Last week, Metro announced it would begin charging less for parking at Landover and West Falls Church stations, as a way of encouraging the use of underutilized stations.
It got us to thinking about whether there are stations throughout the Metro system that are more deserving of love, due to their location, design, or other factors.
We took a look at some Metro ridership data, and examined the location and parking availability of stops to see if there were some underrated stations out there. And there are a few. Consider giving these stations some love during your next commute.
Landover - Let’s start here, since Metro singled it out already. It’s easy to see why it gets overshadowed, as it’s one stop in from New Carrollton, the last stop on the Orange Line. The latest Metro ridership data showed an average of 1,546 weekday boardings at Landover, compared to 6,991 for New Carrollton. But Landover is a mere six minute drive from New Carrollton and just as easy to get to off of Route 50. It has half the parking spots of New Carrollton, but still has nearly 2,000 spaces, which is a lot. Plus, it will cost just $3 to park there beginning next month. (Even now, it’s $4.70, which is 50 cents per day less than New Carrollton.) Landover is a smaller station and there are no MARC commuters to contend with there. If you need to get into the city via the Orange Line, Landover is not a bad option.
College Park - This Green Line station suffers in the same way as Landover, in that it is overshadowed by its larger station at the end of the line. Far more people board each weekday at Greenbelt (5,802) than College Park (3,982), but College Park is a nice station with a close, sizable garage. Greenbelt does have the advantage of an exit off the Beltway, but if you are coming off of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway or traveling down Route 1, College Park is no less convenient.
Twinbrook - If you go just two stations in on the red line from Shady Grove, you can find a less crowded station with good parking availability. Twinbrook has a little more than one-third of the ridership of Shady Grove (about 4,000 compared to 11,000) but is much easier to drive to for many Montgomery County residents. It also has more bike racks and is within walking distance of some good shopping. It also usually has more parking later in the morning than Rockville as well. If you board at Twinbrook in the morning, you may be less likely to get a seat, but your ride will be as much as 10 minutes shorter than from Shady Grove.
West Falls Church - Metro said it will reduce parking charges at this Orange Line station to $3, because it’s underutilized. About 2,600 people hop onto Metro here, even though there are more than 2,000 parking spaces. This is despite the fact that it is very close to I-66, the Dulles Toll Road, and Route 7. It is true that more people go to East Falls Church because you can hop on either the Orange or Silver Line there (theoretically means there will be more trains.) But the Orange Line runs frequently enough during rush hour that this doesn’t matter much. There are five times as many parking spots at West Falls Church as East Falls Church, yet it gets two-thirds of the ridership.
Eisenhower Avenue - Roughly 1,500 people hop on the Yellow Line at Eisenhower Avenue, compared to more than 7,000 at Huntington, despite the stations being within five minutes of one another. There is no official Metro parking at Eisenhower Avenue, but there are lots in the vicinity. People familiar with Alexandria may find this station more convenient than King Street.
NoMa/Gallaudet - Fewer people get on here than almost any other station, with about 1,100 weekday boardings on average. But it’s one of the newest stations in the Metro system, so it has a modern look and feel. There is no official Metro parking available, but there are lots nearby (though fewer than in the past due to construction.) Commuters from the suburbs may not find this convenient, but it does a good job of serving those in the NoMa, H Street and North Capitol Street neighborhoods.
Anacostia - Reasonably easy access off of I-295? Check. More than 800 parking spots? Check. One stop from Nationals Park? Yes. Just three stops to the Orange and Blue line and five stops to the Red? Uh huh. It’s time to get over your “East of the River” bias and consider starting your Metro ride here.
What are some other underrated stations in the Metro system?