WTOP track work guide: Red Line Aug. 1 to 7

WASHINGTON — Next week, Red Line riders will face a significant rush hour disruption for the first time since Metro’s accelerated track rehabilitation work started this summer.

The work begins Aug. 1 and a second work zone will impact riders along another stretch of the line the following week.

The work

From Monday, Aug. 1 through closing on Sunday, Aug. 7, Metro will drastically cut the number of rush hour trains running between the Glenmont and NoMa-Gallaudet stations as crews work to rebuild the tracks between Takoma and Silver Spring.

During that period trains will share a single track, resulting in 75 percent fewer trains scheduled than a normal rush hour between Silver Spring and NoMa-Gallaudet. There will be a handful of additional shuttle trains between Glenmont and Silver Spring so riders can connect with bus service available at the Silver Spring Metro Station.

Riders should expect 25 percent fewer trains scheduled than usual between Grosvenor and NoMa-Gallaudet.

Trains between Glenmont and Grosvenor-Strathmore are scheduled to run every 12 minutes during the rush hour, with additional trains between NoMa and Shady Grove every 6 minutes at peak periods.

This work is expected to deliver the biggest blow to commuters of any work zone that has been scheduled, just shy of the planned disruption in October when the Red Line will shut down completely between the Fort Totten and NoMa stations.

Metro and Montgomery County leaders urge Red Line riders to telework, shift commute times or find alternative transportation. Commuters who choose to ride the rails should expect delays of an hour or more in addition to extreme crowding.

Plus, the work will create crowding and significantly longer waits at Glenmont, Wheaton, Forest Glen, Silver Spring, Fort Totten, Takoma, Brookland, Rhode Island Avenue and NoMa-Gallaudet stations along the eastern side of the Ride Line.

The workarounds

Commuters at the Silver Spring Station, or those who can reach the station easily, have a number of existing bus options from the Silver Spring Transit Center that connect with various parts of Downtown D.C., Bethesda, Wheaton, Prince George’s Plaza, College Park and elsewhere.

Montgomery County’s RideOn bus service is also providing free Red Line shuttles during the rush hour the first week of August. Those shuttles will connect riders with Silver Spring, Takoma and Fort Totten Metro stations. At Fort Totten, riders can hop on Green or Yellow line trains.

Another free shuttle route will run between Grosvenor-Strathmore, Medical Center, Bethesda and Friendship Heights to make up for reduced service across the Red Line.

Both routes are scheduled to run every 10 minutes from 5:30 to 10 a.m. and from 2:30 to 7 p.m.

From Glenmont, Wheaton and Forest Glen, a number of existing bus routes offer service to Silver Spring. However they do take longer than a usual rail trip.

Metrobus Route Y7 between Olney and Silver Spring stops at all three of the stations and will have additional rush hour service during the work zone.

Metrobus Route 80 between Fort Totten, Brookland, Union Station, Metro Center, Farragut Square and the Kennedy Center; the P6 between Anacostia, Navy Yard, Waterfront, Archives, Metro Center, Eckington and Rhode Island Avenue; and the G8 between Avondale, Brookland, Shaw-Howard, Metro Center and Farragut Square will all also have additional rush-hour service.

The S9 limited-stop bus between Silver Spring, Columbia Heights and the McPherson Square area will have additional service during midday hours.

Metro has posted a full list of the additional bus service.

Montgomery County is also working with MARC to add cars to some Brunswick Line trains that run to Union Station from West Virginia, Brunswick or the Frederick area through Rockville, Kensington and Silver Spring.

Like in previous work zones in Virginia, Montgomery County is posting bike route signs to point riders along the route to West Hyattsville on the Green Line from Takoma, Silver Spring, Forest Glen, Wheaton or Glenmont. Riders can also participate in free, guided “learn the route” rides before the work begins. The ride is about 5 miles from Takoma, and about 11.6 miles from Glenmont.

Capital BikeShare continues to offer a $2 single-trip option in addition to regular memberships.

A new corral service will be at Union Station from 7 to 11 a.m. and 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. on weekdays to ensure that riders have space to leave a bike.

Montgomery County police plan to provide extra traffic control to help bus traffic flow more smoothly around the Silver Spring Transit Center and other key spots.

The county expects to adjust traffic signals in areas most impacted by the track work depending on traffic conditions.

During the surge, Montgomery County will implement temporary no parking rules at meters along MD 355 (Wisconsin Avenue and Rockville Pike), MD 97 (Georgia Avenue) and U.S. 29 (Colesville Road)

Riders who typically drive to Red Line stations could drive to Green Line stations like Greenbelt, College Park or West Hyattsville. Other options include park-and-ride lots where buses connect to Metro stations or D.C.

Montgomery County wants Metro riders who are considering driving to instead opt for a carpool in order to reduce traffic congestion.

D.C. workarounds

In D.C., regular bus routes, walking or biking will likely offer riders some of the best workarounds. From areas like Brookland and Rhode Island Avenue, several Metrobus routes cross the city or connect to other Metro lines.

From Fort Totten, commuters have the option of bus routes or to take the Green or Yellow lines.

From Takoma, in addition to regular bus routes, the free rush-hour shuttles will connect to Fort Totten.

From NoMa, a 1-mile walk will connect riders to Mt. Vernon Square for Green Line service.

The District continues to enforce expanded rush-hour parking rules in key stretches, including for this surge the routes connecting Silver Spring and Downtown D.C.

Drivers will find new parking restrictions in the following locations:

  • about 4 miles of Rhode Island Avenue from Scott Circle to near the District-Maryland line
  • a short stretch of North Capitol Street
  • 16th Street NW from near K Street to near the Maryland line.

Public Works staff will enforce parking restrictions from 7 to 10 a.m. and from 4 to 7 p.m. – an additional half hour in the morning and afternoon.

District Department of Transportation Director Leif Dormsjo said the restrictions would be strictly enforced.

What’s next

There is no scheduled rush-hour track work on Monday, Aug. 8. But Red Line work begins again near Shady Grove on Tuesday, Aug. 9.

The Aug. 9 to 18 work is somewhat less disruptive overall than the week before, but it will have a significant impact on all riders who typically use the Shady Grove and Rockville stations.

Trains will run one-third as frequently as usual (every 18 minutes instead of every 6 minutes at rush hour) between Twinbrook and Shady Grove as Metro takes one track out of service for 10 days.

During this work zone, all other Red Line stations are scheduled to have “near-normal service.”

Metro encourages riders to use Twinbrook, White Flint or Grosvenor instead of Shady Grove or Rockville. But commuters could still find crowded platforms.

RideOn will offer a free Red Line shuttle between Grosvenor-Strathmore and Shady Grove every 10 minutes on weekdays between 5:30 and 10 a.m. and between 2:30 and 7 p.m.

RideOn is also adding service to its Route 46 between Grosvenor-Strathmore, White Flint, Twinbrook and Rockville. Regular fares will apply.

MARC’s Brunswick Line is again an option for riders with schedules that fit the scheduled stops at Rockville, Metropolitan Grove, Garrett Park, Kensington, Silver Spring and Union Station.

The Georgetown Branch and Capital Crescent Trail from Bethesda to Georgetown also provide direct bike routes into Downtown D.C. for commuters looking to avoid the roads.

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