D.C. Metro Rehab May Challenge Ozone Compliance


Patrick Ambrosio

June 6 — A scarcely yearlong bid to rehabilitate a Washington, D.C., area’s Metrorail system
is approaching to boost overload on a roadways in some tools of a nation’s capital,
that could boost car emissions during a same time a area is perplexing to attain
a 2015 ozone standards, according to a internal atmosphere peculiarity official.

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Jun 4 launched a

SafeTrack plan
with a idea of completing 3 years of upkeep and rebuilding work in about
10 months. In further to expanding upkeep time on weekends by early closures
of a whole system, a devise also calls for 15 graphic “Safety Surges,” that will
close down or exceedingly revoke use on tools of a rail complement around-the-clock,
including during weekday rush hours.

Local officials expect that a Safety Surges, that are estimated to significantly
impact tens of thousands of daily rides, will boost congestion, car miles traveled
and compared atmosphere emissions in tools of a D.C. area, according to Stephen Walz,
executive of a Department of Environmental Programs during a Metropolitan Washington
Council of Governments.

In sequence to keep trade issuing as best they can on already-congested roadways, local
agencies are utilizing a accumulation of slackening measures that are designed to supplement road
ability on vital commuter thoroughfares and foster choice methods of transportation
to keep additional cars off a road. Local officials are enlivening rail commuters
to try alternatives to driving, including buses, bicycles and carpooling, because
a area’s roadways are already undiluted and can't hoop a new liquid of additional
cars during weekday rush hours.

“The highway capacity, a overpass ability simply isn’t there,” Dennis Leach, transportation
executive for Arlington Co., Va., told Bloomberg BNA. Arlington is a county directly
opposite a Potomac River to a west of downtown Washington, D.C., and will be affected
by a array of a Safety Surges.

2016 Critical for Ozone Attainment

The start of a SafeTrack module comes during a vicious time for a Washington, D.C.
area’s efforts to achieve a 70 tools per billion ozone standards released by a Environmental
Protection Agency in 2015. Compliance with a standards is shaped on a three-year
normal of atmosphere monitoring information and D.C. would now accommodate a standards with a
pattern value of 70 ppb from 2013–2015. However, decisions on what areas do and don’t
accommodate a standards won’t be done until subsequent year, shaped on information from 2014–2016, so
this summer will establish either or not a D.C. civil area is in attainment.

Of a 15 scheduled surges, 10 will start before Oct. 31, a finish of a ozone monitoring
deteriorate in a Washington, D.C. area.

Metro SafeTrack Rebuilding Program

Walz pronounced that given a inlet of a SafeTrack program, a array of episodic rebuilding
projects in opposite tools of a region, it is too shortly to tell how a limited
rail use will impact transportation-sector emissions. While a D.C. segment regularly
sees accidents and other short-term disruptions on a roadways, a Metro rebuilding
projects are of a most longer duration, Walz noted.

“We don’t know what’s going to occur … this is not a form of thing that we have
a story of, that we can demeanour behind and see” Walz said. “It unequivocally depends on so many
factors, that it’s unequivocally going to be case-by-case as we go by these time periods.”

Ground-level ozone is shaped by chemical reactions between nitrogen oxides and
flighty organic compounds in a participation of sunlight. Walz pronounced ozone concentrations
in a Washington, D.C., area are contingent on a lot of factors, including wind, wind
speed and wickedness that is ecstatic in from areas north and west of a metropolitan

Walz pronounced that in D.C., ozone levels are generally aloft in a afternoon, a fact
that could assistance extent a effects of car emissions on a area’s ability to comply
with a 2015 ozone standards. The region’s dusk rush hour is some-more widespread out and
does not rise in a same approach that a morning rush hour does, he said.

SafeTrack to Affect All Commuters

Local supervision officials cautioned commuters in a D.C. segment in allege that
they will expected be influenced by a SafeTrack program, even if they don’t float the
Metro or if a specific devise is occurring in a opposite partial of a region.

“The devise will impact any singular commuter,” Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser
(D) pronounced during a Jun 2 press conference. “All of a repairs, we think, will affect
commutes, invert times and trade in a District.”

WMATA projects that any large-scale rebuilding devise will impact tens of thousands
of rail commuters any day, including an Oct devise that will significantly impact
108,000 weekday trips along sections of a Red Line in a northeastern partial of the
city for about 3 weeks.

Congestion Mitigation Strategies During WMATA’s SafeTrack Program

Local transport officials are implementing a array of slackening measures to
fight overload during SafeTrack, including:

  •  additional buses in areas influenced by singular rail service;
  •  expanded rush hour parking restrictions along pivotal commuter and train routes in Washington,
  •  modified trade vigilance timing and deployment additional trade control officers
    to foster trade in a city;
  •  enhanced use by Capital Bikeshare, including a new choice permitting users
    to lease bicycles for $2 a trip;
  •  promotion of carpooling, telework and stretchable work options.


One choice for those rail commuters will be extended train use offering by WMATA,
that skeleton to supplement buses along routes nearby a influenced rail segments. Jack Requa,
behaving arch handling officer for WMATA, told Bloomberg BNA following a Jun 2 press
discussion that about 40 additional buses will be deployed alongside any Safety Surge
to hoop commuters who routinely rest on trains. That includes “bus bridges” that
will be used to float rail passengers influenced by a scheduled shutdown of certain
line segments.

During a press conference, Requa reminded a open that while Metro rail service
will continue during a SafeTrack program, trains will be crowded, so passengers
might wish to try choice methods being promoted by internal agencies.

“There will be rail use … though it’s going to be swarming and it’s going to be
slow,” Requa said. “We wish by these efforts … people will find alternatives
and pierce a numbers on a trains down significantly.”

WMATA was speedy by initial formula on Jun 6, a initial weekday of SafeTrack
work along a Orange and Silver lines in Virginia, that saw 26 percent fewer riders
enter during influenced stations.

“That helped!”
WMATA pronounced in a

. “Thanks to all who used alternates.”

Solo Commuting Discouraged

Local supervision agencies in Washington, D.C. and a surrounding counties implemented
a accumulation of additional slackening strategies dictated to palliate a trade impact
of a SafeTrack program, including skeleton by city officials to raise parking restrictions
along categorical commuter roadways, cgange trade vigilance timing skeleton and muster additional
trade control officers. Those strategies are dictated to assistance boost highway capacity
and concede for a additional buses to get by rush hour trade some-more easily.

“We’ve complicated these corridors and a singular best thing that we can do to pierce more
buses, and eventually some-more vehicles, is to yield for some-more line capacity,”
Leif Dormsjo, transport executive for Washington, D.C., pronounced during a Jun 2 news

While those forms of measures are dictated to accommodate some additional traffic,
internal officials are propelling commuters to try a operation of choice transportation
methods to keep roads from being overcrowded. Leach of Arlington Country pronounced that
while there will be additional train service, it will be a problem if those buses end
adult sitting in trade due to increasing overload from solo drivers.

“In Arlington, a response is all alternatives to pushing alone,” he said. “We are
unequivocally actively troublesome solo commuting.”

In further to stretched train routes and a deployment of incomparable buses, Leach said
Arlington officials also are enlivening carpooling and operative with vast employers,
hotels and multifamily properties to rise choice transport options during the
SafeTrack program, including a concentration on telework and stretchable work options with area

Bikesharing Touted as Alternative

Arlington transport officials also have worked with a Capital Bikeshare program,
that allows members to lease a bike from 350 stations opposite a D.C. area, to expand
ability along influenced routes, Leach said.

D.C. city officials also touted Capital Bikeshare as a viable choice for some
commuters and worked with Bikeshare to emanate a new $2 per float pricing choice for
commuters, as against to a prior options of $85 for an annual membership or $8
per day. Bowser pronounced that new choice stemmed from an boost in new Bikeshare users
on Mar 16, when a whole Metrorail complement close down for puncture repairs following
a lane glow during a McPherson Square station.

In further to Capital Bikeshare, renouned ridesharing services Uber and Lyft have
both announced skeleton to raise and foster their carpooling options in a D.C. area
via a generation of a SafeTrack program.

While a one-day Mar shutdown showed an boost in cycling, Leach pronounced it is difficult
to review too most into a region’s response since commuters effectively treated
it as a “snow day” and took a day off of work, an choice that won’t be viable during
a 10 months of SafeTrack work. Leach pronounced he views a SafeTrack module as having
a same outcome of 10 months of uninterrupted special events that spasmodic affects
trade in a D.C. region, such as a presidential inauguration.

Walz pronounced a slackening measures identified by internal transport officials could
assistance extent a boost in car miles trafficked and compared emissions, though the
loyal effects of a SafeTrack work on overload and atmosphere peculiarity will eventually rely
on a decisions that commuters make.

“We unequivocally will need to inspire people to use all a opposite probable approaches,”
Walz said. “It will be contingent on everybody stepping adult and creation changes.”

To hit a contributor on this story: Patrick Ambrosio in Washington during


To hit a editor obliged for this story: Larry Pearl during


For More Information

WMATA’s SafeTrack devise is accessible during


Additional information on choice transport options during a SafeTrack
module is accessible during


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