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Riders inhale pepper spray at Green Line Metro station

  • Published in Local

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GREENBELT-- Dozens of riders started coughing and covering their noses as they entered Greenbelt Station, purchased SmarTrip cards and rode the escalator  to the platform after inhaling  police  pepper spray Tuesday morning. Riders leaving the station started choking as they approached the fare gates.

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Metro taking leaks seriously on Red Line

  • Published in Local

metro logoMetro is testing a way to waterproof a group of Red Line stations, but the pilot requires single-tracking on weeknights and station shutdowns on weekends for the next four weeks.

Metro spokesperson Richard Jordan said Metro awarded the waterproofing contract for $4.9 million.

Red Line riders will continue to see single-tracking, which began June 10, Monday through Friday after 9 p.m. for the next three weeks, as well as four consecutive weekend shutdowns starting Saturday so that Metro and its unnamed contractor can make progress on installing the waterproofing.

Metro Board of Directors member Michael Goldman, who represents Montgomery County, said Wiedefeld briefed him prior to announcing the pilot. The pilot was under Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld’s discretion so he didn’t consult the Board for approval.

“As he presented it, we have a major problem there which was a cause of major outages,” Goldman said matter-of-factly. “It’s caused a hell of a lot of delays on the Red Line.”

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Eight years after Metro crash, families start to ‘grieve healthy’

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MPI LegMem 0009 bRaja Williams (left) and Ava DeBose, children of crash victim Veronica DuBose, stand by the memorial dedicated to their mother in Legacy Memorial Park. PHOTO BY MARK POETKER  The last thing Victor Fernandez told his mom, Ana, was “I love you,” and she said it back. The last thing Sergio Fernandez did was hug his mom, and she kissed him on the forehead.

Shortly thereafter, Ana Fernandez died in Metrorail’s catastrophic 2009 Red Line crash that took nine lives.

The accident’s eighth anniversary was recognized June 22 at Legacy Memorial Park on New Hampshire Avenue in Northeast D.C., just above the tracks where it happened. The families and friends of three of the deceased held an informal remembrance and prayed together.

Sergio, who’s now 18 and just graduated from Northwood High School in Silver Spring, said it’s been hard growing up without his mother, “But you gotta move on. You have to grow up.” Victor, 20, who graduated from Northwood last year, said, “We do everything in honor of her, like she was here.”

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Metro finally finishes SafeTrack on Red Line

  • Published in Local

metro logoROCKVILLE – The project manager of SafeTrack, Metro’s year-long program of repairing the aging rail system, said the program has fixed the worst parts of the system but Metro has more work to do.

Laura Mason, SafeTrack project manager, used a comparison from Board Chairman D.C. Council member Jack Evans and described the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority to a sick patient.

“I think we’ve stabilized the system, so I think how our chairman of the board (Evans) has put it is, the patient was very, very sick,” Mason said at Rockville Station June 21. “We’ve done surgery – we’ve repaired sections, we still have a long ways to go. We still need to do physical therapy, we need to eat well, and maintain our health, so we’ve taken care of the worst sixteen areas.”

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Metro and PEPCO point fingers at each other

  • Published in Local

Hundreds of Blue, Orange and Silver line Metro riders suffered delays of 20 to 40 minutes during morning rush hour May 31 due to a power problem, but Metro and Potomac Electric Power Company (PEPCO) officials disagree on the cause.

Rider Dylan Echter said he was planning to be early for a meeting that day, but when he arrived at the entrance to Eastern Market Station, he ended up waiting a total of 25 minutes for a train in near-darkness.

“Light (was) coming from down the stairs, and there was some light coming from the trains,” said Echter, a D.C. resident. “When I walked down, there was really only light from the train.”

Metro spokesperson Richard Jordan said Thursday the delays resulted from a PEPCO problem.

However PEPCO spokesperson Eric Winkfield disagreed and said PEPCO never sent crews to the site of the power problem. He also said Metro told PEPCO operations that the problem was on Metro’s end.

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Metro finally retiring oldest cars

  • Published in Local

NTSB first warned subway system about danger following 2004 incident

metro logoWASHINGTON – The National Transportation Safety Board says Metro’s 1000 series cars have to go and a Metro spokesman claims they will be gone in a few weeks.

But the problem goes back more than a decade, to 2006 when the NTSB first told Metro managers they might need to replace the aging cars following an investigation into a 2004 acciddent.

Meanwhile Metro continues to operate 34 of its original rail cars to transport passengers, despite the National Transportation Safety Board’s 2010 recommendation to remove them.

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Pop ups popping up at Grosvenor Metro stop

  • Published in Local

xPop up Shops at Metro 1Pop-up shopping at Grovesnor Metro in Bethesda. PHOTO BY MARK POETKER Commuters at the Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro stop aren’t rushing to their cars at the end of the day quite as quickly as they normally do. Between now and the end of June, the area between the parking lot and the entrance to the Red Line train is home to pop-up stores selling food, clothing and flowers on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays between 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

What started as an idea to demonstrate to commuters how they plan to redevelop the station area in a few years, Fivesquares Development in Washington, D.C., took a retired 4,000-series Metro car and cut it up into numerous pieces, which currently serve as home to the popup stores, which opened May 17.

“We wanted to bring life to the plaza,” said Ron Kaplan, principal at Fivesquares.

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Green Party candidate to run for council seat

  • Published in Local

Tim WillardTim Willard.      FILE PHOTO   Tim Willard of Kensington has formally entered the race for one of four county council at-large seats as a candidate of the Green Party.

“I’m running on a platform of sustainability,” Willard said. “I am going to be the only candidate looking at the limits of growth seriously,” he added.

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Single-tracking on Metro Red Line this weekend to test for electrical problems

  • Published in Local

metro logoMetro will begin single-tracking Red Line trains and reducing service this weekend, starting at 8 p.m. Friday, so its contractor can test for electrical problems on its rails, Metro spokesperson Ron Holzer said.

"I have said consistently that when we identify problems, we are going to address them head-on," said Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld. "We now have a pattern of electrical issues all in the same area, and we are going to act to resolve the issue and improve service for our customers."

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