With the ridiculous amount of track work over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend, it was certainly an exercise in patience getting anywhere in the Washington area. Single-tracking and a closed Foggy Bottom Station made it a chore to get just about anywhere without a car.
Still, the work had to be done and holiday weekends are generally sleepy; doing the work over this period makes sense, because even while the track work is being done, it is still possible to get where you want to go car-free — you just have to patient.
Compare that to the situation last week in Baltimore, a city slightly larger than Washington but slightly less dense. With a Metro, light rail, commuter trains and an extensive bus system, public transportation is equally important to Charm City as it is to D.C. But just up 95 they had to deal with the unexpected closure of the northern quarter of half their light rail system due to an electrical problem. Forget the scheduled and well-publicized D.C. Metro track work; this was just no service, all of a sudden.
With plenty more scheduled station shutdowns on holiday weekends, including a President’s Day closure of Smithsonian and Federal Triangle, we can look forward to more 20-minute transfer waits on the D.C Metro. But at least we can plan for it. And hopefully the work WMATA is doing now prevents the same type of sudden shutdown that the City that Reads had to experience. Fingers crossed.