Metro track work to close several stations

More track work this weekend on Metro will shut down a number of stops. Two stops in particular could cause problems because it’s the University of Maryland’s graduation weekend and the Taste of Arlington in Ballston.

It’s an announcement that has many Metro riders once again downright angry.

“It’s stupid, but it sounds like what Metro would do,” says Terry O’Donnell.

But the closing of major rail stations throughout the system is something Metro says it has to do. The Transit Authority is in the midst of a $6.5 billion renovation project. They are putting in new rails, ties, platforms and signals. It’s the largest improvement since the system opened.

But the work this weekend comes during a very busy time in the area. The College Park station will be closed during the University of Maryland’s commencement exercises, an event expected to draw thousands.

“How are they going to get in?” Sarah Hodian asks. “If they depend on the station, what are they going to do?”

And the very popular Taste of Arlington that attracts thousands is also this weekend. The Ballston stop is just a half block away, but the station will be closed as part of the track work that will be conducted along the Orange Line.

Metro says shuttle buses will help move people who would normally use the rails, but people who live and work in both areas aren’t happy.

“It’s not the best timing in the world,” says John Zack. “I have had to switch to buses in the past and take the bus to each station and it is pretty time consuming.”

Metro has taken heat in the past for scheduling track work and closing stations while there are multiple large events going on in town. But a Transit Authority spokesperson says there are so many events in the D.C. area, especially during this time of the year, that there is no good way to schedule around and avoid them.

The work being done is very important heavy improvement that must be done to upgrade and improve the safety of Metro. But for those like Raymond Ward, who doesn’t have a car and was depending on using Metro to go to College Park for Maryland’s graduation, it’s still a headache to have the station closed.

“I find it very inconvenient and very inconsiderate,” he says. “I understand that there may be day-to-day events going on, but it impedes my day-to-day life and I am sure if affects a lot of people in the community.”