Metro Columbus Day closures could be worse

Over Columbus Day weekend, Metro will close Metro Center, McPherson Square and Farragut West to Orange and Blue Line service in order to do maintenance recommended by the National Transportation Safety Board. Metro Center will still serve the Red Line, but still, you can imagine the grousing that follows the Blue/Orange effectively being separated into two segments.

DCist commenter nashpaul:

Metro needs to rescind that closure. It was only a few years ago that Metro was running normal rush hour service on Columbus Day (since their weekend schedule was woefully insufficient). Now they’re closing some of the busiest stations entirely?

It’s decisions like this that make it clear how hopeless things really are at Metro.

TBD commenter Ben Natkin:

Columbus Day weekend is also the weekend of the World Bank’s annual meetings, during which a huge number of people are coming and going from the Farragut West area. Not just government types either, but civil society representatives from all over the world and most participants are reliant on metro for getting around. These meetings happen every year at a date determined long in advance and with plenty of cooperation from the city, but nothing in WMATA’s press release indicates that they are aware of these meetings.

DC Crank Tank author B-Money:

Yes. This is inconvenient for many, locals and banking big wigs. But Columbus Day weekend has lower ridership than the average weekend; it’s a better choice for track work than say, any other non-holiday weekend. Four Red Line stations were closed over Labor Day weekend; it sucked but we survived. This is a little different because the private sector usually has Labor Day off, not Columbus Day. But due to the redundancy of transfer and walking opportunities in the system, I think we will all survive.

The work being done is part of the NTSB’s recommendations. Are the people complaining about this the same to sing “Fire Catoe!” (ex-Metro GM) after the crash last year? You can’t have it both ways. If you truly want a safe subway system, be happy that Metro is doing this work and accept that safety comes with inconvenience. If you want a subway system that runs 24 hours every day with no glitches, you could move to New York, and then complain about all the track maintenance that they do up there.

To the more reasonable people that realize this work needs to be done but still need to get around this weekend, the good news is that you can pretty much still get wherever you need to go via Metro. The bad news is it will take longer. If you are heading downtown (yes, even for the World Bank joint), either walk from Federal Triangle or Foggy Bottom to your destination, or use the Red/Green/Yellow stations to reach your destination. It always surprises me how dense the stations are downtown; you really may not have to walk all that far.

Metro stations are packed densely downtown, which helps mitigate closures. From Google.

Metro stations are packed densely downtown, which will help mitigate no Orange/Blue at three downtown stations. From Google.

For through travelers, especially going to or from Virginia, the tunnel under the Potomac will be pretty useless. That means…multiple transfers or walking from Foggy Bottom to Dupont Circle. Say you have to go from Rosslyn to Silver Spring. The fastest trip will take you down the Blue Line to the Pentagon, over the bridge to Gallery Place, then onto the Red Line. Yes that sucks, but at least it’s still possible in a pinch.

It’s easy to just drop Internet comments about an inconvenience, and I suppose occasionally that is an effective way to transit information. But in terms of responding to needed track work on a holiday (for some) weekend, I’m just not feeling the outrage.

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