A Metro bus using the temporary bus-only lane on Monday morning, July 23. Image by Edward Russell.

The first rush hour shutdown of the 45-day Red Line shutdown between NoMa and Fort Totten began Monday, July 23 and the commute was unsurprisingly hectic. Bus shuttles between the stations took longer than many expected, and numerous riders reported Fort Totten and Gallery Place were packed from those transferring to and from the Green Line.

Metro was also announcing the shutdown in stations and on Red Line trains Monday morning.

The temporary bus lane on Rhode Island Avenue got off to a reasonable start, but there’s a lot of room for improvement. The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) installed the bus-only lanes to ease the extra time added to the commute from the track work, but enforcement of the lanes appeared to be lacking and riders reported delays.

GGWash Edit Board member Edward Russell reported seeing drivers in personal vehicles using the bus-only lanes in Eckington on Monday morning without any reprecussions, although he also saw some cars parked in the lane with tickets on their windshields. He said the buses appeared to be moving at the same speed they normally move without the designated lanes.

The bus lane is expected to be open from 7 am to 7 pm Monday through Saturday, and runs for about a mile and a half between North Capitol and the Rhode Island Avenue Metro station. Not only does Metro intend to use the lane for the temporary bus shuttles, but also for the Metrobus routes which travel this path already, including the G8 and the G9.

Riders not traveling to either of the shut down stations can transfer to/from the Green Line at Fort Totten and Gallery Place. It'll be crowded, but likely still quicker than the bus shuttle right now.

Readers who took the Red Line: how was your commute this morning?

Stephen Repetski is a Virginia native and has lived in the Fairfax area for over 20 years. He has a BS in Applied Networking and Systems Administration from Rochester Institute of Technology and works in Information Technology. Learning about, discussing, and analyzing transit (especially planes and trains) is a hobby he enjoys.

Julie Strupp is Greater Greater Washington's Managing Editor. She's a journalist committed to building inclusive, equitable communities and finding solutions. Previously she's written for DCist, Washingtonian, the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism, and others. You can usually find her sparring with her judo club, pedaling around the city, or chatting with her neighbors on her Columbia Heights stoop.