- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Red Line riders should prepare for lots of red lights starting Saturday.

The next phase of Metro’s “SafeTrack” maintenance plan is expected to cause significant delays from Shady Grove to Glenmont — and officials are telling passengers it’s going to be a red hot mess.

“Commuters should expect Surge 10 to cause major, major disruptions and delays,” Al Roshdieh, director of the Montgomery County Department of Transportation, said Wednesday at a press conference.

The entire line between Fort Totten and NoMa-Gallaudet stations will shut down from Saturday through Nov. 22, resulting in the temporary closure of the stations at Brookland-CUA and at Rhode Island Avenue-Brentwood.

Red Line trains will run from Shady Grove to NoMa-Gallaudet every six minutes and from Glenmont to Fort Totten every 10 minutes — a 50 percent reduction in normal service.

The Red Line has the subway system’s largest ridership, so Surge 10 is expected to impact at least 200,000 trips per day.

Metro officials anticipate decreased service and increased congestion during trips for students, tourists and workers, especially during rush hour.

“The reality is we have a system that we’re trying to make up for decades of work,” Metro General Manager Paul Weidefeld said at the press conference. “With all of these surges, what we’re doing is limiting other things that could go really, really bad.”

Over the next three weeks, Metro workers will complete the full replacement of a double crossover track, several main line switches and more than 2,000 crossties. Improvement recommendations from the Federal Transit Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board also will be implemented.

To offset the drastic service reduction, the Metro has partnered with the District Department of Transportation and the Montgomery County Department of Transportation to coordinate transportation alternatives.

Metro will run additional bus service on the S9, P6, 80 and L2 lines; the DC Circulator will expand service hours; and Capital Bikeshare will offer $2 single-trip fares from the Union State bike corral.

As Red Line passengers look to get where they’re going, Metro officials advise people to have a Plan A and a Plan B — and to strive to carpool or share rides as often as possible.

Roadway congestion is expected to be particularly heavy from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. DDOT plans to deploy traffic control officers at key intersections, enhance real-time traffic signal adjustment and establish roadway patrols to ensure that traffic flows smoothly.

Rush hour parking restrictions established when the surges began will remain in effect, and construction in busy corridors has been halted.

DDOT plans to implement one-way patterns on N and Second streets adjacent to NoMa-Gallaudet station to ease the flow of additional shuttle buses moving through the area.

“[Metro] is pleased with the amount of progress we have been able to make in previous surges,” said Metro Board member Cathy Porter. “Ultimately, what the board wants to see is that Metro successfully addresses the FTA and NTSB safety recommendations, and that we are able to restore the reliability riders have been accustomed to for many years.”

But for some riders, finding hope in Metro is hard to do.

“I honestly don’t know if they’ll be able to really fix the problems,” said Michael Clark, president of the Edgewood Civic Association. “They’re still having issues with the work they’ve already completed.”

“I don’t know if it’s the equipment that’s the problem or if the people aren’t trained right for the job. They can go out there and try, but there’s no guarantee they’ll do anything to fix the problem,” he said.

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