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Drivers find Metro garages crowded

Metro says that about three-quarters of the spaces in its garages and lots are available for parkers using the rail stations. As more and more commuters return to work, the shortage of spaces is becoming more and more of a problem at certain garages. These are some of the reports we received about the Tuesday morning commute.

The most common problem is that the top levels of the garages, the ones exposed to the weather, have not been plowed. At Glenmont, for example, a traveler says the top level and both ramps leading up to the top deck are snow covered. The spaces on the lower decks filled up very quickly this morning, according to the report.

Staff writer Beth Chang reports that at the Red Line's Grosvenor garage, the top deck remains unplowed. One driver was shoveling a space for himself.

The garage at White Flint also is jammed, says staff writer Lena H. Sun. Cars are parked on the ramp leading to the roof, which is not plowed.

At the Montgomery County garages around the Silver Spring station, I found ample parking this morning, but the spaces are either metered -- so bring plenty of quarters -- or they require a county parking permit.

Elsewhere
While travel aboard the trains was much smoother this morning than it was Friday, travelers did experience problems outside the stations. Charlotte Stichter of Silver Spring wondered when the ice and snow would be cleared from the sidewalks in front of Union Station. "In keeping with past snowstorms, the sidewalks haven't yet been cleared, forcing everyone to walk in the roadway along with careening taxis, buses, etc." she wrote in an e-mail this morning.

Across the D.C. area, bus riders continue to have problems using the bus stops and shelters because the stops themselves are covered in snow and there are ridges of snow between the shelters and the streets. The riders must either bound over the ridges when the buses arrive or wait for them in the streets.

Share your morning experiences with us. What tips do you have for other travelers?


By Robert Thomson  |  February 16, 2010; 10:45 AM ET
Categories:  Metro , Weather  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, snowstorm, tips for travelers  
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Comments

Is Metro planning on plowing the top decks of the garages at Shady Grove? Or will we be very short of spaces for the next month or two?

Posted by: mmaid | February 16, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

My husband just called - there's a big accident/fire on exit 53 off of 66. He said it looked like a snow plow was on fire.

Posted by: LawDancer | February 16, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Vienna Metro was terrible. Even with a 2 hour government delay, the garages were all full by 7 50 pm because they did not clear the top decks.

What gives????? It last snowed on WEDNESDAY of last week! Its TUESDAY!

Unbelievable. I had to park half mile away and walk in the street to the Vienna station.

Tomorrow, I will most likely get there before 7 am in order to get a spot. Rediculous.

Metro just wants people to park illegally so they can generate revenue from parking tickets.

Cowards.

Posted by: m1ke3i6 | February 16, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Fixing the above, 7 50 AM****

Posted by: m1ke3i6 | February 16, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

I can understand the poor condition of some of the residential side streets. Unacceptable is the fact that freeway on- and offramps are not completely clear. The second snowstorm has been gone for almost a week now, and with governments and schools shut down, less traffic means that plows should have been out making sure the freeways, at a minimum, are good to go. Yeah, I understand it's unprecedented, but a lot of time has passed.

Posted by: signof4 | February 16, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

There was no excuse for Metro not to have the top decks at Shady Grove ready for use. They were closed all of last week, except briefly mid-day before the 2nd storm hit, and late Friday, that left little time for the garages to fill.

I drove around for over an hour in the lots and garages searching for a spot without luck. Eventually I gave up and had to find a ride to the station. This costs me serious money, as I am an hourly employee.

That Metro has the nerve to just be starting this work now is inconceivable.

Posted by: mrmxylplyx | February 16, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Landover was crowded a bit more than usual due to spaces being full of snow, but otherwise the Metro trip was normal including the weird slowdown between Landover and Cheverly.

The bad part of the day was the mess on 50 that none of the local traffic reporters could be bothered to metion.

Posted by: EricS2 | February 16, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Looked like they were just beginning to plow the upper levels of the Shady Grove garages this morning (very late, I do agree). But I wouldn't count on many more spots tomorrow or in the days to follow. All that snow is still going to take up a good number of spots on the upper levels once it is piled up, and the lots nearby are already at reduced capacity from their own moutains of madenning snow.

I'd recommend taking the bus or getting a ride into the station for the remainder of the week. Unless you're an early riser, trying to find a spot at any of the Metro garages or lots will be a frustrating endeavour.

Posted by: HydroxCookies | February 16, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

The Wheaton metro garage was minus its exposed top level and very short on parking as a result, with more cars continuing to pour in when I arrived. They were dumping snow off the side of the garage, but it will be interesting to see whether all the cars will end up blocking access to the remaining drifts. Hopefully I'll be able to get back out of the spot I got the car into.

There should be a refund policy in place for situations like this where you pay for access to a garage that ultimately does not have any parking available.

Posted by: adbiosec | February 16, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Dr. Gridlock, have you asked Metro about clearing the top decks of the garages? What's their excuse? Will they tackle this before tomorrow morning's commute???

Posted by: darlingnikkitoo | February 16, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

No parking available in the usually wide open lots at Huntington this morning. It looked like the top decks of two garages were totally closed off as of about 9 am. I gave up after circling through all three garages and headed back home where I managed to catch a bus coming through my neighborhood. I can't imagine tomorrow will look much better.

Posted by: srafnel | February 16, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

I arrived at almost exactly 10 at the Huntington metro and found that all the reserved spots -- which I pay a monthly fee to get first crack at until 10 -- were full, overwhelmingly with cars that did not have reserved parking hangtags. Like srafnel, I had to give up. Please, please, Metro police, please get out there tomorrow and the next day before 10 am and ticket people who are in the reserved parking and haven't paid for it.

Posted by: InVA1 | February 16, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

From Dr. Gridlock: Metro said last Friday that it was beginning to clear off the roofs of the 22 garages across the region. I don't have a timetable for when it's going to be done.

I hadn't expected they'd be done by today, just because of the logistics of getting specialized equipment up to the roofs and hauling out the snow. They've got to bring in equipment that can fit into the garages, with their low clearances. It can't be just plows, because the snow is too hard to push around anymore. And they've got to haul the snow out.

HydoxCookies recommended taking buses to the stations. That's logical this week -- as long as you can get to the bus stops without risking your life. In huge portions of our region, the sidewalks and the bus stops remain buried in snow and ice -- even along main routes.

Posted by: Robert Thomson | February 16, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

The top levels and outlying parking garages on the eastern side of New Carrollton was in a similar state. Worse, however, were the EMPTY reserved spaces at 9:30. Those spaces are always empty, regardless of the time of year, and this morning there were officers going around ticketing people who tried to sneak in before 10 AM. Why not release the reserved parking spaces earlier if they're not being used?

Posted by: Springmoon | February 16, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

I found both Glenmont and Wheaton impossible to park in (I finally eked out a space at Wheaton). It's totally unacceptable that they hadn't even BEGUN to plow the top level of Glenmont when they had all weekend, plus yesterday. I understand Metro was stretched trying to get the rails and platforms clear, but the parking garages are run by private companies -- couldn't they have started the work earlier than THIS MORNING??? And on top of that there was a broken down train outside Union Station and the ride took an extra 45 minutes. I should have telecommuted. This region is clearly not ready for work!

Posted by: sophiamaria | February 16, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

More stellar performance from Metro. I too, wonder, what is their excuse?

Unlike local jurisdictions, Metro has a very limited amount of property to clear. Its a week after the snow stopped. Ugh.

Posted by: thetan | February 16, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

In Metro's defense, I can confirm that even as of last Friday morning -- when I was able to use a reserved spot -- Metro *had* plowed the top level of the Huntington North Kings' Highway garage. Granted, lots of spaces were lost to snow piles, but the surface itself has been in good shape for days. Just wish I could have found a space on it today.

Posted by: InVA1 | February 16, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Dr. Gridlock, Metro seems to have conditioned you to low expectations. Metro has had plenty of time to work on these garages and if they wanted to properly service their customers they would have had the garages ready for use.

Posted by: mrmxylplyx | February 16, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

On the positive side, there haven't been any derailed trains yet today!

Posted by: WashingtonDame | February 16, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

"around the Silver Spring station, I found ample parking this morning, but the spaces are either metered." !!! Why even write something like this, how is a commuter going to feed the meter during the day? Sheesh.

Posted by: phs123 | February 16, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Springfield garage was closed to incoming traffic until about 5 min ago-enough people are leaving.

The other Springfield option is at the mall, a 10 min walk with no sidewalks cleared-or the S91/S80 bus (til 7:30 pm).

Posted by: DrMeglet | February 16, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

The garage at Anacostia was full by 10:15 am today (when I got there). No, the top deck was not plowed. Luckily, there were dozens upon dozens of metered spaces available for $1/hr and I just happened to have a roll of quarters in my car.

Posted by: hoos3014 | February 16, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

I was very disappointed with METRO this morning. I arrived at 8:15am at Shady Grove and there were no spaces left.

The surface lot was full and 5 of the 6 non-reserved floors of the 7 story garage was full. The ramps to the seventh floor and the 7th floor itself had not been plowed.

Unacceptable! Shady Grove is the furthest out station and many people such as myself drive in from outside the bus collection zone so buses are not an option.

What I ended up doing (along with many others), is create space for me to parallel park on the 7th floor right up against some of the drifts. I think there was maybe room for 10 cars or so to pull into spaces. Everyone else had to parallel park or give up.

Thanks METRO. Over a week to clear and you can't do it.

Posted by: bnofan1 | February 16, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Several people have said that Metro had a week or more to clear out, but this isn't true. The second storm didn't stop until late Wednesday, and given the fact that many Metro employees likely couldn't get out of their neighborhoods on Thursday, they probably couldn't start until Friday. But still, they did have a three-day weekend!

Posted by: sophiamaria | February 16, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Shady Grove full by 8:15? That's hard to believe. I parked there at 7:45 and there were many, many spots in the lot next to the older garage. Maybe the side by the new garage was full?

Posted by: phs123 | February 16, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

phs123, at 8:15 the surface lot by the new garage was full as was everything except the roof and the reserved floor of the new garage itself.

I didn't venture to the other side because I fiugred it was the same story. Would've helped if any of the five employees chatting in the station manager's booth were standing outside the entrance to the new garage directing people to the old garage if there were still spaces there.

But no, METRO as usual left us to fend for ourselves as their employees were being paid to have a grand old time at the station managers booth.

Posted by: bnofan1 | February 16, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

I agree with the comment about clearing the sidewalks around Union Station. I understand that there is a jurisdictional issue there between Metro/US Park Service/DC, but the already unsafe pedestrian situation is just becoming worse as people are forced to walk and wait for crossing signals in the street because of uncleared snow.

Posted by: Louise9 | February 16, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

bnofan1 - you were lucky, when I was in the Shady Grove garage the top level was taped off so no one could even try to drive up there and dig out their own space.

Posted by: mrmxylplyx | February 16, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

The first two levels of the older garage at Shady Grove were full when I arrived around 8:15--the ramp leading to the top and the top level were roped off. It appeared that NO plowing or snow removal had even been started. God forbid that someone could have put up sign saying that the garage was full! It was an ordeal to try and get out the garage once we'd all entered it, due to narrow lanes of traffic and blind turns. I managed to find a spot at White Flint (45 minutes later, due to traffic on 270), but there was a delay on the Red Line--big surprise!

Posted by: neelyohara | February 16, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

i couldnt find parking anywhere! my car ended up getting stuck in the snow and my dad had to come and dig me out cause one of there parking lots were barely plowed. I went to ask for help and a worker there just said nope sorry. I had to get to class since i missed 2 weeks and ended up being late!

Posted by: jamgillette | February 16, 2010 9:41 PM | Report abuse

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