, and then ran east along P Street and stopped at Logan Circle? By moving the stop further north and away from current metro stations, wouldn't that extend the range of places within walking distance of Metro? From Logan Circle it could continue to the Convention Center and so forth as you suggested. What does everyone think?

by Danny on Dec 9, 2008 4:37 pm • linkreport

Running up to Dupont from WE is not a bad idea, nor is Logan Circle. It might be a little too far north now. Take a look at Google maps and see how far north the line would be. Then consider the volume drop off now by examining the ridership station by station. You really turn people off if you move too far from where they want to be. The big key however is getting it back to Mt. Vernon.

The Red Line's congestion problems really relate to its acting as a shuttle between the Yellow/Green and Union Station and Farragut North and Dupont. So to insure capacity growth on the Red you need to make the new line manage the flow from those.

you could run up to Dupont and down Mass to TC then down M. and that would make Dupont even more attractive.

Come to think of it - it could use a little jolt of excitement.

by bob previdi on Dec 9, 2008 6:05 pm • linkreport

Danny: The location of the line would trade off between reaching jobs and reaching residents. There are a lot of jobs around M Street through downtown (see this map). Stops at Connecticut and M and then Mass. and M would reach those. The Mass. and M stop would be very close to Logan Circle, too.

If the main goal of the line is to get people from Virginia into jobs in DC and relieve capacity constraints at Rosslyn, then running it down M is best.

On the other hand, there's not going to be new development there that this line would stimulate. You're right that it's best to run a line where it can drive new development. I'm not sure that Logan Circle is it, though; Logan is so close to downtown that it's desirable already, and they've already built, or are building, density there. And most of the rest of the buildings are historically protected.

A stop at K and New Jersey, as I propose, would definitely create some development opportunities. If the line ran up Rhode Island, crossed Yellow and Green at Shaw, and then had another stop along New Jersey Ave around P, then we're getting to even more development opportunities, but that might be too far out of the way.

by David Alpert on Dec 11, 2008 9:26 am • linkreport

I like the idea of running the new M Street subway under M coming out of Georgetown with a long transfer tunnel to Farragut North as it crosses Connecticut. The line would then turn up Rhode Island and skirt under Scott Circle and then continue under N Street, with a station in that triangle between Scott, Logan, and Thomas circles. It would continue under N to the Convention Center, where you'd have a transfer to the Green/Yellow lines, then turn south on New Jersey with a station around NJ and NY Aves, then turn east again under H Street with stops at Union Station (Red Line connection), somewhere near 8th & H, the Starburst Intersection, and a new transfer station at the River Terrace Pepco plant (soon to be redeveloped).

by Alex B. on Dec 11, 2008 9:39 am • linkreport

If the main goal of the line is to get people from Virginia into jobs in DC and relieve capacity constraints at Rosslyn, then running it down M is best.
Keep in mind that non-residents don't pay income tax to DC therefore the District government has little incentive to cater to their needs. If DC has a say in where a new tunnel alignment goes, I suspect DC would rather do something to promote development in the District rather than make it easier for NOVA residents to get into and out of DC faster.

by Steve on Dec 11, 2008 11:58 am • linkreport

The more I look at the new blue line the more I like it.

But the reason for it is to give the Orange Line more breathing room. Now being from the MTA in NYC I don't think the crowding is as bad as it can be, but with the new Silve Line it could get bad.

Since the new Blue Line will only be able to move 13 trains an hour across the Potomic, (because sharing track with the Yellow limits it) it seems that it might be more logical to have the Silver Line share its 13 trains per hour with the Blue. This would give the Orange 26 unshared trains per peak hour.

I have heard of the old express idea down 66 but is there any talk about the 50% spare capacity that this new Blue line would have and how that capacity would be used. It seems silly to repeat the mistake of the Yellow line by using only 50% of the capacity of a new very costly tunnel.

Comments?

by bob previdi on Dec 14, 2008 3:05 pm • linkreport

They could turn every other train at Rosslyn (and maybe Union Station or River Terrace), with 13 trains per hour from Franconia to Largo via the new line but 26 trains per hour on the central Rosslyn-Union Station or Rosslyn-River Terrace segment. If they build the line, I hope they'll add appropriate switches to make this possible.

by David Alpert on Dec 14, 2008 3:10 pm • linkreport

yes, make a three track, two platform station at Union and Rossyln - I agree. But what about the central question, which is Organge Line congestion. This should not be just about the Blue. How much more growth will occur on the Orange Line and should the Silver just be designed to - at least at some point be designed to shift over to the Blue or maybe the Orange Line could go express someday from EFC to Gtown adding 13 train capacity to the Orange line in the future.

I do think DC has learned their lesson about not having switches in the right places. I also would have built Farragut North and Farragut West as three track stations to manage dwell better.

by bob previdi on Dec 14, 2008 3:19 pm • linkreport

Any reason why the Dupont Circle streetcar station stays out of this whole discussion? An underground connection between that station and a Farragut connector (streetcar station serves as the connector) could then turn west then south to serve a transit void along E Street NW and the Lincoln/Vietnam memorial and Kennedy Center area. On the other side reactivating Columbia Street could connect the red line to the Green and then continue East to Howard, Washington Hospital Center, then Catholic U. DC needs to model its streetcar plans on the most effective and successful light rail system in the country, the SF Muni, which connects BART to hospitals and universities.

by Paul H on Oct 11, 2010 1:04 pm • linkreport

A bit late to this discussion, but it seems the "new" Blue Line might better serve a route going northwest from Mt. Vernon to Logan/14th, then to U/16th/17th, then Adams-Morgan (18th/Columbia) and then across to Woodley, before heading down to Glover Park and then to Georgetown proper before making its way across the river. High-density neighborhoods need as much metro coverage as they can get.

In addition, Mt. Vernon needs a north entrance to tie into the coming 0 Street Market redevelopment.

My 2¢.

by Charlie E on Sep 12, 2011 5:05 pm • linkreport

With the C&K and C&L Connectors bypassing Rosslyn and Pentagon, respectively, why not have Silver take the C&K connector, bypass Rosslyn, go through the Cemetery, bypass Pentagon, and then go up the 7th street trunk? Orange and Blue would then take turns going through the old route (via Metro Center)and the new route (via Georgetown and Thomas Circle) going to their current destinations (Orange to New Carrollton and Blue to Largo).

by Mike on Sep 26, 2011 11:40 pm • linkreport

There's a huge population-heavy swath in the middle of DC that's overlooked by metro & light rail. This gap runs, roughly, from Columbia Heights north to Silver Spring and from 16th St on the west to the Red Line on the east. In Maryland there's a big "V" shaped gap between the two arms of the Red Line.

As was mentioned earlier in the conversation, DC doesn't receive taxes from VA & MD. Therefore, shouldn't plans to enlarge the system help as much of DC before going out to the burbs?

by Gene on Jan 31, 2013 10:44 am • linkreport

P.S. Silver Line is technically already here, guys, sorry, for the haters. Also, There definitely needs to be more maryland stops as opposed to DC stops. Coming from a DMV student attending classes/working in the city, but living in Maryland, MD has become way more inaccessible than any area in DC.

by d.broussard on Jan 21, 2014 7:15 pm • linkreport

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