Breaking Point


Good things have a nasty habit of not lasting all that long in Washington. Whether it’s bipartisan agreement on a political issue, or comfortable weather for a post-work jog (or outdoor cocktail), chances are that it’ll soon go the way of the cherry blossoms.

Unfortunately, Metro’s spring break from weekend track work is similarly ephemeral. After four glorious weekends of getting to say stuff like, “I went to Bethesda on Saturday night and it didn’t even take me that long to get home,” I’m expecting to start a lot more conversations with, “Sorry I’m late. I didn’t realize this Metro ride would take two hours.”

We know why the transit system has to dive back into its $5.5 billion rebuilding effort, which is taking care of infrastructure that’s been largely ignored for decades. As a reminder of the stresses being put on its aging rails and overcrowded platforms, Metro issued a news release last week trumpeting the fourth-busiest day in its 37-year history. Cherry blossom gawkers, commuters and folks headed to a Nationals game, a Capitals game and an immigration rally at the U.S. Capitol racked up 870,171 trips.

I just wish Metro would ease us gently back into the schedule. This weekend, riders will have to deal with three closed stations: Judiciary Square on the Red Line, and Clarendon and Court House on the Orange Line. Traveling on the Blue or Yellow lines? Trains will come by just once every 30 minutes. And the Green Line will get good old single tracking.

Things could certainly be worse. In addition to the shuttle buses around the closed stations, Metro is continuously running a “shuttle train” among Farragut North, Metro Center and Gallery Place to increase service downtown. (Although that means more train switches.) Plus, there should be fewer tourists getting in the way. So at least you’ll have some personal space to wait around forever in.

But just because Metro’s spring break from track work is over doesn’t mean yours has to be.

With the weather forecast calling for sunny skies and mild highs in the 60s, you might want to think about hoofing it to your destination. Or, you could use Capital Bikeshare, which also has seen enormous ridership recently — the service hit a record 11,368 trips on Saturday.

Days this beautiful don’t last long in Washington.

Vicky Hallett is a MisFit columnists and the Fit editor for Express.
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Vicky Hallett | April 19, 2013