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Metro's Columbus Day disruption

[This post has been updated.]

Metro today announced the details of its plan to cut the Blue and Orange lines in the middle of downtown Washington over the entire Columbus Day weekend. The shutdown at Farragut West and McPherson Square and on the Blue/Orange Line level at Metro Center will create the work space for transit workers to replace four track switches at McPherson Square and to install new track fasteners, new track and new tunnel safety lights.

Metro makes an extensive work schedule for just about every three-day weekend now, but the Columbus Day weekend is particularly challenging. Many government workers will have a long weekend that includes a Monday holiday, but many private employees will be commuting as usual. This won't be the first major project scheduled for a Columbus Day weekend, however, the downtown location for this one is likely to make it unusually disruptive for commuters.

Plus, there are a bunch of events over the weekend that normally draw big crowds to Metrorail: On Saturday, Oct. 9, and Monday, Oct. 11, the Capitals will play at 7 p.m. in the Verizon Center. On Saturday, DC United will play at 7:30 p.m. in RFK Stadium. On Sunday, Oct. 10, the Redskins will play at 1 p.m. in FedEx Field. Also on Sunday, there is an 8 p.m. concert at the Verizon Center.

Here are some of the important details for transit users, but look for a grand review coming up on the Commuter page in the Sunday Post.

The basics
The Blue and Orange lines will each be split in two sections from 10 p.m., Friday, Oct. 8, through the midnight closing on Monday, Oct. 11. During that time, Blue Line trains will operate between Franconia-Springfield and Foggy Bottom, and also between Largo Town Center and Federal Triangle. Orange Line trains will operate between Vienna and Foggy Bottom, and also between New Carrollton and Federal Triangle. Service on Tuesday, Oct. 12, should be normal.

During the disruption, Metro will operate free shuttle buses to bridge the gap between the lines. Don't expect this to provide a smooth transition, especially on Monday, which will be the heaviest day for travel. It takes two or more buses to load the people from just one subway car. So waits for buses will be long. Plus, the buses will be loading up and moving in the midst of downtown traffic. These stations don't have bus bays.

Metro estimates Orange and Blue Line riders should add an extra 40 minutes to their normal travel times. That may be optimistic during peak periods on Columbus Day. Many people would be better off avoiding the bus bridge. Walking might be faster. Some Virginia riders might be better off taking a Blue Line train from Springfield or a Yellow Line train from Huntington into downtown Washington. Another option for some Orange Line riders who really want to avoid the area of the disruption would be to switch to the Blue Line at Rosslyn, then switch to a Yellow Line or Blue Line (see below) train at Pentagon Station, and get into downtown that way.

Weekend train timetables
Some Blue Line trains will be diverted away from the disrupted area. Instead of using the Rosslyn tunnel, they will take the Yellow Line bridge across the Potomac.

From 7 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.on Oct. 9, 10 and 11, every other Blue Line train from Franconia-Springfield will cross the Yellow Line bridge to L'Enfant Plaza and Gallery Place, terminating at Mount Vernon Square. After 9:30 p.m. on Oct. 8, 9, 10 and 11, all Blue Line trains from Franconia-Springfield will terminate at Foggy Bottom.

From 7 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Oct. 9, 10 and 11, Orange Line trains will operate about every 12 to 15 minutes apart. After 9:30 p.m. on Oct. 8, 9, 10 and 11, Orange Line trains will operate about every 20 minutes apart.

From 7 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Oct. 9, 10 and 11, Blue Line trains will operate about every 12 to 15 minutes apart between Largo Town Center and Federal Triangle. They will operate about every 24 to 30 minutes apart between Franconia-Springfield and Foggy Bottom and between Franconia-Springfield and Mount Vernon Square. After 9:30 p.m., on Oct. 8, 9, 10 and 11, all Blue Line trains will operate about every 20 minutes.

Shuttle bus timetable
From 10 p.m., Friday, Oct. 8, to the midnight closing on Monday, Oct. 11, Metro will operate two free shuttle bus routes linking the affected stations. The shuttles will meet each train as it reaches the temporary end of the line. That's about every 12 to 15 minutes from 7 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and every 20 minutes after 9:30 p.m.

Route 1: Traveling clockwise
Foggy Bottom: shuttles on the northbound side of 23rd Street, south of I (Eye) Street NW.
Farragut West: shuttles at 18th and K streets NW.
Farragut North: shuttles at 17th and K street NW.
McPherson Square: shuttles at 14th and K streets NW.
Gallery Place: shuttles at 9th and G street NW.
Metro Center: shuttles on southbound 11th Street NW, between F and G streets NW.
Federal Triangle: shuttles on northbound 12th Street NW, between Constitution and Pennsylvania avenues.

Route 2: Traveling counterclockwise
Federal Triangle: shuttles on northbound 12th Street NW, between Constitution and Pennsylvania avenues.
Metro Center: shuttles on northbound 11th Street NW, between F and G streets NW.
McPherson Square: shuttles on I (Eye) Street, between 13th and 14th streets NW and at 15th and I streets NW.
Farragut North: shuttles at I Street and Connecticut Avenue NW.
Farragut West: shuttles at 18th and I (Eye) streets NW.
Foggy Bottom: shuttles at southbound 23rd and I streets NW.

By Robert Thomson  | September 28, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Metro, Transit  | Tags:  Dr. Gridlock, Metrorail  
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Comments

Yep...this will be a disaster. There are much better three day weekends on which to do extensive track work in the core.

Oh and how about getting an answer from Metro on what's wrong with the PIDS Dr. G. They've been seriously screwed up for a couple weeks now and metro has yet to say anything about them. My orange line train was supposedly 4 minutes away last night as it arrived in the station.

Posted by: Razor04 | September 28, 2010 7:58 AM | Report abuse

I also have noticed the "schedule times" are completely unreliable. It's become a joke when it says a Metro is 2 minutes away and it pulls into the station.

I've learned not to rely on any information from Metro. Will they fix it?

Posted by: cibor | September 28, 2010 8:17 AM | Report abuse

The train arrival boards at Farragut West and Federal Center SW are also out of sync with the actual trains.

Posted by: busgirl1 | September 28, 2010 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Dr. G: What is the deal in the tunnel between Rosslyn heading towards Foggy Bottom? There have been speed restrictions since the summer of 2009 on a large section of track.

This track was supposed to be replaced Presidents day 2009 -- but that was canceled due to the snow.

Before the speed restrictions in 2009, trains would drive at normal speed and the sound was ear-splitting from the rails.

When will this work be redone so trains can travel at the normal speed? I can't help but think this adds to delays on the orange/blue line in the mornings due to the speed and congestion it causes.

Also -- what about safety?

Metro has ignored all emails I've sent questioning this.

Posted by: seraphina21 | September 28, 2010 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Metro, when will you get the memo that DC isn't just a Federal Government town anymore?

A lot of us work on Columbus Day! But it looks like I'll be forced to take a day of vacation because I can't get to work.

Thanks a lot.

Posted by: chunche | September 28, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Oh, these major detours are going to cause SO much inconvenience for so many people.

Posted by: swissmiss150 | September 28, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Folks have been complaining about the arrival boards for several weeks in a row during the Dr. Gridlock chats. I was hoping that Dr. Gridlock could look into the matter, rather than essentially say, "Yeah, they aren't very reliable." I've been a daily metro commuter since the summer of 2007, and the last several months have been WAY off with arrival times, the color of the train to arrive next, etc. Please Dr. Gridlock, find us some answers!

Posted by: kamii | September 28, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

How about a "special flat fare" for this period on the affected lines. Maybe a $.50 or a $1.00 would do.

Posted by: pauls4111 | September 28, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

I am in disbelief that Metro would do this the same weekend as the Capitals Home Opener. I take the Orange Line to the games and it is quite full to and from Metro Center. There is no way a bus will help this. "Going to the game? Take Metro." Talk about false advertising.

Posted by: MMaskul | September 29, 2010 8:40 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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