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Here are the answers to whichWMATA week 77

On Tuesday, we posted our seventy-seventh photo challenge to see how well you knew Metro. I took photos of five Metro stations. Here are the answers. How well did you do?

This week, we got 18 guesses. Only three got all five. Great work, AlexC, Stephen C, and We Will Crush Peter K!


Image 1: Wiehle Avenue

The first image shows the bus loop entrance at Wiehle Avenue's northern entrance. The greenhouse-like glass structure is a unique architectural feature in the system, unique even among its sister Silver Line stations. We've featured it before in week 21.

Ten knew this one.


Image 2: West Hyattsville

The second image shows the southbound platform at West Hyattsville from one of Metro's new trains (on its first day on the Green Line). The three distinguishing attributes here are the side platforms, the fence, and the roof over the escalator bank.

Side platforms, especially at outdoor stations, are very rare, which narrows the possibilities. This fence is unique and distinctive (and was featured in week 70). One final clue is the escalator canopy, visible at far left.

Fifteen got this one right.


Image 3: Cleveland Park

This picture shows the pair of street entrances to Cleveland Park station stradling Connecticut Avenue. Cleveland Park station, like its neighbors to the north, Van Ness and Tenleytown, has entrances on either side of the street. But unlike at Van Ness, where they both face north, at Cleveland Park, one faces north and the other faces south. This is the only place with that arrangement.

The retail corridor here is also very distinctive, and if you've used the station, you might have recognized some of the buildings. Seventeen were correct.


Image 4: White Flint

The fourth photo shows the underpass below Route 355 at White Flint station. The opposite direction-facing escalator canopies should have helped you narrow this down, as it's a fairly rare arrangement. The actual station entrance is visible at center left. Other clues include the stone wall median on Marinelli Street and a barely-visible Maryland highway sign behind one of the escalator canopy supports.

Fourteen guessed the right answer.


Image 5: Metro Center

The last image proved to be quite hard—harder than I anticipated. However, it should have been possible to deduce as Metro Center given the information provided.

The most distinctive element shown in the picture is the "thanks for riding Metro" sign, which is present in only a few major "gateway" stations. In this case, the sign sits above the 12th and G entrance to the station.

As Peter K noted in his comments, the wall here is without coffer tiles and much more vertical than you'd normally see from a mezzanine. That's because the vault is taller at Metro Center and also because this entrance is at the same level as the Red Line (it's accessed from the Shady Grove platform), as opposed to being one level up, as the 11th and G and 13th and G entrances are, above the Red Line.

The signage also indicates an elevator to street, and given the attributes described in the paragraph above, this has to be a station where the elevator comes straight to the platform, without stopping at a mezzanine (otherwise, the vault would be more horizontal). Rosslyn and Pentagon meet that criteria, but don't have this signage. Wheaton and Forest Glen also have direct platform-to-street elevators, but aren't "waffle" style.

That leaves the three downtown transfer stations. L'Enfant is out because the street elevator lands at the 7th and Maryland mezzanine above the Green/Yellow Line. That leaves a tough choice between Gallery Place and Metro Center. At Gallery Place, the street elevator (actually a pair of them) land at their own fare control area in an alcove off the Glenmont platform. The entry, though, is not as wide as the featured entrance here.

At Metro Center, the street elevator shares this opening with a pair of escalators and a staircase leading to the northeast corner of 12th & G NW, very nearly atop the center of the crossvault (which is under the intersection itself).

Kudos to the six people who correctly deduced that this was Metro Center. Great work, Eric P, AlexC, Paul in SS, Stephen C, and We Will Crush Peter K!

Thanks for playing! We'll be back in two weeks with our next quiz.

The whichWMATA quiz generally runs on the second and fourth weeks of the month, with quizzes on Tuesdays and answers on Thursdays. Information about contest rules, submission guidelines, and a leaderboard is available at http://ggwash.org/whichwmata.

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Photography


Think you know Metro? It's whichWMATA week 77

After a winter hiatus, it's (finally!) time for the seventy-seventh installment of our weekly "whichWMATA" series! Below are photos of five stations in the Washington Metro system. Can you identify each from its picture?


Image 1


Image 2


Image 3


Image 4


Image 5

We'll hide the comments so the early birds don't spoil the fun. Please have your answers in by noon on Thursday.

Information about contest rules, submission guidelines, and a leaderboard is available at http://ggwash.org/whichwmata.

Did you enjoy this article? Greater Greater Washington is running a reader drive to raise funds so we can keep editing and publishing great articles every day. Please help us be sustainable by making a monthly, yearly, or one-time contribution today!

Support us: Monthly   Yearly   One time
Greatest supporter—$250/year
Greater supporter—$100/year
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Or pick your own amount: $/year
Greatest supporter—$250
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Supporter—$20
Or pick your own amount: $
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Contributions to Greater Greater Washington are not tax deductible.

Transit


Did Metro handle buses correctly in this mostly-non-storm?

On Monday afternoon, WMATA announced that Metrobuses would only run on a "moderate" snow plan, which cancels or reroutes a large number of buses. But when snow didn't materialize on much of the region, the agency restored service at dawn Tuesday. Did it make the right calls?


Not what happened. Photo by tadfad on Flickr.

Ned Russell wasn't so enthusiastic about the original decision. On Monday, he wrote,

This seems a bit much for what is forecast to be rain to an inch dusting in the city. NYC buses don't change at all for this little snow. I live in Eckington and the three primary routes that serve the neighbourhood—D8, 80 and P6—are all detoured or cancelled with far fewer stops in and around the neighborhood.
Gray Kimbrough felt some whiplash from the decisions:
I understand that there's a lot of uncertainty here and it's impossible to please everyone, but keeping transit service running is important to the region. Preemptively announcing significantly limited service only to switch back to regular service early this morning was disruptive to a lot of people.

I guess this could be the new normal strategy, which could be okay if we're clear on what it means. "WMATA plans to curtail bus service tomorrow but will reevaluate at 4 AM; check back for updates" would have been a much more helpful communication to riders if that was their intended strategy all along.

I checked and the @metrobusinfo Twitter account did tweet the revision just before 4 am, though @wmata didn't until 6 am and it didn't really filter through the media until later in the morning.

Other contributors, however, defended Metro, saying this was a very tough situation.

Abigail Zenner felt that she'd rather Metro preemptively cancel service than try to run it and have buses get stuck, as she's experienced in her neighborhood of Glover Park.

Warmer temperatures mean no ice. It could have easily gone the other way. We are cursed to be on the snow line.

In the past, we would slide to the bus stop only to find out a bus was stuck on a slippery spot never to be heard from again and blocking the road.

Adam Froehlig explained the extremely difficult forecast:
Yesterday afternoon it looked tricky. The "cutoff line" was basically right on top of the region, aligned southwest to northeast. This is a difficult forecast, as Abigail mentioned earlier. In scenarios like this where you're close to the freezing point not just at the surface but at lower altitudes, all it takes is a difference of one or two degrees at the right altitude to make the difference between rain, snow, or some other form of freezing precipitation.

What looks like happened is temperatures stayed just warm enough at the right altitudes to keep the precip as mostly rain or rain/snow mix from the District south and east. It should be noted (and highlights the cutoff mentioned above) that Dulles and BWI have been all snow since 4am, while National has been oscillating between rain or a rain/snow mix.

So the change overnight is likely what prompted WMATA to change their plans this morning, and also played a factor in OPM's status decision.

Jonathan Neeley also gave Metro the benefit of the doubt:
The thought I keep coming back to is that the blizzard was a chance to not screw up royally, and Metro seized it. They agency didn't handle everything perfectly, but given its however-many-years' worth of poor decision making and customer service, I think it's OK to say things went well.

Obviously, yesterday's precautions wound up being unnecessary, but as others have said, that isn't always clear until pretty late in the game. I don't know exactly what factors went into making decisions about bus service, both yesterday and pre-blizzard. But I'm willing to consider that being a bit too trigger happy in that realm has been part of a tradeoff that meant a positive move for bus and rail service overall.


Also not what happened. Photo by Samir Luther on Flickr.

While contributors reached a consensus that the forecast was understandably uncertain (one model predicted no snow and then 10 inches on consecutive runs six hours apart), some were still not persuaded that going to the moderate plan was necessary in the first place. Kelli Raboy said:

Going to the moderate snow plan was an overreaction, even for the worst-case forecasts. The moderate plan cuts a significant number of routes. The light snow plan would have been more reasonable.

Many people in this region rely on WMATA to get to work. When they cut bus routes far in advance of potential snow, it sends the message that WMATA is not a reliable option for transportation. I'm lucky to be able to telework when WMATA overreacts like this. Many people, especially the underserved in our communities, do not have that luxury.

From an operational standpoint, I understand the need to have a plan ready several hours in advance (so that employees and buses are in the right place at the right time). But that reasoning went out the window when WMATA changed their minds at the last minute anyway.

I also think they did a poor job communicating the changes. There was never any suggestion yesterday that the plan could change in the morning.

Matt Johnson agreed:
I think Metro is being overly cautious, and too much so in this case. The forecast was very uncertain (0-10" forecast), but Capital Weather Gang favored the "nuisance" end heavily, meaning that they thought the best chances were for very little snow.

Metro announced that they were going to "moderate" snow plan, which cuts service to many residents and businesses throughout the region long before forecasts were nailed down. And I suspect strongly that they were simply managing expectations. "Oh, look everybody, we're doing more than we promised!" That's not acceptable in this case, because as has been pointed out, the cancellation of much service was the last word anyone heard about it.

It would have been much more prudent for the agency to have said Monday night, "Given the uncertain forecast, Metrobus service and routes may be affected in the morning. Please check the website for up to date information in the morning. An announcement about service will be made no later than 5:00 am."

Ned Russell added, "Residents should not have to check their transit options every morning of their commute. I imagine a lot of people are not in the habit of repeatedly checking WMATA's status round-the-clock."

What do you think?

Did you enjoy this article? Greater Greater Washington is running a reader drive to raise funds so we can keep editing and publishing great articles every day. Please help us be sustainable by making a monthly, yearly, or one-time contribution today!

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Transit


Here's where Metro did all its weekend track work in 2015

For years now, the end of the week in Washington has become synonymous with "weekend rebuilding" on Metro. Below is a snapshot of all weekend track work that WMATA did in 2015.


Each number indicates how many total times a particular segment of track went into single tracking, and the color of each station shows how many times it was closed. Map by Peter Dovak.

I found this information for the last eight months of 2015 by searching typing "weekend service adjustments" plus a date into the search bar on WMATA's website. For weekends prior to May 2015, WMATA lists notices in its archive of news releases.

Key takeaways include:

  • There were 56 single track zones on the Red Line (single track work zones often encompassed multiple track segments, leading to a higher total in the above chart), and five station closures
  • The Blue, Orange, and Silver Lones had 38 single track zones, with the Orange line having 15 station closures and the Blue Line having four
  • The Yellow Like had 33 single track zones, with four station closures
  • The Green Line had 20 single track zones, with six station closures

This pdf has a more detailed look at exactly what work was done, and where in the system.

Of all the lines, the Red Line—the system's oldest—had the widest distribution of weekend work zones (15 distinct work zones), though the eastern end of the Orange Line between Stadium-Armory and Cheverly saw the greatest frequency of work: 17 weekends throughout 2015.


See track work for: Red Line   Orange Line   Yellow Line
Green Line   Blue Line   Silver Line
Click on any line diagram for a larger version.
Tables by Peter Dovak.