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Metro Plans Service Changes

The Metro board this morning took two steps of interest to bus and rail travelers. First, board members agreed to detour some bus routes this summer because of the reconstruction at the Frederick Douglass Bridge, which brings South Capitol Street over the Anacostia River.

Commuters on the eastern side of the region are worried about the impact of shutting down the bridge for this work during July and August. Vehicles will be detoured to the 11th Street Bridge, but even though traffic declines by 12 percent during the summer, congestion is likely. The District Department of Transportation is hoping that its public information campaign and its "Bridge Bucks" program to encourage use of transit will ease the impact.

Now, Metro will make its own adjustments in its bus routes to accommodate the shutdown.

Specifically:

Metro will temporarily change the routes and fare for Metrobus routes A9, P17, P19 and W13, which carry about 2,400 passengers across the bridge each day. During July and August, the buses will end their trips at Metrorail stations on the east side of the Anacostia.

Once the shutdown begins, Route A9 will end at Anacostia Station. Routes P17, P19, and W13 will end at Southern Avenue Station. More rail cars have been placed on the Green Line to handle additional passengers, Metro says.

The transit authority also will temporarily adjust fares: The A9 will be cut from $1.25 to 75 cents. The P17, P19, W13 express services will be cut from $3 to the regular $1.25 fare.

Also, the board approved construction of a new entrance on the south side of the Silver Spring Station, easing access for Red Line passengers who work at NOAA or Discovery on East-West Highway and for those who live between the highway and 16th Street.

That project, subsidized by $400,000 from Montgomery County, is independent of the plan to build a new transit hub at the station and can proceed immediately. Opening the new entrance should ease some of the annoyance likely to result from construction of the transit center over the next couple of years. Late this summer, all the Metro and Ride On bus stops will be moved away from the station onto the nearby streets to make way for the construction. The new station entrance also should open late this summer.

By Robert Thomson  |  May 24, 2007; 7:42 AM ET
Categories:  Metro  
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Comments

So this is totally unrealated but your post regarding the second entrance to the Silver Spring station got me thinking about it. Sometime last year there was a lot of talk about building a second entrance to the Bethesda metro station farther south on Wisconsin Ave. that would utalize high speed elevators (such as those at Forest Glen). This entrace could also be used for a purple line transfer area (if this was ever actually built). Any word on what's happening with this project? Did the county nix it? Or is it still in the planning stages?

Posted by: Laura | May 24, 2007 1:55 PM | Report abuse

The county appropriated money last year for final design of the Bethesda south entrance. In addition, the county appropriated around $70 million to help pay for construction of state-funded transportation projects if the state will move of the schedule, and the Bethesda south entrance is one of the projects eligible for this funding.

Last summer, Metro told the county that it was unwilling to begin final design until construction money was lined up. (This is a reasonable policy for spending Metro's own money, but makes no sense here because the county had thought about this issue and decided to spend its money anyway in order to jump-start this project.) There are suspicions that this letter was influenced by the negative stance that the Ehrlich administration had toward the Purple Line.

Since the election, there has been additional back-and-forth between the county and WMATA. One hold-up is the new Metro policy of not building capital projects itself but leaving them to the states; it isn't clear where this relatively small add-on to an existing station fits in.

Elected officials are on top of this. In just the last two weeks, both Montgomery County Councilmember George Leventhal and State Sen. Brian Frosh have told me that they are working on this issue.

Ben Ross
Vice President
Action Committee for Transit

Posted by: Ben Ross | May 24, 2007 5:25 PM | Report abuse

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