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Metrorail SafeTrack - Commuting Alternatives for Safety Surge #9 Archived Discussion Room

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Metrorail SafeTrack - Commuting Alternatives for Safety Surge #9

As Metro’s year-long SafeTrack maintenance program continues, the Orange Line riders will be impacted by trains continuously single tracking between Vienna and West Falls Church Metrorail Stations during weekdays from Sep. 15, 2016, through Oct. 26, 2016. There will also be complete station closures during the weekends. Learn more about your travel options during this 42-day maintenance effort and find out how to avoid gridlock!


Anna Nissinen : Hello everyone! My name is Anna Nissinen and I head communications for Fairfax County Department of Transportation and Fairfax Connector bus system. I'm here today with Florita Wesley, Fairfax Connector Customer Service Manager, to answer any questions you may have on the Metrorail SafeTrack surge #9 which will impact the Metro Orange Line beginning this Thursday, Sept. 15. Trains will be single tracking during weekdays between Vienna and West Falls Church for 42 days, and there will be complete station shutdowns during the weekends, too. Transit alternatives to help you navigate the impacted area, visit www.fairfaxcounty.gov/safetrack


Fairfax : Metro's shuttle train to run every 24 minutes between Vienna and West Falls Church, is there any schedule for it? Its not reflecting in WMATA's Trip Planner as of early Monday AM, and the Surge starts Thursday. Knowing the scheduled time for it can help personal commute planning whether to use it or not.

Anna Nissinen : Hello - this is the first time WMATA is actually using a so-called shuttle train between Vienna and West Falls Church instead of a train with a set schedule. For more information check www.wmata.com/safetrack. The trip planner may have been updated since Monday, but please double check with WMATA.


EC22 : Has the Reston South bus 599 schedule been reduced from the schedule in early 2016? Will there be any supplemental service during Surge #9? Is there any consideration for offering the express to Pentagon service from the Reston North Park and Ride? Thanks!

Florita Wesley : Good Afternoon EC22 - Thank you for your question.  Surge #9 will not impact the Silver Line, therefore, Fairfax Connector will not provide supplemental service from Reston North Park & Ride to the Pentagon. Please visit our website at fairfaxcounty.gov/safetrack for other travel options.


Anonymous User : Is parking at West Falls Church metro station in order to get to Capitol Hill an option to avoid metro delays? Will there be ample spaces available?

Anna Nissinen : Hi - yes, parking at West Falls Church Metrorail station is an option and you can catch the Orange Line from there. Parking should be available and WMATA will be monitoring any crowding issues there.


642 Rider : Will the Fairfax Connector bus 642/644 route (From Stone Road Centreville) be extended to west falls church or will the service continue to start at Vienna?

Florita Wesley : Hello 642 Rider -  Fairfax Connector Routes 642/644 (from Stone Road Centreville) will not be extended to West Falls Church. Bus service will continue to operate from Vienna Metro. Thank you.


dcmetrosucks : FFX is offering a shuttle bus every 24 minutes from Vienna to WFC. FFX is also offering additional bus service to the Pentagon from Vienna. QUESTION 1: how do buses from Vienna to Pentagon help FFX Orange Line Metro rail riders get to/from DC? QUESTION 2: is 1 shuttle bus, every 24 min -- from/to Vienna & WFC --sufficient to handle rush hour rail passenger demands?

Anna Nissinen : Good afternoon! To be clear, WMATA will be providing a shuttle bus service approximately every 5-10 minutes between Vienna and West Falls Church; the shuttle TRAIN will operate between the stations every 24 minutes. This combined service should assist carry some of the displaced passengers. The Fairfax Connector Vienna-Pentagon shuttle will assist with your commute to D.C. as you have many bus and rail connections from Pentagon to downtown. All options and connections can be found under "all transit connections" link for this particular surge at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/safetrack.


Brenda : Is there a commuter bus that takes you directly into DC from Fairfax or chantilly area?

Anna Nissinen : Hello Brenda - There are currently no direct commuter buses from Fairfax/Chantilly area to D.C. There is, however, a direct express service from Vienna Metrorail station to the Pentagon during surge #9; from Pentagon, you can catch Metrorail or Metrobus to downtown D.C. You can also catch the Metrobus 1A to Ballston from Vienna or take the Metrobus 5A from Herndon-Monroe Park and Ride to Rosslyn and L'Enfant Plaza. All connections can be found at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/safetrack.


Maria Vienna : Why haven't there been any Vienna to Ballston express buses available?

Florita Wesley : Hi Maria Vienna - Fairfax Connector is engaging its entire fleet of buses and operators to run its regular service and the additional express service.  No additional resources are available for adding shuttle bus service or providing an express bus route from Vienna Metro to Ballston.  Fairfax Connector will be serving Pentagon as our supplemental express service hub to move the largest number of riders around the SafeTrack zones.  Pentagon has great bus and rail connections to the District of Columbia. Also, Metro's 1A provides bus service from Vienna to Ballston. Additional travel options can be obtained at fairfaxcounty.gov/safetrack. Thank you.


dcmetrosucks : Why hasn't FFX County developed a better plan for WMATA riders affected by the Surges that is something other than "find alternate transportation"?

Anna Nissinen : Hello - there are many options in place in Fairfax County to assist commuters. Supplemental bus service schedules can be found at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/safetrack, and our Ridesources team is ready and available to assist commuters to find ridematches, carpooling opportunities, and establishing new vanpools. The contact information can be found right on the SafeTrack homepage. Also, we encourage commuters to consider slugging along the major corridors. Lastly, we are working with the employer community in the county to encourage them to continue allow teleworking and flexible schedules for their employees in order to avoid gridlock.


Mary M : How crowded were the Vienna-Pentagon express busses for Surges #1 and #5, and do you expect the same level of ridership for this surge?

Anna Nissinen : Mary M - thank you for the question! During surges #1 and 5, we saw good ridership on our Vienna-Pentagon express service, and would expect similar level of ridership come this Thursday. We will be closely monitoring possible overcrowding on the buses and will take action, if necessary, to adjust resources to address any issues as we move through the 42 days of Surge #9.


Anonymous User : I-66 and the other road bridges into DC all operate beyond capacity on a 'normal' day; the Rosslyn WMATA tunnel brings more people into DC from Virginia than any other river crossing. Given that this will not be a viable option for Orange Line riders for nearly 2 months, why have no alternative transit options into the District been planned? The direct bus to the Pentagon does remarkably little for passengers trying to make it to the most frequent destinations from the Orange Line.

Anna Nissinen : Thank you for the question! We are aware of the heavy traffic on these corridors and that is why we are reaching out to both commuters and employers alike to provide a multitude of commuting options. Transit alone (buses, rail) won't be able to carry all impacted by this next surge, so we are encouraging people to telework, flex their schedules, and shift their rush-hour commutes (to earlier or later in the morning) to avoid further gridlock.

There are several options for those who will choose to take transit to connect to D.C. and beyond from Pentagon, Ballston and Rosslyn, for instance, through existing connections. All of these linkages are available at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/safetrack under this particular surge "all transit connections".


Anonymous User : Why can't the buses that terminate at Vienna from points west be temporarily extended to west falls church for the period of the safetrack work? This would help commuters a lot!

Florita Wesley : Hi commuter - Thank you for your question. There will be FREE limited Metrobus rush hour shuttle service that will operate between Vienna and West Falls Church every 5-10 minutes. Please visit fairfaxcounty.gov/safetrack for additional information.


Anonymous User : I took the Vienna Pentagon Express bus during the first two Surges that affected the Orange Line. I plan to take it again for the next 6 weeks. I just want to compliment the Connector employees at Vienna and the Pentagon for keeping things organized, and the drivers who got us to the Pentagon and back and kept on schedule.

Anna Nissinen : Thank you for your feedback - and thank you for riding Fairfax Connector!


Mary M : Will HOV restrictions be lifted on I-66 to allow riders to drive to WFC/EFC and park there?

Anna Nissinen : Mary - VDOT manages the HOV lanes and as of now, there is no plan to lift the restrictions. You can contact VDOT directly on this issue.


Anonymous User : Where will the shuttle bus service from Vienna pick up passengers? Which side of the station? What bus bay?

Anna Nissinen : Hello - the express service from Vienna to Pentagon will pick passengers up on the south side at bus bay N. Schedule and details: http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/safetrack/safetysurgeinfo_s9.htm


C. : I know the shuttle buses won't stop at Dunn Loring during the week, but what about on the weekends? Will the shuttle trains stop at Dunn Loring during the week?

Florita Wesley : Hello C. -  Thanks for joining us.  The shuttle train will not stop at Dunn Loring during the week.  During the weekends, the shuttle buses do not stop at Dunn Loring either. Please visit fairfaxcounty.gov/safetrack for additional travel options. 


Robert : Is it possible to get a bus going into DC? Not just the Pentagon? Maybe L'enfant metro? Thank you for considering!

Anna Nissinen : Robert - thank you for the suggestion. We use Pentagon as the hub to navigate all of the SafeTrack zones as there are many connections to downtown D.C. via bus and rail. There is an express service operated by Metrobus (5A) from the Herndon-Monroe Park and Ride that goes all the way to L'Enfant Plaza. Check all connections at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/safetrack under surge 9 all transit options.


Anonymous User : I took the Vienna Pentagon bus during the first two surges. I want to compliment the Connector employees at Vienna and the Pentagon who kept us informed and organized, and the drivers who got us there and back safely and on-time. I'll be back on the bus for Surge 9. Thanks!

Anna Nissinen : Thank you for the feedback - and thank you for riding with Fairfax Connector!


FFX Co resident concerned about Yellow Line Bridge : With the recent questions about the quality of Metro's track work, what is being done to make sure the rail system is safe? I'm especially concerned about the Yellow Line bridge, which trains sometimes move very slowly across, and had unexplained speed restrictions a few months ago.

Anna Nissinen : Thank you for joining the conversation - please submit any comments concerning Metro operations directly to WMATA at http://wmata.custhelp.com/app/home/.


Anonymous User : What is FFX county doing to hold Metro accountable and ensure work is being done properly? Can more alternate transit options be provided from FFX to DC during surges?

Anna Nissinen : Good afternoon!

Fairfax County, through Fairfax Connector bus service, utilizes Pentagon as the transit hub to move people around all of the SafeTrack surges. Pentagon provides many bus and rail connections to downtown D.C., and beyond. All connections can be found at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/safetrack. Also, Metrobus 5A provides express service from the Herndon-Monroe Park and Ride all the way to L'Enfant Plaza and is an option as well.

Any questions or comments regarding SafeTrack work should be directed to WMATA: http://wmata.custhelp.com/app/home/


ALL Commuting Options : The Orange Line service will be close to normal past WFC, and the WFC parking deck has about 850 open spaces every day. To fully utilize that additional capacity and to move more people within the current commuting infrastructure, Fairfax County should lift the HOV-2 restrictions between I-495 and Rt. 7, to allow those that typically park and ride to Vienna or Dunn Loring another potential commuting option. Fairfax County should advise VDOT to lift those HOV restrictions during Safetrack Surge 9 to allow for the full utilization of all available resources. To allow those resources to remain dormant seems irresponsible.

Anna Nissinen : Thank you for joining the conversation! We will forward your comment to VDOT as they manage the HOV lanes/restrictions.


Anna Nissinen : Thank you everyone for joining us this afternoon to talk about SafeTrack Surge #9! We encourage all Fairfax County commuters to prepare now ahead of Thursday and take a look at their commuting options for the next 42 days. Please check www.fairfaxcounty.gov/safetrack frequently for updates and follow us on Facebook (@fairfaxconnector) and on Twitter (@ffxconnector).