The Commonwealth Transportation Board has allocated an additional $3.6 million to provide additional funding for summer bus, trolley, and water taxi services to help mitigate the impact of planned Metro station closures. The move by the Board comes after WMATA’s March 15th public announcement that it will be suspending service at six blue and yellow line stations between May 25th and September 2nd.
WMATA announced station closures after citing badly needed repairs at stations across the DC metro area, but County officials and commuters are concerned about the effect this will have on commute times. WMATA estimates that some 17,000 riders enter the effected stations on a typical weekday morning. Somewhere around 60% of them use the free shuttle bus service, but this leaves quite a few riders unaccounted for, riders who the County fears might choke up roadways with traffic. “That number may not seem that large at first, but if you think that a lane of roadway can carry between 2,500 vehicles in one hour, that number starts to look a lot more significant,” said Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation’s Jennifer DeBruhl.
Fuelling concerns over the state of roadways this summer is the fact that the station closures will coincide with ramped up construction on I-66’s lane widening project.
It remains to be seen what kind of impact these projects will have on highway commute times this summer.