Back in January, GM discussed the long range plans that a WMATA group was considering that would, among other things, bring a metro stop to Georgetown (actually, two metro stops). The new stations would be part of a plan to create a new cross-town Metro tunnel underneath M St. to accommodate the added traffic on the Silver Line.
Recently this same group considered another radical plan that would also bring a Metro stop to Georgetown. It would be called the Brown line and it would travel roughly parallel with the Red line from Friendship Heights down to Georgetown. From there it would travel across town south of the Blue/Orange lines before turning back north to head up through Petworth and on to 16th St. Heights.
This line is actually quite like another Brown line that was suggested by David Alpert three years ago (although even he hasn’t included it in fantasy maps he’s done since then). The WMATA group considered the impact that such a line would have on the overcrowding of the other lines. Among other impacts, the group estimated that the new Brown line would add approximately 20,000 more daily trips and increase the percentage of DC and Arlington residents using transit from 70% to 74%.
Of the various proposed new subway lines, GM thinks this one has the least utility. There isn’t much density around Ward Circle, nor is there much hope of adding much. Wisconsin and Mass is an even more screwy location for a Metro stop. Sure, people would use it to get to National Cathedral, but there just aren’t enough residents in the immediate vicinity to justify that. A Metro stop in Glover Park, on the other hand, would make a lot more sense, but this map doesn’t include one.
The idea of sending a Metro across town under Constitution Ave. was considered as an alternative route for the split Blue line. And the study group found that it would result in less ridership than a route under M St. GM thinks the same considerations would apply to the Brown line too.
The east side of the Brown line, however, does make a lot more sense to GM. It would service a lot of transit starved neighborhoods.
Other elements of the most recent report include a consideration of whether to have express service on the Silver line. The idea would be for the Silver line to make local stops west of East Falls Church, then stay of I-66 to skip the Arlington stops until Rosslyn. Then it would cross the Potomac through a new river crossing, make two stops in Georgetown before heading downtown under M St.
Interesting the report assumes that if they go with the express service, then it would be the Silver line that goes through Georgetown, but if they keep local service, then it would be the “split Blue line” that would use the new crossing and go through Georgetown. Here are the two options:
The group concluded that the Silver line express idea would result in fewer riders since it would reduce the options for Arlington riders.
It’s important to remember that this is long, long, long term planning. It needs to be done since it takes a long, long, long time to plan for new subway lines. Future demand will outstrip our capacity, but by the time we reach that point it will be too late to start planning.
For reference, consider that the date the study is focused on is 2040.