WASHINGTON – (WMAL) Now that Metro has announced its year-long rehabilitation effort involving long-term single tracking and closures, commuters are being advised to start searching sooner rather than later for alternative methods to get to work.
“We all certainly need to plan ahead,” Stewart Schwartz with the Coalition for Smarter Growth told WMAL. “There’s long been programs where employers get involved working with local agencies to get information out about other options.”
Stewart recommended the Metropolitan Washington Council of Government’s Commuter Connections as a start for employers.
“All of them will have to step up their outreach to employers, and employers have to step up to help employees find alternatives,” Schwartz said.
Metro’s SafeTrack track plan involves varying degrees of single tracking and closures, mostly in above-ground sections, which are concentrated in more suburban areas of the system. The first project is set to start June 4, which will impact the southern reaches of the Blue and Yellow lines.
“For the longer-distance commuters, I think carpooling, telecommuting, and much better express bus service will be very helpful,” Schwartz said. This may be an opportunity, he said, to implement more dedicated bus lanes throughout the region.
“For those who live closer to work, there’s the option for some to even walk to work, but there’s also bicycling and bikeshare options,” he said. “I think we’ll all get healthier through this whole process.”
Schwartz recommends commuters test out their new methods beforehand, but doesn’t foresee region-wide gridlock.
“I don’t think (we’ll see gridlock), if we all work together to work on alternatives.”
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