As six platforms south of National Airport close, WMATA makes alternative plans for those traveling in and out of NoVA this summer.
The long-awaited Metro summer shutdown has officially begun. As of last Saturday, May 25, six metro stations within Alexandria and parts of Arlington and Fairfax counties closed in order to fully rebuild decaying Metro station platforms.
The shutdown, continuing through Sept. 8, is part of the Summer Platform Improvement Project, which will address structural deficiencies at outdoor platforms of 20 Metrorail stations over the course of three years. The first half-dozen stations to be reconstructed directly affect around 170,000 people in the Northern Virginia area and beyond.
While 80% of Reagan National Airport’s passengers travel north of the airport, those traveling south will face a minimum of a 30-minute increase in their commutes, according to WMATA. In effort to mitigate issues for those traveling to and from Reagan National Airport, Metro has made several changes to its offerings and routes.
The Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation has awarded the city about $2.2 million as part of a mitigation plan that is going toward carpool systems, more bus lines, longer trolley hours, ferry boats and five free shuttles, which will benefit those commuting to and from the airport. Three of the five shuttles are replacing what normally would be the Blue Line Metro service, yet only one stops directly at Reagan.
The Blue Line shuttle is the only one that will stop at Reagan, which means those traveling on the Yellow Line shuttle will have to transfer at King Street Station to get to the airport. Weekly hours for the Blue shuttle include pick up between 4:30 a.m. and midnight Monday through Thursday, as well as pickup until 1:30 a.m. on Fridays. During morning rush hour, passengers should be picked up every five minutes, yet in the afternoon and evenings that will change to every 10 minutes. In addition, weekend Blue Line service is reduced to 6:30 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. on Saturdays, and 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. on Sundays.
If you chose to drive and avoid all Metro outlets, three of the six Metro station lots will offer free parking throughout the entirety of the shutdown. Those stations include Huntington, which is at the end of the Yellow Line, Franconia-Springfield station at the end of the Blue Line and Van Dorn Street station. In total, the lots comprise about 8,900 spots.
WMATA has been working firsthand with the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority to ensure road traffic is minimal and that use of Metro services continues, despite the summer shutdown. Representatives at Reagan will be sending emails to all people flying in and out of the airport regarding the shutdown, retweeting Metro’s updates and posting relevant information on its site to assist all travelers. Plus, thousands of print flyers will be handed out at the airport in both English and Spanish to keep all individuals informed on the closure and alternative routes.
To stay updated on relevant route changes and delays, check out these apps that will show passengers real time information on their designated routes.
This article is a part of our summer-long coverage of the Summer Platform Improvement Project. See more coverage here.