The next couple of weeks on Metro are going to be tough. Trackwork between McPherson Square and Smithsonian will lead to single-tracking on the Blue, Orange and Silver lines, with trains only running every 20 minutes. This is happening through August 26, and it’s a major disruption that has Metro officials telling riders to find alternative ways of getting around.
So what are commuters to do?
Hopefully, this happens to be when you scheduled your two-week trip to the Bahamas, but if you are in town and need to get to work, there are some options to explore. None of them are ideal, but with the right kind of planning, you may find things will work out OK.
Try the Yellow Line
This won’t be much help for commuters in Maryland, but if you live in Virginia, the Yellow Line will be operational and will even have some extra rush hour trains between Franconia-Springfield and Greenbelt.
Switch it Up
Maybe you normally travel on the Blue Line from Rosslyn to L’Enfant Plaza. If this is you, consider going south to the Pentagon then taking the Yellow Line to L’Enfant Plaza. Sure, this requires a transfer, but you’d avoid the downtown delays it’s also four fewer stops. Riders from Franconia-Springfield or Van Dorn Street may also benefit by transferring to the Yellow Line at Old Town or the Pentagon.
Consider Regional Rail
In some cases, VRE and MARC can serve as an acceptable alternative for Metro. For example, if you normally take the Orange line into Union Station, consider hopping on the MARC Penn Line at New Carrollton or the Camden Line in Greenbelt.
You can also hop on the VRE Manassas Line at Burke Center or the Fredericksburg Line via Franconia-Springfield or Alexandria.
Look at Alternative Stations
If you work downtown, you may realize that there are red, green, or yellow stations near where you work. For example, consider Farragut North on the Red Line instead of McPherson Square or Farragut West. Judiciary Square or Union Station on the Red Line may be a reasonable walk to spots on Capitol Hill.
Try the Buses
It may be time to familiarize yourself with the various bus routes in the region. Metrobus will take you anywhere you want to go, and the DC Circulator has many stops in key locations. Give the Fairfax Connector and Arlington Transit a look as well.
You now have a very good reason to ask your employer to let you work from home at least a day or two each week. In fact, the Office of Personnel Management on Friday issued a memo encouraging agencies to allow telework if possible.
“OPM strongly encourages agencies to allow affected employees to utilize various workplace flexibilities throughout the upcoming improvement project,” the memo states. Ultimately, individual agencies are responsible for ensuring continuity of operations and are in the best position to determine which flexibilities are appropriate for their workforce.”
Deep breaths. Serenity now. You’ll get through this.
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