Two D.C. Council members are asking Metro to reconsider a decision to cut rush-hour Orange and Silver Line service to Stadium-Armory while repairs related to a transformer fire are made, a process that is expected to last more than six months.
Council members Charles Allen (D-Ward 6) and Yvette Alexander (D-Ward 7) have written to Metro interim General Manager Jack Requa asking him to reverse the service change that was instituted while Metro works to rebuild and replace equipment that was destroyed in a transformer fire last week.
Metro announced Sunday that Orange and Silver line trains will bypass Stadium-Armory during rush hours beginning Tuesday to reduce the power drain and ease congestion. The service cut is in addition to speed restrictions put in place last week following the fire, that have caused delays for riders on the Orange, Silver and Blue lines.
“These cuts will have significant negative results for residents of Hill East, Rosedale, Kingman Park, and others that depend on this station,” the council members say in the open letter that was posted Monday. “Further, this station is a lynchpin of transit for students traveling to Eastern High School, employees working at nearby facilities such as St. Coletta of Greater Washington, a school for persons with intellectual disabilities, and fans traveling to RFK Stadium and the DC Armory for special events.”
Copied on the letter are Metro board members who represent the District: District Department of Transportation Director Leif Dormsjo, Corbett Price and Tom Bulger, along with D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson.
“With this latest announcement, WMATA is deeply impacting those who depend on this station with less frequent trains and a two-thirds reduction of its service,” the council members said. “This decision will have major impacts on riders to this station and have ripple effects across the system. In addition to the significant delays for regular riders who depend on Stadium-Armory for their commute to school, work, or services, riders whose destination is Stadium-Armory will now be limited to only one line when riding from other stations – adding confusion and delay.”
Allen announced his opposition to Metro’s decision through Twitter on Monday.
“We ask that WMATA reconsider this decision and provide more information about the impact of the fire and other ways the system can adapt to reduce the harm created for the communities, services, and events that rely on the Stadium-Armory station.”
The full letter can be seen here.
Metro spokesman Dan Stessel said the service changes will go through as planned beginning Tuesday morning. He said about 1,600 riders at Stadium-Armory could be impacted by the change, but that it will prove beneficial for tens of thousands of others across the system.
Metro, he said, will issue a formal response to the two council members Tuesday, explaining the necessity of the change.
“We hear them,” Stessel said. “We’re very sympathetic to the issues that the council members have raised. And we considered the impact of this change very carefully. We believe that we’re striking an appropriate balance — yes, there’s 1,600 customers who use Stadium-Armory who will be negatively affected.
“But on the other hand, there are tens of thousands of riders across the region,” he said, who will be positively impacted by the service change.