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The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro) was created by an interstate compact in 1967 to plan, develop, build, finance, and operate a balanced regional transportation system in the national capital area. Metro began building its rail system in 1969, acquired four regional bus systems in 1973, and began operating the first phase of Metrorail in 1976. Today, Metrorail serves 91 stations and has 117 miles of track. Metrobus serves the nation's capital 24 hours a day, seven days a week with 1,500 buses. Metrorail and Metrobus serve a population of approximately 4 million within a 1,500-square mile jurisdiction. Metro began its paratransit service, MetroAccess, in 1994; it provides about 2.3 million trips per year.
Solar panels capable of powering 1,500 homes will soon be installed at four Metro-owned facilities. In a request for proposals (RFP) issued today, Metro is offering a 15-year solar ground lease to develop and operate solar photovoltaic (PV) power systems on surface and rooftop parking lots at Anacostia, Cheverly, Naylor Road and Southern Avenue stations.
“Offering these Metro-owned sites for use as solar power stations will advance Metro’s commitment to sustainability while generating new revenue to support transit services and keep fares affordable,” said Metro General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Paul J. Wiedefeld.
The solar panels will be owned, operated, installed and maintained by a solar energy provider at no cost to Metro or taxpayers.
Metro’s surface and rooftop parking garages provide optimal exposure for solar power, offering a rare opportunity in the Washington Region to generate up to 15,000,000 kWh of renewable energy annually, enough to power 1,500 single family homes for one year.
Installing new solar canopies will benefit Metro’s parking customers by providing shade and snow protection for the top level of parking garages, along with lighting improvements.
Solar panels are expected to be installed and supplying renewable energy by late 2020 or early 2021.
Metro today announced the launch of a two-year study of the Blue, Orange and Silver lines with the goal of identifying long-term options to improve reliability, meet future ridership demand, and better serve customers.
Today, the Blue, Orange and Silver (BOS) lines all share a single set of tracks between the Rosslyn tunnel and the Anacostia River, creating a bottleneck that limits the number of trains that can cross between Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia. The limited capacity means that Metro cannot easily add more trains and has limited ability to work around service disruptions. With the current configuration, a disruption on one line can have a ripple effect on all three lines.
The BOS Study will identify potential infrastructure improvements and service alternatives to resolve these issues.
“Our rebuilding efforts and ongoing preventive maintenance have improved Metro’s reliability to the highest levels in eight years, but it’s time to start thinking about the Blue, Orange and Silver lines’ infrastructure constraints so that Metro is well positioned to serve future generations,” said Metro General Manager Paul J. Wiedefeld.
The first phase of the study will assess key issues and trends and document why improvements to the Blue, Orange, and Silver lines are necessary. Subsequent phases will include the development and evaluation of alternatives, as well as a thorough analysis of costs and benefits, with recommendation of a preferred alternative expected to occur by the fall of 2020.
Ultimately, the study will identify and analyze a range of potential alternatives before recommending a “locally preferred alternative” to move forward with federal environmental review, full design, and competition for federal funding. Over the next two years, Metro plans extensive outreach to engage the community, stakeholders, and transit experts to gather feedback and make recommendations.
To learn more about the project and opportunities to get involved, and to track the status of the project, visit the project website at www.wmata.com/BOSstudy.
Metro announced today that it has selected two sites—one in Prince George’s County, Md., and one in Alexandria, Va., as homes for new office buildings that will accommodate the majority of the transit authority’s professional workforce. The announcement is the next major milestone in Metro’s regional office consolidation plan, which will reduce the number of Metro office buildings from 10 to four, saving an estimated $130 million over the next 20 years.
The Prince George’s County location is adjacent to New Carrollton Metrorail Station, and the Alexandria location is near Eisenhower Avenue Station. Both buildings will be new construction on Metro-owned land and will contribute significantly to neighborhood development surrounding the selected sites. The buildings will be designed with the goal of achieving LEED Platinum certification to benefit the environment and reduce long-term operating costs.
The new Maryland and Virginia buildings will join Metro’s future DC headquarters near L’Enfant Plaza as primary office facilities. All three locations are within a five-minute (1,500-foot) walk to the nearest Metro station.
Metro’s New Carrollton office building will be one of three new buildings to be developed by the transit agency’s selected development partner, Urban Atlantic. Urban Atlantic won the rights to develop the New Carrollton station area in 2016 and plans to transform several acres of Metro-owned land into more than two million square feet of usable space. The station is one of the region’s most significant transit hubs and is served by Metro, MARC, multiple local and regional buses, Amtrak and Greyhound, and the future Maryland MTA Purple Line.
“Metro’s selection today of Urban Atlantic’s New Carrollton development for the site of its Maryland headquarters energizes the dramatic transformation of New Carrollton. What had been a functional surface parking lot is now an exciting urban center” said Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks. “New Carrollton has unmatched transportation options bringing customers, clients and residents from around the region to Prince George’s County. WMATA’s decision to place its Maryland headquarters in New Carrollton is the spark that will make that location a dynamic 24-hour community.”
The Alexandria office building will be located at 2395 Mill Road, adjacent to the Hoffman Town Center and will become part of the larger redevelopment of the Eisenhower Avenue corridor.
"Metro is a vital component of our region's mobility and economy," said Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson. "We look forward to welcoming hundreds of Metro employees to their new office home in Alexandria."
“Metro’s office consolidation plan is a smart investment in our future that will improve conditions for our workforce while benefitting the region,” said Metro General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Paul J. Wiedefeld. “Our three new office sites in DC, New Carrollton and Alexandria will save Metro – and taxpayers – significant money in the long term, while spurring additional private development and job creation in the surrounding communities.”
Last fall, Metro announced the selection of L’Enfant Plaza as the location of its new DC headquarters to replace the outmoded Jackson Graham Building (JGB) near Gallery Place. Earlier this month, Metro put the JGB site on the market for a long-term ground lease, a prime opportunity to redevelop the site for future high-density office, residential, hotel or mixed-use development. Metro plans to retain ownership of the property under the long-term lease, meaning any development would have the potential to generate sustained revenue for Metro to support bus and rail operations, help keep fares affordable, and contribute to the transit agency's long-term financial stability.
Metro is considering the redevelopment of the Park & Ride surface lot of the east side of the College Park-U of Md station into a multifamily residential building with ground floor retail. The proposed project concept by a private developer is anticipated to include:
To implement this joint development project, the surface lot on the eastern side of the station will be removed. In anticipation of this project, the State of Maryland and Prince George's County financed the construction of the 1,290-space Park & Ride garage that opened in 2005 to replace and expand the number of spaces lost from this proposed project.
Curtain grouting is a leak-mitigation technique used to treat an entire area that is leaking by adding a rubberlike membrane on the outside of the concrete tunnel wall. To do this, holes are drilled in the ceiling of the existing tunnel until the exterior of the tunnel is reached. From there, a proprietary polymer-based emulsion (PBE) grout is injected into the hole at high pressure, which begins cascading down the curved exterior of the tunnel (like the way chocolate syrup cascades down an ice cream sundae). Two holes are drilled every 10 feet for the injections. The holes are then sealed at the conclusion of the process. The injected material forms a rubberlike impenetrable membrane, or "curtain," between the exterior of the tunnel wall and the surrounding ground medium.
The contractor has successfully used this solution in the mining industry to seal ground water inflows - some with flow rates of 50 gallons per second.
Metro plans to test this technique in the two different environments that exist along the Red Line segment - one in a linear bored tunnel and one in a blasted-rock cavern. The linear tunnel segment that will be used for the pilot will be a 2,000-foot section of the inbound track between Medical Center and Bethesda. For the second test location, Metro plans to use the entire Medical Center interlocking area, which is a cavernous space that was constructed out of blasted rock.
Metro is seeking feedback on the two proposed projects: surface lot removal for a Capitol Heights Metrorail station joint development project and a surface lot reconfiguration at the Morgan Blvd Metrorail station.
Metro is considering the conversion of the Capitol Heights Metrorail station’s surface parking lot into a new multifamily residential project with self-contained parking for residents and retail space facing the Kiss & Ride area and the Metro entrance as part of a joint development project.
Metro's contractor, KONE, replaced the escalators two at a time in succession. The overall project took more than two years to complete, including site preparation, demolition and removal of the old escalators, installation of complex gantries and cranes to move the new escalators and supporting structures into place, as well as testing and tuning.
"Metro's infrastructure is aging and this is another example of the kind of investment that is needed across the system to provide customers with good, safe and reliable service," said Metro General Manager/CEO Paul J. Wiedefeld. "Before being replaced, these escalators were more than 30 years old and beyond their useful life. With these brand-new escalators customers will see the improvement."
With the completion of the escalators at Woodley Park, construction will begin Monday, June 5, to replace five entrance escalators at Cleveland Park Station. The project is expected to take 20 months to complete. The station's elevators will remain in service for the duration of the project.