Monday Morning Notes

Lane Closures on Sunset Hills Road — Closures are scheduled for eastbound Sunset Hills Road near the future Reston Town Center Metro station from today (Monday) through Wednesday. Crews are completing stormwater management work. [Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project]

Metro Adds More Service Options — The price of four passes — the seven-day unlimited, the seven-day short trip, the seven-day regional bus and the one-day unlimited pass — will be lowered. A new option for a three-day unlimited pass will also be available. The service and affordable pass product changes begin today (Monday). [Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority]

Lake Anne Paddle Set for Friday — Registration for the event is $7 for Reston Association members and $9 for all others. Attendees will get a chance to canoe or kayak on Lake Anne with a naturalist. [Reston Association]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Tuesday Morning Notes

On-Demand Transportation for Metro Commuters — Metro just launched a new program to help late-night workers get around between midnight and 4 a.m. Qualified workers will receive a $3 subsidy toward a shared ride on Lyft beginning July 1. [Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority]

Sallie Mae Moving Northern Virginia Offices — “Sallie Mae moved its headquarters from Reston to Delaware in 2010, and has since reduced its leased space in Northern Virginia from 240,000 square feet to roughly 30,000, according to its most recent annual report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.” [Washington Business Journal]

Silver Line Delay Baffles MWAA — “The latest delays for Metro’s Silver Line construction have baffled the D.C. region’s airport authority, which is hopeful that the timeline for the commuter rail line’s extension to Dulles International Airport will speed up over the next few months.” [WTOP]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Long-Term Study to Identify Metro’s Future Regional Needs

Metro is launching is a two-year study of the Blue, Orange and Silver Line in order to find long-term options to meet future regional needs.

The study is intended to improve reliability, meet future ridership demands, and improve service for customers, according to a statement released yesterday (June 17).

Because all three Metro lines share a single set of tracks between the Rosslyn tunnel and the Anacostia River, Metro says that bottlenecks are inevitable and disruptions on one line have a “ripple effect” on all three lines.

The study will explore infrastructure improvements and service alternatives to address the above issues.

Here’s more from the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority:

The first phase of the study will assess key issues and trends and document why improvements to the Blue, Orange, and Silver lines are necessary. Subsequent phases will include the development and evaluation of alternatives, as well as a thorough analysis of costs and benefits, with recommendation of a preferred alternative expected to occur by the fall of 2020.

Ultimately, the study will identify and analyze a range of potential alternatives before recommending a “locally preferred alternative” to move forward with federal environmental review, full design, and competition for federal funding. Over the next two years, Metro plans extensive outreach to engage the community, stakeholders, and transit experts to gather feedback and make recommendations.

More information about the study is available online.

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Friday Morning Notes

Six Metro Stations to Close from Memorial Day through September 8 — Fairfax County commuters should plan to travel ahead and avoid gridlock as six Metrorail Blue and Yellow line stations close for major reconstruction and station improvements. County officials are urging commuters to use online tools to travel via transit, ride sharing, and alternate connections.  [Fairfax County Government]

Reston Association Board of Directors Meets to Discuss Boats, Docks, and Other Issues — At the board’s meeting last night, a new at-large director was appointed. Board members also heard findings from the lakes, docks and boats working group, among other issues. [Reston Association]

Ravel Dance Studio Presents “Sleeping Beauty and the Street Scene” — Young dancers will perform a variety of dance genres at Reston Community Center’s CenterStage today at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25. [Reston Community Center]

Flickr pool photo by vantagehill

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Amazon will bring $15 billion and 62,000 jobs by 2030 A study by the Virginia Chamber Foundation predicts that Amazon’s second headquarters in Crystal City will bring a huge economic impact to Northern Virginia and D.C. [Reston Patch]

Design & Wine — Head to ArtSpace Herndon to sketch and paint unique winter villages with artist Melanie Z Stanley from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. tonight. [ArtSpace Herndon]

New MetroAlerts and real-time parking unveiled– Metro introduced yesterday a new MetroAlerts system to allow Metrorail and Metrobus riders to customize the alerts they receive by day and time, along with adding multiple email addresses or phone numbers on one account. In a separate improvement, real-time parking status is now shown on wmata.com. [WMATA]

Reston Association’s Design Review Board meets tonight — The Wendy’s at 1701 Bracknell Drive is on the agenda for the meeting, which starts at 7 p.m. [Reston Association]

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Private Contractors Likely to Operate Silver Line’s Second Phase

Private contractors are likely to operate and maintain the six new stations that are part of the Silver Line extension project that runs from Wiehle-Reston East into Loudoun County

In an announcement on Tuesday, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority said it has issued a request for proposals in order to seek private contractors who can operate and maintain the new stations, trains, and facilities.

WMATA said the move was necessary in order to control operating and maintenance costs, including future pension costs, which it says have “grown to unsustainable levels.”

“We are leaving no stone unturned as we look for opportunities to maintain transit service for the region and protect jobs, all while living within our means in light of what our funding jurisdictions can afford,” said Metro General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Paul J. Wiedefeld. 

Bids are due on Jan. 15 and a contract will be awarded in the spring.

Officials said the move will not result in job losses for Metro’s current workforce. They also noted that transit agencies in Hong Kong, London, Melbourne, and Beijing have had success in contracting some or all rail services through public-private partnerships, resulting in “improved on-time performance, reliability, operating efficiencies and cost savings.’

The Silver Line extension project is tentatively scheduled to open in 2020.

Photo by Fatimah Waseem

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A First Look at Metro’s Next Generation of Rail Cars

Metro is offering a glimpse into its next generation of rail cars, which are similar to the stainless steel 7000-series launched three years ago.

On Tuesday (September 5), Metro announced it has begun the procurement process for the 8000-series, which will replace the 2000- and 3000-series cars, which went into service more than 10 years ago. Trains are needed to meet expanding service, especially as the expansion of the Silver Line to Dulles Airport and into Loudoun County comes closer to fruition.

Departing from previous ideas, which included open, raised platforms to reduce overcrowding, heated floors and onboard WiFi, the latest plans are similar to the 7,000-series currently in operating. New features include new digital advertising screens, support for remote PA announcements, digital system mats, 110-volt power outlets to charge electronic devices and more lighting, floor markings and signage for ADA areas.

“Today Metro is beginning the multi-year process of acquiring our next railcar fleet, which will take everything our customers love about 7000-series trains and build upon that success,” Wiedefeld said in a statement. “I would take this opportunity to again thank our local jurisdictions — Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia — for creating a dedicated capital funding source for Metro that has made this possible,” according to a statement by Metro.

Metro has issued a formal request for proposals, which will close in late January. A contract will be awarded sometime next year. The contract calls for purchasing up to 800 cars, including options to run more trains during rush hour, and retiring the 6000-series fleet. The new trains are expected to be in service in 2024.

Photos via Washington Metropolitan Area Authority

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Over Two Days, Metro Trains Travel on Wrong Tracks

Twice in the last two days, Metro trains ended up on the wrong line, with a Blue line train coming onto the Orange Line and a Silver Line train coming onto the Blue Line.

On Monday, a Silver Line train diverted to the Arlington Cemetery station on the Blue Line, a routing issue that Metro officials said was called by signal problems. The next day, a Blue line train bound for Franconia-Springfield was misdirected to the Court House station on the Orange and Silver lines.

Metro is attempting to take corrective action to prevent similar issues in the future.

Over the weekend, an eight-car Silver Line train bound for McLean completely separated into segments of five and three cars. The incident happened on Saturday at around 10:45 a.m. Roughly 70 passengers were on the train when the issue occurred. No injuries were reported.

More from social media:

File photo

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Metro Officials: “Only Use Metro If You Have No Other Option”

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority officials are encouraging riders of the Orange, Blue and Silver Lines to use Metro “only if you have no other option.” A partial Blue Line shutdown and major delays on two other Lines are planned this weekend.

Beginning tomorrow (Saturday) until August 26, Orange and Silver Line trains will run every 20 minutes and Blue Line trains will run between Franconia-Springfield and Arlington Cemetery. No Blue Line services will be available in DC or Maryland.

WMATA urges commuters to brace for major delays and crowding. Metro’s rush hour promise will not be in effect for trips on the Orange, Blue or Silver Lines.

Crews are scheduled to rebuild track infrastructure, install new rail, new fasteners and repair concrete pads that support rails. Each track will be worked on one week at a time so that single-track service can be maintained, according to WMATA.

In a statement posted to their website, WMATA posted the following information about travel alternatives:

  • Commuters between Virginia and the district should use the yellow line.
  • Use the Yellow Line and transfer to and from the Orange or Silver Lines at L’Enfant Plaza.
  • Use the Red, Yellow or Green Line stations if they’re within walking distance of your destination.
  • Consider riding select trains on the VRE Manassas Line or VRE Fredericksburg line to Crystal City, L’Enfant Plaza or Union Station
  • Take the MARC Penn Line (via New Carrollton) or the MARC Camden Line (via Greenbelt) downtown.
  • Consider bus alternatives. See breakdown online.
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Thursday Morning Notes

Take note, Metro users — Two summer capital improvement projects will disrupt service on the Red, Orange, Blue and Silver lines. During a 10-day period, riders are encouraged to use Metro only if absolutely necessary. [Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority]

If you have Verizon — An outage is affecting 911 and ten-digit dialing. County residents should text 911 from a Verizon phone as an alternate. [Fairfax County Fire & Rescue Department]

Savor the flavor — A local news outlet offers a recap of the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce’s Taste of Reston event, the largest outdoor food festival in the area. [The Connection]

And then savor this flavor — Reston Association will host a wine tasting at the Lake House on Saturday from 3:30-5 p.m. [Reston Association]

Flickr pool photo by vantagehill

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Track Work to Cause Delays on the Silver, Orange and Blue Lines This Weekend

Build some extra time into your plans if you’re planning to take the Orange, Silver or Blue line this weekend.

Trains on all three lines will travel 24 miles apart. Silver Line trains will run only between Wiehle-Reston East and Ballston, Blue Line trains will single track between Foggy Bottom and Arlington Cemetery and Orange line trains will single track between Foggy Bottom and Arlington Cemetery.

The service changes are necessary in order to allow crews to install cables and communications equipment on the Blue and Orange lines, according to the Washington Metropolitan Area Authority.

Customers should use Orange and Blue lines to complete their trip. At Ballston, customers should transfer between Silver and Orange line trains on the same platform.

Photo by Mike Heffner

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Expect Long Rides On Metro This Weekend

Metro rail service will be interrupted by single tracking and rail readjustment maintenance work this weekend.

Expect Orange and Silver Line Metro trains to operate approximately every 24 minutes, according to WMATA.

Silver Line trains, however, will only operate between Wiehle Reston East and Ballston-MU Metro stations. Anyone trying to travel further along the line should transfer to the Orange or Blue lines.

However, the Orange and Blue lines will both be single tracking between Eastern Market and Stadium Armory Metro stations for maintenance.

File photo

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Emergency Repairs to Disrupt Metro Service This Weekend

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.”

File photo

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Reports: Metro Users Struggle to Find Parking at Wiehle-Reston East Garage

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:

File photo.

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Weekend Disruptions Planned for Silver Line

Silver Line Phase 2 Construction at Reston Town Center (Photo via Capital Rail Constructors)Plan for service disruptions this weekend on all Metro lines. Track work will cause especially long delays on the Red, Orange, Silver and Blue Lines.

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.

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