Last Tuesday, Metro announced that it will close the Van Ness station’s west entrance for a three-year escalator replacement project. This notice arrived less than two weeks before WMATA intends to begin the project – on Monday, May 4th.
Tuesday was also the date of ANC 3F’s April meeting, and our commissioners voted that evening to send a letter to the interim manager of WMATA, Jack Requa, stating their opposition not to the project itself, but to the timing. In the April 22nd letter below, the ANC requests that the west entrance to the station remain open until a nearby portion of the Connecticut Avenue sidewalk, closed due to the Park Van Ness construction project, reopens at the end of this year.
Interim Manager Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority 600 5th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001
RE: Opposition to the Closing of West Entrance of Van Ness Station
Dear Mr. Requa,
WMATA recently notified Advisory Neighborhood Commission 3F (“ANC 3F”) regarding the lengthy proposed closing of the West Entrance of the Van Ness Metro Station, to begin May 4th, 2015. While we support the rehabilitation of the Van Ness escalators in general, ANC unanimously opposes closure of the West Entrance at this time and asks that this work be postponed.
At issue is the fact that a significant construction project currently underway in Van Ness has closed the sidewalk on the east side of Connecticut Ave. NW to all pedestrian traffic north of the Van Ness Metro Station through 2015. As a result of this sidewalk closure, pedestrians must already cross Connecticut Ave. NW once, from east to west, in order to reach the Van Ness Metro station. Closing the West Entrance to the Van Ness station at this time, while the sidewalk is still closed, will force pedestrians to cross Connecticut Ave. NW for a second time, back from west to east, in order to access the station.
As you are no doubt aware Connecticut Ave. NW is one of the busiest and widest streets in the country; 37,000 vehicles travel pass through this six-lane stretch each day (traveling at an average speed of 35 mph), according to DDOT estimates. The safety concerns with forcing pedestrians to cross such a major thoroughfare twice are obvious.
Therefore, in the interest of pedestrian safety, we ask WMATA to postpone any work that would close the West Entrance to the Van Ness Metro Station until after the sidewalk along the east side of Connecticut Ave. NW is reopened to pedestrian traffic. (Work on the escalators inside the station itself could presumably proceed as planned.) Furthermore, once the work on the west side escalator does begin, we ask WMATA to keep the tunnel under Connecticut Ave. NW open to pedestrians via the stairs at the West Entrance.
Thank you for your consideration.
Adam Tope Chair, ANC 3F
Mayor Muriel Bowser
Councilmember Mary Cheh
Councilmember Jack Evans
Councilmember Elissa Silverman
Councilmember Anita Bonds
Councilmember David Grosso
Councilmember Vincent Orange
Director Leif A. Dormsjo, DDOT
Ann E. Chisholm, WMATA