Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Metro's SafeTrack Program and Bicycling - Update2

Photo: Fairfax County
Starting June 4 and extending through March 2017, Metro's SafeTrack program will cause significant delays for commuters taking Metro trains. Some Fairfax commuters will want to find alternatives during single-tracking and line segment shutdowns on the Yellow, Blue, Orange and Silver lines. Here are some biking options:

Bike Commuting - One significant advantage of traveling by bike is knowing how long it takes to get to your destination. It may take longer to ride than some other options but at least you can plan accordingly. Most Fairfax commuters travel long distances so it may not be feasible to complete your full commute by bike. However, bikes are a great way to connect non-Metro travel options. You could ride to the bus stop, put your bike on the rack on the front of the bus, then reverse the process at the other end of your bus ride.

Folding bikes can be taken on Metro during all operating hours and they give you yet another option during unscheduled delays. Full-size bikes cannot be taken on trains during peak hours (7-10 am and 4-7 pm). See WMATA's Bikes and Metro page. Fairfax Connector and Metro buses have bike racks, so combining bikes and buses greatly extends your trip.

Use WMATA's Trip Planner to learn about Metro bus and train options (including Fairfax Connector buses) and to estimate travel times. We've been told that Trip Planner travel times will include SafeTrack delays. Use Google Maps bike directions and Fairfax County's interactive bike map to find possible bike routes.

If you'd like more info on strategies for bike commuting, including advice on equipment, clothing, and finding the best routes, contact FABB.

Capital Bikeshare - Bikeshare bikes are available at many of the Metro stations where single-tracking will occur. See the CaBi Station map for details. You must be a CaBi member to check out a bike. Several membership options are available: 24-hour ($8), 3-day ($17), 30-day ($28), or Annual ($85). All rides lasting under 30 minutes are free. See the CaBi How it Works page for details.

Update - June 2 - WABA recently published their page How to Bike During SafeTrack. WABA is also looking for volunteers to support biking during SafeTrack.

Update 2 - June 3 - WMATA has bike info on their SafeTrack Surge #1 page:

  • Arlington County is installing a Bikeshare station at the East Falls Church Metrorail station, and capacity will be added to the Bikeshare stations at Ballston and Rosslyn stations. Most Metrorail stations have a Bikeshare stand nearby. One-day, three-day, monthly, and yearly memberships are available.
  • Consider bicycling to Ballston, Virginia Square, and other stations to the east, where more trains will be running and provide a good chance of getting space on board. Added bicycle parking will be available at Ballston.
  • For customers at McLean, Vienna, West Falls Church, and East Falls Church, consider taking the W&OD and Custis Trails to Ballston station. The W&OD trail is within a half-mile of those stations, and leads to Ballston. The route to the station will be signed clearly.  WABA has posted bike-friendly routes to and from these stations to the trail.
  • Customers who normally bike to Wiehle-Reston East station should consider riding and parking at the North Reston and Herndon-Monroe Park & Rides, where enhanced express bus service will be available.

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We heard from Kristen Haldeman of WMATA: "Wiehle cyclists might be able to bike over to the Herndon Monroe Park & Ride, park their bike and catch a bus. The 5A runs from there, and Fairfax Connector will be running a bus to the Pentagon." She also said that Arlington Co plans to sign the bike route from the Custis Trail to the Ballston station. Kristen said that if bicyclists can get to the Ballston station, "they have a good chance of catching a train, as we plan to run 8-car trains every 6 minutes from there." It's about 15 miles from Wiehle to Ballston and about 7 or 8 miles from the McLean station, the two stations where the most bicyclists currently park along the Silver line.

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  Bike to Work Day 2015 at Wiehle Station

  Transportation choices

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