Tag Archives: Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority

Sen. Mark Warner: Silver Line to open in April 2014

New Silver Line map
Silver Line To Start Service In April, Says WarnerWAMU
The first phase of Metro’s new Silver Line will delayed until April 2014 according to Virginia Senator Mark Warner. The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority is building the Silver Line and will then turn it over to the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority.

Warner says Metro will fail to collect $2 to $3 million in fares each month the Silver Line is delayed. The project was delayed a second time earlier this week so testing on safety software could be completed. Warner says Silver Line won’t open now until April.

A letter Warner sent to MWAA outlines his concerns and is included in the link above.

Of course, Sen. Warner isn’t the one who makes the decisions:

The Silver Line was supposed to open between Whiele Ave-Reston and East Falls Church via four Tysons stations, this month until a delay was announced in June 2013.

Perhaps having a federal airports authority build a rapid transit rail line wasn’t ideal. That being said, at least it’s getting built, I guess.

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Ben’s Chili Bowl opening location at National Airport in 2014

Half-smoke
Ben’s Chili Bowl to land at Reagan NationalThe Post
Ben’s Chili Bowl continues to expand with a location at Washington National Airport scheduled to open in 2014.

The addition of Ben’s is part of an aggressive push by airport officials to revamp concession offerings at both Reagan National and Washington Dulles International airports. Along with passenger and airline fees, concessions are a major source of income for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which oversees operations at both airports.

Earlier this month, Ben’s announced it was opening a Rosslyn location in 2014 as well. H Street NE is expected to get a location too, along with Nationals Park and FedEx Field.

Now, there may be some criticism of the expansion — I saw some in Facebook comments, but why should the Ali family limit themselves? Their contributions to the District and U Street in particular are wonderful and no less so if they have additional locations. I’m also on board with more places to get a half-smoke.

According to WTOP, National Airport will be getting several other eateries – American Tap Room, Legal Sea Foods and Pinkberry.

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WMATA’s new Metro map with Silver Line released

With new Metro map, agency tries to market Silver LineThe Post
The new Silver Line, currently expected to open in early 2014, requires a new Metro system map. In order to accommodate the line that will serve the Dulles Corridor, the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority brought back original designer, Laynce Wyman to figure to create an updated map. An initial version debuted in 2012 in conjunction with Rush Plus.

The new map (with annotations from The Post) keeps the basic design that dates back to the 1970s. There are several differences:

  • The Metro lines are not as wide
  • For the Blue-Orange-Silver portion, there are little white prongs attached to the station circle
  • Abbreviations are also being used for station names — i.e. Morgan Boulevard is now Morgan Blvd

One change that isn’t mentioned is that the line colors are different shades than what was used for about three decades. This change actually occurred within the last couple of years as the proposed Silver Line started appearing on maps.

I decided to go back and find an older Metro map* and compare it with the current edition.

WMATA MAPS PRESENT & PAST

NEW


OLD

maps not to scale

Using graphics software, I grabbed the hex/RGB numbers of each line’s color, past and present and put them together in this table:

WMATA SPECTRUM PRESENT & PAST
LINE NEW COLOR NEW HEX/RGB OLD COLOR OLD HEX/RGB
BLUE #0795d3
198-97-83
  #015593
1-85-147
RED   #be1337
190-19-55
  #e7312e
239-49-46
ORANGE   #da8707
218-135-7
  #f86e33
248-110-51
YELLOW   #f5d415
245-212-21
  #fbd731
251-215-49
GREEN   #00b050
0-176-80
  #00733a
0-115-8
SILVER   #a2a4a1
162-164-161
N/A N/A

I’m not sure that these color changes needed to be made, particularly the Orange Line which is pretty dull now. The Yellow Line seems the least changed.

As for the Silver Line itself:

Now, Metro has turned its focus to what its chief marketer calls “raising awareness” of the new, $6 billion rail line that eventually will run to Dulles International Airport and parts of Loudoun County.

Research among focus groups and from surveys conducted this year showed that only 45 to 55 percent of riders in the Washington region are aware of the rail addition, Metro said.

That leaves some transportation and land-use experts skeptical of whether — and when — the Silver Line will meet its ridership expectations. As one of the country’s most expensive transportation projects underway, the Silver Line is seen as an important test of whether drivers will abandon their cars and ride a transit line.

The Silver Line extension being built from East Falls Church will be 23 miles long when completed. The first phase is 11 miles and includes four new stations in Tysons Corner and one in Reston. Construction of the second phase, which will run to Dulles International Airport and into Loudoun County, is expected to start in mid-2014.

I would like to know more about the survey — which riders are most aware or unaware of the Silver Line. If they are Red Line riders, that’s probably not too big a deal. If they are Orange Line riders in Arlington, we’ll that’s a different story.

I still wish WMATA had gone with a letter/number suffix naming convention.

On a lighter note, I think I’ll wait until the Silver Line is completed to Loudoun County before I order a Metro map shower curtain (We Love DC).

*Finding an old Metro map was harder than I expected. The small one I found turned out to be from Hardball Talk of all things, from last season when the Washington Nationals in a typical tone-deaf move, argued about keeping Metro open in case of late-games.

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More Silver Line problems

Federal official raises concerns about safety on new Metro lineThe Post
On Wednesday, we learned that the Silver Line would likely be delayed. Know, we seem to know why:

Dealing with the changes and with faulty testing of the safety systems could delay the December opening of the $5.6 billion rail extension, officials said.

Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff, in a letter to local officials, said he was troubled by a contractor’s failure to obtain approval for the changes to what is known as the automatic train control system.

The controls serve the same function as those that failed in the fatal 2009 Red Line crash, and the contractor is the same company that manufactured the Red Line controls.

In his letter, obtained by The Washington Post, Rogoff said the contractor, Alstom Signaling, “unilaterally made various design changes to the [automatic train control system] without prior approval” from Metro or the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority.

Ugh. What were they thinking?

The Silver Line’s first phase will run from Whiele Ave. in Reston to the Orange Line between West Falls Church and East Falls Church stations via Tysons. It seems a 2014 opening is a lock now, but when in 2014?

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WTOP: Silver Line delayed until 2014

WTOP Exclusive: Silver Line opening delayed until JanuaryWTOP
I can’t say I was surprised when I saw this tweet this afternoon:

Once the Bechtel Corporation completes the work and the airport authority certifies it, Metro will take at least 90 days to independently test the trains and tracks and hire and schedule staff to operate the Silver Line.

When pressed, Carnaggio admitted Oct. 1 would be a likely date for the handover to Metro, making Jan. 1 the earliest launch date.

“Weather has played a role in the reason the date is where it is now and we are confident the contractor will meet it,” he says.

In theory, the delay will be as little as three weeks. Having a 2014 opening instead of a 2013 is disappointing, particularly given the awful traffic around Tysons prior to Christmas.

The second phase, completing the Silver Line to and beyond Dulles Airport is expected in January 2019.

On a happier note, WMATA is expected showcase the 7000 series Metro rail cars tomorrow:

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Silver Line progressing with a possible late year opening

New Silver Line map
In the last few weeks, Metro rail cars have begun traveling up and down the Silver Line. The tracks, at least east of Tysons, have been energized and testing is ongoing.

[flickr : Photos tagged with silverlineopenhousemaps/slideshow]

Big changes are coming when the Silver Line opens, some of them outlined in this Dr. Gridlock update from earlier in the week. The Metropolitan Washington Area Transit Authority (WMATA) discloses that Blue Line riders will experience a decrease level of service as a result of the Silver Line, but argues that five riders will see benefits for every one rider who sees repercussions.

Last month, I went to an open house about the Silver Line in Crystal City hosted by WMATA. I jotted down some notes and took some photographs. A few notes:

  • Increased shuttle bus service in Tysons will be concurrent with the Silver Line with current West Falls Church buses being reassigned to serve Tysons stations.
  • Car parking and secure bike parking will be available at the Wiehle-Reston East station, but not any of the Tysons stations. Bike-sharing is a possible solution in Tysons.
  • Of great interest in the long-term is that Metro is evaluating adding a second Rosslyn station that would restore blue line trips to Rosslyn with a Silver line “interface” as well. Another option is a wye from Orange to Blue.
  • A new downtown line (M Street corridor) isn’t in long-term plans, but height-limit revisions could accelerate need. WMATA believes that additional rail cars could delay the need for expansion for another 15 years or so.
  • 64 new 7000-series rail cars entering service to replace 1000 series cars which date to the systems launch. Another 64 are being allotted to the Silver Line.
  • The Silver Line will extend to Largo, paired with the Blue Line.

It will be interesting to see how this all shakes out – I’m kind of skeptical they can get it operational by end of 2013.

OFFICIAL SITE


Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project– DC to Dulles Metrorail

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First phase of Metro Silver Line may open this year

The Silver Line, the largest expansion of the Metro rail system, is progressing to the point that un-powered “clearance car” rail cars are now being pushed up and down the track. I saw one on Friday.

View more videos at: http://nbcwashington.com.

The first phase of the project, from Whiele Ave. to East Falls Church via Tysons could open late this year. The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority has concerns that the tunnel under Routes 7 & 123 in Tysons may have experienced additional settling (The Post).

Fairfax County plans on having new bus service to the Silver Line open concurrently.

PROJECT WEB SITE

Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project

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WMATA: Next Metro map released

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority has released the next Metro rail map and some service changes called Rush+. The big changes (from the press release which includes the new map):

Rush+ will improve service for nearly 110,000 customers on the Green, Yellow, Blue and Orange lines. Seventeen stations will get more frequent service with six additional trains every hour of rush hour.

  • During peak periods, more than 46,000 Orange Line customers will benefit from six additional trains per hour – three in each direction – between Vienna and Largo Town Center. This will result in 18 percent more capacity on the line, or approximately 2,600 seats per hour.
  • For 33,500 Blue and Yellow Line customers in Virginia, Rush+ will increase the share of Yellow Line trains, meaning more direct and faster access to downtown via the Yellow Line bridge. A smaller number (about 16,000) weekday peak-period customers who travel on Blue Line trains via Arlington Cemetery will experience a maximum of six-minutes additional waiting time for a train.
  • Stations north of downtown on the Green and Yellow lines will benefit from 18 additional trains during rush hour periods. Stations from Shaw-Howard to Greenbelt will benefit from six additional Yellow Line trains each peak hour – three in each direction – between Greenbelt and Franconia-Springfield. And for the first time, you will be able to travel from Greenbelt to Franconia-Springfield without transferring. More than 28,000 customers will benefit from the change.
  • Whether this works out like they predict remains to be seen.

    On the map, the rush hour only service will be marked by dashed lines. Also, the lines now have circles with 2-letter codes for each line (BL, GR, OR, RD, SV, YL). The Silver Line is on there, but shown as under construction with a solid line (they should have done it like the old map with alternating white lines) and un-bordered station circles without names. New station names (like Navy Yard-Ballpark) are also shown. The little car icons for parking lots are replaced with the typical “boxed P” which is helpful.

    The modifications are not surprising, but I still like my plan with lettered and numbered Metro lines better.

    Left unsaid in the press release was that the map was designed and redesigned by Laynce Wyman.

    The new maps and service begin on June 18, 2012.

    Greater Great Washington reminds us
    that the survey about Silver Station names ends on March 21 — just two days away. Their critique is up as well.

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    Survey on Silver Line names, plus potential labor problems loom

    There is a survey for station names along the Silver Line survey in Fairfax County that is worth filling out. Coming up with the Tysons station names isn’t really easy.

    Meanwhile, disagreements over the type of labor (union vs. non-union) are the latest snag in the efforts to build the second half of the Silver Line (WTOP). Large-scale infrastructure is never easy to build and I am still kind of shocked seeing the Silver Line construction daily. It along with a baseball team in D.C. are two things I never thought I would see.

    Loudoun County may want to opt out too. Probably short-sighted in the long-term, but I get it.

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    Proposed new Metro map draft released

    Metro gets to work on ‘transition’ mapThe Post
    A preliminary new design of the Metro map has been released. The map’s creator, Lance Wyman, has suggested that the new Dulles Corridor line be colored “cherry blossom” (pink) for some reason.

    Metro is soliciting feedback about the redesign which has some improvements in station naming and terminal stations. I’ll be sure to fill it out. Hopefully, there are fields where I can put in my Metro solution is to use lettered (full line) and number (partial line) routes and stick with the Silver Line for the Dulles Corridor.

    Barbara Richardson, Metro’s assistant general manager for customer service, communications and marketing, chatted on washingtonpost.com this morning about the proposed map and survey.

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