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Remembering the early days of Metrorail

201002 metro19761215Metrorail map from Dec. 15, 1976. COURTESY PHOTO  “What took you so long?”

That was part of my reaction to Metrorail when I started using it regularly in 1977. I grew up on Long Island, and often visited New York City, where I took the subway all around Manhattan and to summer jobs. So with my New York background, it felt funny to be in a major city with no subway when I moved to DC in 1969.

Metrorail opened on March 27, 1976, with just five Red Line stations: Farragut North, Metro Center, Judiciary Square, Union Station and Rhode Island Avenue. Gallery Place opened in December 1976. (NoMaGallaudet did not open until 2004.)

When the Dupont Circle station opened on Jan. 17, 1977, I became a regular Metro commuter. I lived in the Dupont Circle neighborhood, and worked at the D.C. Council as a legislative aide for John A. Wilson, after whom the District’s city hall, the Wilson Building, is named.

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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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Council closer to funding bus rapid transit in eastern county

  • Published in Local

If everything goes as planned, the East County will be one step closer to having a new alternative for commuters.

Last week, the Montgomery County Department of Transportation and the Maryland Transit Administration released a study on the proposed Bus Rapid Transit for U.S. Route 29.

Representatives from MCDOT and MTA spoke to the County Council Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment Committee last week. The T & E committee did not vote on the proposal during its meeting last week.

The proposed BRT for Route 29 is part of a series of BRT lines the County is proposing – along with one on MD-355 and MD-586 – that it hopes will cut down on heavy traffic congestion in the County. The BRT would operate partially along the shoulder lanes as a quicker alternative to buses.

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Rockville studies BRT plans on Veirs Mill

  • Published in Local

 

ROCKVILLE – When state officials announce this December their preferred route for bringing Bus Rapid Transit to the MD-586 (Veirs Mill Road) corridor, they will chose among options costing between $23 million to $237 million.

City Council members will need to endorse a route connecting the Rockville and Wheaton Metro stations by this fall, though they may be able to push back a state-imposed Oct. 14 deadline, according to Andrew Gunning, the deputy director of Community Planning and Development Services for the city.

The most expensive option is for dedicating one to two BRT-only lanes in the median. That costs $118 million more than installing an extra lane on the right-hand side of the road in each direction. 

“We’re actually finding that this option, even though it costs twice as much as the outer curb lane option, it only generates about 1,000 more riders per day, so it’s not a big increase,” Gunning said to City Council members Monday.

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Rockville considers adding new circulator bus

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Rockville Seal

ROCKVILLE – Years after the city stopped sponsoring a Ride On bus due to cost, the City Council is determining whether to try out another circulator bus system for the city.

On Aug. 1, Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton joined Council members Virginia Onley and Beryl Feinberg in the 3-2 majority that voted in favor of authorizing $60,000 to study the potential need for setting up such a bus system.

Who would pay to operate and maintain the system, however, is an open question.

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Take me on outta town

 

MC DC - A Plague of Locusts So What Else is New for   Metro

“Train. Train. Take me on out of this town…”

The lyrics to an iconic song may trip merrily through your head as you wander off to your rendezvous with your favorite Metro stop – but you best know the entire song and perhaps six more to sing in your head if you decide to commute using the Red Line after August 1.

That’s when Metro’s so-called “SafeTrack” initiative will begin and directly affect Montgomery County commuters.

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Metro GM hires new COO, plans to cut 500 jobs

  • Published in Local

metro logoPaul Wiedefeld has hired a public transit veteran to serve as Metro’s new chief operating officer and plans to cut about 500 non-safety-related positions in the next several months.

Wiedefeld, general manager for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, said in a news release Wednesday that he selected Joseph Leader for the position. Leader will be responsible for several departments, including rail, bus and paratransit services starting Aug. 1. He will also be the executive manager of parking, Metro Transit Police and support services.

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Metro to change the way it is "on time"

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Amid pushbacks for new railcars, rush hour delays, and escalator and elevator outages, Metro staff announced at a Board of Directors committee meeting Jan. 14 that the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority is piloting a new way of gauging timely train arrival.

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