The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s first surges to affect the Red Line begin next week: Surge #6 takes place August 1 through August 7 and Surge #7 will be in effect August 9 to August 18. These surges, and especially Surge #6, are expected to cause major delays on the entire Red Line — the Metrorail system’s busiest line. Metro is urging commuters to find alternatives, particularly during weekday, peak travel hours.
At an informational event held on July 27 at the Silver Spring Transit Center, Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said that extensive track work will move to the Red Line in Montgomery County starting Monday, Aug. 1, and last at least a week. He said riders could expect delays of up to an hour.
Montgomery County Council Vice President Roger Berliner, who chairs the Council’s Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment Committee, spoke at the news conference and he talked about the patience Montgomery County Red Line users must have over the next few weeks after the Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation begins it “surge” of safety repairs on the Red Line.
Critical Information about Surge #6 which will take place from August 1 to August 7.
This Surge affects the second highest number of passengers of all WMATA surges. There will be continuous single tracking between Takoma and Silver Spring which will result in major disruptions throughout the entire Red Line.
The number of trains running between Glenmont and Silver Spring will be cut in half; one quarter of the trains between Silver Spring and NoMa will be available; and service between NoMa and Grosvenor-Strathmore will be cut by a quarter.
Anticipate significant Metrorail delays that could add an hour each way to commutes.
Red Line passengers are encouraged to avoid Shady Grove and Rockville stations.
Continuous single tracking between Shady Grove and Rockville means only one-third of the regular service will be available during peak hours. Red Line passengers on the west side of the Red Line are urged to seek alternate transportation, telework or ride at off-peak hours.
Critical Information about Surge #6 which will take place from August 9 to August 18.
Red Line trains will serve Shady Grove and Rockville every 18 minutes, rather than every six minutes during peak periods. Other Red Line trains will have nearly normal service.
Transportation Alternatives: Ride a Bus
Take a free RideOn “Red Line Shuttle” between the Grosvenor-Strathmore and Shady Grove stations via I-270 weekdays every 10 minutes from 5:30 am to 10:00 am and 2:30 pm to 7:00 pm. MCDOT is extending peak-hour service to four-and-a-half hours in both the morning and afternoon.
Take the enhanced RideOn Route 46 bus. RideOn will increase bus frequency to every 10 minutes during peak travel times between Grosvenor-Strathmore and Rockville via White Flint and Twinbrook stations. Regular fares apply.
Board at Twinbrook, White Flint or Grosvenor rather than at Shady Grove or Rockville. Parking is typically available at Twinbrook and White Flint.
Take MARC Train, which will add extra rail cars. Try the Brunswick Line, which has stations in Rockville, Metropolitan Grove, Garrett Park, Kensington, Silver Spring and Union Station. However, there is limited parking available near Garrett Park and Kensington stations.
In an effort to help Metro riders get through the WMATA’s SafeTrack closures of the Red Line Montgomery County has taken steps it hopes will alleviate some of the congestion and overcrowding on trains and surface roads.
For Metro Riders:
• MCDOT is extending peak-hour service on its free shuttles to four-and-half hours in both the morning and afternoon to encourage commuters to travel before 7:00 am or after 9:00 am and before 4:00 pm or after 6:00 pm.
• For Surge #6: Provide free Ride On “Red Line Shuttles” between the Silver Spring, Takoma and Fort Totten Metrorail stations and the Grosvenor — Strathmore, Medical Center, Bethesda and Friendship Heights stations weekdays every 10 minutes from 5:30 am to 10:00 am and 2:30 pm to 7:00 pm. MCDOT is extending peak-hour service to four-and-half hours in both the morning and afternoon.
• For Surge #7: Provide free RideOn “Red Line Shuttles” between the Grosvenor-Strathmore station and Montgomery College via I-270 weekdays every 10 minutes from 5:30 am to 10:00 am and 2:30 pm to 7:00 pm MCDOT is extending peak-hour service to four-and-half hours in both the morning and afternoon.
• For Surge #7: Provide enhanced RideOn Route 46 bus service (which operates between Montgomery College-Rockville and Medical Center), increasing frequency between Grosvenor-Strathmore and Rockville via White Flint and Twinbrook stations to every 10 minutes during peak travel times.
• Work with the Maryland Transit Administration to provide more MARC train cars on the Brunswick Line, sell tickets on some station platforms and provide tickets to MCDOT to sell at its TRiPS store in Silver Spring, Monday through Friday, 7:00 am to 5:00 pm.
• Provide commuter services assistance, including telework, alternate work schedules, carpooling, vanpooling and use of car-sharing.
• Post bike route “SafeTrack Detour” signs at station entrances to connect West Hyattsville on the Green Line, with the Takoma, Silver Spring, Forest Glen, Wheaton and Glenmont stations.
• Coordinate with Montgomery County Police to provide traffic control to improve bus operations at the Silver Spring Transit Center and other key locations.
• Offer free Bikeshare memberships, training and helmets to qualified, low income residents through the MC Liberty program.
• Monitor traffic flow and adjust traffic signals in areas most affected by SafeTrack to improve bus operations and traffic flow.
• Suspend MCDOT road repair projects along key commuter routes affected by surges.
• Request that the Maryland State Highway Administration restrict lane closures and construction projects along key routes affected by surges.
• Prohibit metered parking along MD 355, MD 97 and US 29 corridors to improve bus operations and traffic flow.
For more information, visit Montgomery County SafeTrack, Metro SafeTrack Surge #6, Metro SafeTrack Surge #7 or Montgomery County Commuter Services. Montgomery County’s 311 Call Center is extending its hours to 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday from August 1 through 18. Call 311 from within the County, 240-777-0311 from outside the County or use Maryland Relay Services. Online help from 311 is always available.
Photo by Montgomery County Media, courtesy Montgomery County Council.