Metro criticized for lack of communication over shutdown plans

WASHINGTON — Virginia leaders say they would have liked more communication with Metro ahead of its announcement earlier this week that it plans to shut down 20 stations over the next three years — starting with those south of Reagan National Airport next summer.

“We’re all glad we now have the funding to move forward to restore Metro to repair, but boy, this is quite an impact on the system,” said Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chair Sharon Bulova.

Surrounded by her counterparts at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, Bulova spoke candidly about what’s ahead for rail riders, as Metro rolls out a closure of six stations south of Reagan National between Memorial Day and Labor Day next year for platform repairs.

“Frankly, there was very little communication from WMATA about these rather severe cutbacks and even elimination of service,” Bulova said.

The 2019 “summer shutdown” affects six stations: Braddock Road, King Street, Eisenhower Avenue, Huntington, Van Dorn Street and Franconia-Springfield. The station closures will last from Memorial Day through Labor Day next year.

Council of Governments Executive Director Chuck Bean reiterated that Metro was in the early stages of alerting commuters to the change, as it is a year out. But for planning purposes, Prince William County Supervisor Ruth Anderson said the sooner jurisdictions can have Metro’s timeline, the better.

“This was kind of a shock to the system. Can we get a bird’s-eye view as to what’s coming after the platform fixes if they have already created a strategic plan so we can plan way ahead?” she asked Bean. He responded that he would share what he has learned.

Metro plans to hold a meeting and will address the issue Thursday, May 10.

Alexandria Mayor Allison Silberberg echoed her concerns about the first six platform closures, which hit hard for commuters in her city.

“Our platforms do need addressing. We are team players obviously, but we also know this will be extremely challenging for our city,” Silberberg said.

Photographs included in the documents show crumbling conditions on the platforms at the Braddock Road, King Street and Van Dorn stations. (Courtesy WMATA)

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