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Opinion Why I won’t take the Silver Line to Dulles

Signs at Dulles International Airport on Nov. 15 direct people toward the Washington Dulles International Airport Station of the Metro Silver Line extension. (Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post)

Taking the Silver Line to Washington Dulles International Airport is impractical because I don’t live within walking distance of a Metro station. Instead, I’d have to walk 10 minutes to a bus that runs every 30 minutes, or take a taxi or a ride-hailing service to a Metro station. I can’t drive my own car because overnight parking is allowed only at four stations: Greenbelt, Huntington, Franconia-Springfield and Wiehle-Reston East. According to Metro’s website, “each of these stations has between 15 and 17 spaces allocated for multiday use of up to 10 days. Availability is on a first-come, first-served basis.” That’s a total of fewer than 65 spaces for the 15 million passengers Dulles serves each year, along with people who use these spaces when they travel from Reagan National Airport or Union Station.

When I’ve tried to park overnight at two of these Metro stations, all of the multiday spaces were taken. There’s no way to know whether a multiday space is available without driving into the Metro garage — not practical for someone with a flight to catch.

If Metro wants high ridership on the Silver Line to Dulles, it should offer plentiful reserved multiday parking at a variety of stations, perhaps charging for the number of days the vehicle will be parked. Though it might take years to build additional garages to meet all of the demand, Metro could offer outdoor parking now by leasing sections of underused shopping center parking lots and shuttling passengers to the nearest Metro station.

Charles M. Carron, Alexandria