City, WMATA say shuttles won’t hurt attendance
By Katie Pohlman
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority will conduct track work at two Red Line stations this weekend, coinciding with the three-day Hometown Holidays festival in Rockville and leaving residents concerned.
The Rockville and Shady Grove stations will be closed this weekend for maintenance. Crews will begin work at 10 p.m. Friday and continue through closing on Monday.
“They really dropped the ball on this signature event,” Twinbrook Citizens Association President Christina Ginsberg said.
Metro did not return requests for comments.
Ginsberg said she believes the miscommunication between city officials and WMATA about the scheduling of these repairs will cause a drop in attendance because most festival-goers live in areas other than Rockville.
“A large number of people come from outside the city, so I don’t understand how it is not a problem,” Ginsberg said.
But the City of Rockville does not seem to share the same concerns.
City of Rockville spokeswoman Noelle Barton said the city asked Metro to consider moving the maintenance dates to another weekend so they wouldn’t interfere with festival attendance. She said Metro responded with data that said the track work won’t reduce ridership.
“Based on numbers from previous years, (the closings) won’t impact the event greatly,” Barton said.
WMATA is offering free shuttle transportation between the closed stations throughout the weekend. Trains will run on schedule between Twinbrook and Glenmont.
Anyone taking the shuttles, Metro said, should expect an extra 20 minutes of traveling time.
Rockville’s 25th annual Hometown Holidays celebration runs from 2 p.m. Saturday through 10 p.m. Sunday. Rockville will also host its 69th Memorial Day Celebration on Monday.
The scheduled maintenance is part of a $5.5 billion investment by Metro. This weekend’s work includes replacing a track circuit module, installing fiber-optic cables and new signage along the track, as well as rail replacements and fence repairs.
WMATA will close the Vienna, Dunn Loring, West Falls Church and East Falls Church stations on the Orange Line this weekend as well. Two shuttle options are offered to riders of the Orange Line: an express shuttle that will transport riders from Vienna to Ballston with no intermediate stops and a local shuttle that will stop at all closed stations.