Showing posts with label WMATA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label WMATA. Show all posts

Monday, January 2, 2023

Assault at Shady Grove Metro station

Montgomery County police responded to a report of a 2nd-degree assault at the Shady Grove Metro station early yesterday morning. The assault was reported in the parking area of the station at 2:50 AM Sunday morning. Metro trains were scheduled to run until 2:00 AM Sunday morning for New Year's Eve celebrants. 

Thursday, July 7, 2022

Red Line single-tracking after smoke reported in tunnel near Bethesda Metro station (Photos)

A smoke incident at the Bethesda Metro station has forced Red Line trains to single track between Friendship Heights and Medical Center this evening. Around 7:00 PM, smoke was reported in the tunnel near the station. Metro Transit police and Montgomery County fire units responded, but so far have found no fire. A police officer at the scene said the smoke is believed to have been caused by brake dust in the tunnel, but firefighters are going to thoroughly search to be sure. Among the units that responded was a truck from the Twinbrook Fire Station 23 in Rockville.

Monday, May 30, 2022

Aggravated assault at Shady Grove Metro station

Montgomery County police responded to a report of an aggravated assault at the Shady Grove Metro station yesterday morning. The assault was reported in the parking lot of the station at 6:09 AM, according to crime data. This adds to a recent trend of assaults at Metro stations in the Rockville area.

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Rockville Metro station paving will temporarily relocate these bus stops

Construction and paving at the Rockville Metro station from May 31 to June 6, 2022 will require the temporary relocation of many bus stops at the transit hub. Wayfinding signage will be posted at the station to assist riders in finding their bus stop. The following routes will be affected:


  • Route 44. Destination: Twinbrook. Temporary bus stop: T1.
  • Route 45. Destination: Rockville Regional Transit Center and Twinbrook. Temporary bus stop: D (eastside).
  • Route 46. Destination: Montgomery College and Medical Center Way. Temporary bus stop: T1.
  • Route 47. Destination: Bethesda. Temporary bus stop: T1.
  • Route 48. Destination: Wheaton. Temporary bus stop: B (eastside).
  • Route 49. Destination: Glenmont. Temporary bus stop: B (eastside).
  • Route 52: Destination: Montgomery General Hospital. Temporary bus stop: D (eastside).
  • Route 54. Destination: Lakeforest Transit Center. Temporary bus stop: T2.
  • Route 55. Destination: Germantown. Temporary bus stop: C (eastside).
  • Route 56. Destination: Lakeforest Transit Center. Temporary bus stop: T2.
  • Route 59. Montgomery Village. Temporary bus stop: C (eastside).
  • Route 63. Destination: Shady Grove. Temporary bus stop: T1.
  • Route 81. Destination: White Flint. Temporary bus stop: T1.
  • Route 101. Destination: Medical Center. Temporary bus stop: T3.
  • Route 101. Destination: Lakeforest. Temporary bus stop: G.
  • Route 301. Destination: Tobytown. Temporary bus stop: D (eastside).
  • Flex Rockville. On Demand Service. Temporary bus stop: T1.   


  • Routes Q1, Q2, Q5, Q6. Destination: Shady Grove. Temporary bus stop: G.
  • Routes Q1, Q2, Q4. Destination: Silver Spring. Temporary bus stop: A (eastside).
  • Routes Q5, Q6. Destination: Wheaton. Temporary bus stop: A (eastside).
  • Route T2. Destination: Friendship Heights. Temporary bus stop: A (eastside).
  • Ride On bus remains free to ride until July 2, 2022 when fares will be $1

Monday, May 2, 2022

Another assault at Rockville Metro station

Less than a week after an individual was assaulted in a parking area at the Rockville Metro station, Rockville City police were investigating a second assault reported there Saturday afternoon. A 2nd-degree assault was reported in a surface parking lot at the station at 4:45 PM on Saturday, according to crime data. If you are parking at this station, I recommend remaining aware of your surroundings at all times.

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Police step up presence at Montgomery County Metro stations after New York subway attack (Photos)

Montgomery County and Metro Transit Police had a visible presence at Metro stations in the county Tuesday, after a mass shooting on a New York subway train earlier that day. Metro Emergency Response Team vehicles were parked in the bus bay area of the Bethesda Metro station. A County police cruiser prominently straddled the concrete median at the Old Georgetown Road entrance to the station. 

Authorities have so far declined to label the New York incident as a terrorist attack, despite the use of smoke grenades and a gas mask. Police are calling Frank R. James a person of interest in the mass shooting, and a $50,000 reward has been offered for information leading to his arrest. Ten people were wounded early yesterday morning after a gunman donned a gas mask, deployed smoke grenades, and then fired 33 shots in a subway car on an N train approaching the 36th Street station, the New York Times reports.

Monday, April 4, 2022

WMATA to address Rockville Metro safety concerns at Mayor & Council meeting tonight

Representatives of transit agency WMATA will appear before Rockville's Mayor and Council tonight at 7:00 PM, to respond to elected officials' concerns about safety and recent shutdowns of the system's Shady Grove and Rockville stations for extended periods. Outgoing WMATA General Manager Paul Wiedefeld addressed five concerns the Mayor and Council expressed in a letter in late 2021, ahead of tonight's presentation.

When asked why WMATA delayed in tackling defects on its 7000-series railcars, Wiedefeld completely dodged the question in his written response. Instead, he reiterated the general pablum the agency has released to the public since the removal of the 7000 cars led to reduced service, promising more details in the future when a consultant WMATA hired completes its investigation.

The timetable for the return of the 7000-series cars also remains vague in the written response to officials' second question. However, since Wiedefeld wrote the letter, it was announced that the cars won't be back in use until sometime this summer.

In response to two questions about rider safety during the pandemic, and how it will be maintained as more workers return to commuting in the future, Wiedefeld mentioned several policies and public relations initiatives. Some, such distributing face masks to unmasked riders, have been in place during the worst of the pandemic. Others, such as a new awareness campaign, will begin later this year.

Finally, officials asked how safety would become more transparent at WMATA. Wiedefeld did not have any new developments on that front, either. He pointed to existing accountability measures that have been in place for some time. City officials will have the opportunity to press WMATA on these and other less-than-upfront responses at the meeting tonight.

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Rockville Metro station East Kiss and Ride lot to be closed Friday

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation announced that the East Kiss and Ride parking lot at the Rockville Metro station will be closed tomorrow, Friday, March 18, 2022. Vehicles parked there may be ticketed and towed away. MCDOT also reported that the Capital Bikeshare station on the west side of the Metro station has reopened.

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Rockville, Shady Grove Metro stations to reopen in January

WMATA announced that the extended closure of two Metro stations that has extremely inconvenienced commuters in Rockville, Gaithersburg, Germantown, Clarksburg and Damascus for months will end in January. The Shady Grove and Rockville Metro Red Line stations are now scheduled to reopen for service on January 16, 2022. Free parking and free shuttle bus service will continue to be offered at both stations until the reopening date.

Monday, September 20, 2021

Rockville bus crash severely injures 3 (Video+Photos)

A Metrobus traveling on Rockville Pike suddenly veered onto Congressional Lane around 12:20 PM yesterday, stuck several vehicles, and came to rest on top of the front of a minivan at a building wall of a retail center. Six patients were evaluated by Montgomery County Fire and Rescue services, MCFRS Battalion Chief Steve Mann said. Three of those individuals suffered traumatic injuries, and a total of four were transported to local hospitals, MCFRS spokesperson Pete Piringer said later Sunday afternoon.

As evening approached, WMATA personnel and truck towing specialists were brought in to supervise the complicated task of extracting the minivan safely from under the Metrobus. The large tow truck assisted in a crane operation to hold the bus upright while a second towing crew pulled the minivan out. Night was falling as the Metrobus finally had all four wheels back on the pavement to be towed away. No official explanation for why the bus operator lost control has been released so far. 

Tow truck arrives to lift Metrobus

Extracting minivan from beneath bus

Metrobus lowered to pavement

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Rockville Metro station pedestrian bridge repairs (Video+Photos)

Repair work continues on the aging pedestrian skybridge over MD 355 at the Rockville Metro station. Work last night on the bridge required lane closures on the roadway below, as a crew operated from street level.

Monday, April 5, 2021

Assault at Rockville Metro station

City of Rockville police responded to a report of an aggravated assault at the Rockville Metro station Friday night. The victim was assaulted in the parking lot of the station around 6:06 PM, according to crime data.

Monday, March 1, 2021

Rockville Metro pedestrian bridge repairs to begin today

WMATA is scheduled to finally begin repairs on the skybridge connecting Rockville Town Center to the Rockville Metro station today. The bridge has been closed since last summer, when glass panels on it suddenly shattered. Repair work on all the deficiencies of the bridge is scheduled to take seven months. 

Users of the convenient bridge have two options during the closure. A shuttle bus will run in between Monroe Street and the Metro station every 5-to-10 minutes during Metrorail operating hours. And a pedestrian detour route has been set up, running along Monroe Place. See the map above to plan the detour that works for you (click map to enlarge).

Friday, February 21, 2020

Virginia studying another Metro extension - why isn't Montgomery County?

The Silver Line isn't even finished yet, and booming Northern Virginia is already looking at another ambitious subway extension to Prince William County. Meanwhile, Montgomery County elected officials are looking at a ten-day February vacation, and even sleepier, moribund economic times ahead. What they should be studying are Metro extensions to the Upcounty and East County, studies that should have begun over a decade ago.

Clarksburg is about 12 miles from the Shady Grove Metro station. Burtonsville is around 10 miles from the Silver Spring Metro station. Virginia's $2 million Blue Line study is examining a 15-mile extension to Prince William via Fort Belvoir, Lorton, Potomac Mills and Quantico, modestly bigger than either potential Montgomery County extension.

Rail transit is far more advantageous for economic development than bus rapid transit. Unlike BRT, companies and developers can be assured the new transit isn't going to be suddenly cut off or rerouted. Ridership of rail would be far higher than that of buses or BRT (the County's future "Flash" B"Rapid"T will take a sluggish 87 minutes to travel from Clarksburg to Bethesda - longer than a car in traffic!).

In contrast, Montgomery County couldn't even get the Corridor Cities Transitway bus line built. Instead of high-speed rail technology fomenting a modern economic hub of the future, Montgomery's "Science City" ended up as Sleepy City. Just more stack-and-pack residential development, and thousands more cars vying for space on over-capacity I-270 and MD 355 every rush hour. Promised anchor biotech tenant Johns Hopkins Medicine just exited stage left as a result.

Meanwhile, what jobs we had in the 270 corridor continued to migrate to Northern Virginia and Frederick County. Montgomery County was at rock bottom in the D.C. region for job growth over the last decade. What we need are boardrooms, not more bedrooms.

There are also large properties planned for redevelopment north of Shady Grove, such as Lakeforest Mall, COMSAT and the Montgomery County Fairgrounds. These developments will not be "smart growth" without a Metro extension, or other rail service, and will not have the job component we need to also reduce the number and length of car trips in the corridor. The same goes for White Oak and Burtonsville.

A coordinated plan to address our moribund economy and failing, incomplete transportation system is needed. No such plan has come out of our current County Council.

Here's what we should be prioritizing today:

  • Study extending the Red Line to Clarksburg, including options for at-grade, elevated and cut-and-cover underground segments
  • Metro should connect to Lakeforest and COMSAT
  • Study of Metro extension from Silver Spring Metro to Burtonsville
  • Addition of third track to MARC Brunswick Line
  • Making Ride On bus service free
  • More business-friendly tax policy and regulations
  • More competitive state tax policies
  • Fully privatizing the County liquor monopoly, and allowing beer and wine sales at all grocery, drug and convenience stores
  • Coordinate timing of new business policies with zoning/sector plan updates that incentivize and favor commercial/corporate development (a.k.a. high-wage jobs) over residential housing
  • Planning and construction of long-delayed Midcounty Highway Extended (M-83 Highway Master Plan Alignment), with potential use for median/cut-and-cover simultaneous construction of rail line from Shady Grove Metro on relevant segments
  • Construction of equally-long-delayed new Potomac River crossing to Dulles Airport with trackbed for future Red Line extension to Silver Line in median, as a toll facility built by a private company
  • A concerted, focused effort on attracting aerospace, defense and tech corporate headquarters, and related research and manufacturing facilities (i.e. satellite and rocket assembly)
The Montgomery County Council isn't doing any of this. In fact, they're in the middle of a 10-day vacation. In February. 
Working hard, or hardly working?
In contrast, the Council-equivalents of our biggest competitors - Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William counties - are all meeting this week. It would be interesting if all local media - print, online, TV, radio - would join me in exposing the lazy work schedule of our self-proclaimed "full-time" slacker County Council.

Anyone who thinks we can dig ourselves out of this economic hole with a small-ball agenda by running empty BRT buses up and down, giving government contracts to small businesses, believing residential housing that generates more costs than revenue is the definition of "economic development," and patting ourselves on the back by adding the same STEM components to our schools that all of our competitors' school systems are also adding - or that it can be done under the leadership of our current County Council - is fooling themselves. 

Virginia has plenty of housing. But they also have plenty of jobs. Plenty of revenue, as a result. And they are making the big ticket investments to keep cleaning our clock for decades to come. Meanwhile, we're scaring every company away, have a structural budget deficit as far out as the projections go, are paying record high taxes, have massive debt, and steadily declining revenue even with a 9% tax hike several years ago. 

We can't go on like this.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

After approving historic tax hike, County Council now wants new Metro tax

"It's not just, 'no,'
it's 'hell no.'"

Will the massively-inconvenient Metro "safety project" scheduled to begin this weekend actually produce results? That is hardly clear. What is clear, is that the inconvenience is in part designed for a goal beyond safety - softening up you, the taxpayer, for a major tax increase.

We've already dealt with one "urgent" Metro crusade to fix long-delayed mechanical and safety issues throughout the system, leaving many weekend riders standing for hours in stations or taking shuttle buses instead. The results of that were zero, squat, zilch, as the current safety crisis proves.

But the big talk we've been hearing about the need for extreme measures like shutting down whole lines for months just happens to be coming from some of the biggest proponents of new taxes to fund Metro, including D.C. Councilman Jack Evans and Montgomery County Councilmember Roger Berliner.

Funding increased Metro capacity - expanding to 8-car trains, in particular, and increasing capacity on the Red Line north of Grosvenor - was something many transportation advocates have supported. The idea of simply pouring a whole lot of additional money into the bastion of incompetency known as WMATA, however, is a completely different prospect. It is very similar, coincidentally, to the Montgomery County Council's irresponsible decision to massively raise taxes on residents, and bust the bank by going $90 million over the required funding level for Montgomery County Public Schools - without a dramatically-different strategy to tackle the achievement gap than the failed one being utilized now by MCPS. Money down a toilet, in other words.

It's no surprise, then, that some of the loudest voices calling for a massive new tax for Metro are on the Council.

“We hope to have a plan ready to present by the end of September,” Councilmember Roger Berliner told The Washington Post. “Between now and then, we’re going to work with our jurisdictions to see if we can come up with unanimity with respect to a mechanism — a sales tax, a gas tax." 

Are you kidding me?

WMATA has shown zero results, and zero evidence to prove it is changing its ways. The agency is probably in need of a federal takeover, but even the feds don't want to touch this mess.

You'll also note that, once again, no proposal under consideration involves taxing developers, just the residents.

While many local leaders and media types are almost giddy about the pain you are going to feel using public transit starting this weekend, I have a more sobering prediction.

This really, really bad PR campaign designed to make you believe we really need to pour more money into the coffers of an entity ranking somewhere between Barwood Cab and the County liquor monopoly in terms of public popularity, is actually going to deal already-declining Metro a mortal blow. A grand strategy to get more cash is actually going to end up costing WMATA cash.

Because, starting this weekend, folks are going to be getting into their cars, not out of them. They're going to be buying cheap used cars. To a lesser extent, they're going to be biking or using Zipcar or Uber (don't tell the County Council). 

And many, many months from now, they're going to consider the calls for new taxes for a Metro slush fund. And they're going to consider the latest fare increases being proposed for the same service that ain't worth it at half the price.

And you know what they're going to say?

Their reaction will be exactly what Del. David Albo of Fairfax County's was: 

“It’s not just no, it’s ‘hell no,’ ” 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Assessing MoCo's snow response + Rockville transit schedule update

A Montgomery County voter
is asked if he remembers voting
for the County Council and Executive
who presided over the blizzard fiasco
Here's an update on the current status of transit services, snow plowing, and pedestrian/cycling facilities in Montgomery County. Before scrolling down, let's assess the County's blizzard fiasco and what can be changed to avoid another one. The experience of the last few days has shown there are several areas in which the County needs to improve its storm response capabilities.

One telling sign is that DC had over 600 pieces of equipment to move and clear snow. Montgomery began with over 700, and was up to 800 pieces in the last couple of days. Should a jurisdiction as large as MoCo have not much more equipment than the smaller District of Columbia? That's a clear indication, along with the results and many complaints, that MoCo did not have sufficient assets and personnel in place. Snow operations personnel have been working hard around the clock; there simply weren't enough of them.

Second, we've been told 311 will "get it done". Several residents around the County told me they could not get an answer from that County service line yesterday. Later, the County acknowledged that a record number of calls to 311 were received, and that many did not go through. 311 had more calls in one half-hour period Tuesday than it usually receives in an entire day. This was largely due to the number of unplowed streets residents were calling to complain about.

Third, despite Councilmember Hans Riemer's claims of being an open data guru, the storm fiasco helped bring to light that - five years after Riemer took office - the County's online Plow Tracker map isn't actually a real-time app, and isn't being instantly updated from GPS systems on trucks as we were led to believe. The map should be updated to provide that. Of course, a fancy map won't mean much if the County doesn't have enough personnel and trucks on hand to get the job done.

Fourth, Riemer's sidewalk-clearing law has been a complete bust. It's not being enforced, and we're getting the same dangerous results this time as pedestrians are forced to enter the roadway into oncoming traffic. Riemer took an unwarranted election year victory lap after passage of his law, as local media sycophants cheered him on. According to a Gazette (much missed - not!) report at the time, "the legislation seeks to ensure sidewalks are passable after storms and should improve how the county fulfills the intent of its law requiring snow removal, bill sponsor Councilman Hans Riemer said. 'The goal of this bill is to make our county more walkable in every season,' Riemer (D-At Large) of Takoma Park said."

Are you finding sidewalks around the County "walkable" today? I thought he said "every season." Cost of Riemer's law, the public education component that would magically move property owners to obey it, and the County implementation of it? $6,458,000, according to the Gazette.

We are being governed by some very incompetent people, folks.


Metro has announced that the Silver Line is back in service as of this morning, meaning the entire Metrorail system is now operational 82 hours after the snow stopped falling in the DC-area. Metrobus is operating under a Moderate Snow Schedule. The T2 is back in service today (Friendship Heights-Rockville via River Road). Many of the J routes remain out of service.

MetroAccess will operate on regular hours today.

All Ride On routes will have service on the S-Plan schedule.

Free parking in County public garages and lots has been extended through 9:00 AM tomorrow, January 28.

The Capital Crescent Trail has been plowed, is open, and still slick in spots; caution is advised.

The Bethesda Circulator bus will not operate again today.

A tractor-trailer jacknifed in the southbound lanes of I-270, leaving the local lanes temporarily blocked as rush hour got underway this morning.

Montgomery County's plow tracker map indicates that all streets that hadn't been reached yesterday in Springfield, Green Acres, Wood Acres, Spring Hill, Mohican Hills, Randolph Hills, Rock Creek Palisades, Stoneybrook Estates, and Aspen Hill have now been completed.

Most residents' assessment of Montgomery County's response to the storm is decidedly less positive than that expressed by County Executive Ike Leggett yesterday at a press conference. Leggett was not pressed to apologize by media, unlike DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, who did issue an apology.

Leggett promised every street in the County would have at least one lane cleared by 7:00 AM this morning. I've located only one complaint so far after the deadline passed, from a service road resident on Connecticut Avenue in Silver Spring. If your street has not been plowed yet, send me an email at robert [at] robertdyer [dot] net and call 311 to report it.

Bobcat loaders and plows worked all through the night to remove and move snow in downtown Bethesda and in neighborhoods along the River Road corridor.

In the Springfield neighborhood, one resident with an unplowed street flagged down a passing pickup truck with a snowplow attached to the front. After some negotiations, the pickup's driver began to plow part of the street for a cash payment. The private sector had provided service before the taxpayer-funded public sector in a classic free-market exchange.

Sidewalks remain snowdrifts in many places, including along River Road in Bethesda, and in front of the Columbia Country Club in Chevy Chase. Leggett acknowledged the widespread problem for pedestrians at his news conference, but has not yet produced a plan of action to address it.