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Pr. George’s Co. announces Metro shutdown workarounds

Prince George's County leaders encouraged commuters to avoid Metro and to either telework, flex their work hours or to find another mass transit option during the 16-day track closure that begin June 18.

NEW CARROLLTON, Md. — Prince George’s County commuters will have more bus, shuttle and train service to help them travel through the region without Metrorail during the first, full track closure scheduled as part of the 10-month-long track rebuilding program.

County officials announced the transit changes Thursday.

From June 18 through July 3, there will be no Metro train service between Benning Road and Eastern Market on the Blue and Silver lines and between Minnesota Avenue and Eastern Market on the Orange Line.

Commuters are encouraged to avoid Metro and instead telework, alter their work schedule or take another commuting option, said Darrell Mobley, the county director of transportation and public works.

The county will add service to TheBus 15X connector route, which will take commuters from the New Carrollton Station to the Greenbelt Station where they can take Metro’s Green Line or board a MARC train. The 15X service will be free, Mobley said.

MARC has also pledged to add service, he said.

The Maryland Transit Administration, which runs MARC, has said it would to add one to two cars per train on its Brunswick and Camden, which serves Greenbelt, lines during Metro repairs that impact Maryland and D.C. riders, said MTA spokeswoman Sandy Arnette.

Additionally, the county will provide buses to supplement Metro’s 40 to 50 shuttle buses that will provide service to and from the closed stations at Potomac Avenue and Stadium-Armory.

Metro will double service along Metrobus routes 97 and T18 during peak hours. And the X9 will run all day, said Jack Requa, the transit agency’s chief operating officer.

In D.C., construction along certain bus corridors will be suspended during the track shutdown in order to help reduce traffic congestion, the District Department of Transportation said.

Prince George’s County will also monitor and adjust traffic signals in order to move more traffic into the District. The county also asked the state of Maryland to increase enforcement of high occupancy vehicle restrictions in order to preserve those lanes for cars with multiple passengers and to encourage carpooling.

HOV restrictions have not been strictly enforced on Interstate 66 during the first round of track repairs in Northern Virginia, and violators have been routinely spotted using the lanes during much slower commutes in the mornings and evenings. Heavier than normal traffic also has clogged other east-west highways in the Virginia suburbs including the Dulles Toll Road, U.S. 50 and Virginia Route 7 all week long.

Riders along the Orange and Silver lines have reported longer trips of varying lengths and experienced crowded stations and trains. Ridership west of Ballston dropped by 25 percent during the first week, Metro has reported.

Repairs between East Falls Church and Ballston has reduced service throughout the Orange and Silver line corridor, including for Prince George’s County residents on the east end of the lines. But Mobley said the looming track closure will be a different animal for the county’s commuters.

County Executive Rushern Baker warned commuters that the shutdown will be disruptive.

“This going to be a trying time for everybody,” Baker said. “We’re going to do everything we can to make sure … that the commute is as safe as possible and that the interruption and disruption is as little as possible.”

In the meantime, teams of workers will be placed at the county’s Metro stations to pass out pamphlets with bus routes and other options for commuters, Mobley said.

“We really want people to take advantage of those alternatives, to make their travel a little bit easier, and allow Metro and the county to provide as much service as possible to get us through these 16 days,” Requa said.

In November, Green Line trains will share a single track from Greenbelt to College Park again forcing Prince George’s County commuters to rethink their transportation options. The county will provide 10 buses to create a shuttle service along the line, Mobley said.

D.C. bus corridors were construction will be suspended June 18 to July 3:

  • 600 — 1400 block of Pennsylvania Avenue
  • 1400 — 1800 block of Potomac Avenue SE
  • 400 block of 19th Street SE to Unit Block of 19th Street SE
  • 1600 — 4400 block of East Capitol Street
  • 4500 — 4600 block of Benning Road NE
  • 100 — 200 block of 45th Street NE
  • 4600 — 4500 block of Central Avenue NE
  • 3700 — 4100 block of Minnesota Avenue NE
  • 4300 Nannie Helen Burroughs Avenue NE to 4100 block of Deane Avenue NE
  • Unit Block of 17th Street SE to 500 Block of 17th Street, SE

Neal Augenstein reported from New Carrolltown and Amanda Iacone reported from Washington.

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