Last month, WMATA announced it was considering a service change to “shift some peak period Blue Line trains to operate over the Yellow Line bridge to L’Enfant Plaza to Greenbelt.” WMATA’s diagram and the Post’s map show this new service in blue. But why?

These trains would follow the Yellow Line route from King Street through downtown and on to Fort Totten (and beyond). Wouldn’t the logical color, then, be Yellow?

The WMATA presentation points out potential rider confusion from a “blue line split.” If the trains running through L’Enfant Plaza are blue, that sure would, with some Blue Line trains on one level and others on another, going four different ways. Some have suggested a new color, an “Aqua Line”. DCist’s article on the topic generated all kinds of comments meant to reduce confusion, like just adding more Yellow Line trains from Huntington instead, or starting them at King Street, or a shuttle, or… It’s as if for some reason there is a new Commandment, Yellow Colored Trains Shalt Not Go to Franconia-Springfield.

This makes no sense. Under the plan, four trains per hour leaving Franconia-Springfield would take the Yellow Line bridge instead of running through Arlington Cemetery to Rosslyn and then into DC from the west. That would free up room at Rosslyn for four more Orange Line trains from Vienna (the most crowded suburban branch of the system). To keep service the same at Largo, the new Orange Line trains would run to Largo instead of New Carrollton. But nobody is saying that we need a new color for Vienna-Largo service. Orange works just fine. Likewise, Yellow would be a fine color for Franconia-Greenbelt service.

Here’s a map. Isn’t this so much simpler and less confusing than this or this? Of course, the real solution to the capacity bottleneck at Rosslyn is to build the separated Blue Line, like the one on this map.

Update: Dr. Gridlock does advocate something similar at the end of his column on this. But a recent Post article (I think it was Sunday’s Commuter Page, which is never online for some reason) was back to the “blue line” nomenclature.

David Alpert is Founder and President of Greater Greater Washington and Executive Director of DC Sustainable Transportation (DCST). He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He lives with his wife and two children in Dupont Circle. Unless otherwise noted, opinions in his GGWash posts are his and not the official views of GGWash or DCST.