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$75 million pledged by DMV for Metro to “reduce crowding and add system capacity”

by Prince Of Petworth February 27, 2014 at 3:15 pm 28 Comments

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From WMATA:

“Metro General Manager and CEO Richard Sarles today applauded an increased capital commitment of $75 million by Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe and District of Columbia Mayor Vincent C. Gray, saying that it marked an important down payment towards Metro’s “Momentum” strategic plan to reduce crowding and add system capacity.

The funding announcement was made jointly by the region’s three leaders today following a National Capital Regional Meeting in Arlington.

“Thanks to the strong leadership of Mayor Gray and Governors O’Malley and McAuliffe, we can continue our rebuilding efforts and lay the foundation for all eight-car trains, with power upgrades, Union Station and Gallery Place station expansion designs, and buses for priority corridors.” said Metro General Manager and CEO Richard Sarles.

Momentum is Metro’s vision for the future. Building on the important Metro Forward capital program which is virtually rebuilding the system and making key safety and reliability improvements, the strategic plan addresses growing crowding and outlines near-term goals for 2025 along with the steps that Metro must take to prepare for coming regional population and economic growth. Importantly, the plan ensures that Metro never returns to a time when the system’s tracks, escalators, trains and buses, are not maintained to today’s safety and reliability standards. For riders, Momentum will mean more trains, reduced crowding, faster buses, brighter, safer, easier-to-navigate Metrorail stations, and improved customer information systems.

“We have now crossed the halfway point of our Metro Forward rebuilding effort, improved on-time performance, increased escalator availability, reduced employee injuries and are preparing for the next generation of railcars later this year,” said Metro Board Chair Tom Downs. “None of these successes would be possible without the extraordinary support of our elected leaders, and on behalf of the Metro Board and the riders who depend on the system, I express our appreciation to the Mayor and Governors.”

The Metro Board unanimously approved the Momentum strategic plan in June 2013. Since then, Metro Board members, stakeholders and senior managers, partnering with business community leaders and transit advocates, have been working to inform and build support from riders, organizations, jurisdictions, and regional employers. Today, more than 60 organizations and more than 2,000 individuals have endorsed the Momentum plan. Riders and stakeholders have said overwhelmingly that increasing capacity with eight-car train service is the most important investment priority for Metro.

  • Joe C

    Is it me, or is $75 mil not a whole lot for projects of this scale?

    • Anonymous

      It’s probably not enough to fix the escalators.

    • Anonymous

      I’m not even sure it was close to the amount requested.

  • BBBB

    “pledged”

  • D

    Bench.

    Seating.

  • Anon

    Extend the yellow line past Mt. Vernon, for god’s sake. The green line gets so packed with everyone trying to get to/from Mt. Vernon. Given the migration to Shaw/Petworth recently, it makes no sense to stop at Mt. Vernon anymore.

    • Ugh, metro

      +1,000,000,000

    • gotryit

      Isn’t that already done at times? I know I get yellow line trains at the Columbia Heights / Georgia Ave metros

      • Anonymous

        Only rush+ yellow line trains go past Mt. Vernon during rush hour. Very frustrating for those of us who have to get off and wait to cram onto a packed green line just to go a few more stops.

        • i’ve started switching trains at l’enfant just to avoid the mt. vernon cluster. i don’t get it. there seem to be plenty of yellow line trains going south during the morning rush, but they’re few and far between going north in the evening.

    • JS

      What are you talking about? It already does this.

      • not enough. the rush + trains are supposed to, but commuting from the pentagon to petworth in the evenings during rush hour i’m hard pressed to find a yellow line train that’s going past mt. vernon. it’s really annoying.

    • can someone explain to me why on EARTH any yellow line trains stop at mt. vernon?

      • Anonymous

        to speed up commutes to places like king st. and beyond

    • Anonymous

      I think this has to do with where Metro can turn around the trains.

      • JS

        It’s both of these things. There are no major job centers north of Mt. Vernon and given the load of commuters to/from southern Yellow Line stations into/out of DC the ridership doesn’t really justify running trains up to Ft. Totten (where the next pocket track is).

        • Anonymous

          Have you been on the trains going from Mt. Vernon to Shaw? That should justify running them farther easily.

        • but apparently there are a ton of residents north of mt. vernon who would like to get home in the evenings w/o having to switch trains along the same track going in the same direction. hopefully WMATA is aware of this.

          • Anonymous

            There are a lot of Metro customers who would like a lot of different things. Unfortunately WMATA can’t cater to everyone’s desires all the time, regardless of how much sense you think it makes. Probably no comfort to you but many of us have to switch trains on the way home at night.

  • Hopefully those new trains get rid of the carpet.

    • Anonymous

      They will I believe. I forget what they are installing in lieu of the carpet though. Guessing some rubberized plastic.

      • Anonymous

        Yes, it’s some sort of rubberized plastic. I was one of the newer trains a few days ago. It’s exactly the same material on the NYC subways.

  • Corey

    a lot of yellow line trains still end at MT. Veronon. Luckily i usually dont hit the yellow line been lucky!

  • lesserlesserwashington

    That will build less than 1/4 of a mile of new tunnel.

  • Skjp

    Here’s my 10 pt plan:
    1) Reduce board member (incl Sarles’) salaries by 40%
    2) Change all mezzanine escalators to stairs, maintenance cost savings channeled into elevator maintenace
    3) Change announcement boards to simply arrival times and location
    4) remove carpeting in trains, divert cleaning costs to janatorial salaries
    5) except for actual cleanup requirements, clean bi weekly vs. daily – divert costs into janatorial salaries and station manager salaries
    6) introduce day, week and monthly passes from tourists and commuters.
    7) run trains on extended hours, costs paid for by increase in ridership, and revenue neutral janatorial and stationmanager salaries
    8) Why do short trains even exist? phase out short cars with full size trains on an attrition basis.
    9) Make metro an independent organization without DC/MD/VA oversight so with continuous dues from each state and a discretionary budget under which Metro does not require state authority.
    10) Major infrastruture overhaul investment to add spillover or express tracks throughout the metro system to avoid any future track delays and smooth metro service on weekends and rush hour. increased revenues from increased ridership due to better service will only partially cover cost of overhaul and that’s where the remaing $75M comes in, but likely more.

    • Blueblu

      Very few cities even have express tracks and for the ones that do, they were built concurrently with the rest of the system. No one just tacks them on later. For the vast majority of cities (yes, this includes DC as well) in the world the cost vs. benefits ratio to include express tracks simply isn’t there. A smarter thing to suggest would be to build parallel lines that follow a slightly different route to free up capacity and serve new areas while doing so. An example of this would be Beijing Subway’s Line 1 and recently opened Line 6.

      • skjp

        Yeah, don’t get me started on how this system should have been built vs. was built, or I’d be overhauling the design of every station stop … but now that it is built doesn’t mean we don’t need the capacity. And New York did it in the 60’s. they majorly overhauled their subway to the tune of over a billion dollars, including express tracks in Queens. Lets just not think of it in todays dollars.

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