“Happy to have it back. We are thrilled,” said Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson, who regularly commutes to the District from the Braddock Road station. “This has been a tough summer for us, a tough summer for the city, for our residents and some of our businesses. But we’re done with this part, and I think everyone buckled down and rolled with the punches and here we are.”
Wilson also said that he took the Potomac Riverboat Company Water Taxi about 10 times during the shutdown, and that he will continue to occasionally take it to work.
Paul Smedberg, board chair of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, said that commuters and riders will appreciate the station improvements.
“It’s going to be a whole new user experience – the new screens, the new audio system, and the lighting,” Smedberg said. “You’re actually going to be exiting the train on level platforms, and there are new elevators and escalators, so it’s a whole new experience.”
What can you expect at Alexandria’s Metro stations? New slip-resistant tiles on the platforms and mezzanine areas, for one thing. You can also find:
- Stainless-steel platform shelters with charging outlets/ports
- Passenger Information Display screens
- Energy-efficient LED lighting
- Improved speakers for clearer public announcements and emergency notifications
The $300-$400 million project is part of a three year plan to reconstruct 20 outdoor platforms throughout the Metro network. The renovations of the Franconia-Springfield, Van Dorn, Eisenhower Ave., Huntington, King Street, and Braddock Road stations mean that 16 platforms in Metro’s 45 outdoor station system have been rebuilt. The remaining platforms will be renovated over the course of the next two years. Incidentally, all of the construction equipment outside of many of the Metro stations will go away over the course of the next several months.
Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said that the platform renovation projects were complex.
“It was an engineering feat within itself, so it took a little bit of time, but overall went extremely well,” Wiedefeld said. “We had very fortunate weather, and we want to thank our customers and local businesses around these stations. I know that it was tough for them.”
Pat McNutt lives three blocks from the Braddock Road station. Like many, she started her day a half an hour early, and she was forced to take a shuttle from the Braddock Road Station to Crystal City. She also said that the shuttles amounted to a cost savings of roughly $1 a day.
“It was a struggle, but I made it,” McNutt said. “It wasn’t too bad. The shuttle buses after the first couple of weeks ran very well, so I would walk here as usual, jump on the bus. The only issue was getting dumped off at Crystal City, going down three escalators and getting on the train, trying to get to Federal Triangle.”
Fred George has been a newspaper hawker for the Washington Post was 14 years, and he greeted McNutt like as an old friend and handed her a newspaper.
“All right, Pat. Have a good day. I’ll see you tomorrow morning,” George said.