By: Duane Paul Murphy
The Brookland-CUA Metro station and the red line from Fort Totten to NoMa will be closed between October 29th and November 22nd of this year due to the Washington Area Metropolitan Transit Authority’s (WMATA) implementation of SafeTrack.
SafeTrack is a year-long accelerated public maintenance program, which was officially initiated on June 7th, that aims to improve the current transportation infrastructure. Recently between August 1st and August 21st, the SafeTrack program was implemented on the red line from Takoma to Silver Spring and from Shady Grove to Twinbrook.
Due to the Brookland station’s proximity to the Catholic University of America, the university’s Vice President for Finance and Treasurer Robert M. Specter and Vice President for University Relations and Chief of Staff Frank Persico sent out a jointly written email message to the student community on September 15th.
In the email, Specter and Persico said that the university community should be prepared for the delays and plan to adjust their commuting plans.
“We understand that this maintenance plan will affect a significant number of our employees, students, and campus visitors during those 17 days, in particular, and at any other time that additional Metro lines such as Blue, Silver, Green, etc., are closed,” the email stated.
Two alternative transportation options were proposed in the email to accommodate the upcoming public infrastructure project. The first option is driving for those who usually commute to school via the Metro. Students can purchase either daily or weekly parking passes for about $8 and $37 respectively, or a parking pass on a pro-rated monthly basis with the Department of Public Safety in 121 Leahy Hall.
“During the October 29th to November 22nd time frame, it is recommended that weekly and pro-rated parking pass holders use the O’Boyle East Lot or the lower-level of the University Parking Garage,” the email stated in regards to the student parking situation. “When service is suspended between Fort Totten and NoMa, the garage gates will remain open from 6:45 a.m. to midnight Monday through Friday.”
The second option involves shuttle buses. According the email, if students plan to relay on Metro during that specific time frame, they could utilize WMATA public shuttle bus services and schedules to get to and from campus or the neighborhood. Also, students can still use the school’s Public Safety campus shuttle that transports pedestrians to and from several on-campus locations.
Many students have recently expressed their thoughts towards the future maintenance project and options to get around town for either work, internships, or recreational related activities.
“I commute to my internship on the hill three days a week, so I am definitely going to be impacted by the upcoming metro closures,” said sophomore politics major Liz Friden. “The fact that there is a metro on campus was a big factor in my decision to come to Catholic over other DC schools. It is frustrating that the metro is going to be closed for a whole month, but there will be busses that can take us to Fort Totten or NoMa.”
Friden has decided on the Metro bus system as her transportation alternative.
“I am going to take the bus instead. I will take the bus to the NoMa and then hop on the metro from there to get to union,” Friden said.
“I think the upcoming closings are going to be a much needed rest and repair for the rail, although I am hesitant to say they will be a good thing,” said sophomore politics major Katie Hodgdon. “They are going to be a large hassle for the surround community, especially for students who commute to jobs and internships.”
“I hope the bus system will provide needed transformation,” Hodgdon said regarding her transportation alternatives during the upcoming closures. “As for me, I will be either using the bus systems or ubering.”