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When it comes to educated readings of the tea leaves, no one can quite agree on what the impending completion of Metro’s Silver Line will mean for commuters in the D.C. area. In last week’s paper, Kytja Weir argued that the addition of the suburban branch could mean longer waits for riders elsewhere in the system, which in the short term will rely on the same number of trains despite the addition of new stations. ThisSeemsBiased pushed back: “With regard to congestion in the core—some of that will be addressed as the new cars come on stream. And some of that will require investments—but that’s a positive. Those improvements (including ultimately a separate blue line under M Street) were needed anyway, and this may help provide the push for them.”
But if new Metro cars are coming, we can deal with some immediate inconvenience, right? “Metro only needs 64 cars for the Silver Line Phase I and those should all be running in the system by the end of 2014,” wrote MLD. “Phase II of the Silver Line won’t be done until 2018, by which point all of the 700-plus 7000-series cars will be in service.” Weir hopped into the comments: “Remember that Metro is also supposed to be replacing the 1000 series at the same time, so the system would need to have 364 of the 7000 series rail cars arrive to meet the needs of the Phase I expansion and 1000 series replacement. Those will likely not all be running until well after 2014. So it seems fair to suggest that there will not be a net expansion of rail cars for several years after the line starts running.”
While the Silver Line will eventually help more residents of Arlington, Fairfax, and Loudoun counties commute into the District, reader TomQ foresaw another consequence: “If the reverse commuters in this corridor mirror the current reverse-commute patterns in the Tenleytown to Medical Center section of the Red Line, then this extension could in fact improve operating costs because otherwise empty trains will suddenly be carrying paying customers.” Smax agreed: “My guess is that the reverse commuters come through in a big way on this line. I live in D.C. and work in Tysons and will most certainly be taking this every day. I think there are a lot of people in my boat, and there will be even more once there is a true Metro connection to the area. The connection the Silver Line provides to jobs cannot be understated.”
In last week’s Loose Lips column, Will Sommer argued that Vince Gray’s veto of the Large Retailer Accountability Act suggests that satisfying groups that supported his 2010 campaign—like labor unions—isn’t the mayor’s highest priority leading up to an election he may not run in. But reader AERzondzinska wondered whether Gray—who said he vetoed the bill because of the jobs it would kill in neglected parts of the city—supports living wage bills at all: “Just as Gray’s support for a living wage was withdrawn, so was the union’s endorsement on loan. If Gray thinks the large retailer living wage will kill jobs, he ain’t gonna support a living wage for all, now is he?”
Reader Corky, at least, was happy Gray bucked unions on the bill: “Gray did the right thing, whether it was politically expedient or not. It is more important for the District to have more jobs and more retail (especially in areas where there is virtually no retail) than to merely protect union jobs at Safeway and Giant, which is what this so-called living wage bill was all about.”
Department of Corrections
Due to a reporting error, a review of the Civilian Art Projects exhibit “Offerings” misidentified objects in Marissa Long’s photograph “Mushroom Modules.” The image depicts mushrooms, not clam and mussel shells.