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Metro riders react to an expected return to normalcy as summer shutdown ends

Following three and a half months of construction, disrupted travel patterns and alternative commuting options, the longest shutdown in Metro history has officially ended. Starting yesterday, NoVA commuters now have the option to return to the six Blue and Yellow Line stations—Braddock Road, King Street, Eisenhower Avenue, Huntington, Van Dorn Street and Franconia-Springfield—that were not in commission during Phase I of the Platform Improvement Project, as contractors reconstructed outdoor platforms and various other amenities. From pure excitement regarding new features to frustration with unexpected delays, here’s a look at how commuters in the Northern Virginia and Washington, DC area are adjusting to the reopening of the stations on Monday, Sept. 9.

In conjunction with the reopening of the Metro stations, many restaurants, shops and attractions within the city of Alexandria are offering promotional deals to individuals with a Metro SmartTrip Card until Sept. 15. From local hotel packages to expanded happy hours at nearby restaurants, here’s everything you could save on this week in Alexandria.

This is the final piece in our Summer Platform Improvement Project coverage. See all coverage of the summer shutdown here.

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Why Are We Allowing Communist China to Sell Subway (Spy) Trains to American Cities?

Westlake Legal Group 13556907-sculpture-dragon-in-china-flag-620x414 Why Are We Allowing Communist China to Sell Subway (Spy) Trains to American Cities? Trains rail prc NTA National Security metro Infrastructure Front Page Stories Front Page Economy dc metro CTA crrc Communist China Cities

We Should Stop Riding the Dragon

 

It’s as if we’re willing if not eager to say to commuters nationwide:

“Your next scheduled ChiComm Spy Tubes arrive at….”

All day, every day.

God bless Donald Trump.  As a businessman for decades – he raised the issue of Communist China’s very negative influence on our national security and economy.

And then he decided to run for President.  And then he won.

Trump arrived in a DC – in the midst of a half-century, yuan-funded slumber.

Most of DCs Swamp Creatures have been either too sleepy or too well fed with Chinese take out – to have ever said anything about Communist China’s ongoing, increasing, evil influence in and on our country.

Watching the defenders of the status quo rapidly evolve to Trump’s position – if not his prescriptions – has been hilarious.

They went from “Communist China is no threat at all” – to “China is a real threat – but Trump is dealing with it in all the wrong ways” – in about a year.

Talk about rapid transit.

The ChiComm problems – are everywhere.

Trump is considering banning from the US – Chinese telecom company Huawei.

Because having a Communist Chinese company intrinsically integrated into our wired and wireless Internet and communications networks – is insanely stupid.

Huawei is in neck-deep with the Chinese Communist Party.  Because of course it is.

You can’t open a noodle stand on the corner of 主要街道 and 埃尔姆街 in any rural town in any Chinese province – without being neck-deep with the Chinese Communist Party.

There is no way any Chinese company goes international – without owing everything to the Chinese Communist Party.

Trump should follow all the way through – and completely bar Huawei.

Another example:

As if our colleges weren’t already Communist enough….

Controversy Surrounds Confucius Institutes at American Universities:

“Since 2005, the Chinese government has been funding Confucius Institutes (CI) in the United States—a multi-billion-dollar enterprise. For example, it gave $4 million to Stanford University as a onetime gift.

“What is behind the largesse? Does the China regime just want to promote Chinese culture or is there something more insidious about its intentions?”

They’re Communists – what do you think?

FINALLY, in February 2019 (thank you yet again, President Trump)….

Senate Inquiry Finds Problems with China-Funded Confucius Institute at U.S. Campuses

You think?

Here’s another thought:

Having our political and business personnel – in our major cities all across the country – traveling to and from work on ChiComm subway cars…is a REALLY bad idea.

Imagine the conversations to which the ChiComms could listen – in DCs Metro system.  Or in New York City’s Subway system (“你好, Wall Street”).

It is clinically insane to think we would allow that to happen, right?

Ladies and Gentlemen, meet CRRC:

“CRRC Corporation Limited (known as CRRC) is a Chinese publicly traded rolling stock manufacturer and is the largest rolling stock manufacturer in the world eclipsing Alstom and Siemens….

“The parent company of CRRC Corp., Ltd. is CRRC Group, a state-owned enterprise that was supervised by the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council.”

And great news: CRRC has a manufacturing plant – right here in the US.  In Springfield, Massachusetts.

Even better news – CRRC has already been selling US cities its train cars.

Because of course.  This isn’t a fair economic fight.

This isn’t multiple competitors competing on equal footing in a free market – and the best company winning.

The Communist Chinese government – subsidizes the daylight out of their companies and products when they go international.

And they ridiculously rig their currency – lowering its value whenever they deem it necessary to screw the rest of the planet.

The ChiComms thereby artificially lower their prices.  Thereby undercutting everyone else.

And for the last half-century, we have been the biggest gaggle of the planet’s Useful Idiots.

We have time and again blithely ignored the economic and national security implications – and simply said “Wow…look how cheap this ChiComm stuff is.  Sold!”

We have time and again proved Russian Communist Vladimir Lenin correct:

“The Capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them.”

The noose is tightening.

Boston Buys $567 Million in Subway Trains from Chinese Company (CRRC)

These trains are already deployed for spying and timely shutdown purposes.  Oops, I mean in use in Boston’s system.

Boston was the first local gaggle of Useful Idiots.  They are nowhere the last.

China’s CRRC Lands $1.3 Billion Chicago Rail Car Project

Oh – and even better in the Windy City….

Losing Rail Car Bidder Says CTA Rigged Contract Process:

“The losing bidder for a $1.3 billion CTA rail car contract has filed a protest with the agency, saying that the bidding process was rigged in favor of a Chinese firm that promised to bring manufacturing jobs to Chicago, at the direction of (Democrat, natch) Mayor Rahm Emanuel.”

Way to play for the home team, Rahm.

CRRC to Build Rail Cars for Los Angeles

CRRC Wins Subway Deal in Philadelphia

We can be really, REALLY stupid.

To wit: Some DC Denizens – are REALLY slow on the uptake.

US Rep. Richard Neal, Citing Springfield CRRC Jobs, Says Ban on Buying Chinese Rail Cars ‘Misguided’

Neal isn’t selling the ChiComms rope – he is GIVING it to them.

But a growing number of DCs Denizens – are awakening from their slumber.

And trying to at least make it a little more difficult for our cities – from cutting all our throats for us.

And it has led to a sighting of a DC politics Unicorn – bipartisanship.

Bipartisan Rouda Provision Blocking Federal Transit Dollars to Chinese State Sponsored Companies Passes House in National Defense Authorization Act

And there’s hope for the bill in the Senate – given New York Democrat Chuck Schumer’s concern for NYC.

U.S. Senate’s Top Democrat Calls for Probe of CTA’s Chinese Rail Car Supplier

And pockets of political resistance are arising in the nation’s hinterlands.

Fifteen state-level elected officials in New York – are with Schumer.  They wrote a letter to the heads of the New York City Transit Authority and the Metro Transit Authority saying in part:

“Over the past five years, a Chinese state-owned enterprise has won four major contracts to build metro cars for transit systems….

“(T)he prospect of a government-controlled entity doing so in such a widespread fashion is alarming – and we share the concerns raised by many of our colleagues in cities such as Washington, D.C.”

And the Bay State is contemplating an effort to put the genie back in the bottle.

Massachusetts Considers Banning Future Contracts with Chinese Rail Companies

ChiComm CRRC is starting to feel the political heat – so they are dumping money on K Street.  Just this summer….:

“Squire Patton Boggs has signed…CRRC, a Chinese railroad company that has pushed to keep Congress from passing bills that would make it harder for U.S. transit systems to buy its trains.”

Crossroads Is Working on the Chinese Railroad:

“Crossroads Strategies represents China’s CRRC North America, the unit of the world’s largest maker of railroad cars, as it seeks to fend off moves to ban it from US contracts.”

And ChiComm CRRC – continues to look to expand its footprint.  Including, inarguably, the worst place of all for US.

China to Bid on D.C. Metro Rail Deal

That should be an immediate, hard “No.”

And we should take this rare bipartisan coalition – and derail CRRC everywhere in the country.

And send them back to Communist China – as rapidly as possible.

The post Why Are We Allowing Communist China to Sell Subway (Spy) Trains to American Cities? appeared first on RedState.

Westlake Legal Group 13556907-sculpture-dragon-in-china-flag-300x200 Why Are We Allowing Communist China to Sell Subway (Spy) Trains to American Cities? Trains rail prc NTA National Security metro Infrastructure Front Page Stories Front Page Economy dc metro CTA crrc Communist China Cities   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

NoVA entities prepare for the end of Metro’s Summer Shutdown

Following three months of around-the-clock construction, altered travel patterns and extended commutes, Northern Virginia residents will experience a return to normalcy on Sept. 9, as Metro’s Summer Platform Improvement Project comes to an end.

In addition to new, stronger platforms at all six stations, commuters will be met with new tiled flooring, speaker systems and platform surveillance systems, improved lighting and upgraded platform shelters and screens. There will also be USB charging ports installed at the stations.  

In the final few weeks of the construction project, crews have focused on installing the conduits and wiring for electrical and communication networks, in order to ensure each station has proper and improved emergency response capabilities, according to a recent update from WMATA.

Since the shutdown began, organizations like WMATA and the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission (NVTC) began planning marketing strategies for the return of rail service come September. To welcome riders back to Metro on opening day, WMATA is increasing the number of staff at each location and putting up banners.

NVTC has been working on a marketing campaign for the past few months that will begin on Monday, Sept. 16, a week after the end of the shutdown. Total funding for the campaign is $395,735, 80% of which stems from the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT). The remaining 20% is provided by the City of Alexandria, Fairfax County, Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission and the Virginia Railway Express.  

The multi-pronged effort is more than just getting people to use Metro; rather it is about Northern Virginia’s transit system as a whole, according to Communications and Outreach Manager of NVTC Matthew Friedman. 

“In terms of challenges, people have had their routine upset for the summer and we know that people are ready to have the train back instead of relying on the shuttles,” says Friedman. “But we want people to know that we also have long-distance commuter buses, the railway express. There’s lots of ways to commute.”

The 12-week campaign consists of radio announcements on local stations, screen advertising at movie theaters and through the travel app, Waze, and geo-targeted social media advertisements, too. The teams at NVTC and WMATA have spoken on a weekly basis to ensure the shutdown remains on track and ridership will return.

While all six stations—Braddock Road, King Street-Old Town, Eisenhower Avenue, Huntington, Van Dorn Street and Franconia-Springfield—are scheduled to open for public use at 5 a.m. on Sept. 9, minor construction at all of the stations will continue through the fall.

As this summer’s shutdown was part of Metro’s three-year Platform Improvement Project. Commuters in other parts of Vienna, as well as Maryland will be next to experience the seasonal closures in 2020 and 2021. While details have yet to be announced, Metro plants to work on the Orange Line near Vienna and stations north of Fort Totten to Greenbelt, Maryland on the Green Line over the course of the next two summers.

This piece serves as a general summary of the final stages of the Summer Platform Improvement Project. See more coverage here.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

I-66 toll lane construction to completely close bridge near Vienna Metro

A bridge over Interstate 66 will close for nearly a year as part of toll lane construction, and a ramp to the interstate will close permanently, complicating traffic near the Vienna Metro in Virginia.

Vaden Drive will completely close for up to 10 months starting around late October. The bridge just west of the Vienna Metro station connects the garages on either side of the station and provides local drivers with an alternative to Nutley Street, a sometimes easier access to I-66 and a route to and from Oakton High School.

Both Vienna Metro garages and entrances are scheduled to remain open during the construction.

During the bridge closure, Fairfax County school buses, transit buses and first responders will face detours, and Metro could have reduced use of its “tail tracks” beyond the Vienna Station.

The tracks are typically used to keep extra trains ready to go. Metro could place some of those trains at West Falls Church instead.

“There’s a commitment to have the Vaden Bridge work completed — at least one lane in each direction — prior to Metro’s planned closure of the Orange Line next summer. So it’s kind of a tight window,” VDOT Megaprojects Director Susan Shaw said.

Metro has told VDOT to expect a 24/7 Orange Line shutdown for platform repairs and related work to run from July 5 through Sept. 7, 2020, Shaw said.

Additional Metro closures are expected to be scheduled due to I-66 construction work, but those closures are currently expected to be on selected weekends only over the next year, which would not affect rush-hour commutes.

Ramp closure in September is first Vaden Drive construction impact

Before the Vaden Drive Bridge closure begins, a ramp from Saintsbury Drive to I-66 eastbound that is next to the bridge will close on or around Sept. 5, Shaw said. That ramp is expected to remain closed permanently.

Due to the extra expected traffic from the ramp and the bridge closures, VDOT has a plan for some changes to traffic-light timing and left-turn markings from Saintsbury Drive to Nutley Street for the length of the detour. This involves drivers who typically head west out of the south side of the Vienna Metro to leave through the east side instead.

The major additional construction along Nutley Street for a new interchange being built as part of the toll lane project will wait until after this work is done.

“The Nutley construction work is going to be fairly limited until the Vaden [bridge] is back open again,” Shaw said.

Some additional tweaks to the “dog bone” interchange design for I-66 and Nutley Street include improvements for people walking and biking through the interchange and clarifications of connections to the south toward U.S. 29.

VDOT has scheduled construction update meeting from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Sept. 4 at Providence Community Center.

The closures around the Vienna Metro are just part of the ongoing work along the more than 22-mile project to build two toll lanes each way between the Beltway and Gainesville that is next to three regular lanes and a shoulder.

Overall construction is scheduled to be finished by the end of 2022, but the private group designing, building and eventually operating the lanes is required to finish some pieces sooner.

Shaw is still optimistic that the first part of the University Boulevard Park and Ride lot with 960 spaces will open in Prince William County by its contractual completion date of Oct. 5. A lane closure there is scheduled next week to install curbs and gutters and pave the entrance. The lot is scheduled to expand to more than 2,000 spaces by the end of 2022.

Major work continues at Route 28, where intersections are due to be completed over the next year.

Source

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What Metro’s GM sees as the biggest issue ahead of next year’s Silver Line opening

While the agency building the Silver Line extension’s rail stations and tracks to Dulles International Airport and Virginia’s Loudoun County plans to open the project to riders in less than a year, the agency that will actually be responsible for running the trains wants commuters to hold off before putting a date on their calendars.

As WTOP first reported, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority projects the Silver Line could open to riders around July 16, 2020.

“They don’t set the date, Metro sets the date,” Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld emphasized in response.

The airports authority’s projected opening date factors in various risks and outstanding construction disputes, even as Metro continues its own evaluations of problems with the quality of concrete, tracks and other pieces installed by the contractors building the Silver Line Phase 2.

“There’s a lot of issues out there, but the biggest issue for us is the rail ties, and some of those issues, because [fixing] that is something you cannot do with service running,” Wiedefeld said.

Essentially, Metro does not want weekend or evening single-tracking shortly after the extension opens through Reston, Herndon, Dulles and Ashburn both for ridership reasons and the cost of any extra maintenance.

The airports authority believes the rail tie issues are not as significant as they initially appeared.

Metro is working with the airports authority and contractors to address issues on both the rail line and in the rail yard, and was consulted in developing the July 2020 projected opening date.

Metro’s Office of Inspector General and the independent Washington Metrorail Safety Commission are separately looking into the problems to ensure that there are no safety concerns along the extension.

“Until those are settled, we’re not going to put out a date on when this thing opens,” Wiedefeld said.

Once Metro takes ownership of the line, the testing period will begin. The construction contracts also include some warranties.

“We still have issues that we have to work through before we start service, so any particular day or a date, or a day of the week, putting it out there, that’s just not real right now,” Wiedefeld said.

The date set as a goal by the airports authority was established as part of a federal project management process meant to take into account all repair, inspection, testing and training issues.

It was the first time that a solid projected opening date had been established, even if the actual opening date is expected to be a few days earlier or later.

In addition to construction and financial issues, Metro may need to consider 24/7 track work plans on the Orange Line when considering a Silver Line opening date.

“What’s going to drive it is the quality of the work and safety, so we will work the schedule based on that … so we’re not out there reinvesting dollars on a brand-new product and impacting our customers,” Wiedfeld said.

Metro plans complete closures or long-term single-tracking from summer 2020 into early 2021 between East Falls Church and Vienna, according to plans announced last year.

The Silver Line and Orange Line meet between East Falls Church and West Falls Church stations, so any single-tracking or shutdown at East Falls Church would impact both Orange and Silver lines.

Metro has moved to hire its own private contractor to run the Silver Line extension, so contract details and timing could play a role in the opening date too.

Source

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Concerns remain at Metro, a year from possible Silver Line opening

While the agency building the Silver Line extension’s stations and tracks to Dulles Airport and Loudoun County plans to open the project to riders in less than a year, the agency that will actually be responsible for running the trains wants commuters to hold off before putting a date on their calendars.

As WTOP first reported, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority projects the Silver Line could open to riders around July 16, 2020.

“They don’t set the date, Metro sets the date,” Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld emphasized in response.

The airports authority’s projected opening date factors in various risks and outstanding construction disputes, even as Metro continues its own evaluations of problems with the quality of concrete, tracks and other pieces installed by the contractors building the Silver Line Phase 2.

“There’s a lot of issues out there, but the biggest issue for us is the rail ties, and some of those issues, because [fixing] that is something you cannot do with service running,” Wiedefeld said.

Essentially, Metro does not want weekend or evening single-tracking shortly after the extension opens through Reston, Herndon, Dulles and Ashburn both for ridership reasons and the cost of any extra maintenance.

The airports authority believes the rail tie issues are not as significant as they initially appeared.

Metro is working with the airports authority and contractors to address issues on both the rail line and in the rail yard, and was consulted in developing the July 2020 projected opening date.

Metro’s Office of Inspector General and the independent Washington Metrorail Safety Commission are separately looking into the problems to ensure that there are no safety concerns along the extension.

“Until those are settled, we’re not going to put out a date on when this thing opens,” Wiedefeld said.

Once Metro takes ownership of the line, the testing period will begin. The construction contracts also include some warranties.

“We still have issues that we have to work through before we start service, so any particular day or a date, or a day of the week, putting it out there, that’s just not real right now,” Wiedefeld said.

The date set as a goal by the airports authority was established as part of a federal project management process meant to take into account all repair, inspection, testing and training issues.

It was the first time that a solid projected opening date had been established, even if the actual opening date is expected to be a few days earlier or later.

In addition to construction and financial issues, Metro may need to consider 24/7 track work plans on the Orange Line when considering a Silver Line opening date.

“What’s going to drive it is the quality of the work and safety, so we will work the schedule based on that … so we’re not out there reinvesting dollars on a brand-new product and impacting our customers,” Wiedfeld said.

Metro plans complete closures or long-term single-tracking from summer 2020 into early 2021 between East Falls Church and Vienna, according to plans announced last year.

The Silver Line and Orange Line meet between East Falls Church and West Falls Church stations, so any single-tracking or shutdown at East Falls Church would impact both Orange and Silver lines.

Metro has moved to hire its own private contractor to run the Silver Line extension, so contract details and timing could play a role in the opening date too.

Source

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

How the Metro’s summer shutdown has impacted Alexandria businesses

Westlake Legal Group Untitled-11 How the Metro’s summer shutdown has impacted Alexandria businesses Summer shutdown platform improvement project Old Town News & Updates News metro summer shutdown metro Economy
Night life on King Street (Photo courtesy of Visit Alexandria)

In the middle of June, Visit Alexandria, in partnership with local government and organizations, administered a survey to discover the extent of the Metro Summer Shutdown’s impact on the Old Town community. While some businesses lost revenue and others gained, the general trend is this: the closer a site lies to the waterfront, the stronger the performance and the closer a business is to the Metro, the weaker the performance. 

Of the 149 responses, the most highly represented sectors in the survey were restaurant and retail and about two-thirds come from Old Town. While the majority of businesses surveyed reported that revenue was either up or unchanged compared to the same period in 2018, 38% on upper and middle King Street reported revenue declines of greater than 5%, with most seeing declines greater than 10%.  

“We are trying to do every single thing we can during this interruption to ensure we deliver as strong a performance as we can,” says Visit Alexandria Chief Operating Officer Tom Kaiden. “Once we got the results back, we’ve started making adjustments in our marketing mix to place greater emphasis on retail and restaurants, and also the full length of King Street.”

In preparation for Alexandria Restaurant Week, happening Aug. 16 to 25, the Visit Alexandria team has increased recruiting efforts for participating restaurants, making 2019 a record year with more than 74 eateries already signed up.

Ally Kirpatrick, owner of relative newcomer Old Town Books, located at the foot of King Street by the water, has experienced an increase in sales since the Metro Platform Improvement Project began on May 25, which she credits to the location of the shop. While Old Town Books’ revenue has increased, Kirpatrick has noticed a change in her regular consumer base.

“You know, we get a lot of tourist foot traffic but also a lot of our customers are locals, it’s part of our business model,” says Kirpatrick, who hosts regular book club meetings and events within the store. “I’ve definitely noticed my DC peeps aren’t showing up as much, so I really hope the end of the shutdown will mean they are more inclined to come to our events.”

Amy Rutherford of Red Barn Mercantile and Penny Post, located on opposite ends of King Street, has noticed a similar trend in shop visitors. 

“I think we will still get tourists because they want to come to this great little city—they’ll find a way—but the regional traffic not as much,” says Rutherford. “DC and Maryland people, even some North Arlington customers, are not making the trip on a regular basis like they usually do.”

While Rutherford prepared for the shutdown by talking to financial advisers and the stores’ banks, she still worries for the upcoming holiday season, as sales for Red Barn Mercantile decreased significantly in June and sales for Penny Post remained stagnant. Over the past few months, she has worked collaboratively with other local business owners to host events like the Old Town Spring Carnival and the Maker’s Mini Mile to make sure people know about Alexandria and what it has to offer.

Alexandria Restaurant Partners, a company made up of eight local eateries, has experienced revenue changes at some of its sites as well, including Mia’s Italian Kitchen and Theismann’s

While Mia’s is up 10% compared to last year, Theismann’s sales are down 15%, but Scott Shaw, one of the founding partners of Alexandria Restaurant Partners, doesn’t attribute the decline at Theismann’s all to the shutdown.

In addition to the summer shutdown, the King Street-Old Town Metrorail Station Access Improvement Project, which started in November of last year, has interrupted normal traffic patterns in the area. In order to remain productive during the alterations, according to Shaw, Theismann’s is going through an extensive interior makeover, with a completion date coinciding with the Metro’s reopening.

“We knew both of these things were coming so we just rolled with the punches,” says Shaw. “Theismann’s has been here for 34 years, so one weak summer is not going to kill us.”  

While Visit Alexandria initially planned on surveying local businesses once as a temperature check, the organization is considering conducting the survey again once the closure ends to examine the entire effect of the project.

“It’s such a vibrant, wonderful town that people do want to travel here on a regular basis,” says Rutherford. “It’s just if they aren’t able to get here, then obviously it makes things difficult.”

This article is a part of our ongoing coverage of the Summer Platform Improvement Project. See all of our coverage here.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

A deep dive into NoVA and DC’s slugging community

Westlake Legal Group hov A deep dive into NoVA and DC’s slugging community travel transportation sluglines slugging sluggers News & Updates Metro shutdown metro Culture Features Culture commuters carpooling
© trekandphoto / stock.adobe.com

For the past six years, Jenny Smuland, a resident of Springfield, has been picking people up on her morning commute to Washington, DC on an “off-and-on basis,” as she describes it. Upon leaving her home, she travels 10 minutes out of her way to pick up other commuters, yet unlike drivers for ride-sharing companies like Uber or Lyft, there is no economic benefit.

Smuland is part of a unique group of individuals who participate in casual carpooling from Northern Virginia to the District, known as “slugging,” which has existed since the inception of High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes in 1971.

While the service has adapted as a result of technology’s growth, the general premise is this: drivers offer their vehicle, “sluggers” (riders) wait at one of the designated pick up locations along the I-95 and I-66 Corridors and then three or more commuters jump in and travel to a decided destination as a group. 

And now with the Metro Summer Shutdown in full swing, the use of sluglines may seem like a more appealing option for the thousands of commuters who make their way into DC each day. 

Westlake Legal Group new-routes A deep dive into NoVA and DC’s slugging community travel transportation sluglines slugging sluggers News & Updates Metro shutdown metro Culture Features Culture commuters carpooling
Photo courtesy of sluglines.com/metroshutdown

When the Reconstruction Project began, Kalai Kandasamy, one of the organizers and creators of the group’s app, decided to create three new routes for commuters. Now throughout the region, there are 50 pickup locations—40 in Northern Virginia, 10 in DC—where sluggers can meet and commute together.

“I am pretty pro-slugging, as my husband’s father was a slug driver back in the ’70s,” says Smuland. “It’s a really interesting thing where people actually come together to organize and rally, which people don’t usually do with strangers in DC.” 

Smuland travels with the same two women every Monday and Tuesday, whom she has created relationships with through sluglines. While there are technically etiquette rules put in place, including minimal talking in the car and no profane music, over time individuals become comfortable with people who take similar routes each day, according to Smuland.

According to Kandasamy, there are about 5,000 commuters who go into DC, 3,500 who travel to the Pentagon and 1,500 who head to Rosslyn & Crystal City. Following the addition of the three sluglines this past May, Kandasamy has seen an increase of individuals coordinating via the Facebook group; however, finding drivers is challenging.

“We always have trouble finding drivers,” Kandasamy says. “There are many people who ask for rides but because it’s all volunteer, it is really hard to find people who want to drive. So, the only way we can meet up is through media, local radio waves and now the app or our social media platforms.” 

According to Smuland, the shutdown has exhausted the system, in that people are confused about where to meet and how to navigate the traffic changes that come with it. Despite the confusion, she continues to slug and now drives to the Van Dorn Street station, one of the closed platforms, to pick up her usual slugging partners. 

“I started about a year ago, and at first I was a little scared because I am a female and I didn’t know who was in the car,” says NoVA resident Claudia Davis. “After time, you start to know people. You go to the same spot at the same time and see familiar faces every day.”

Prior to joining sluglines, Davis was spending about $200 a week on tolls, gas and car maintenance. Now, she and her husband regularly drive or slug as a pair but as the shutdown continues, she finds the traffic to be much worse. 

“The roads are crazy,” Davis says. “The busses are very rude and tend to cut people off in the lanes. But I have noticed more people slugging because of the shutdown, too.”

Recently, Kandasamy has worked with GPS navigation software company Waze to create an Alexandria Platform Reconstruction Carpool group. Those who are commuting to or from Alexandria can pay a flat rate of $2 to use the Waze carpool program until the shutdown ends on Sept. 8. 

“The carpool group is pretty new because we were doing promotion in DC from April to the end of June, so we just added the Alexandria promotion for residents a couple of weeks ago,” says Head of Public Sector Partnerships Dani Simons. “Since April, we’ve seen a 35% month-over-month growth in completed carpools in the area.”

In the past few years, Kandasamy has been pushing for infrastructure from government in the form of curb space and signage, similar to what ride-sharing companies receive, because he wants the tradition to continue and grow. According to Kandasamy, WMATA has not promoted slugging throughout the shutdown.

“We’ve been around for 40 years and thousands of people use us,” Kandasamy explains. “But it is really hard for us to be considered a mode of transportation.”

This article is a part of our ongoing coverage of the Summer Platform Improvement Project. We will continue to update and inform the community about the project through September. See all of our coverage here.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

It’s been over a month since the Metro Summer Shutdown. Here’s the progress so far.

Westlake Legal Group metro It’s been over a month since the Metro Summer Shutdown. Here’s the progress so far. wmata Summer shutdown News & Updates News Metro shutdown metro
© doganmesut / stock.adobe.com

In about eight weeks, the six closed Metro stations, under construction as a result of Metro’s three-month long reconstruction project, will reopen following months of track work, platform repairs, design changes and more. 

Since the project began, several changes have been made at all six of the Yellow and Blue Line stations. Below, we share a brief update on the progress at each one, according to reports from Metro.

Braddock Road
A few weeks ago, the historic Braddock Hump was officially removed from the Alexandria station. The hump had been untouched since 1983, creating an uneven and unsafe platform for riders getting on and off the train. Since its removal, the crews from contractor company Kiewit have sandblasted and painted the top of the platform, and are planning on adding new skylights.

Huntington
Plans for the new entrance are underway, but it will not be complete until 2021, according to a joint development solicitation of the station. As for the platform reconstruction, the old tiles have been removed and crews have started work on the skylights.

Franconia-Springfield
While concrete has been poured at the edges of the platform, construction crews are painting and prepping for new skylights to be installed.

King Street
Crews have started installing new, granite platform edges.

Van Dorn Street
Platform edges are being set and crews are starting waterproofing work.

Eisenhower Avenue
In preparation of reinstalling granite edges, crews are working on waterproofing the platform.

This piece is a part of our Summer Platform Improvement Project coverage. We will continue to update and inform the community about the project throughout the summer. See more coverage here.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Braddock Road station finally loses its “hump”

Back in April, Metro pushed back the final completion date of the Summer Platform Reconstruction Project to Sept. 8, in order to “address a longstanding design issue at Braddock Road Station.” That longstanding design issue is known as the “Braddock Hump,” a 200-foot long area at the platform’s southern end that was approximately 2 to 4 inches higher than the level of the train floor.

As of June 26, the historic hump, which had been untouched since it was unveiled back in 1983, was officially eliminated from the outdoor platform of Braddock Road station, making the site compliant with the standards in the Americans with Disabilities Act. 

Prior to last week’s fix, the area created a hazard for those in wheelchairs, as well as exiting passengers, who were alerted to be careful via the voice-over in Metro’s various train cars. 

While the hump had existed without any repairs for 36 years, the cause of the issue was unknown until the months before the summer-long shutdown began. Kiewit, the contractor of the project, determined that three concrete support piers originally placed below the platform, which weigh hundreds of thousands of pounds, were simply built too tall when the platform initially opened.

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Hydraulic jacks lift the 1.6 million-pound platform above its supportive concrete piers. (Photo courtesy of WMATA)

To completely remove the hump and make the platform equal, the construction team had to use hydraulic jacks to lift the 1.6-million-pound deck off the concrete piers, according to a recent press release from WMATA. While lifted, the construction crews were able to adjust the piers, lowering the platform by 4 inches total to the correct height.

In addition to fixing the hump, the team of builders has poured concrete along 60% of the platform, making it possible to start placing new granite along the platform edges and continue with other minor design details, such as the installation of new skylights.

This piece is a part of our Summer Platform Improvement Project coverage. We will continue to update and inform the community about the project throughout the summer. See all coverage here.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com