Greater Greater Washington

Posts about WMATA


What are the 10 longest Metro escalators?

Have you ever wondered where your Metro stop ranks in terms of escalator length? Here are the 10 longest escalators in the system.

Graphic by the author.

Each of the escalators shown is actually a bank of 3 escalators (except at Rosslyn, which has 4), so technically this is a list of WMATA's 31 longest escalators.

Metro has 588 total escalators. The longest in the system, in fact the longest in the Western Hemisphere, are at Wheaton, which have a span of 230'. The Wheaton escalators are so long, they're twice the length of Cleveland Park's, which are 10th longest.

Interestingly, 9 of the 10 longest escalators in the system are on the Red Line. Only Rosslyn at number 5 is on a different line.

And while Wheaton's mammoth escalators seem like an almost endless ride, they're only slightly longer than one third the length of an 8-car Metro train.

While Wheaton has the longest escalators in the Western Hemisphere, WMATA's longest are only in 7th place worldwide. The Moscow Metro station at Park Pobedy has the longest in the world, at 413 feet. Stations in St. Petersburg, Kiev, and Prague also have longer escalators than at Wheaton.


How well do you know Metro? It's whichWMATA week 13

It's time for the thirteenth installment of our weekly "whichWMATA" series! Below are photos of 5 stations in the Metro. 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 for the rest of you.

The answers will appear on Wednesday. Good luck!

Submit your photos

Next week's whichWMATA will feature photos from readers like you! Do you have a good photo for the contest? If so, please email it to Include the station where the photo was taken and the name you want credited as photographer. Any photos you submit must be photos you have taken personally, and by emailing us the photo, you give us permission to use and republish it.

Please submit your photos by Thursday evening.


The DC region lost 60 miles of bus lanes. It's time to get them back

Prior to 1976, the Washington region had at least 60 miles of bus-only lanes, with even more proposed. This map shows where they were.

Image from WMATA.

On the map, from PlanItMetro, the red lines show existing bus lanes as of 1976. Blue and black lines show proposals that never materialized. The network reached throughout DC, Northern Virginia, and into Maryland.

Unfortunately, all the bus lanes were converted to other purposes after the Metrorail system was built.

It's no coincidence or surprise that some of the old bus lanes were on the same streets where they're now proposed again, like 16th Street and H and I Streets downtown. Those are natural transit corridors, with great need for quality service.

Will we ever get this system back? The region is off to a good start, with moveDC's 25 miles of proposed transit lanes, and the upcoming Crystal City Potomac Yard Transitway. But the 60-mile system from the 1970s shows we still have a lot of work to do.

Cross-posted at BeyondDC.


Yes, Virginia, here are the answers to whichWMATA week 12

On Monday, we posted our twelfth photo challenge to see how well you know Metro. I took photos of five Virginia stations. Here are the answers. How well did you do?

We only got 26 guesses on this post. Five people got them all right. Congratulations to Justin...., coneyraven, Peter K, Teyo, and Rich F. Great work!

Image 1: Huntington.

The first image shows the view north along the Yellow Line from the southern mezzanine of Huntington. This station is built into a hill, so the southern entrance is above the platform, while the northern entrance is underneath. There's a long sloped glass roof above the escalators here, which is where this view is from. 22 of you knew this one.

Image 2: Rosslyn.

This image was taken in the brand new eastern entrance to Rosslyn station, which is elevator-only. The modern mezzanine matches Metro's architectural style very well, especially the "Arch" stations that were built starting in the mid-1980s.

Several of you guessed Forest Glen, because of the multiple elevators, and while that was a good guess, Forest Glen's bank of elevators is arranged very differently (and was recently featured in Week 10). 19 of you correctly guessed Rosslyn.

Image 3: National Airport.

The third image shows the center track at National Airport station, one of only two stations in the system with this configuration. You can see a bridge across the tracks at the left side of the picture. This was installed while one of the elevators was being renovated. Almost everyone guessed this one correctly. 24 of you got the right answer.

Image 4: Eisenhower Avenue.

The fourth image was a little tricky. This is a shot from the platform at Eisenhower Avenue looking north at the Masonic Memorial. The Masonic tower is close to King Street, but it's easily visible from several stations, including Eisenhower Avenue. The giveaway here is the angle. If we were looking at the front of the tower (as from King Street), we would be able to see its pediment. The other main clue here is the building in the foreground, which is a movie theater. Several commenters recognized it.

Only 14 people correctly guessed Eisenhower Avenue. Eight people took the bait and guessed King Street.

Image 5: Pentagon City.

The final image was taken at Pentagon City. This one proved to be fairly hard. You can easily tell that it's a side platform station, which narrows the field considerably. The "waffle" architecture further narrows it. But the distinctive feature here is the set of knockout panels above the tunnel portal, designed for a future entrance at the south end of the station. Only ten got this one right.

Congratulations to the winners!

Think you can challenge your fellow Metro users with a photo? Get your camera(phone)s out. We're going to have another reader whichWMATA photo challenge soon. So get out there and take some potential whichWMATA pictures. We'll have details about submitting your photos next week.

Next Monday, we'll have 5 more photos for you to identify. Thanks for playing!


BRT comes to Northern Virginia on August 24

The first bus rapid transit line in the DC region will officially begin service on August 24.

The "Metroway" route will run from Crystal City to Braddock Road, partly in mixed traffic and partly in a dedicated transitway. A later phase to open in 2015 will extend the route to Pentagon City, and shift more of it into dedicated lanes.

Route 1 Transitway under construction in Alexandria. Photo from the City of Alexandria.

Metroway is a joint project between Alexandria, Arlington, and WMATA. Alexandria and Arlington are building the transitway in two phases, and WMATA will operate the buses.

For now, only the Alexandria phase is ready. Arlington's phase just began construction and should be finished next year.

But rather than wait until 2015 to start service, WMATA will begin running buses in August, and simply run in mixed traffic through Crystal City until Arlington's phase is complete.

Metroway initial route (left) and route starting in 2015 (right). Images from WMATA.

Metroway will run every 6 minutes at peak times, dropping to every 12 minutes at midday and every 20 minutes on weekends.

Arlington will eventually convert its portion of the route to streetcar.

Cross-posted at BeyondDC.


More Silver Line opening details emerge

In less than a month, Metro's Silver Line will open. WMATA has released some new details about the opening ceremonies at Wiehle Avenue station on July 26. We hope you can join us to ride the first train!

Image from WMATA.

On Saturday, Juy 26th, the 4 stations in Tysons Corner (McLean, Tysons Corner, Greensboro, and Spring Hill) will open at 11:30. If you want to explore the new stations, you can do so at that time.

The Wiehle Avenue station will open at noon. It's later than the others because that's where the opening ceremony will actually be held, including a ribbon cutting with regional leaders.

We're organizing carpools to get to the opening ceremonies, and we could still use drivers. Be sure to sign up if you need a ride. If you have a car and you're willing to take people, please sign up. We especially need drivers from Upper Northwest DC and from the NoMA/H Street area.

If you're driving to the opening ceremonies, the parking garage at Wiehle Avenue station will open at 9:30 am on Saturday the 26th. The other Silver Line stations do not have parking.

There will also be bus service to some stations. Fairfax Connector will be operating some sort of a shuttle from West Falls Church to Wiehle Avenue, but their exact service plan hasn't been announced. Metrobuses 3T and 23A will be running to McLean station and the 2T and 28A will run to Tysons Corner station.

The first Silver Line train will depart Wiehle Avenue station at noon. It will depart Spring Hill station at approximately 12:08, Greensboro at 12:10, Tysons Corner at 12:12, and McLean at 12:14. It will run all the way to Largo.

Additionally, WMATA will be selling a commemorative SmarTrip card at the new Silver Line stations. It will also be on sale soon on Metro's website and at Metro sales offices.

WMATA will be announcing additional details over the coming weeks, and we'll keep you informed.


Do you know Metro? It's whichWMATA week 12

It's time for the 11th edition of "whichWMATA." Can you guess the 5 stations where these images were taken?

Image 1

Image 2

Image 3

Image 4

Image 5

We'll hide the comments so that the early birds don't spoil the fun for the rest of you. The answers will appear on Wednesday. Good luck!


Here are the answers to whichWMATA week 11

On Monday, we posted our eleventh photo challenge to see how well you know Metro. I took photos of five station pylons. Here are the answers. How well did you do?

We got 39 guesses this week. 15 of you got all 5 correct. Great job!

Image 1: Federal Triangle.

The first image shows the Ariel Rios Building, where the entrance to Federal Triangle station is located. 34 of you got this one right. A few of you guessed Union Station, which also has an entrance beneath an arch, but Union Station doesn't have columns above like those pictured here.

Image 2: Metro Center.

This is a picture of the old Woodward & Lothrop flagship department store at 11th and G downtown. One of the entrances to Metro Center is beneath this distinctive building, and 37 of you guessed correctly. A hint to the location is the W&L in the shield near the bottom of the picture.

Image 3: Rosslyn.

The third image proved to be a little harder. The building in the background is the 20-story Rosslyn Center building. Some of you correctly deduced that the building was too tall to be in DC, yet was served by the Blue, Orange, and Silver Lines, which narrows it to Rosslyn. 24 of you guessed this one.

Image 4: Mount Vernon Square.

The fourth image was the hardest. This is Mount Vernon Square, with the Walter Washington Convention Center in the background. This curved part of the building sits directly above the escalator shaft that goes into the subway station. Only 23 of you knew this one.

Image 5: Farragut North.

The final image depicts the glass atrium of the Washington Square building at Connecticut and L, above the center entrance to Farragut North. 27 people got the right answer.

Congratulations to the winners!

Next Monday, we'll have 5 more photos for you to identify. Thanks for playing!


Join us to ride the first Silver Line train

The first Silver Line train taking passengers on the new tracks will leave at noon on Saturday, July 26. Let's ride together!

Photo by wfyurasko on Flickr.

We'll be congregating at the new Wiehle-Reston East station leading up to the noon train. Since this spot is not Metro-accessible at that time (but will be after), we've set up this form to organize carpools as well as get a count of how many people to expect.

We'll ride the train from Wiehle to East Falls Church together. Then you can keep going back to your part of the region, or turn around and head back to Wiehle. If you want to see the new Tysons Corner stations, part of the group will be getting off the train at each of those stations, then exploring the station until the next train arrives.

So mark your calendars and RSVP here!

Fairfax County is trying to determine what buses could take you from a Metro station to Wiehle that morning. The Fairfax Connector 505 bus currently runs from West Falls Church to Wiehle, but won't anymore after the Silver Line opens, and Fairfax is switching the bus schedules at the start of the day. According to Nick Perfili of Fairfax County, officials are working on planning how to have some service to Wiehle that morning. We will post the information when it's available.

Then, do a pub crawl!

Also, Payton Chung is organizing a Silver Line-based pub crawl beginning at 4 pm (with a clever Old West theme):

The long awaited RAIL-ROAD linking the NATION'S CAPITAL to the Province of FAIRFAX to its West has at long last been completed!

The "SILVER ROUTE" will see passenger trains leave LARGO through WASHINGTON to RESTON.

To celebrate this Most Momentous Occasion, a PUB CRAWL shall call upon the Most Esteemed Saloons located along the new "SILVER ROUTE."

Gathering within the Prosperous Village of EAST FALLS CHURCH at 4 P.M. at Chasin' Tails, 2200 Westmoreland St., overflowing next door into One More Page Books. Then, in a scant 12 Minutes, avoiding the Dangers of the Road, arriving at 6 P.M. at Clyde's, 8332 Leesburg Pike, near GREENSBORO. After a Short Stroll through the "Walkable, Sustainable, Urban Center" of Fairfax, the Crawl will conclude at 8 P.M. at Wasabi Sushi, at the heart of the dazzling TYSONS CORNER Center.

Come One, Come All!

See you on the 26th!
Support Us

How can our region be greater?

DC Maryland Virginia Arlington Alexandria Montgomery Prince George's Fairfax Charles Prince William Loudoun Howard Anne Arundel Frederick Tysons Corner Baltimore Falls Church Fairfax City