Expect service reductions at Silver Line stations and some Blue Line stations this weekend from March 16 through 18 due to major problems with concrete supporting Metro’s tracks.
A slab of concrete is cracked under the rails between Benning Road and Capitol Heights stations. Metro will remove rails and fasteners to remove the existing concrete and add a new structure, a process that is expected to take three consecutive days.
Silver Line trains will run every 24 minutes during single tracking, including during rush hour. Blue Line trains will be rerouted to New Carollton instead of Largo. Service will remain unaffected between Franconia-Springfield and New Carollton.
“Unfortunately, this is a repair job that cannot wait and cannot be confined to a weekend,” said Joe Leader, Metro’s Chief Operating Officer. “To the customers at the 10 stations who will be impacted on Friday, March 16, we apologize and hope that they will consider using stations on other lines or alternate travel options that day.”
Parking spaces for Metro users at the Wiehle-Reston East garage were not available earlier this morning as construction crews work in the area.
At around 9:30 a.m. today, users attempting to park at the garage indicated no non-reserved parking spots were available, forcing some to park in reserved spots in the 2,300-space garage.
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority responded to complaints by telling users to notify an attendant at the parking gate about the lack of parking.
Users would be let out “with no charge,” WMATA wrote in a tweet.
See the social media roundup below:
— Pankaj Kataria (@pankajkataria7) March 6, 2018
Not a single spot empty of the 2300 spaces @ wiehle stn parking garage. Usually there are tons at the lowest level. Chaos. Frustration and finally people started parking illegally at reserved spots. Illegal till 10
— Pankaj Kataria (@pankajkataria7) March 6, 2018
Thank you for bringing this to our attention. Reserved spaces open after 10:00 a.m., if you cannot find an open spot, please go to the parking gate to notify the attendant there is no parking and be let out with no charge.
— Metrorail Info (@Metrorailinfo) March 6, 2018
Even after 10’am that lot is never full. Please be better.
— irishmexi (@irishmexi) March 6, 2018
Silver Line trains will run every 24 minutes. The last Silver Line train from Wiehle-Reston East will leave 24 minutes earlier than usual.
On Saturday, the train will leave at 11:52 p.m. and at 9:52 p.m. on Sunday.
Trains will only run between Ballston and Wiehle-Reston East. Riders traveling to or from other stations should use the Orange or Blue Line to complete their trip. At Ballston, Metro users should transfer between Silver and Orange line trains on the same platform.
For a list of all planned service adjustments, visit the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s website.
Fairfax County officials are pushing back against a move by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority to charge for weekend parking at the Wiehle-Reston East Metro Station.
Beginning Feb. 5, WMATA plans to charge a $2 fee parking for Metro users who park in the Metro garage or lot on Saturdays. Parking is currently free at the 2,300-space garage, which is owned by Fairfax County.
“Over the past several years, WMATA’s image has been significantly tarnished. Charging for parking on Saturdays, especially when there are so many reasons not to charge, will not improve WMATA’s image,” county staff wrote in a statement.
The county’s Board of Supervisors, which must approve approve parking changes before they are instituted, will consider the matter at a Jan. 23 meeting. The county currently contracts with WMATA to remotely monitor parking garage gates and fare collections while WMATA maintains equipment and processes SmarTrip and credit card payments.
County staff charging fees could decrease weekend ridership — especially when demand for parking is already low on weekends.
“WMATA may actually lose more many from lost rail fares than it gains from the new parking fee,” according to a statement.
Staff listed other reasons to oppose the parking fee:
- Requires additional costs to maintain equipment and oversee personnel.
- Discourages new riders, who often try Metro on weekend, from using the service.
- Is inconsistent with the region’s goal of providing alternatives to single-occupant vehicles.
- Discourages Metrorail trips, ultimately increasing weekend congestion and air pollution.
- Makes an already challenging commute for weekend riders — who often deal with delays due to maintenance work on weekends — even harder.
In a statement, WMATA said charging for weekend parking will “allow Metro to maximize utilization of parking facilities without increasing the daily parking rate for Metro customers on weekdays.”
WMATA is also planning to extend the hours of parking fee collections on weekdays — a move the county officials support. Charges for parking will begin at 7:30 a.m. instead of 9:30 a.m. On Fridays, fees will continue through 2 a.m. instead of 1 a.m.
Additional fees collected through the change will generate additional revenue that will help pay off debt service payments on bolds sold to fund additional Metrorail parking. The garage was built by Comstock Partners’ through a public-private partnership with the county.
Comstock’s Reston Station development, a major mixed-use project, sits above the garage.
Chamber: Effort To Woo Amazon ‘Start of Something Great’ — Jim Corcoran, president and CEO of the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce, says the partnership between Loudoun and Fairfax counties to try to bring Amazon’s new headquarters to Herndon can be “a model for our economic growth,” no matter what the company decides. [Washington Business Journal]
Metro: Fare Evasion is Serious Issue — Metro says its efforts to ensure no one gets on trains without paying has helped curb serious crime on the system by 20 percent. [Metro Transit Police/Twitter]
Early Metro Hours Sunday for Marathon — Trains will begin rolling Sunday at 6 a.m. to help participants in the 42nd annual Marine Corps Marathon. Extra trains will also be running on the Blue and Yellow lines. [WMATA]
A Look at Mixed-Use Developments in Fairfax County — Earlier this week, Bisnow took a look at several large developments in the works in the county, as it says “developers are increasingly turning the county into a walkable, mixed-use environment.” Included in the profile are several Reston developments, including Reston Station and Tall Oaks. [Bisnow]
Police Warn of Criminals Targeting Garage Door Openers — Police departments in Loudoun and Prince William counties are urging residents to keep their garage door openers out of sight as criminals are stealing them from cars and using them to gain access to homes. Police in Reston have previously warned of similar crimes. [WTOP]
Nearly a third of Metro’s ridership decline in recent years is attributed to decreasing performance, according to information that will be presented to WMATA’s Finance Committee during its meeting this week.
According to its report on ridership between 2013 to 2016, Metro says there are several factors that have contributed to the drop. In addition to the failing reliability, the named factors include the federal benefit drop in 2014 that reduced high-use SmartBenefits customers; an increase in telework that has decreased AM peak ridership on Fridays; and the popularity of ride-hailing apps such as Uber and Lyft.
The report lists four “marketing and communications efforts” that are planned in the effort to promote ridership:
- Focus on 30 percent of riders who left because of service reliability issues
- Encourage off-peak rail ridership through partnerships
- Strengthen SmartBenefits program and regional employer relationships
- Promote pass products, automatic reload and other fare products
In its latest “Back2Good” initiative report, Metro says railcar reliability was up more than 50 percent in the first seven months of 2017 when compared to that same time in 2016. It also says there were 60 percent fewer HVAC issues in July 2017 than in July 2016.
“These efforts will continue in the coming months as we hope to see sustained improvements, such as the reduction in passenger offloads and improvements in customer on-time performance,” reads the report. “However, we realize that it will take some time to regain the trust and confidence of customers needed to return to the system.”
At the end of the report, the Metro board and Metro-served jurisdictions are given examples of ways they can help increase ridership:
- Development: Advocate for development proposals near stations/corridors
- Access to Metrorail and Metrobus: Ensure existing jobs and housing are connected to rail stations and bus stops by investing in sidewalks, curb ramps, bus shelters, etc.
- Congestion Relief: Advocate for on-street improvements to speed up buses, such as traffic signal prioritization and bus lanes
Metro’s next set of board and committee meetings is slated for Thursday.
Deadline for RA Board Candidacy is Today — Anyone interested in being considered to fill the At-Large seat vacated by Ray Wedell needs to submit a statement of candidacy by noon today. The remaining term on the seat runs through April. [Reston Now]
Silver Line Was Single-Tracking This Morning — An arcing insulator at the Rosslyn Metro station early this morning caused single-tracking on the Orange, Silver and Blue lines. [WUSA]
‘Safety Stand-Down’ Slowed Metro Thursday — Riders experienced woes Thursday morning on the Metro as maintenance inspections of 7000-series rail cars were temporarily suspended, raising union concerns and leaded to fewer available cars. [WTOP]
Full Presentation from Wednesday’s Community Meeting — The full PowerPoint presentation from Wednesday’s forum to discuss the potential ramifications of a zoning ordinance amendment that would raise the cap on population density in Reston has been made available. [Reston 20/20]
Food Collection Helps Herndon Students — Nonprofit organization Food for Neighbors collected food on a recent Saturday at Plaza America, with items collected going to students in need at several county locations, including Herndon middle and high schools. The program is working to add other schools, including South Lakes High School, to its efforts. [Fairfax County Times]
County Task Force Rides Out Maria — Virginia Task Force One, Fairfax County’s elite urban search and rescue team, has been busy this past month assisting with efforts following hurricanes Harvey and Irma. They were scheduled to go to Mexico to help following this week’s earthquake there, but instead find themselves waiting out Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. [WJLA]
Metro Lines Slow This Weekend — Work west of Foggy Bottom means the Orange, Blue and Silver lines are only scheduled to run every 24 minutes this weekend. The Silver Line will only run between Wiehle-Reston East and Ballston. [WTOP]
New FCPS Superintendent Talks About Goals — Dr. Scott Brabrand says there’s work to be done in the district, including diversifying the workforce and scaling back demands on teachers. [Washington Post]
Va. Transit Ridership Continues Downward Trend — Usage of the Metro’s Silver Line stations at Reston and Tysons is increasing, but that’s one of the few bright spots for public transportation ridership in the region. [WTOP]
Board to Determine Fate of Wedell’s Seat — Following Ray Wedell’s resignation from the Reston Association Board of Directors last week, remaining board members have a decision to make about whether to fill the seat and, if so, how. The term on the now-vacant seat runs through April. [Reston Association]
Reston Sisters Make Jewelry for Good Cause — A pair of local girls founded their own charity project, Rays of Hope, in 2012. They make jewelry out of shells they find on the beach in North Carolina’s Outer Banks and sell it to benefit CancerFree KIDS, a cause they became passionate about when their cousin was diagnosed with leukemia. [Connection Newspapers]
County Expands On-Scene Mental Health Work — The Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board recently added a second fully operational Mobile Crisis Unit, part of the county’s “Diversion First” initiative to offer alternatives to incarceration for people with mental illness and other disabilities who come into contact with the criminal justice system for low-level offenses. [Fairfax County]
Karen Keys-Gamarra Wins School Board Seat — The candidate, backed by the Democratic party, received nearly 64 percent of the 70,198 votes cast (10.4 percent voter turnout). In the Hunter Mill District, Keys-Gamarra took almost 72 percent of the vote. The At-Large term to which she was elected runs through 2019. [Fairfax County/Karen Keys-Gamarra]
D.C. Congresswoman Calls for Metro Board to Step Down — U.S. Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), ranking member of the Highways and Transit Subcommittee, which has jurisdiction over the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), has called on current members of Metro’s Board of Directors to resign to make way for the smaller five-member temporary board recommended by former U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. [Eleanor Norton]
FCPS Changing Policy on Teachers Who Admit Sexual Transgression — Dr. Scott Brabrand, the new superintendent of Fairfax County Public Schools, says FCPS will more promptly notify state officials about teachers who admit sex offenses to ensure those teachers are unable to find teaching positions in other school districts. [NBC Washington]
New Local Platform Matches Families with Nannies — cNanny, a hyperlocal web platform that matches families with nannies, is launching in McLean, Vienna, Falls Church, Tysons Corner and Reston. [McLean Patch]
Silver Line Only Running To Ballston — There will be no trains Saturday or Sunday between Foggy Bottom and Federal Triangle. This means Silver Line trains are only scheduled to run between Wiehle-Reston East and Ballston, where riders can transfer will need to transfer to the Orange Line to continue their trips. [WTOP]
DMV Looking at Change in Renewal Reminders — About 120,000 customers who have online DMV accounts, and whose vehicle registrations expire in October, will receive a yellow postcard as a renewal reminder instead of full-size packets. The state DMV is testing the efficiency of the change in an attempt to save costs. [Virginia DMV]
Former Local Teacher, Administrator Has New Job — Jennifer Hertzberg is taking over this year as the principal of Flint Hill Elementary School in Vienna. Among Hertzberg’s previous jobs were as a teacher at Floris Elementary School and an assistant principal at Forest Edge Elementary School. [Inside NoVa]
SLHS Grad Takes Football Coaching Position — Former South Lakes High School gridiron star Chris Royal, who had a stellar career playing at Marshall University, will be working this season as the cornerbacks coach at Morehead State University in Kentucky. Royal is also the older brother of NFL wide receiver Eddie Royal. [The Morehead News]
Time to Go Back to School — Pat Hynes, Hunter Mill District representative on the Fairfax County School Board, has issued a video statement welcoming students and their families to the 2017-18 school year. [YouTube]
Key Information for SLHS Students — Over 2,470 students will be attending South Lakes High School this fall. The school recently provided information about class schedules, counselor assignments and much more in preparation for the new year. [South Lakes High School]
Report: Metro Safety Documents Falsified — Track reports were copied and pasted month after month, raising questions about the competency of inspectors and a lack of supervision. [WAMU]
Deon King Standing Out for Browns — In an interview with Fox Sports Ohio, SLHS alum Deon King talks about the experience he has had thus far in training camp with the Cleveland Browns. King had three tackles and a fumble recovery in the Browns’ first preseason game Thursday night against the New Orleans Saints. [Fox Sports Ohio/YouTube]
Work This Weekend to Install Pedestrian Bridge — Starting at about 10 p.m. tonight, there will be detours on Sunrise Valley Drive in Herndon as the bridge for the Innovation Center Metro station is set over the road. In addition, there will be lane modifications on the eastbound Dulles Toll Road all day Saturday for striping. [Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project]
Free Concert Tonight at Lake Anne — The “Take A Break” concert series at Lake Anne Plaza will continue tonight with a performance by Latin group Mambo Combo. A dance demonstration and instruction will also be provided. [Lake Anne Plaza]
Home Prices Continue Trending Upward — The average sales price of the nearly 2,000 Fairfax County homes that sold in June was $583,620. That’s up 7.2 percent from the annual 2016 average. [Fairfax County]
County’s ‘Diversion First’ Program Chosen for National Institute — Nine leaders from Fairfax County will attend the Data Driven Justice and Behavioral Health Design Institute in Maryland next month to address issues and complexities surrounding the program, which seeks alternatives to incarceration for people with mental illness, developmental disabilities and co-occurring substance use disorders. [Fairfax County]
Metro Sued After Rejecting Ads — The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against WMATA on Wednesday, alleging that the transit agency’s advertising guidelines violate free speech. WMATA recently rejected an ACLU ad displaying the First Amendment, as well as an ad for a “10-week-after” abortion pill, a PETA ad suggesting people go vegan, and an ad for Milo Yiannopoulous’ new book. [WTOP]
Hassanen Murder Suspect Court Date Set — A preliminary hearing has been set for Friday, Oct. 13, for the prosecution of Darwin Martinez Torres. Torres is accused of attacking, abducting and killing Nabra Hassanen in the early morning hours of June 18. [Connection Newspapers]
Libertarian Leaders Speaking in Reston — The Young Americans for Liberty conference, taking place today through Saturday at the Sheraton Reston Hotel, will feature more than 40 speakers sharing Libertarian values. Among them will be Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) and Judge Andrew Napolitano. [Young Americans for Liberty]
Changes Made to WMATA Board — The Trump Administration is replacing a pair of safety specialists, who were appointed by President Obama’s transportation secretary, with a pair of finance and budget bureaucrats who worked in the Bush Administration. [WAMU]
Work Being Done on Reston Station Staircase — The stairs from Reston Station Boulevard to the Wiehle-Reston East plaza are closed for repairs, which include new tiles on the landings and improvements to the drainage system. [Fairfax Connector]
Nearly $60M in County’s Carryover Budget — The county executive recommends the funds be used in part to fund reserves and infrastructure needs, along with other projects including the demolition of the Massey Building. [Fairfax County]
Supreme Court Ruling Leads to Changes in Sign Zoning — After the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that “content-based” regulations on signs do not meet the strict scrutiny test required by the First Amendment to protect free speech, the County must re-examine its zoning rules regarding messages on signs. [Fairfax County]
A power problem at the Rosslyn Metro station gummed up morning commuter transit on the Silver Line.
Metro’s official information feed reported the issue on Twitter just before 9 a.m. Wednesday.
Org/Blu/Sil Line: Expect delays to Vienna, Franconia & Wiehle-Reston E due to a power problem at Rosslyn.
— Metrorail Info (@Metrorailinfo) July 12, 2017
Silver Line trains from Wiehle-Reston East were stopped at Ballston, and riders were asked to transfer to Orange Line trains to continue their commute. The problem was reported fixed within 20 minutes; however, riders continued to report delays and other issues at the Ballston, Rosslyn and Foggy Bottom stations through about 9:30 a.m.
Power restored at Rosslyn, expect residual delays as trains resume spacing. 9:06a #wmata
— Metrorail Info (@Metrorailinfo) July 12, 2017
— steven.s (@xeducate) July 12, 2017
— Karen Hamrick (@KSHamrick) July 12, 2017
— Linda Epstein (@fotolinda) July 12, 2017
— TKBlueline (@tkblueline) July 12, 2017
The issue appeared to be cleared up by about 9:45 a.m.
Silver Line: Trains are operating between Wiehle-Reston East and Largo Town Center due to a power problem at Rosslyn.
— Metrorail Info (@Metrorailinfo) July 12, 2017