Yellow Line Is En Route to Fort Totten
Saturday, December 30, 2006
Metro's Yellow Line will run to five stations now serviced only by the Green Line starting tomorrow, extending the system's least-used line north through the District to Fort Totten and adding service for the first time in two years.
The 18-month pilot program will expand off-peak and weekend Yellow Line service to the Shaw, U Street, Columbia Heights, Georgia Avenue-Petworth and Fort Totten stations, which also are served by the Green Line. During rush hours -- weekdays from 5 to 9:30 a.m. and from 3 to 7 p.m. -- Yellow Line trains will still end at the Mount Vernon Square station.
District leaders pressed for the additions to better serve the revitalized neighborhoods of U Street, Columbia Heights and Petworth. The service will give the neighborhoods north of downtown a direct route to Reagan National Airport.
"Why? Just look around," said Metro board and D.C. Council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1), gesturing to the forest of construction cranes and half-built condominiums outside the Columbia Heights station. A Target store, among others, is going up across the street. Graham, business and community leaders have long pushed for the added service.
The additional service will be made possible by using Yellow Line train cars that currently are used only during rush hour. New tunnels and rail cars will not be needed.
Jack Requa, Metro interim general manager, said the new service and hours will be advertised through signage and public outreach.
The $5.75 million cost for the pilot program will be paid by the District government. Metro board representatives from the District said they were confident that the service will attract enough riders to make the extension permanent.
Currently, there are an average of 54,400 weekday entrances and exits from the five Green Line stations between Shaw and Fort Totten. On Saturday, there are 35,200; on Sunday, the number is 21,400.
Having the stations served by both the Yellow and Green lines during weekends and off-peak hours will double the number of trains sharing the tracks and effectively cut waiting times in half, said Metro board Chairman Gladys W. Mack, who represents the District.
From 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays, Yellow Line trains will operate every six minutes. Weeknights after 7 and on weekends, service will run every 7 1/2 to 10 minutes.
"We think it's going to be so successful for everybody in the region," Mack said.
The last time the Metro map was altered was in December 2004, when Metro added the Morgan Boulevard and Largo Town Center stations to the Blue Line.
Mayor-elect Adrian M. Fenty (D) attended the news conference announcing the Yellow Line extension, helping to cut a yellow ribbon stretched across the escalators at the Columbia Heights station.
"This is a really great precedent, to expand service without having to spend lots of zeroes," Fenty said.