By Mike Salmon
Summer 2019 is slated to be challenging for Metro riders in Alexandria due to the temporary closing of a few stations south of the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport station. Starting Saturday, May 25, six stations – Braddock Road, King Street, Eisenhower Ave., Huntington, Van Dorn Street and Franconia-Springfield – will be closed to allow for around-the-clock work.
“I’ll probably ride my bike, might get run over,” said Alexandria resident Bo Hammer.
For Edward Adams, there are bus routes that cover his travels, but he’s been aware of the closure for the past six months.
“Even on the DASH they’re running ads,” Adams said.
The word has even spread to June Coffee at the plaza across from the King Street station.
“My customers, they told me [about it],” said owner Yoon Chang.
Metro and Alexandria are planning an extensive network of free express and local shuttle bus services to help customers get around the region during construction.
The estimated $300-400 million 2019 Metrorail Platform Improvement Project is being done to “address structural deficiencies after decades of exposure to the elements,” the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority said.
Rebuilding platforms is heavy construction activity that requires that tracks be taken out of service to allow for demolishing existing structures, access to the construction area, and concrete pouring.
Although the King Street station is a construction site already with the “King Street Station Bus Loop Configuration Project,” the riders have heard about the summer closure too.
Alexandria Transit Company’s DASH bus system will operate free Blue Line shuttles, seven days a week, between Franconia-Springfield, Van Dorn Street, King Street Metro, Old Town Alexandria and Reagan National Airport. DASH will also operate additional trips on existing AT3 and AT4 routes, which both serve the Pentagon, and will offer reduced fares on regular DASH routes on its mobile app. Alexandria is also “exploring the idea” of having free shuttles run between the King Street Metro station and the Pentagon during peak hours, and reducing the fare on regular DASH routes on its mobile app. The increase in operations will cost an estimated $1.6 million, but that number goes down to around $326,000 after the city is reimbursed by the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Administration.
Regional partners are also continuing to finalize additional service enhancements in coordination with Metro.
The city will pay Potomac Riverboat Company $85,000 to mitigate the cost of a water taxi ticket from the Alexandria waterfront to the District Wharf. Commuters will then have the option to take a five minute shuttle to the L’Enfant Plaza Metro station.
The city plans to expand the hours of operation of the King Street Trolley from the King Street Metro station to the waterfront. The trolley would start running between 7 a.m. during the week and at 9 a.m. on weekends, and will cost $84,000 [and $17,000 after DRPA reimbursement]. The trolley usually runs from 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. from Sunday to Wednesday and from 10:30 a.m. to midnight Thursday through Saturday.
The City will also use rented parking spaces at Landmark Mall to be meeting points for carpoolers and “form incentives for these carpools,” according to the plan.
The stations are scheduled reopen Tuesday, Sept. 3.