WASHINGTON — This is the first week of Metro’s 10 months of round-the-clock track work, with major disruptions planned during rush hour. Commuters across the region may be affected in a variety of ways, including increased traffic if people who usually ride Metro decide to drive alone.
The first work zone involves 13 days, from June 4 to June 16 of single-tracking between East Falls Church and Ballston, to completely rebuild parts of the tracks and deal with tunnel issues.
What to expect
Round-the-clock weekend track work
Weekend track work will be continuing around the clock. There will be very few trains to and from:
- Wiehle-Reston East
- Spring Hill
- Tysons Corner
- Dunn Loring
- West Falls Church
- East Falls Church
Silver Line trains are only scheduled every 18 minutes at rush hour.
Orange Line trains are also scheduled every 18 minutes at rush hour between Vienna and Ballston, although there will be additional rush hour Orange Line trains between Ballston and New Carrollton.
There is no additional Silver or Blue Line service, so riders on the other end of the Silver Line will also see significantly longer waits to and from Largo Town Center, Morgan Boulevard, Addison Road, Capitol Heights and Benning Road.
There will also be longer waits than usual for riders downtown.
Medical emergencies, door and track problems could throw off schedule
Any issues such as a medical emergency for a passenger or a door or track problem could throw off the schedule, but Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said there will be backup trains, known as “gap trains,” ready to slide into service at several key locations to keep riders moving.
No alternatives in Prince George’s County, some options in Northern Virginia
In Maryland, Prince George’s County has not added any alternative modes for transit riders, so people who usually use the Prince George’s County stations on the Blue and Silver lines should consider using Green Line or Orange Line stations.
Riders who use the Benning Road and Capitol Heights stations may consider bus options or using Deanwood or Minnesota Avenue stations during rush hour.
There are a number of changes in Northern Virginia with expanded bus options, in addition to existing commuter bus service and VRE. There will be Metro shuttle buses between Ballston, East Falls Church and West Falls Church. Regional leaders are also encouraging options, such as telework and carpooling. WTOP’s guide outlines many of the options to consider.
Capital Bikeshare has a new option for people who want to try it out for a few commutes or use it as a backup plan. The $2 single 30-minute trip can be purchased at any Bikeshare station.
Just like it does for longer-term members, Bikeshare will charge fees for trips that take longer than 30 minutes. Unlike members who pay for daily, multi-day, or yearlong use, the single-ride pass will not allow riders to dock the bike then take it out again at no charge to reset the clock.
Bikeshare is also adding more corrals at peak periods for at least the start of the week to measure demand. The corrals ensure that anyone who rides Bikeshare to a location can drop the bike off. Bikeshare is also adding more bikes and docks to the system.
More signage in Arlington, Virginia
Arlington has added signs to help bike riders find their way and is organizing “bike trains” led by experienced riders between East Falls Church and Rosslyn.
Street Parking and Traffic Signal Timing
Arlington is also removing some street parking and marking some areas as bus-only. Several jurisdictions are adjusting traffic signal timing or planning to make changes as needed.
VDOT warns of increased traffic on I-66, Beltway
The Virginia Department of Transportation is warning commuters of the potential for increased traffic on:
- Interstate 66
- Interstate 495/Capital Beltway
- Dulles Toll Road
- Route 7
- Route 29
- Route 50
- Chain Bridge Road
- Georgetown Pike
- Columbia Pike
- Little River Turnpike
- Braddock Road
- Gallows Road
DC extends rush-hour parking restrictions
D.C. is extending rush-hour parking restrictions in key corridors beginning Monday. The changes will be phased in along M Street Northwest, Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest and other roads, so drivers should follow the signs posted on each block. The changes will not impact reversible roads, such as Connecticut Avenue or Canal Road.
Watch out for additional track work outside of rush hour
The track work “surges,” scheduled to last one to six weeks each through March 17, are in addition to other work that can extend waiting times between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on weekdays, beginning 8 p.m. on weeknights, and all day on weekends.
How long will the latest work zone it last?
This work zone is scheduled to last through Thursday, June 16. The next starts June 18, when Metro shuts down the tracks just east of Eastern Market and between Arlington Cemetery and Rosslyn through July 3.
Editor’s note: this is part of a series helping commuters understand the impact of the major Metro track work.