You may have heard the buzz recently that WMATA has put out plans that would finally include the construction of a Georgetown metro stop. Long time readers, however, will know that this is not the first time WMATA has put out such plans. GM’s been writing about such missives for over ten years now. And the new plans don’t really vary a whole lot from other plans that have been put out over the years. But an inch forward is still an inch closer to the finish line!
So here’s what WMATA is now proposing:
A Split Blue (or Silver) Line
The key theme throughout these plans is that WMATA is not proposing a Georgetown metro station simply to have a Georgetown metro station. It’s more of a happy byproduct of the need to create a new tunnel under the Potomac river to ease train congestion between Rosslyn and Foggy Bottom. Right now this tunnel cannot accommodate more train traffic than it already handles (well, what it was handling in the pre-Covid era). This situation only got worse with the opening of the first phase of the Silver line, and will just continue to get worse once the rest of the Silver line opens and starts ferrying more workers back and forth (not to mention airline passengers to and from Dulles).
The solution that has been floated since the 90s is to split the Blue and Orange lines between Rosslyn and Foggy Bottom. The Blue line then would run through a new Potomac tunnel and then travel beneath M St. as it makes its way across downtown DC.
Doing so would open the possibility of a Georgetown station, but it’s not the primary objective.
Variability on the Margins
These plans don’t vary much in the way they handle the new tunnel once it leaves Rosslyn and goes across town. Having it go from Georgetown to Union Station has been a consistent plan over the years. And that’s what WMATA is proposing yet again.
But what the line does outside the core has varied quite a bit. And that variation remains on display with this new plan.
One possibility is that the Blue line heads northeast from Union Station and eventually hooks up with the Green line in College Park:
This would have the benefit of bringing Metro to the booming neighborhoods of Union Market and Ivy City. (Although it should be noted that even an optimistic timeline of financing and construction wouldn’t bring this plan to fruition for decades)
Another option would bring the line south from Union Station to National Harbor in Prince Georges County and over the river back to Alexandria:
This would have the benefit of bringing better transit to some fairly transit-starved areas. And it would create the first circle line for Metro.
The final plan doesn’t use the Blue line at all, but rather the Silver:
The line would travel largely the same east of Georgetown as the first one does. But the trains would head out on the Silver line tracks west of Arlington. There’s also a possibility of express service on this line between Falls Church and Rosslyn. (GM personally prefers this proposal.)Continue reading
It’s that time of year again, when people start to wonder what the hell are those giant grain brain-shaped fruit around Georgetown. As in past years, GM is ready with the answer, as reprinted below:
This time a year, if you wonder around Montrose or Volta Parks you’re bound to find on the ground weird softball-sized green fruit like the one above. People are often so struck by the sight of the fruit, they pick up one or two of them and bring them home. But what are they, you ask?
Despite their green color, they’re oranges. Osage oranges, to be specific. They are grown by Osage trees, which line the Parrot rope walk. These trees are prevalent in the Great Plains states, where they are often planted along hedgerows. Traditionally, the pliable but strong nature of this tree’s wood made it valuable for fence posts and archery bows.Continue reading
Due largely to stubborn vaccine hesitancy, Covid has continued to rage throughout DC at rates it hasn’t seen since some of the worst pre-vaccine days of last winter. But it is an uneven wildfire. While it races through neighborhoods east of the Anacostia–where seven day average positives rates reach as high as 260 per 100k residents–in the western side of the city it remains low. And that includes Georgetown. That said, Georgetown has seen an increase in positive cases that dates to mid-August, i.e. the time when thousands of Georgetown students began returning to campus.
But GM doesn’t want to exaggerate the uptick. Last week, the city reported that just 11 positive cases were found in west Georgetown, and 13 in east Georgetown (which for data collection’s sake includes west Dupont). This is up from where the levels were the last time GM looked into it in July. At that point, west Georgetown had only two cases for the whole month. East Georgetown had a bit more at eleven. Yet even still, west Georgetown is still only reporting positives at seven day average rate of 16 cases per 100k residents. East Georgetown reports a similar rate of 19 cases per 100k residents. (For comparison’s sake, the great state of Connecticut, which is currently reporting the lowest levels of all states, has a rate of 18 per 100k.)Continue reading