The Washington Post

Whatever the Design, More Metrorail Cars Are Needed


Is it true that they want to make the subway standing room only? I have heard that people complain about waiting to get on the subway. What happened to the eight-car trains?

If they are really serious about standing room only, then they’d better improve the ride.

I have read that they want to install more bars to hold on to, but what happens if you are stuck in the middle of the car and you are only 5 feet 2 inches?

Metro is not planning to make the subway cars for standees only. It just feels that way.

Clark is an Orange Line rider, and I often hear complaints about crowding from those who endure the crush in standing-room-barely rail cars between Northern Virginia and Washington. Metro has been setting more ridership records lately. The last round of new cars, added around Cherry Blossom time, hasn’t done much to alleviate crowding. We need more of those new 6000 Series cars, and soon.

We’ve talked about the new cars since last summer, but most riders haven’t seen this design, with the front and back poles removed so people will gravitate to the center and not cluster by the doors.

I am not looking forward to commuting on the new Metro cars that force riders toward the center. In the evening, the Orange Line trains are mostly empty at L’Enfant Plaza, so I can get a seat near a door. But I can’t count the times I have struggled to get off the train in Clarendon.

More than once, I’ve had to stay on the train until Virginia Square and ride back. When the trains are so full that you can’t exit when you’re sitting two feet from the door, then there’s a major problem. While some people do make room by temporaril­y exiting the area by the door and getting back on, just as many have a death grip on a pole in one hand and a huge piece of luggage in the other.

By the end of the year, Metro said, it will have added 50 rail cars, and it will bring in more after that. You’ll see more eight-car trains and no more four-car trains.

I like using the design to move people away from the doors and toward the center, where extra poles are installed. Consider some alternativ­es:

Asking Nicely

It happened again last evening during rush hour. I boarded an Orange Line train to Vienna about 5:15 p.m. at Federal Triangle. The cars filled up at Metro Center and rolled on to McPherson Square.

The operator attempted to close the doors many times, but people kept crowding on, and he was forced to unload the entire train.

Rather than do that, why doesn’t the operator order the last three riders who stepped on the train to please step back onto the platform so the doors can close?

I think most riders would comply when an entire train of homebound passengers is staring at them.

I don’t suppose it would do any real good, because the offenders either think rules don’t apply to them or are oblivious to their surroundin­gs, but the Metro announceme­nt, “Please move to the center of the car,” is confusing. There are doors in the center of the car.

The announceme­nt should be changed to “Please move away from the doors.” That’s more clear and direct.

Metro passengers are generally intelligen­t and well behaved, but I’d still go with the car redesign.

Minor League Traffic

Regarding the traffic concerns of Darrell Frances [Dr. Gridlock, June 7] with the planned baseball stadium outside Waldorf: The stadium will have very little impact on Route 301 traffic.

The site is far enough from Route 301 that traffic will have already filtered away from the stadium in four directions.

Billingsle­y Road is being wid- ened to two lanes in each direction and should be done by fall. Piney Church Road also is undergoing major improvemen­ts.

The stadium is going to seat only 4,500. I doubt if it’s going to be sold out every game, and most games will probably be at night. It shouldn’t generate much more traffic than Thomas Stone High School or La Plata High School letting out each afternoon.

Residents and baseball stadium planners should look to Prince George’s Stadium to allay some of the fears. That facility is abutted by a BJ’s Wholesale Club and a Home Depot, along with plenty of other shopping plazas in the area, as well as routes 50, 197 and 301.

Despite all this developmen­t, there are no real traffic problems before or after Bowie Baysox games. The site in Waldorf is not nearly as close to Waldorf’s main roads and shopping.

Outer Banks Made Easy

Regarding the letter [Dr. Gridlock, May 27] from Nancy Loy of Silver Spring about alternativ­e routes to the Outer Banks, here’s some advice from a local.

Forget the Mapquest directions! The route from Hampton Roads — routes 168 and 158 — is bumperto-bumper, creep-and-beep most of the way.

Your better bet is to take Route 17 south from interstate­s 64/664 to Route 32 south through Edenton. (You’ve bypassed Elizabeth City.)

Take routes 32/94 across Albemarle Sound Bridge to Route 64 east, which goes through Creswell, Columbia and Manteo to join Route 12 and Route 158 on the Outer Banks.

Good Timing, VDOT

I phoned the Virginia Department of Transporta­tion concerning what I considered poor timing of the traffic lights at Prosperity Avenue northbound at Arlington Boulevard. The green light lasted only nine seconds.

To my surprise, I received a return phone call three days later from a VDOT traffic light technician.

He was quite pleasant and stated he had investigat­ed my complaint, found the timing to be off and corrected the timing of all the lights at that intersecti­on. My hat’s off to VDOT and especially this most helpful technician!

Virginians can call the Highway Helpline at 800-367-ROAD (7623) or use the “Report a Road Problem” form at

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