Many proposals are floating around for Metro expansion. Some have been thoroughly researched by government and are just waiting for funding, like the Dulles extension. Others are just suggestions from activists and bloggers. Many are somewhere in between.
To show the ideas in one place, I’ve created this fantasy map. Click on the map for a large version, and see below (or click on “read more”) for an explanation of all the changes.
Update: I’ve made a couple tweaks based on comments. You can see the original version here.
What’s in this map
In approximate order of how close each item is to reality:
Silver Line. The Silver Line splits off the Orange Line, running through Tysons Corner and then along the Dulles Toll Road to the airport and Loudoun County. This includes a station at Wolf Trap, which according to Wikipedia the current plans call for as a future in-fill station.
Purple Line. This light-rail line is built as currently planned, utilizing the alignment through Chevy Chase to Bethesda. I’ve placed stations where the current studies show them, and tried to determine appropriate names.
Any better ideas for the one at Riverdale Road and Veterans Parkway, currently labeled “BW Parkway”? (It’s now Wildercroft. Thanks WashCycle!)
Infill stations in Alexandria. Alexandria gets two new stations, at Potomac Yards along the Potomac, and Eisenhower Valley along the Beltway, both sites planned for new high-density development. The City of Alexandria has looked into requiring the developers to contribute to the stations.
Green Line to BWI. Maryland officials have been talking seriously about this. They want BWI to compete with Dulles for area flyers, and in addition to the growth in the I-95 corridor, DoD is planning to move more operations to Fort Meade. I’ve added a station at Calverton as suggested by Just Up the Pike and Howard County Blog.
Separate Blue Line. Back in 2001, WMATA proposed creating a new route for the Blue Line through downtown DC. This would allow the Blue Line to avoid sharing track with the Orange and Silver Lines, since once the Silver Line opened, it would be difficult to fit all those trains through the single pair of tracks from Rosslyn to Stadium-Armory.
The suggested route was mostly the same, runing along M Street to Mount Vernon Square and Union Station, but I could find few details. The Blue Line should run to a new set of platforms at Rosslyn, giving people a cross-platform transfer between Blue and Orange or Silver, and preserving track connections for the Blue Line to run over the old route if needed.
The line would stop in Georgetown, then run along M Street stopping in the West End, at the intersection of Connecticut Avenue and Rhode Island Avenue (does this area have a name?), then Thomas Circle (providing better transit access to Logan Circle as well as the offices in this area), and then Mount Vernon Square. It would then turn south on New Jersey Avenue, with a station here to serve the new development in this area, and then east on H Street with a connection to Union Station. Finally, it would continue along H Street where DC currently is planning a streetcar, and then along Benning Road to reconnect with the existing Blue Line.
Due to the WMATA map’s existing distortion, the line appears to turn south between Connecticut Avenue and Mount Vernon Square, where in reality that part is straight and the curve is instead between Mount Vernon Square and Union Station. Likewise, the part east of Union Station is due east-west in reality.
The original plan appeared to connect this Blue Line it to the other lines at Stadium-Armory, but Stadium-Armory station is actually south of the Benning Road bridge over the Anacostia that the trains take. This map adds a new station at the eastern edge of the river, between the River Terrace neighborhood and the Pepco Benning Road plant which is slated to be closed and could become a high-density mixed-use development. This station would be very close to Minnesota Avenue on the Orange Line, but seems to be the best option. That station should again have cross-platform connections between the Blue Line and Orange Line, and also a pocket track for the Silver Line to turn around. It should also preserve the track connections for operational flexibility, allowing the Largo trains to still access the tracks through Capitol Hill if necessary.
Connection between Farragut North and Farragut West (and the new Blue Line station at Connecticut Avenue). These stations are all close to each other, and WMATA has studied a pedestrian tunnel from Farragut North to Farragut West. In this map, that tunnel was built, and also extends under Connecticut Avenue another block to M Street.
Jefferson Memorial station. The National Coalition to Save Our Mall suggests a visitors center, tour bus parking, and Metro Station by the Jefferson Memorial along the Yellow Line route. This would also provide access to possible new memorial sites (reducing pressure for the memorials to go on the Mall itself) and make the Jefferson Memorial less inaccessible.
Brown Line. Michael Schade suggested this line and Richard Layman posted about it. At the New Partners conference, I also spoke to a Price George’s County official who wants to run Metro to the National Harbor development, just south of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge on the Maryland side.
In this map, the Brown Line starts at Franconia-Springfield, providing a transfer at Eisenhower Avenue for Yellow Line riders before crossing the Potomac. There are many potential alignments from here to the Green Line, which could run more in the District or more in PG County. I’ve tried to split the difference, but I don’t know the neighborhoods down there. The line should really go through places where the local officials are interested in building dense transit-oriented developments.
The line reconnects to the Green Line at Congress Heights and continues to Navy Yard, providing added service for this growing area and the stadium as well as the potential new development and soccer stadium at Poplar Point.
The Brown Line Richard Layman posted split off just east of Navy Yard and ran along the East side of the Capitol, but since the Metro station at Union Station is west of the station, this map shows the line running west of the Capitol, intersecting the Orange and Silver Lines at Federal Center SW and then along Louisiana Avenue to Union Station with a stop at the Mall, called Smithsonian East. Consequently, the existing Smithsonian stop is now Smithsonian West. I’ve restored the original Schade-Layman proposal, splitting off before Navy Yard to a separate platform under New Jersey Ave SE, then continuing to Union Station under 1st St with a stop between East Capitol and Maryland Ave, right in front of the Capitol Visitors Center and the Supreme Court.
Yellow Line/Green Line wye. To provide more service flexibility and enhance Metro’s ability to handle the crowds at the Navy Yard ballpark, this map adds a connection where the Yellow Line northbound can switch to the Green Line southbound. These trains could turn at Navy Yard, or run to Anacostia if there is a future stadium at Poplar Point, or potentially on to Branch Avenue or the Brown Line.
What’s not in this map
This map doesn’t encompass every suggested transit improvement. Here are some of the top items I’d like to add in the future (also in approximate order of realism):
Water, parks, the Beltway, etc. The WMATA map shows more geographic features of the region, including water and parks, as well as the major federal attractions, the Beltway, and county boundaries. It also has symbols for park-and-rides, MARC, VRE, and Amtrak. I’d like this map to have all that, but it’s some work to do.
Corridor Cities Transitway. Montgomery County is already planning a light rail line or bus rapid transit extending outward from Shady Grove. Action Committee for Transit has their own proposals. Once I have time to fully grok the plans I’d like to add this. Perhaps in this fantasy world, the Red Line itself could go beyond Shady Grove with a light rail line hitting the office parks in Gaithersburg that ACT is concerned about.
DC Streetcars. I’ve said in the past that streetcar lines aimed at visitors from other parts of DC and the region and at tourists should appear on the Metro map. This map has a heavy rail line where the H Street streetcar will go, but it could show the Anacostia streetcar or other proposed routes.
Express service. Some of the outer suburban lines could use express tracks, allowing for a faster ride from some of the high-density transit-oriented destinations while still allowing intermediate stops. For example, a Silver Line express could run from Loudon to Dulles and Reston and then skip the intermediate park-and-rides between there and Tysons, or even bypass Tysons (though that may be less desirable). Same for the Red Line if extended beyond Shady Grove, or the Green Line to BWI.
Metro to Columbia. Howard County Blog suggests running the Yellow Line up the Route 29 corridor to Columbia. Columbia today is pretty low-density, though it is also more walkable than most suburbs and has small village centers, one per village. Extending a Metro line there would be most appropriate if there were a dense area, perhaps downtown where the mall’s operator wants to build apartments over the mall parking. Another option might be light rail running around Columbia and over to the Guilford station, or even extending the Baltimore light rail from BWI through Columbia and then back to the Green Line.