Metro's SafeTrack: Service to National Airport, Pentagon City Affected by Surge 4 | NBC4 Washington

Metro's SafeTrack: Service to National Airport, Pentagon City Affected by Surge 4

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Transportation Reporter Adam Tuss explains the confusion and cramped conditions as the fourth surge of Metro's SafeTrack plan begins. (Published Tuesday, July 12, 2016)

    What to Know

    • A segment of the Blue and Yellow lines is shut down between National Airport and Pentagon City.

    • The Crystal City stop, which is located between those stations, is closed.

    • In addition, there is no Yellow Rush Plus service. The closures will last through July 18.

    The latest phase of Metro's nine-month-long maintenance surge will cause more headaches for Northern Virginia commuters and airport passengers.

    As of Tuesday, a segment of the Blue and Yellow lines is now shut down between the National Airport and Pentagon City stations. The Crystal City station, which is located between those stations, is closed. In addition, there is no Yellow Rush Plus service. 

    The closures will last through July 18 as WMATA tackles a new phase of its aggressive maintenance plan. 

    Free shuttle bus service is available in the following areas:

    • Between Braddock Road, Crystal City and Pentagon City (via limited free high-frequency express Metroway shuttles)
    • Between Braddock Road and Pentagon City
    • Between Pentagon City, Crystal City and National Airport (Crystal City and airport customers only)

    Riders traveling to or from D.C. should use shuttle buses between Braddock Road and Pentagon City to continue their trips, Metro officials said. Northbound travelers should exit at Braddock Road to catch a shuttle -- they should not stay on the train until National Airport. Shuttles to and from the airport are limited and should be for airport customers only, Metro officials said.

    Access to National Airport

    If you're trying to catch a flight, leave yourself plenty of extra time. Free shuttles will run between Pentagon City, Crystal City and National Airport, but they couldand there is additional ground transportation at National Airport, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) said.

    Passengers driving to the airport should make parking reservations before leaving home.

    With more people likely to drive or take an Uber, Lyft or taxi to the airport, travelers will have to deal with more traffic, which is already tough at times.

    MWAA has extra traffic management resources in place, but commuters are encouraged to make alternate transportation plans or avoid traveling during rush hour, if possible. 

    Metro riders should expect significantly longer wait times at and outside of multiple stations, WMATA has said. The affected stations are:

    • Franconia-Springfield
    • Van Dorn Street
    • King Street
    • Braddock Road
    • National Airport
    • Crystal City (no rail service)
    • Pentagon City
    • Pentagon
    • Huntington
    • Eisenhower Avenue
    • L'Enfant Plaza

    Train frequency will also change:

    • Blue Line trains are running every 12 minutes between Franconia-Springfield and National Airport, and every 12 minutes between Pentagon City and Largo Town Center.
    • Yellow Line trains are running every 12 minutes between Huntington and National Airport, and between Pentagon City and Greenbelt.

    In Alexandria, drivers will have to pay attention to street signs in certain areas.

    "The city is temporarily prohibiting some street parking around Metro stations affected by the surges and will restrict some street sections to buses only," Yon Lambert, Alexandria's director of transportation and environmental services, previously said.

    Here are some other ways you can get around during SafeTrack:

    Metrobus, ART, DASH Enhance Service

    WMATA is encouraging riders to try to use buses as much as possible. To find a bus-only trip, use WMATA's online trip planner and choose the "bus only" option. See Metrobus timetables here.

    Extra Metrobus service has been added on the following routes: 11Y (Mount Vernon Express), 10A (Huntington-Pentagon) and 10E (Hunting Point-Pentagon-Rosslyn. Regular Metrobus fares are $1.75, and 85 cents for seniors and people with disabilities. Express bus fares and airport express routes cost more. Bus-to-bus transfers are free if you're using your SmarTrip card.

    Arlington's ART bus has extra service on the ART43 (Crystal City-Rosslyn) route.

    Free DASH bus service is available on the AT3 and AT4 routes between Braddock Road and Pentagon City. Buses are running every 20 minutes from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m.

    Other Ways to Avoid Metrorail

    In addition to taking the bus, here are more options for getting around without Metrorail:

    Biking: The Washington Area Biking Association (@WABA) previously tweeted this Google map of D.C.-area trails, bike lanes and bike-friendly roads. Find information on the best bike routes along the Yellow Line corridor here. If you need to tune up your biking skills, check out WABA's classes on learning to ride and urban cycling online here. Need to rent a bike? Capital Bikeshare stations are located throughout the area; you can see rates or sign up here.

    The City of Alexandria will also lead morning "bike trains" between the Braddock Road and Pentagon City Metro stations via Crystal City.

    The Mount Vernon Trail also connects directly with the 14th Street and Memorial bridges.

    Car2Go or Zipcar: Get a short-term rental car from Car2Go or Zipcar.

    Carpooling/Slugging: Drivers can use the I-95 and I-495 Express Lanes for free with three people in the car (but you'll need an Express Lanes E-ZPass Flex transponder). VDOT also recommends checking out Slug-Lines.com if you're interested in slugging ("casual" carpooling to meet HOV requirements).

    Driving: Drivers should expect increased traffic and are encouraged to carpool or travel outside of peak periods if possible. If you must drive, leave yourself plenty of extra time to get around. In addition, D.C. has expanded parking restrictions during SafeTrack (find details here), and will have more traffic control officers on the streets.

    Lyft and/or Uber: You might want to download a ride-hailing app like Lyft or Uber if you haven't already. Find the Lyft app here for either iPhone or Android, and the Uber app on iTunes here or on Google Play here. Lyft said it will offer Metro riders discounted rides throughout SafeTrack's phases; see discount zones and info here. Uber says UberPOOL, in which passengers share cars, will be available across the entire D.C. area through the year of SafeTrack.

    VRE Train: Commuters traveling from southern Fairfax County and Alexandria can take VRE's Fredericksburg Line from Franconia-Springfield or King Street in Alexandria to access Crystal City, L'Enfant Plaza and Union Station.

    Additional regional buses: Check the schedules for Arlington County's ART bus and for Alexandria's DASH bus.

    Taxi: You can, of course, hail a cab on the street, but you can also order one online or by phone. DC.gov has a list of District taxi companies online here. The city of Alexandria has six authorized taxi companies; find them here. Arlington County has seven authorized taxi companies; find them here