Alexandria to DC metro shut down

Old Sep 24th, 2022, 06:57 AM
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Alexandria to DC metro shut down

We have a trip planned to Alexandria Va to use it as a base for visiting tourist destinations in DC. Our trip is Oct 14-18th. We just found out that the yellow and blue lines at Kings street station will be shut down during our visit. I have looked at the mta website for alternate transportation, but being unfamiliar with any public transport, it is very confusing. To complicate matters, we are seniors and planned to get the smart card for the discount. With all the options for travel, I can't figure out it the smart card will even be accepted on most of the options.All I want to know is how to get from our Residence Inn In Alexandria to stops along the National Mall in DC.

Should I just scrap the Alexandria hotel res and stay in Crystal City instead? It seems to be the only option that is affordable at this late date.

Someone please help this not tech savvy senior to figure this out.
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Old Sep 24th, 2022, 10:11 AM
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Free alternative transport is provided... There are "travel info" and "customer relations" numbers provided at the bottom of the page.

https://www.wmata.com/about/news/Blu...ternatives.cfm
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Old Sep 24th, 2022, 02:41 PM
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Personally, I wouldn't wanht to deal with thus bus shuttles, etc. I would change hotels. Ideally, I'd move to DC as the remaining yellow line will be very crowded, I imagine, at least during rush hours. If your timing varies, maybe that's ok. Crystal City would be better than nothing.

There is a water taxi but it is slow and very expensive Alexandria claims they are giving out free rides during commuting hours, but it isn't clear if you must show local resident ID or not, and they are limited, of course, tickets only possibly available in person or online last minute. I think the free tgrips are only during commuting hours, of course, as that is their goal, not to give free trips to tourists.
https://www.cityexperiences.com/wash...dc-water-taxi/

IF you do stay there, you might try that one day to see what it's like, going to the Wharf area (or Georgetown I suppose).

The Smartrip card is accepted on any bus and metro transportation within reason, what specifically were you asking about? I mean I don't know iof it covers some VA buses far outside the District.

I am not sure what you mean about getting a discount though. What discount? You have to use Smartrip now, there isn't any discount I know of. There used to be a 10 pct discount if you put on $20, as I recall, but I don't think they do that any more. If you are talking the Senior card, you can't just go up and buy that from a machine or anything, you have to go to only a few special locations because they have to inspect your ID, of course. I have one as I live in the area and it's fairly easy to get one in Maryland at Montgomery Co libraries. There are only a few locations in DC where you can get it, there is an office at l'Enfant Plaza where you can, only certain hours. I just don't know what discounts you are expecting and for what card, and where you read about getting discounts. terms are clear on here as to where it can be used
https://www.wmata.com/fares/smartrip/
and how you can get a Senior card
https://www.wmata.com/fares/reduced.cfm

What were you looking to spend, anyway? The Capital Hilton on 16th has rooms for only about $250 a night during those dates, and that isn't the nonrefundable rate either. The DOubletree Hilton in Silver Spring MD has rooms for less than $200 a night. That is right near the red line metro, which doesn't have these problems. It's only a couple blocks, and there are a lot of restaurants, theater, etc within walking distance. Do NOT book the Doubletree on COlesville Rd, the one on Georgia Ave is better and a better location.

ANyway, those are just some ideas, but bottom line is that I think I'd move where I didn't have to deal with those shuttles.

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Old Sep 24th, 2022, 03:01 PM
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Noting that while the old part of Alexandria is historic and charming, that area is not near the metro stop and requires a bus to reach the metro. Another reason to move hotels.
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Old Sep 24th, 2022, 06:41 PM
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As to metro stops ďalong the MallĒ thereís only one and it isnít very useful, itís a walk from it to the major sites and museums.

For getting to Mall attractions use the red circulator https://www.dccirculator.com/
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Old Sep 24th, 2022, 10:24 PM
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Yes, change hotels. Plenty of options in DC. Crystal City is a pretty sterile environment full of office spaces, would consider a place in the District if possible. Favorite neighborhoods are DuPont Circle and Penn Quarter.
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Old Sep 25th, 2022, 05:13 AM
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I just noticed that VRE has extended free rides into October. It includes Alexandria to L'enfant Plaza. Is this a viable way to travel? Looks like the travel time is very quick into the city. I know this is not the most convenient stop for the tourist places near the mall, but we don't mind some walking. If this is a viable option, I will try and change our hotel dates to weekdays as the VRE does not run on the weekends.

I would really like to keep our resy in Alexandria if possible, as we were looking to explore that area as well. I am still looking for advice on commuting from there.

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Old Sep 25th, 2022, 06:16 AM
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Christina, I just realised I had not answered your question about the discount I was talking about. We planned to stop at the station in Springfield to get the senior card on our way into Alexandria. I was talking about the discount for seniors.

I am still contemplating changing hotels if the VRE seems to be non viable as an option.

It seems to be the consensus that taking the shuttle is a bad idea. Can you explain why? It looks as though it is a shuttle from King Street Station to Crystal City Station, then directly into DC.
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Old Sep 25th, 2022, 08:06 AM
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Originally Posted by louky52 View Post
Christina, I just realised I had not answered your question about the discount I was talking about. We planned to stop at the station in Springfield to get the senior card on our way into Alexandria. I was talking about the discount for seniors.

I am still contemplating changing hotels if the VRE seems to be non viable as an option.

It seems to be the consensus that taking the shuttle is a bad idea. Can you explain why? It looks as though it is a shuttle from King Street Station to Crystal City Station, then directly into DC.
Have you called your hotel? They may be running hotel shuttles to and from Reagan airport metro station to accommodate guests who're in your situation.

I'm guessing that all of the shuttle bus schedules will be geared to commuters (6-9 am and 4-7 pm ish). This is an enormous extended PIA for local commuters. My past experience with using shuttle buses as fill-ins is that timeliness isn't great b/c of all the extra traffic. Double check that shuttle buses run on the weekend.

The VRE is a commuter train and the trains don't run that frequently. I think the VRE/Amtrak combination has been suspended. I guess you could get off at Crystal City and take the Metro into DC from there. Also, there are two stops in DC for the VRE. L'Enfant Plaza (south of the National Mall) and Union Station.

The VRE doesn't run on the weekends.

Into DC: https://www.vre.org/service/schedules/#sched-fred-nb
From DC: https://www.vre.org/service/schedules/#sched-fred-sb

Personally it sounds more complicated than I'd want to handle for a leisure trip. But I'd start with your hotel and see what they have to say.

If you do decide to change, check out the hotels in the Arlington Courthouse area. Orange & Silver lines run into the city. Hotels in Crystal City and Pentagon City are just fine. They are less soul-less than they used to be but Old Town is definitely a preferred location for charm.


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Old Sep 25th, 2022, 08:23 AM
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Originally Posted by tom_mn View Post
Noting that while the old part of Alexandria is historic and charming, that area is not near the metro stop and requires a bus to reach the metro. Another reason to move hotels.
It's a 5-7 minute walk from the Residence Inn on Duke Street (if that is where the OP is staying) to the King Street station for Metro/Amtrak/VRE

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Old Sep 25th, 2022, 08:28 AM
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There are 6 metro stations for access to many of the Smithsonian museums, the Archives, and the National of Art, mostly concentrated on the east side of the Mall.

Smithsonian
Gallery Place-Chinatown
Federal Triangle
Federal Center SW
L'Enfant Plaza
Archives-Navy Memorial

The metro stations closest to the memorials are Smithsonian and Foggy Bottom. The Circulator Bus National Mall route is better option. Overall, it's a great resource for visitors.

https://www.dccirculator.com/explore...national-mall/
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Old Sep 25th, 2022, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by obxgirl View Post
Have you called your hotel? They may be running hotel shuttles to and from Reagan airport metro station to accommodate guests who're in your situation.

I'm guessing that all of the shuttle bus schedules will be geared to commuters (6-9 am and 4-7 pm ish). This is an enormous extended PIA for local commuters. My past experience with using shuttle buses as fill-ins is that timeliness isn't great b/c of all the extra traffic. Double check that shuttle buses run on the weekend.

The VRE is a commuter train and the trains don't run that frequently. I think the VRE/Amtrak combination has been suspended. I guess you could get off at Crystal City and take the Metro into DC from there. Also, there are two stops in DC for the VRE. L'Enfant Plaza (south of the National Mall) and Union Station.

The VRE doesn't run on the weekends.

.
I will definitely check with the hotel to see if they offer a shuttle or further information.

According to the VRE website they are running extra trains due to the metro shutdown. It says we can take the VRE from King Street Station to L'enfant or Union Station free of charge on any weekday.

Thanks for all the information from everyone.

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Old Sep 26th, 2022, 06:03 AM
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There are 6 metro stations for access to many of the Smithsonian museums, the Archives, and the National of Art, mostly concentrated on the east side of the Mall.

Smithsonian
Gallery Place-Chinatown
Federal Triangle
Federal Center SW
L'Enfant Plaza
Archives-Navy Memorial
This is a tad misleading, none of the metro stops works particularly well for the main Smithsonian museums, it's usually a 7-12 minute walk from the closest station, not the end of the world but the metro isn't set up for tourists and it's practicality for tourists varies from being fairly handy to an expensive waste of time. And the metro hardly ever works when going from tourist site to tourist site during the day. It's best to take the red circulator for the Mall attractions or just walk (and walk).

As an example: trying to use the metro to go the 2 miles from the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial would take close to an hour, considering it's at least a 15 minute walk to/from the metro on either end.

Last edited by tom_mn; Sep 26th, 2022 at 06:17 AM.
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Old Sep 26th, 2022, 08:17 AM
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tom, whoever planted the seed in your mind that a visitor should be able to go from "tourist site to tourist site" using the DC metro was playing a big joke on you. But you certainly like to complain about it. It's a city, not a theme park. The same advice given to people traveling to other major cities is the same advice that applies in DC: the shortest distance between points of interest may be above ground using the feet God gave you and hopefully can still use. Look at a map for Christ's sake and plot your activities accordingly.

Distance from Smithsonian metro station:
American History 4 minutes
Natural History 7 minutes
Smithsonian Castle 3 minutes
Freer Gallery 1 minute
African Art Museum 4 minutes
African American History Museum 8 minutes

Distance from Federal Triangle metro station:
American History 5 minutes
Natural History 5 minutes

Distance from L'Enfant Plaza metro station:
Air & Space (currently closed) 4 minutes
Hirshorn Museum 4 minutes
Museum of American Indian 8 minutes

Distance from Archives/Navy Memorial metro station
Archives 4 minutes
National Gallery of Art 4 minutes

Gallery Place/Chinatown metro station
American Art Museum 3 minutes
National Portrait Gallery 3 minutes

McPherson Square metro station
White House 4 minutes
Smithsonian Renwick Art Museum 8 minutes

As an example: trying to use the metro to go the 2 miles from the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial would take close to an hour, considering it's at least a 15 minute walk to/from the metro on either end.

Not clear why you would want to do this but you can walk the distance in 45 minutes. Or bike it in 15 minutes. Or take a cab/uber in 10 minutes.


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Old Sep 26th, 2022, 09:36 AM
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Originally Posted by tom_mn View Post
This is a tad misleading, none of the metro stops works particularly well for the main Smithsonian museums, it's usually a 7-12 minute walk from the closest station, not the end of the world but the metro isn't set up for tourists and it's practicality for tourists varies from being fairly handy to an expensive waste of time. And the metro hardly ever works when going from tourist site to tourist site during the day. It's best to take the red circulator for the Mall attractions or just walk (and walk).

As an example: trying to use the metro to go the 2 miles from the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial would take close to an hour, considering it's at least a 15 minute walk to/from the metro on either end.
Oh, for heaven's sake, when is a 7 minute walk such a big burden to anyone? But some are closer anyway. In fact, the Smithsonian one is practically right next to the Asian Art Museum and the Federal Triangle stop is only a couple blocks from both the Am HIstroy and Natural HIstory. The Gallery Place stop is within a block of the American Art and National Portrait Gallery. The L'Enfant Plaza stop is within a block of the Air and Space (now closed) and the American Indian museum.

I do agree people should walk more but why the complaint that it might be a 7 minute walk then if you are advising people to walk?
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Old Sep 26th, 2022, 01:28 PM
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Aside form the Smithsonian, every visitor should be interested in seeing the WWII Memorial, FDR Memorial, Vietnam and Korean War Memorials. Vietnam is far better in daylight, but the other three are extraordinary at night. In addition, the Air Force Memorial in Arlington at night is spectacular. Going up to it and seeing DC form this overlook is thorouhgly awesome.

For the National Park Service sites, you can ask for an impromtu tour of a park ranger when you get there. They have so much knowledge about the sites that will add immeasurably to your visit.
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