One of the many frustrations facing Alexandria commuters during the Metro shutdown has been buses stuck in traffic next to dedicated bus lanes, but WMATA says adding shuttles would overload the existing transitway.
Among the many frustrations, which included long lines for shuttles, commuters were left wondering why their buses traveling up Route 1 were stuck in mixed traffic next to the mostly empty bus lanes.
Happened to me this morning! I vaguely recall last time the explanation was something about training and the signals? But I’d love to know why with as much advance notice as we had for this shutdown and the experience of last time why this is still not possible?
— Moira (@moira_macdougal) September 13, 2022
While Metro and the City of Alexandria worked together on Metro replacement plans, Sherri Ly, media relations manager for WMATA, said that adding shuttles to the Crystal City Potomac Yard Transitway’s dedicated bus lanes would have overloaded and broken that system.
“Metro worked with the City of Alexandria to come up with a traffic management strategy that would not impede on Metroway and other transit services that use the transitway,” Ly said. “The signal timing on the transitway is designed to balance the existing bus routes and traffic on Route 1. Adding shuttle buses to the transitway would quadruple the number of vehicles on the roadway, well beyond the capacity.”
Ly said the additional buses would have added congestion to the transitway, which is also being pushed as an (albeit more local) Metro alternative.
“Adjusting the signal timing to accommodate four times the number of buses would create extensive back-ups on Route 1 and the additional buses would add congestion to the transitway, impacting routes like Metroway which are an important travel alternative for customers during the shutdown,” Ly said. “Additionally, the transitway does not extend the length of the shuttle bus routes which operate to/from Crystal City.”
The Yellow Line shutdown as the Potomac Yard Metro station is brought into the system is expected to last until Oct. 22, though it’s unclear when the station itself will open. A longer shutdown, which will close the connection between the Pentagon and L’Enfant Plaza stations for repairs, is expected to continue until spring 2023.
The City of Alexandria worked with transit organizations to put together alternatives to the Metro for commuters, from buses to boats. Some of those have hit snags, however. The city’s bus network, DASH, lacks the manpower to take over additional bus routes to make up for the loss of Metro service.
The Virginia Railway Express offered a fare-free September for commuters around the region, but the entire system could be paralyzed by a potential freight rail strike. As of Thursday afternoon, however, it seems the strike has likely been averted.
Photo via Google Maps
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If you had a chance to enhance a child’s future with a time commitment of less than 2 hours a week, how would you respond? You have that opportunity right now to join over 200 Alexandrians as a reading tutor volunteer with the Alexandria Tutoring Consortium (ATC).
ATC tutors work with one child in kindergarten, first, or second grade in Alexandria public schools who need extra help with reading. Tutors meet with their Book Buddy 1-2 times each week for 30 minutes October-May at school, during school hours. Many struggling readers only receive one-on-one instruction through this program, and it makes all the difference. Last year, ATC served 195 children, of whom 82% ended the year reading on grade level and 96% made substantial reading gains. But the need is great, and we are still seeing learning lags from the pandemic.
This year, ATC plans to significantly increase the size of the program to reach over 250 students and to serve every elementary school in Alexandria. This is very exciting news, but we will only succeed if we can recruit more tutors. ATC trains you, matches you with a child, and provides ongoing lesson materials and support.
If you have been thinking about buying your first home or haven’t owned one in the last three years, THIS IS FOR YOU!
In the DMV area, it can be difficult to save the downpayment necessary for you to get into your own home. We have a solution. The Funder’s Summit!
We have assembled a summit with different municipalities to tell you how to access their funds for your home purchase.
Mark your calendars and join us for the Family Fun Fall Fest on Saturday, October 7, 2023, from 11am – 2pm!
This FREE in-person event will be held at the Shoppes at Foxchase, located at 4641 Duke St, Alexandria, VA