City of Alexandria Provides Updates, Seeks Feedback on First Week of Metro Platform Improvement Project
For Immediate Release: June 4, 2019
The City of Alexandria is providing updates and seeking feedback on alternative transportation methods during Metro’s closure of all four Metrorail stations in Alexandria for safety repairs as part of its Platform Improvement Project. The stations closed on May 25, and will reopen on September 9.
Customers who have used alternative transportation methods instead of Metrorail, or to avoid traffic caused by station closures, are encouraged to give feedback to the City online. Customers may also provide feedback to Metro online.
During the first week of the closures, travel times varied greatly during morning and evening commutes, with some higher and some lower than equivalent times in April and May. The most significant traffic delays appear to have resulted from weather, vehicle crashes and power outages, and not directly from the Metrorail station closures.
Morning travel times on the main north-south corridors (Route 1, Washington Street and N. Van Dorn Street) were generally 15% to 30% higher than usual. Evening travel times on these routes varied from 30% lower than usual to 30% higher than usual. The City is also collecting vehicle volume data, which should be available next week.
The shuttle buses at the Eisenhower and Van Dorn Metrorail stations operated smoothly by the second commuting day, with moderate wait times and little to no crowding. The King Street-Old Town Metrorail Station was congested due to previous unrelated construction activity, causing some initial confusion about shuttle bus locations. Customers at the Braddock Road Metrorail Station experienced long lines and inconsistent bus arrivals throughout the week, primarily due to traffic on Route 1. City, Metro and DASH officials have made adjustments with the goal of improving pedestrian and bus flow this week.
On May 28, DASH operated more than 100 buses in regular service for the Blue Line Shuttle, a first in the agency’s 35-year history. The Blue Line Shuttle carried 6,000 to 7,000 riders per weekday and more than 12,000 over Memorial Day weekend, and the stop in Old Town at the intersection of King and Washington streets saw more than 200 boardings per day.
Biking on the Potomac Avenue Trail increased by more than 80% since the same time last year, and biking on the Metro Linear Trail more than doubled from the week prior to the station closures. The Potomac Riverboat Company Water Taxi between Alexandria and The Wharf in Washington, D.C., carried 2,274 passengers during the morning and evening commutes last week.
In response to feedback from customers, the City worked with its partner agencies to address challenges during the initial week. These responses included doubling the number of parking spaces available at Landmark Mall for the express bus to the Pentagon; installing new traffic control signage around the King Street-Old Town Metrorail Station to reduce congestion; installing wooden platforms, concrete sidewalks, rubberized mats and trash receptacles to improve conditions around bus stops in grassy areas; and installing temporary two-hour parking signs around stations to prevent parking by construction workers. In addition, Metro made adjustments to the Huntington-Pentagon Express shuttle to reduce travel time and crowding along the Yellow Line Shuttle route, and is exploring the use of longer buses on the Metrobus 11Y route to keep up with demand.
The City staffed its Emergency Operations Center and Traffic Management Center during each commuting period to monitor conditions and coordinate any necessary response. Transportation staff and police officers also monitored each Metrorail station and shuttle bus stop on-site, with additional staff available for rapid response to issues.
For updates, travel alternatives and other resources during the Platform Improvement Project, visit alexandriava.gov/GoAlex.
For media inquiries, contact Andrea Blackford, Senior Communications Officer, at email@example.com or 703.746.3959.
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This news release is available at alexandriava.gov/110026.
Note: This news release was edited on June 12, 2019, to revise the references to responses made based on customer feedback.