Summer Red Line work could have ‘dramatic impact’ on commute times, Montgomery Co. leaders say

When five stations on Metro’s Red Line close this summer, Montgomery County, Maryland, officials say they want to make sure the impact on everyone’s commute is minimal.

Montgomery County Council President Andrew Friedson was among those who signed a letter asking Metro General Manager Randy Clarke and Maryland Transportation Secretary Paul Wiedefeld to consider a number of ways to alleviate any problems for commuters. County Executive Marc Elrich and council members Natali Fani-González, Kate Stewart and Evan Glass also signed the letter.

Among the five Red Line stops that will be closed for the summer are Glenmont, Wheaton, Forest Glen and Silver Spring. The Takoma station will be closed for a portion of that time.

Friedson said the closure of the stations is concerning: “Silver Spring, in particular, is the largest transit hub in Montgomery County.”

At Silver Spring work on a mezzanine will be done as part of the Purple Line light rail project.

“This is not just about the disruption that it’s going to cause for Metro riders and transit riders, it’s about the disruption that it’s going to cause for the entire transportation network,” Friedson said.

If commuters who normally rely on Metro take to their cars, that could add time to everyone’s routine. Without a range of alternatives, Friedson worries that “will have a dramatic impact on commute times for everybody.”

Metro routinely provides shuttle service when stations are undergoing work, but Friedson said there are other issues that concern him. One item suggested in the letter to transit officials: putting off planned service reductions on eight bus lines that serve the region. That would include bus routes 201, 203, 305, 315, 325, 335 and 345.

“We want to delay those to make sure that they’re not happening at the same time that WMATA is shutting down service in the same area,” Friedson said.

Another request: implementing additional MARC service between Rockville and Washington’s Union Station.

“Given the large immigrant community along this corridor, outreach must include multiple languages,” the letter reads. “We stand ready to provide technical assistance and to implement mitigation measures for your project that are within County authority.”

WTOP has reached out to WMATA for comment.

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Kate Ryan

As a member of the award-winning WTOP News, Kate is focused on state and local government. Her focus has always been on how decisions made in a council chamber or state house affect your house. She's also covered breaking news, education and more.

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