Following three months of around-the-clock construction, altered travel patterns and extended commutes, Northern Virginia residents will experience a return to normalcy on Sept. 9, as Metro’s Summer Platform Improvement Project comes to an end.
In addition to new, stronger platforms at all six stations, commuters will be met with new tiled flooring, speaker systems and platform surveillance systems, improved lighting and upgraded platform shelters and screens. There will also be USB charging ports installed at the stations.
In the final few weeks of the construction project, crews have focused on installing the conduits and wiring for electrical and communication networks, in order to ensure each station has proper and improved emergency response capabilities, according to a recent update from WMATA.
Since the shutdown began, organizations like WMATA and the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission (NVTC) began planning marketing strategies for the return of rail service come September. To welcome riders back to Metro on opening day, WMATA is increasing the number of staff at each location and putting up banners.
NVTC has been working on a marketing campaign for the past few months that will begin on Monday, Sept. 16, a week after the end of the shutdown. Total funding for the campaign is $395,735, 80% of which stems from the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT). The remaining 20% is provided by the City of Alexandria, Fairfax County, Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission and the Virginia Railway Express.
We’re testing the brand new PA systems at the six Platform Improvement Project stations that reopen on Sept 9! The new speakers, amplifiers and other equipment are all part of an upgrade in customer information technology to improve your experience. How’s that sound? #wmata pic.twitter.com/K4WJS8Liou
— Metro (@wmata) August 23, 2019
The multi-pronged effort is more than just getting people to use Metro; rather it is about Northern Virginia’s transit system as a whole, according to Communications and Outreach Manager of NVTC Matthew Friedman.
“In terms of challenges, people have had their routine upset for the summer and we know that people are ready to have the train back instead of relying on the shuttles,” says Friedman. “But we want people to know that we also have long-distance commuter buses, the railway express. There’s lots of ways to commute.”
The 12-week campaign consists of radio announcements on local stations, screen advertising at movie theaters and through the travel app, Waze, and geo-targeted social media advertisements, too. The teams at NVTC and WMATA have spoken on a weekly basis to ensure the shutdown remains on track and ridership will return.
While all six stations—Braddock Road, King Street-Old Town, Eisenhower Avenue, Huntington, Van Dorn Street and Franconia-Springfield—are scheduled to open for public use at 5 a.m. on Sept. 9, minor construction at all of the stations will continue through the fall.
As this summer’s shutdown was part of Metro’s three-year Platform Improvement Project. Commuters in other parts of Vienna, as well as Maryland will be next to experience the seasonal closures in 2020 and 2021. While details have yet to be announced, Metro plants to work on the Orange Line near Vienna and stations north of Fort Totten to Greenbelt, Maryland on the Green Line over the course of the next two summers.
This piece serves as a general summary of the final stages of the Summer Platform Improvement Project. See more coverage here.