Update: Foggy Bottom Metro Escalators are open again. Police presence remains. Post reports the “unruly subject” was an aggressive panhandler.
Update from the GW Hatchet: Police activity following an altercation led to the escalator shutdown. An “unruly subject” being escorted from GW Hospital tried to grab someone outside, and the recipient of the grab proceeded to pull a knife, cut the grabber, then escape uncaught.
We’re hearing from the tweets that Foggy Bottom Metro has a police situation going on, possibly a stabbing. Metro escalators are taped off and the line for the still-working elevator goes down the block.
While that’s going on, we recommend that any Metro riders about to use Foggy Bottom walk instead to (or from) Farragut West, or catch the Rosslyn Circulator.
(Pic above is from another Foggy Bottom bottleneck incident but pretty much represents the station’s state nowadays even without police situations.)
It’s been a fun (i.e. not fun) morning on Metro, with backups from multiple sick customers on Orange/Blue and Green/Yellow Lines at Rosslyn and L’Enfant Plaza, broken escalators at Dupont Circle, and the standard parade of nonworking air conditioners. Update: Oh, and a switch malfunction at Rosslyn. And a family stuck in the Cleveland Park Metro elevator. Update, 6PM:And an escalator fire at Dupont! Today is the gift that keeps on giving. And by gift we mean not a gift.
For extra enjoyment, here’s a video of people yelling at the Dupont Circle escalators, courtesy wfpman: (after the jump) Continue reading →
Metro is planning track work this weekend that will affect the Orange, Blue, and Yellow lines. If you’re traveling on the Orange line between Cheverly and Stadium-Armory, add half an hour to your trip because they’re single-tracking. On the Blue line, add half an hour of travel time to your trip because of single tracking and track maintenance between Braddock Road and Van Dorn Street on Saturday and Sunday. Similarly, on the Yellow line, add half an hour of travel time to your trip because of single tracking between Braddock Road and Huntington. All Yellow and Blue trains will go to Huntington, with a special Blue line shuttle train running between Franconia-Springfield and King Street. So if you usually take the train from Franconia-Springfield, I’d recommend just parking at Huntington instead to save yourself an additional transfer.
If you’re a Blue Liner and take Metro from the Franconia station, get ready to fight for parking at the garage. As many commuters who use the station are aware, the Metro garage is about to undergo a major rehabilitation project. WMATA issued a press release announcing that the first phase of construction will begin on Thursday, October 1. Up to 220 spaces will be “lost” over the next twenty months of repair as concrete deterioration is replaced, treated with sealant, and parking spaces restriped.
Now, normally I’m one of the first detractors of Metro’s policies of late and yes, that was close to my initial reaction as well. It put a crimp into my own weekend plans, including a beloved relative flying in/out of DCA. But then I stopped to think about it.
I give you the average day in the life of a Washington commuter (who happens to be a blogger and works downtown).*
7:06 a.m. Pulling into the parking garage at Franconia-Springfield a little early; traffic for once was cooperative so I am optimistic it’s a good sign for today. Until I nearly collide head-on with a driver coming up the ramp in the opposite direction who happens to be driving in the center of the lane, rather than sticking to one side or the other. Awkwardness ensues as I back into my selected space…and he parks next to me.
In situations like this, I put on my “Metro mask” and just avoid eye contact.
7:13 a.m. The electronic sign says the Blue Line train awaiting me on the platform below is departing in 3 minutes. I am amused as suddenly everyone’s pace picks up as we surge towards the turnstyles, only to be derailed by a gaggle of tourists attempting to figure out how they’re used. Two teenagers can’t seem to shove their paper farecard into the one clearly marked with the “do not enter” light; a mother wrestles with her stroller at the handicapped gate and suddenly, there’s only one lane for the rest of us regulars to use. And its not reading all the SmarTrip cards on first pass. I glance back at the electronic sign, noting that we’ve got two minutes…and hear the door chimes ring down below.
Orange and Blue Line riders had a hellish commute this morning thanks to a train down due to mechanical difficulties at Foggy Bottom station, causing single-tracking and trains held at stations up and down both lines in both directions. I waited on a Vienna-bound Orange Line train at Metro Center for about twenty minutes before wising up and getting on a taxi. You know it’s bad when the train operator doesn’t even use the word “momentarily.”
Update: From Get There blog, Orange Line problems explained. A combination of brake problems and communications dead zones led to a fifty-one minute delay on the failed Orange Line train before a Blue Line train could come within range to pick up communications. Both trains had to be offloaded before one could push the other to a rail yard.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been waiting for the day when I’d be able to reload my SmarTrip card somewhere other than a Metro station. For those of us who ride buses regularly, it’s really frustrating to have to go to a Metro station to add value to a card when you’re just trying to take the bus somewhere. But there’s great news coming from Metro: later this year, we’ll be able to add value to SmarTrip cards online!
In an effort to improve customer service, Metro will create a self-service SmarTrip website, which will allow us to load value onto our SmarTrip cards electronically. There will also be a fantastic ‘autoload’ feature that will automatically reload the card when the balance drops below a designated amount. The new website will include a way to see recent transaction data for your SmarTrip card (currently only available through a formal Public Access to Record Policy request, or by stealing a glance at the screen when the station manager scans your card in the kiosk).
McPherson Square Station, by arvidbr (Creative Commons)
Update: Metro reports that the blue and orange lines are back to normal. Just in time for the best part of rush hour. Perhaps today isn’t so unlucky after all!
Dr. Gridlock, from the Washington Post, reported a few minutes ago that McPherson Square Metro Station is closed. It is reported that a Blue Line train hit someone on the tracks at that station.
This means that all Blue and Orange line trains are turning around at this station. There is “bus service” between Farragut West and Federal Triangle, but it might just be faster to walk. No word yet on when the station will be reopened.
Another fun Monday morning for transit, and by “fun” I mean “not fun” — and on Car Free Day too!
At around 8:20 AM, a train with mechanical difficulties caused delays on the Orange Line in the direction of New Carrolton. Around the same time a switch problem backed up the Shady Grove-bound Red Line. Trains were holding for 10-15 minutes (an eternity in transit terms) at stations from Farragut North upward, and platforms packed quickly with rush hour crowds. Right now a “situation that has now been resolved” (earlier, a “sick customer”) at Rosslyn has left residual delays on the Blue and Orange Lines, which are still slowed by the earlier rush hour backup.
To Metro’s credit, once the switch malfunction between Farragut North and Metro Center was resolved, the Red Line got back into a smooth flow pretty quickly, and we had no problems transferring to an Orange Line train afterward.
To cap it off, a friend informs me that MARC trains on the Penn Line were delayed by a conductor suffering a heart attack and needing evac at Bowie State station.
Did the delays hit you on your morning Metro ride? Leave a comment.