Posted tagged ‘Metro’

Metro Planning to Install Raised Vent Shafts on New Hampshire Avenue

January 5, 2017
Metro plans to raise the

Metro plans to raise the vent shafts for the Georgia Avenue station currently protected by sandbags.

In mid-December I reached out to Metro and asked them to remove the sandbags that are located around the vent shaft grates by the CVS and former Sweet Mango on New Hampshire Avenue. The bags were originally placed around these grates around September 30, 2016, to prevent anticipated flooding from the remnant of Hurricane Irene, an event that turned out to be over rated. Over the months, some of the bags had begun to break and spill sand, creating a mess.

While WMATA originally agreed to remove the bags, they quickly followed up that there is a longer-term plan to raise the vent shafts at these two locations to prevent water intrusion and that the bags would be replaced with newer bags instead. I don’t have a date for the anticipated work, but will follow up when I do.

New Georgia Avenue Metro East Escalators Open and Working

October 11, 2016

Its been almost 7 months since the Georgia Avenue Metro Station’s east escalators closed for replacement. I’m happy to report that they are finally open to the public again and appear to be operating fine. Feel free to take a virtual ride below:

Photo of new escalators at the Georgia Avenue Metro east entrance (below)

Georgia Avenue escalators

Metrorail Closed Wednesday for Emergency Inspections

March 15, 2016

Metro closed

The entire Metrorail system will be closed tomorrow. Below is the press release that WMATA issued at 4:35 pm today:

All Metrorail service will be suspended Wednesday, March 16, for emergency inspections

Metro General Manager/CEO Paul J. Wiedefeld, with support from the Authority’s Board of Directors, today announced the full closure of the Metrorail system on Wednesday, March 16, for emergency inspections of the system’s third-rail power cables following an early morning tunnel fire yesterday.

The inspections of approximately 600 “jumper cables” will occur along all tunnel segments on the Metrorail system. At the conclusion of the inspection process, there may be a need for additional rail service outages. Any further service impacts will be announced to the public as soon as they are known.

“While the risk to the public is very low, I cannot rule out a potential life safety issue here, and that is why we must take this action immediately,” Wiedefeld said. “When I say safety is our highest priority, I mean it. That sometimes means making tough, unpopular decisions, and this is one of those times. I fully recognize the hardship this will cause.”

The Metrorail system will close at its normal time tonight (midnight) and remain closed until 5 a.m. Thursday. All six Metrorail lines and all 91 stations will be closed on Wednesday.

The unprecedented action follows an early morning electrical fire involving a cable in the tunnel outside McPherson Square Station yesterday. There were no injuries; however, service was disrupted along the Blue, Orange and Silver lines throughout the day.

“The investigation into yesterday’s cable fire at McPherson Square is ongoing,” Wiedefeld said.  “As a preliminary matter, the conditions appear disturbingly similar to those in the L’Enfant incident of a year ago, and our focus is squarely on mitigating any risk of a fire elsewhere on the system.”

Metrobus and MetroAccess service will continue to operate on a regular schedule. Parking will be free in all Metro-owned lots and garages for customers who wish to take bus or carpool.

Alternate service options throughout the region will be extremely limited, and severe crowding is expected on buses. Consider the following alternates:

The public is advised to make alternate travel arrangements as early as possible.

Metro Escalator Replacement Projects to Continue at Georgia Ave. and Columbia Heights Stations

February 11, 2016

IMG_0164[1](Escalators at the west entrance of the Georgia Avenue Station)

At last night’s meeting of ANC 1A, representatives of WMATA were there to discuss updates to their  escalator replacement and rehabilitation projects — particularly with the Columbia Heights and Georgia Avenue stations. Currently, both stations are in the midst of escalator replacements projects at their west entrances. These projects are expected to be completed by April, after which work on the east entrances at both stations will begin.

The escalator replacement at the east entrance of the Columbia Heights station is currently scheduled to begin around April 18th and is expected to take 35 weeks to complete. The escalator replacement at the east entrance of the Georgia Avenue station is scheduled to begin around March 21st and is expected to take 45 weeks to complete. The result of both project will be completely new escalators at both locations.

When asked why the the Georgia Avenue station replacement was estimated to take 10 weeks longer than the Columbia Heights station, the WMATA representative stated that the elevators at Georgia Avenue were larger and that work can only commence when the stations are closed — which is about 4 hours of work time. Noting that both stations were only about 16-17 years old, I asked how long the average life span of an escalator typically is — and was informed that it is 40 years. The reason for the failures of the escalators at these stations is that the manufacturer doesn’t support their maintenance and Metro has had difficulty getting parts for them to keep them in good repair. Because of this, the new escalators that will be installed will be manufactured by Kone which is located in Illinois.

The escalator projects will be among 21 new escalators that are scheduled to be replaced in 2016. As of February 2016, WMATA had already installed 29 new escalators.


Silver Line Starting to Show Up in Metro Stations & Rail Cars

May 23, 2014

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been noticing that new Metro maps and station signage has been starting to show up with the new Silver Line on it. Below are two examples.

Silver line map(Detail from a Metro system map found in a Green Line train)

IMG_6376(New signage from the Clarendon Station)

Metro to Begin Gradual Replacement of Carpet with Resilient Flooring

November 21, 2013
A 6000-series Metrorail car with resilient flooring

A 6000-series Metrorail car with resilient flooring

Among the news Metro announced earlier today (11/21/13) was that it will begin a process of gradually replacing the carpet in its metrorail cars with resilient flooring. I think this is a wise move that will keep the cars cleaner easier. I’ve often noticed how dirty and disgusting railcar carpets can get and am surprised that this change didn’t happen years ago.

Following is the full Metro announcement on this improvement:

Metro is moving forward with the replacement of carpet in its existing fleet of railcars with new slip-resistant resilient flooring.

The move is in response to customer feedback during the design of Metro’s new 7000-series cars, which will soon begin rolling off an assembly line in Lincoln, Nebraska.  Riders told Metro that they strongly preferred flooring to carpet for cleanliness reasons.

Resilient flooring does not absorb dirt and spills as carpet does, and will be much easier for Metro maintenance personnel to keep clean.  In addition, flooring is more durable and has a longer lifespan before needing replacement.

As an added benefit, the flooring reflects some interior and exterior light, creating a brighter, more open feel inside the car.

Already, Metro has installed the new flooring on more than a dozen cars.  Over the next two years, Metro expects to have flooring installed on all 5000- and 6000-series cars.

The work is being done in-house using existing Metro resources.

News release issued at 10:57 am, November 21, 2013.

Working with Metro for a Better Station Area Map

January 27, 2012

Station Area Map with numbers indicating where additional features could be located

One issue I’ve been working on for a very long time is getting the illuminated Station Area Maps at the Georgia Avenue-Petworth Station updated to include information I consider to be clear omissions. I began this process in October 2010 and thought I’d made some progress when WMATA committed to include Park View on future maps with updated maps scheduled for installation by March 2011. Well, clearly that did not happen. So, I’ve dug in again and have reopened the conversation with Metro.

While my initial observation was that Park View was inappropriately omitted from the map as Petworth, Columbia Heights, and Mt. Pleasant were all included, upon inspecting the map more closely I discovered that there were several opportunities to make the map better. Below are six significant improvements I noticed.

  1. Include Park View to show the location of the neighborhood;
  2. Show the location of the MPD 4D Substation at 750 Park Rd., NW;
  3. Include the Bruce-Monroe Park at Irving and Georgia Ave.;
  4. Show the location of the Cesar Chavez Public Charter School (770 Kenyon Street);
  5. Show the location of the Lincoln’s Cottage National Historic Site; and
  6. Include Armed Forces Retirement Home on the map to identify its location.

In each of these cases, the type of information suggested is in keeping with the categories of information WMATA currently includes on their maps. I’ll be sure to post follow ups as my conversations with Metro advance.


Brief History of the Georgia Ave. Metro Station

November 17, 2011

With as much time and energy that has been focused on Metro Stations this year, particularly with names, I thought it would be interesting to dig into the history of the Georgia Ave-Petworth station. While there are many who feel that there was a missed opportunity by not changing the name of the Georgia Ave-Petworth station name to something better and representative of its location, the WMATA board did approve five other name changes. I’m willing to wager, however, that most residents debating the merits of the station’s name may not be aware that the location of the Georgia Avenue station was not originally to be at New Hampshire Avenue, or there was once a Petworth station planned as well as a Georgia Avenue station.

Metro map as recommended by the National Capital Planning Commission, 1966

As Zachary M. Schrag outlines in his book on the Washington Metro, the Green Line would take more than two decades before the first stations were opened in May 1991 and it would be another decade before it was completed. The delay, Schrag continues, resulted as much from extreme sensitivity to inner-city demands as from official disregard.

The Red line  was authorized in 1965 and remained largely as planned during its construction. The trunk portion of the Blue and Orange lines was approved by Congress in 1967. The Green line was not authorized until December 1969 after substantial work had already been done on the other trunk lines. While the Green line from its conception was scheduled for a late start, late originally meant September 1977.

Metro was not able to hold its original schedule. Metro encountered physical obstacles, lawsuits, and appropriation problems. The Green line itself had its own hurdles. The D.C. government was determined to avoid the top-down planning that had displaced tens of thousands of people in Southwest. All of this further delayed construction of the Green line and left the route open to continual modification and uncertainty. (more…)

Georgia Ave-Petworth Metro Name to Remain Unchanged … for Now

November 4, 2011

Unlike many other Metro stations, the name of the Georgia Ave.-Petworth station will not change in the new maps

Yesterday, WMATA sent out a news release on various email lists outlining the Metro station name changes that will be incorporated into the new Metro maps. Sadly, an update to the “Georgia Ave-Petworth” was not among them.

Not only did Georgia Ave-Petworth not include neighboring Park View, but the station name did not incorporate Petworth as a subtitle — something that WMATA originally proposed and a change made to many other stations with long names. The grandfathering of the Georgia Ave. station’s name was justified in the WMATA release, along with three other grandfathered names, by stating that “customers have strong familiarity with the existing names.”

Of course, this is hogwash. Customers have strong “familiarity” with all of the current names. The fact that two ANCs passed resolutions requesting a change in the station’s name shows that there was enough consensus in the community that those “familiar” with the name of the station did not agree with the name.

The real reason for keeping the status quo with the Georgia Ave. station is that DC Councilmember Muriel Bowser was dead set against any change that would include Park View. Furthermore, she was caught between a community divided on which is more important, Georgia Avenue or Petworth. Those living closest to the station had a clear preference for the station to be renamed either Petworth-Park View or just Petworth, a nod for neighborhood dominance.  Those living further from the station tended to prefer Georgia Avenue as the primary name … one  such supporter being ANC 4C01 Commissioner Michael Yates, who also happens to be the partner of CM Bowser’s twin, Marvin.

So, for now, nothing will change in our corner of the Metro world. However, as the Metro continues to get built out to Dulles there will be other opportunities to reconsider as system-wide sign updates occur.


Councilmember Bowser Opposes Renaming Georgia Ave.-Petworth Metro

October 17, 2011

CM Bowser opposes adding Park View to the station's name

In a letter sent on October 12, 2011, to both ANC 4C and ANC 1A — both of whom had unanimously passed resolutions in support of appending Park View to the name of the Georgia Avenue-Petworth Metro station — Councilmember Bowser made it clear that she does not support this “proposal.” While graciously acknowledging that ANC’s have “great weight,” Bowser’s opposition most assuredly kills this proposal since she is the District’s current representative on the Metro Board of Directors.

In explaining her opposition, the Councilmember began with the pro forma list including the cost, length of name, and policy favoring continuity and certainty.  Yet, when considering the proposed name change for the Georgia Ave. Metro against the four name changes put forward by DDOT, it’s clear that these aren’t really the barriers Bowser makes them out to be.

Name Length: There is no denying that adding Park View to the name of the station does increase the length and would not comply with WMATA’s approved policy on station names. Yet, when comparing it with the list of name changes put forward by DDOT it is also clear that station name length is not a real issue. Three of the four proposals (listed below) also do not comply with WMATA’s station name policy. Only Navy Yard-Ballpark is fewer than 19 letters.

Current name Proposed name
Waterfront – SEU Waterfront – Arena Stage
Navy Yard Navy Yard – Ballpark
New York Ave. – Florida Ave. – Gallaudet U. New York Ave. – NoMa
Gallaudet University
Smithsonian Smithsonian
The National Mall

Continuity and certainty certainly appear to be a sound policy, but embracing station names simply because they are currently in use diminishes the ability to critically examine station names for their appropriateness. In nearly all cases such examination should validate current station names. In some cases, a name may be found to be inferior. The New Columbia Heights blog had an interesting post examining the appropriateness of the Georgia Ave.-Petworth station name.

Cost: While the $100,000 or greater cost of changing a station name sounds daunting, in the grand scheme of things it isn’t a lot of money. The chief reason for putting forth this proposed name change at this time was to minimize costs as much as possible. The District often seems to have the ability to come up with a $100,000 here and there whenever they want to. A recent case in point is the proposed renovations at the Park View Recreation Center. The District recently added $200,000 to that project without any apparent difficulty.

So, if the arguments tied to WMATA’s policy on station names either don’t apply or have not be uniformly applied to all station renaming proposals, this leaves us with Councilmember Bowser’s real objections. Reading her letter further, they come out as:

  • The station is not located in Park View;
  • Station names should be associated with centers of activity; and,
  • Changing the name of the station “dilutes the identity of Petworth.”

In looking at the Metro map the location of the station is listed as Georgia & New Hampshire Aves. The station’s entrances are on the north (Ward 4/Petworth) side of the intersection, but the intersection itself is “in” both Petworth and Park View. Additionally, with the station being underneath New Hampshire Ave. it’s possible that a small portion of the station could be in Ward 1. On a purely practical level, it’s hard to argue that a station less than 250 ft. north of a neighborhood is not “IN” that neighborhood. As I wrote to the WMATA Board of Directors on September 19th:

I invite the members of the Metro Board, Councilmembers Bowser and Graham, and others to visit the station. As you stand at the leaf sculpture and look to the south you will notice the new Georgia Avenue CVS and an Ace check cashing location directly across the street. Both of these businesses, and all of Georgia Avenue you can see beyond, are in the Park View neighborhood. You will immediately understand that this station is on the border of two neighborhoods.

Bowser’s assertion that station name’s should be associated with centers of activity also indicates that she may associate development on Georgia Avenue with Petworth and consider Park View a dead zone. But activity has been happening south of the station as well as north of it and the station itself is becoming the center of activity as developers look for property close to Metro. Because of this it is impossible to separate out the “Park View” from the “center of activity.”

But what it all seems to boils down to is this, the proposal to change the name of the Georgia Ave.-Petworth station would be fine if the station wasn’t located in Ward 4. In an example of classic DC politics a double standard is being applied that let’s other non-conforming station names to move forward for consideration while this one does not. The draw bridge has been raised and the soldiers called to the battlements. The fiefdom will be protected at all costs.


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