Blue Line in I-395 right of way?

As a followup to yesterday’s post, David Alpert suggests reusing the segment of I-395 in a future separated blue line metrorail.

The separated blue line is part of Alpert’s vision for metro in 2030. As gas prices have risen Metro has been breaking ridership records. WMATA’s core capacity study, conducted in 2001, did not anticipate ridership to surge past 850,000 riders per day until 2014 yet we’re already there. The Silver Line expansion to Tyson’s Corner and Dulles will continue to feed in new riders to the system. But having the Silver, Blue, and Orange lines share one set of tracks from Rosslyn to Stadium Armory would likely choke capacity at the core. A separated blue line, while an expensive venture, would increase core capacity and connect Georgetown into the Metro system. WMATA included Alpert’s system map in a May 22nd press release.

Images from [double click to enlarge]

This vision is long term and a Blue Line separated in this manner would not arrive until after 2020.

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  1. 1

    Richard Layman says

    dumb. Better to put the line where people are or will be, rather than where they are not or won’t be. Short term construction convenience that costs ridership isn’t worth it.

  2. 2

    fourthandeye says

    Richard, I saw you post the same sentiment on David Alpert’s blog. Basically the idea that the separated blue line should just follow Mass Ave because of the population density. However, that Mass Ave approach seems to prohibit having a blue/green transfer at the Mount Vernon Square station. Where would you have those two lines connect? Gallery Place is maxed out – right?

  3. 3

    IMGoph says

    i think this is a brilliant idea! how ironic would it be to see an inner-city freeway changed over directly to heavy rail? a great re-use.

  4. 4

    TJM says

    This specific blue line alignment cuts through a residential historic district. The tunnel would turn from M st. to the 395 tunnel underneath houses and a historic church (corner of NY and 4th)– I’m not sure how or if that would work. Following up on Richard’s comment, just because there is a tunnel there doesn’t automatically make it a smart place to put a metro line.

  5. 5

    IMGoph says

    tjm: i guess it would all depend on the depth of the tunnel. i get the feeling that, most likely, were this line to be built, it would be a cut-and-cover process, which would lead to a taking of houses in the historic district. that’s not good, and i’d rather not see that.

    on the other hand, given the fact that you would have to go deep in order to get underneath the current green/yellow lines at mt. vernon square, the tunneling might be done at a depth where it wouldn’t affect the houses at the surface.