The return of the Grosvenor Turnback? Say it ain’t so.

The Covid-19 pandemic is costing Metro hundreds of millions of dollars. With ridership down by 80% from pre-pandemic levels and with no additional federal help, Metro has to make difficult decisions to balance the budget shortfall.  Metro is preparing to resume fare collection on Metrobus and cut costs by limiting the use of contractors, furloughing employees, and deferring some capital program expenses. But the budget shortfall is so large, some service cuts and layoffs will also be needed beginning this December.

Metro is requesting your feedback on its Fiscal Year 2021 budget amendments proposals that includes the return of the dreaded Grosvenor turnback. Metrorail is proposing a service adjustment during weekdays. Trains would operate trains every 12 minutes at all times. Additional Red Line trains would operate every 12 minutes between Grosvenor-Strathmore and Silver Spring (known as “turnbacks”), so that the Red Line would operate every 6 minutes in the core.

If you don’t want the Grosvenor Turnback to return, please give your feedback to Metro by 9 a.m. Monday, October 19, 2020 by taking the online survey and providing written comments.

Breaking News: No More Grosvenor Turnback!

Yesterday,  Metro General Manager/CEO Paul J. Wiedefeld announced that the “Grosvenor Turnback” – the current rush-hour service pattern where every other Red Line train begins and ends at Grosvenor, rather than Shady Grove – would be eliminated on December 17, 2018. Under the future service pattern, all Red Line trains will run to/from Shady Grove, doubling rush-hour service (trains every 4 minutes) for customers at White Flint, Twinbrook, Rockville, and Shady Grove.

This is wonderful news for the Pike District/White Flint area.  After all, it’s hard to have transit-oriented development without frequent, reliable transit. Friends of White Flint is proud that its advocacy efforts — combined with the efforts of local government, residents, and other nonprofit organizations — have led to this important change.

Read more at Bethesda Beat and Channel 9 News.

 

The latest on the Grosvenor Turnback

Click here to read the entire article from WTOP 

The funding to end the Grosvenor Turnback is now embedded in Metro’s fiscal year 2019 budget, which will serve as the base year for Virginia’s calculations of cost caps imposed on Metro as part of the agreement to provide a share of new dedicated capital funding for the agency.

The Metro board is scheduled to be briefed next month on an analysis of whether adding service on the Red Line at rush hour to and from stations between Shady Grove and Grosvenor-Strathmore is even feasible under Metro’s current operating procedures and rules, and whether such additional service would meet federal civil rights requirements.

General Manager Paul Wiedefeld declined to say Thursday whether Shady Grove could handle the extra traffic, until that analysis is completed. Shady Grove did have more trains scheduled in the past than it does today. But at those times, Metro did not always meet its scheduled service levels.

“Ending the Grosvenor turnbacks has been a longstanding objective for improving service for Maryland Red Line riders for both Montgomery County and the state of Maryland,” Maryland Metro Board member Michael Goldman said.

It was promised in a 2015 deal, he argued, when Maryland allowed Metro to fund power upgrades on the Blue and Orange lines. That resolution did direct Metro staff to come up with a plan for possibly ending the Grosvenor turnback in 2018 or 2019 as more new Metro cars arrived. Since 2015, Metro has cut scheduled rush-hour service across the rail system.

Any Red Line change — if one happens — is not expected until January.

You can read more at The Washington Post, too.

Last Chance Today! Important! Tell Metro To End the Grosvenor Turnback

Metro seeks feedback on alternatives to increase service on the Red Line between Grosvenor-Strathmore and Shady Grove stations. This is your chance to tell Metro to end the Grosvenor Turnback, and it’s really important that you take Metro’s survey today, May 21st. Choose Option A and/or B.

Currently during weekday rush hours, Red Line trains operate every 8 minutes between Shady Grove and Glenmont, with additional trains between Grosvenor-Strathmore and Silver Spring providing service every four minutes between these stations.

Metro is considering the elimination of trains that “turn back” at Grosvenor during rush hours and extend all Red Line train service to Shady Grove instead. This would provide additional service to White Flint, Twinbrook, Rockville and Shady Grove stations. Metro wants customers to provide feedback on three alternatives under consideration.

Option A: Full elimination of the Grosvenor “turn back.” All Red Line trains that currently turn back at Grosvenor-Strathmore would extend service to Shady Grove. Trains would operate every 4 minutes between Grosvenor-Strathmore and Shady Grove.

Option B: Partial elimination of the Grosvenor “turn back.” Half of Red Line trains that currently turn back at Grosvenor-Strathmore would extend service to Shady Grove. Trains would operate on average every 5 minutes between Grosvenor-Strathmore and Shady Grove.

Option C: No change. Red Line trains would continue to operate every 8 minutes between Grosvenor-Strathmore and Shady Grove.

Give metro your opinion by 5 p.m. on Monday, May 21, 2018 by completing an online survey. The survey takes a minute or two, but it’s very important that Metro hears from many, many folks that it’s time to turn back the Grosvenor turnback.

Additional information can also be found at wmata.com/redline.

 

 

Important! Tell Metro To End the Grosvenor Turnback

Metro seeks feedback on alternatives to increase service on the Red Line between Grosvenor-Strathmore and Shady Grove stations. This is your chance to tell Metro to end the Grosvenor Turnback, and it’s really important that you take Metro’s survey by May 21st.

Currently during weekday rush hours, Red Line trains operate every 8 minutes between Shady Grove and Glenmont, with additional trains between Grosvenor-Strathmore and Silver Spring providing service every four minutes between these stations.

Metro is considering the elimination of trains that “turn back” at Grosvenor during rush hours and extend all Red Line train service to Shady Grove instead. This would provide additional service to White Flint, Twinbrook, Rockville and Shady Grove stations. Metro wants customers to provide feedback on three alternatives under consideration.

Option A: Full elimination of the Grosvenor “turn back.” All Red Line trains that currently turn back at Grosvenor-Strathmore would extend service to Shady Grove. Trains would operate every 4 minutes between Grosvenor-Strathmore and Shady Grove.

Option B: Partial elimination of the Grosvenor “turn back.” Half of Red Line trains that currently turn back at Grosvenor-Strathmore would extend service to Shady Grove. Trains would operate on average every 5 minutes between Grosvenor-Strathmore and Shady Grove.

Option C: No change. Red Line trains would continue to operate every 8 minutes between Grosvenor-Strathmore and Shady Grove.

Give metro your opinion by 5 p.m. on Monday, May 21, 2018 by completing an online survey. The survey takes a minute or two, but it’s very important that Metro hears from many, many folks that it’s time to turn back the Grosvenor turnback.

Additional information can also be found at wmata.com/redline.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Metro gets third and final ‘yes’ as Maryland commits to its full share of dedicated funding

From The Washington Post

Maryland will give Metro its full share of $167 million a year in new, permanent funding, the governor and leaders of both legislative chambers said Thursday, putting the transit system on track to win a historic regional deal to support it.

Virginia and the District have committed to provide their share for a total of $500 million a year in the dedicated funding that Metro says it needs for capital investments to ensure safety and reliability.

With Maryland’s assent, and barring last-minute hitches, the system will receive a reliable revenue stream for the first time since its trains began rolling in 1976.

“This is terrific news for Metro customers, as well as the businesses and communities we serve,” Metro General Manager Paul J. Wiedefeld said.

“In the last two weeks, we have seen history made in the Greater Washington region” as jurisdictions have joined “to make an unprecedented commitment to our Metro system,” said MetroNow, a broad coalition of business, nonprofit and advocacy groups.

In a related development, Metro got some good financial news from Capitol Hill: The omnibus federal spending bill moving through Congress includes a full $150 million annual appropriation for its capital spending for the current fiscal year. The White House has proposed cutting the subsidy to $120 million for the next fiscal year

Read the full article here.

Good-bye Grosvenor Turnback! (Fingers Crossed.)

From The Washington Post

Metro officials are considering increasing the frequency of rush-hour service to Shady Grove by January 2019, in response to calls from Montgomery County officials who have urged the transit agency to end the practice known as “Red Line turn-backs.”

In documents released in advance of Thursday’s Metro board meeting, agency officials said they will seek input from the public on whether to add trains to the system so they can provide more peak-period service from Grosvenor-Strathmore to Shady Grove station.

As it stands now, Metro employs a practice on the Red Line known as “turn-backs”: During peak periods, every other outbound train on the line reverses direction at Grosvenor-Strathmore and Silver Spring stations, part of an effort to increase the frequency of service in the downtown core, at the cost of increased wait times for people boarding or alighting at the furthest-out stations.

Currently, the two ends of the Red Line — from Grosvenor-Strathmore to Shady Grove, and from Silver Spring to Glenmont stations — are serviced by one train every eight minutes during weekday peak periods, which extend from 6:30 to 9:30 a.m. and from 3:30 to 7 p.m. Toward the center of the Red Line, trains in either direction arrive very 4 minutes.

In one option presented by Metro, full service could be restored to the western end of the Red Line, with 15 trains per hour running to Shady Grove. Under this schedule, Shady Grove, Rockville, Twinbrook, and White Flint stations would experience 4-minute rush hour headways between trains.

In an alternate scenario, Metro could partially increase the number of trains that travel to Shady Grove station during peak periods — about 12 trains per hour — so that the wait time between trains would be reduced to an average of 5 minutes, though individual headways would vary. The documents also offer a third scenario, which would keep the Red Line train scheduled unchanged.

“It’s clearly stated that the Grosvenor turn-backs were supposed to end in the beginning of the 2019 fiscal year” that starts in July, Goldman said. “And frankly, the so-called alternatives presented by the staff are frustrating. The board resolution very clearly states that all peak-period rush hours trains are supposed to travel to Shady Grove.”

Metro officials said they are still working to determine a cost estimate for increasing the frequency of service to Shady Grove, but Goldman said he has seen estimates putting the price at around $2.5 million annually. If Metro decided to partially eliminate the turn-backs, providing 12 trains per hour between Grosvenor-Strathmore and Shady Grove, that would cost $1.75 million, he said.

MetroNow Adds New Members as Legislative Momentum Builds for Metro Funding and Reform

As legislative sessions gain speed in Maryland, Virginia, and D.C. with Metro reform taking center stage, MetroNow, a coalition committed to immediate action achieving long-term dedicated funding and reform for Metro system, welcomed new members from across the business, nonprofit, and advocacy sectors.

MetroNow’s growing coalition reaffirmed its commitment to bring diverse voices from across the region together with Virginia, Maryland, and District leaders in order to secure the legislative victories that will create a safer, stronger, and fiscally-sound Metro.  MetroNow is pleased to welcome to its coalition:

Exelon
Medstar Health
Capital One
Washington Gas
Hilton
Marriott
ULI-Washington
Washington Airports Task Force
Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance
The American Council of Engineering Companies of Metropolitan Washington (ACEC/MW)
The American Council of Engineering Companies/ Maryland (ACEC/MD)
Southern Environmental Law Center
Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC)


“With elected officials throughout the region debating legislation on funding and reform for Metro as we speak, our growing membership is showing its strength at the right time,” said MetroNow Campaign Manager Clare Flannery.

“A safe, reliable Metro is a win for everyone in our region – from the University of Maryland student to the nightshift bartender in D.C. and the small business owner in Virginia. At MetroNow, our members have been active and vocal in Annapolis, Richmond, in D.C.’s Wilson Building, and on Capitol Hill, reminding lawmakers just how important urgent action is to the region’s long-term growth and vitality. And so far, it’s working. Legislation is moving in all three jurisdictions, creating tangible momentum.

“But we can’t stop now,” Flannery continued. “We will keep working with regional leaders to provide Metro with dedicated funding and reform for the first time in its history, allowing for the necessary investments in renewing and rehabilitating the systems’ basic infrastructure. Our future depends on it.”

Last week at the Richmond capitol, the House and Senate took the historic first step by passing funding and reform bills. In Annapolis, hearings continued throughout the week on funding and reform bills. In DC, funding and reform have received strong supporting in hearings and legislation is expected soon.

“Virginia took the first step last week in the process of fulfilling its full funding obligation. We look forward to working with leaders in Virginia, Maryland, and the District to ensure each jurisdiction passes necessary funding and governance reforms for Metro this year,” said Flannery.

The MetroNow coalition is made up of regional leaders from the business, non-profit, and advocacy communities. We have come together to ensure that action is taken to put Metro – the backbone of greater Washington’s transportation infrastructure – on a safe, smart and sustainable path forward in 2018 and beyond. We are dedicated to securing comprehensive improvement of Metro’s governance, funding and operational structures in 2018. MetroNow is led by an executive committee of Federal City Council, Greater Washington Partnership, Coalition for Smarter Growth, Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce, The 2030 Group, and Greater Washington Board of Trade.

In October, Coalition members commissioned an online survey of 621 registered voters in the District, suburban Maryland and Northern Virginia, finding that 94 percent of respondents agreed that the Metro system is valuable to the greater Washington region. In the survey, 70 percent also supported an increase in public funding to improve the Metro system, and 90 percent agreed that without an effective governance structure, the Metro system can never reach its full potential.

For more information on MetroNow, please visit metronow.com.

Urge Maryland to Provide Dedicated Metro Funding. (Show Metro some good love on Valentine’s Day.)

Join a rising swell of supporters who are taking action to make sure we put our Metro system on a positive and sustainable path forward. Metro is the second busiest transit system in the country and the only major system without a dedicated funding source.

Maryland’s elected officials have the opportunity to change this and to make long-term dedicated funding for Metro a reality. Your voice is critical to enacting this change and fixing Metro.

Without $500 million in new capital funding for Metro, the system will deteriorate, and we’ll see more of the breakdowns and service cuts that are largely responsible for declining ridership. To ensure the $500 million funding needs are met, Maryland needs to do its part and secure $167 million in long-term dedicated funding this legislative session.

If long-term dedicated funding for Metro is not secured this legislative session, Maryland’s ability to attract and retain a talented workforce will decline and Maryland’s economic competitiveness will be diminished in both the short and long term.

We need your support today to make sure your elected officials are committed to working with Senator Feldman (SB277) and Delegates Korman and Barron (HB372) to provide Metro with Maryland’s $167M this year.

NOW is the time to gain your Delegates’ and Senator’s commitment to providing Metro $167 million in new, long-term, dedicated funding, along with improvements in governance and operations.

Click here to use a tool  from the Metro Now coalition to tell your Delegates and Senators to commitment to providing Metro $167 million in new, long-term, dedicated and funding, along with improvements in governance and operations.

You can also email your representatives and senators directly by clicking here.

Joint Statement from the Metro Coalition (of which FoWF is a member)

We wanted you to see the joint statement below that we signed last week along with other groups concerned about Metro.

Regional groups respond to COG report and call for dedicated funding for Metro

Washington, DC — Today the regional Council of Governments (COG) accepted a report documenting Metro’s operating, maintenance, and capital needs and funding gap over the next decade, the economic value of Metro, suggested metrics and benchmarks, and an assessment of options for a dedicated source of revenues to fill the funding gaps.

“We commend the Council of Governments and their staffs for this important report, and we urge our region’s elected officials to act expeditiously to put in place fixes and dedicated funding for Metro,” said Stewart Schwartz, Executive Director of the Coalition for Smarter Growth. “This year is ‘make or break’ for Metro — a funding solution must be in place by the end of the 2018 General Assembly sessions in Virginia and Maryland.”

“The COG report and General Manager Wiedefeld’s plan are the best starting points for getting Metro back on track, said Schwartz. “Major fixes for Metro’s challenges can and should be done without opening the Metro compact or creating a control board.”

“Our groups are concerned that opening the Metro compact risks political gridlock and distracts from reaching a funding agreement within the next year. Similarly, the benefit of a control board isn’t clear, and it’s risky at a time when federal commitment to transit is in doubt,” said Schwartz

“We also feel that the union employees of Metro, many working overnight hours, driving traffic-congested bus routes, and repairing an aging system, need to be partners in arriving at solutions for safety, operations, and costs,” said Schwartz. “It must be all-hands-on-deck with all sectors contributing.”

“Today, COG made clear that the Metrorail system is our most important regional transportation system,” said Amy Ginsburg, Executive Director of the Friends of White Flint. “Therefore, COG must ensure that their Transportation Planning Board makes full funding of Metro’s ‘state of good repair’ the top priority and baseline for their 2018 update of the region’s Constrained Long Range (Transportation) Plan.”

“Failure is not an option for our Metro, and our groups pledge to campaign for the funding Metro needs,” concluded Schwartz.

The Coalition for Smarter Growth is the leading organization in the Washington DC region dedicated to making the case for smart growth. Its mission is to promote walkable, inclusive, and transit-oriented communities, and the land use and transportation policies and investments needed to make those communities flourish. smartergrowth.net

Friends of White Flint is a nonprofit organization made up of residents, businesses, and property owners who want to create a walkable, vibrant Pike District/White Flint community. whiteflint.org

Fairfax Alliance for Better Bicycling fabb-bikes.org

The Maryland Center on Economic Policy advances innovative policy ideas to foster broad prosperity and help our state be the standard-bearer for responsible public policy. We engage in research, analysis, strategic communications, public education, and grassroots alliances promoting robust debate and greater public awareness of the policy choices Maryland residents face together. mdeconomy.org

The Montgomery Countryside Alliance promotes sound economic, land-use and transportation policies and programs that preserve the natural environment, open spaces, and rural lands in Montgomery County’s Agricultural Reserve for the benefit of all Washington Metropolitan area residents. mocoalliance.org

Northern Virginia Affordable Housing Alliance (NVAHA) is a broad-based, regional nonprofit organization working to create successful communities through affordable housing education and advocacy. nvaha.org