03/31/14 11:00am


“Dear PoPville,

Metro has been working on an escalator in the Columbia Heights station for a while, and I finally read the sign they put up. This escalator is between the train platform and the next level up. It is 100% underground, which makes the sign pretty confusing. Does Metro really plan to put a glass canopy over an underground escalator to protect it from the elements, or did they think they needed to put up a sign to inform riders of what they’re doing, without pausing to check whether the sign provides accurate information?

Here’s the text of the sign:

Many Metro escalators are exposed to harsh elements that they weren’t designed for. That’s why we’ve covered them with glass canopies.

These canopies provide shelter for the equipment. And more importantly, for you.
Some stations still need them, and as we replace escalators, we’ll install a canopy to put on a much-needed finishing touch

Hahaha they put the same sign on an underground escalator they are working on at the Petworth metro too. My guess is they just ran out of signs explaining the work they were doing and had extras of these and said ‘screw it, this’ll work…’

03/29/14 3:53pm

Photo of 14th and Irving St, NW tweeted by @wowindc

@wowindc tweets us around 3pm:

“expect delays below & above ground around block of DCUSA.”

@metrotransitPD tweets:

“MTPD on scene at Columbia Heights for person struck by n/b train. Preliminary report is the person intentionally left the platform. Col Hghts update: Adult male intentionally placed himself in path of arriving Yellow Line train, fatality. Single tracking continues.”

From @ metrorailinfo:

“Green/Yellow Line: Single tracking btwn Georgia Ave & Shaw-Howard due to a person struck by a train at Columbia Heights.Expect delays.”

Ed. Note: From the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – No matter what problems you are dealing with, we want to help you find a reason to keep living. By calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255) you’ll be connected to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area, anytime 24/7.

03/27/14 3:40pm

Photo by PoPville flickr user nevermindtheend


“The Metro Board of Directors today approved an FY15 operating budget that includes modest fare changes for Metrorail, Metrobus and MetroAccess starting in July. The budget advances the Metro’s strategic plan and includes funding to provide safer, better, and more service, all while continuing safety improvements, the rebuilding of the Metro system, increasing capacity, and improving the effectiveness of the current rail and bus networks.

Here is a summary of fare changes that will take effect July 1, 2014:


Fares will increase an average of 3% (about 10 cents per trip). Short trips of 3 miles or less will increase from $1.70 to $1.75 during off-peak and from $2.10 to $2.15 during rush hour.
The maximum rail fare will increase to $5.90, from $5.75 today.
A $1 surcharge will continue to be applied for trips taken with a paper farecard.
Passes will increase to the following prices:
Unlimited one-day pass $14.50
Unlimited 7-day pass $59.25
Unlimited 28-day pass $237.00
7-day “short trip” pass $36.00


Regular bus fares will become $1.75, regardless of whether using cash or SmarTrip. Today, fares are $1.60 for SmarTrip and $1.80 cash. (more…)

03/26/14 1:30pm


Thanks to a reader for sending:

“I’d love to see what the PoPville community has to say about this venture…”

Washington Business Journal reports on the plan from the owner of Grand Central DC in Adams Morgan and Brickside Food & Drink in Bethesda – the buses have:

“just eight reclining leather seats. Amenities include DirecTV, WiFi and complimentary refreshments. DC-to-NYC service starts April 11 for $90 each way.”

The Royal Sprinter website says:

“Twice daily service to and from DC and NY, leaving DC at 7 am and 9:30 am and departing NY at 3:00 pm and 7:00 pm, $90 each way.

Our Mercedes Sprinter vehicles are custom-designed and built to exact specifications to exude an atmosphere of optimum relaxation and luxury. Each vehicle can host up to eight passengers, allowing for plenty of personal space, privacy and peace. Diamond-quilted black leather seats line the 170-inch extended model on an angle, so that guests have no one directly in front of or behind them. Each seat not only reclines, but also includes leg extensions so that guests can fully unwind. Dark wood colored floors and overhead cabinets highlight the interior, while tinted windows and special lighting further set the tone for a luxurious ride.

Washington, DC – West End/Downtown
1201 24th Street, NW

Washington, DC – Chevy Chase
4300 Military Road NW


New York City – Midtown Manhattan
540 Park Avenue (at 61st Street)”

You can read more about the service here.


03/20/14 5:00pm

Photo by PoPville flickr user ekelly80


This year’s break will take place over four consecutive weekends, beginning Saturday, March 22, and continuing through Sunday, April 13. Trains will run at regular weekend intervals on all lines. During daytime hours, normal weekend intervals are every 6 to 12 minutes. (The only planned weekend work during this time will take place late Sunday evenings, after 10 p.m., when ridership is light.)

In addition, Metro will run more 8-car trains than normal to provide additional capacity. Eight-car trains are the longest possible on the Metrorail system.

Sarles encouraged riders to load value onto their SmarTrip card in advance – especially through Auto Reload, the online feature that automatically replenishes a low balance. In addition, riders traveling to the Tidal Basin are encouraged to use stations other than Smithsonian, which is frequently crowded during the spring season.

On average, Metro ridership increases by more than 15 percent during Cherry Blossom season, and weekend ridership can double to near-weekday levels if the weather is nice.

Metro is at the halfway point of a six-year, $5.5 billion program to improve safety and reliability through the reconstruction of major components of the rail system. It represents the largest capital investment — and work effort — since Metrorail’s original construction in the early 1970s.”

03/19/14 4:15pm

Photo by PoPville flickr user thisisbossi


“Tomorrow, Metro will introduce the system’s two newest escalators at Van Ness Station, the tenth and eleventh new escalators to be installed under the Metro Forward rebuilding program.

The two new escalators serve the entrance of Van Ness Station on the east side of Connecticut Ave and replace outdated units that were installed when the station first opened in 1981. The reliability of the original units had decreased dramatically over time and as such, Metro engineers determined that a full replacement of the escalators was necessary.

The Van Ness project marks the first two escalators under a contract with KONE Corporation to fully replace up to 128 escalators by 2020. New escalators are currently being installed at five stations: Georgia Ave, Columbia Heights, Bethesda, Friendship Heights and Mt Vernon Square.

Under Metro Forward, new escalators have already been installed at Foggy Bottom (3), Dupont Circle (3), and Pentagon (3).

In addition to the escalator replacement projects, Metro has already “rehabilitated” to “like new” condition more than 100 escalators across the system under Metro Forward. Rehabilitation projects result in the replacement of all critical parts, including the escalator’s steps, handrails, motors, controllers, chains, and other moving parts.

As a result of the replacement and rehabilitation efforts, combined with an enhanced maintenance regimen, Metro has achieved some of the highest escalator availability scores in recent memory. Availability averaged 92.2% in 2013, up 3 percent from the prior year, and the best performance since 2010.”

03/17/14 2:30pm


Thanks to a reader for sending:

“It’s at L’Enfant. How in the world did metro think this was a smart thing to put up??”

In early Dec. the Post reported:

Lynn Bowersox, Metro’s assistant general manager for customer service, communications and marketing, defended the ad and claimed responsibility for the communications campaign the ad is part of. She called the campaign a “series of unlikely conversations between friends and colleagues” about improvements at Metro.

Despite the defense I can’t believe the ads are still posted given the negative reaction. The reader sent the photo above on Friday from inside the L’Enfant Plaza metro station.

03/16/14 10:05pm


“Dear PoPville,

I was near the UCLA campus this weekend and noticed several of these diagonal crosswalks. It looked like an efficient way to move large numbers of pedestrians at once, thus clearing the way for smoother automobile traffic, since all crosswalks have a walk sign at the same time.

I’m wondering if one of these would work at the intersection of 14th and Irving, which is one of the worst intersections in Columbia Heights. Metro Buses would be able to make a right turn from Irving to Southbound 14th without having to wait for pedestrians. During rush hour, sometimes only one or two cars are able to make a right or left turn after pedestrians have cleared the crosswalks.

What do the readers think and who in the city is in charge of traffic design?”

We actually have one in Chinatown too – it’s called a Barnes Dance from 7th and H St, NW:


DDOT was in charge, more info from a press release issued in 2010:

“The District Department of Transportation is launching a new pilot program aimed at providing safer crossings for pedestrians at one of the District’s most traversed intersections: 7th and H streets, NW in Chinatown. The new traffic pattern, commonly called a “Barnes Dance,” allows pedestrians to cross in every direction, including diagonally, at the same time while vehicles on all four sides of the intersection are stopped at a red signal. The change is scheduled to be implemented on Wednesday, May 12 at 10 am.

“We are really excited to launch this pilot, and the intersection we’ve chosen is a great place to test this innovative timing technique,” said DDOT Director Gabe Klein. “Nearly 27,000 pedestrians use this intersection on an average day and about 26,000 vehicles. We believe by utilizing the Barnes Dance we can minimize conflicts and create a safer environment for everyone.”

Statistics show there were 35 total vehicle crashes at that intersection with 9 injuries (4 involving pedestrians) in 2009, and a total of 15 pedestrians injured from 2005-2008.