Representing Alexandria, Arlington, and Fairfax

Newsletter - June 2, 2019

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Or by mail and phone:

Richmond Office:
Pocahontas Building
900 East Main Street, Suite E208
Richmond, VA 23219

Alexandria Office:
301 King St
Alexandria, VA 22314

Yesterday, I sent you my cri de coeur (literally, "a shout from the heart") in response to the awful Virginia Beach shooting.

The goal of today's newsletter is to share resources and information to help you navigate the Metro platform renovation/summer shutdown that will last until September.

Before I go into details on the Metro, please note that my Monthly Meetup is later today at Los Tios in Del Ray (2615 Mt. Vernon Avenue). I will be there from 2-4 pm. Feel free to come late or leave early. Let's talk about the issues you care about. 

Everyone gets a chance to speak at Mark's Monthly Meetups!

The 2019 Summer Alexandria
Metro Shutdown/Replacement Service
Unacceptable but Worst Should Be Behind Us

As I discussed in detail in my Memorial Day newsletter, from Saturday, May 25 through and including Sunday, September 8, 2019, rail service south of Washington National Airport has been shut down and replaced by free shuttle-bus routes. 

On Friday, I had a long conversation with Greg Potts, Metro's Virginia Government Relations Officer. I had asked people on Facebook to send me their experiences in the first couple of days of the Metro closures with me, as well as their ideas for improvements. I shared these many individual complaints and concerns I had received with Greg, reading right off my Facebook page. If you have complaints, concerns, or ideas for improvement, you can post them publicly right on my Facebook page, which I'm continuing to monitor, or on Twitter. Or you can send me a private email by clicking here.

The main thing I expressed to him as "unacceptable" was the inadequate training given the largely out-of-state drivers on the express routes who oftentimes were lost and had to ask passengers for directions (and in one case, drove to the wrong metro stop in Maryland!) He conceded that while Metroway and DASH bush drivers were mostly used for the yellow-line and blue-line replacement shuttle routes, they hired a private contractor for the express routes that had inadequately trained drivers, many of them from out of state. (This confirmed my suspicions, as I know Metroway and DASH buses are unionized and therefore the quality of their work is usually better than non-union drivers.) The bright side, of course, is that having learned the hard way on the job, all  the drivers by now should know their way around. Let me know if they don't.

The main point I heard loud and clear from constituents was that lots of folks boarding at the Braddock Road Metro going north couldn't enter the shuttles because they were virtually always full or had room for only a handful of passengers. So I requested Metro provide an occasional direct northbound shuttle from Braddock Road to Crystal City Metro that did not first stop at points further south, so that people could get on buses at Braddock that were not already full of passengers. Greg said he would look into that, as well as my concerns about inadequate capacity on Metroway and 11Y. (He's also looking into providing buses earlier in the morning on 11Y.)

He also told me Metro accepted my suggestion as to how improve their “alternative trip planner" to be more robust and were implementing the change on the website.

Two general points to make us feel a little better:

1) Nothing is as good as Metro. So obviously these next three and a half months are going to have to cause some pain for all of us. Roads simply can't do what rails can do. Whether we use the roads or the rails, all of our commuting times will be longer through September. After all, if roads could do all that Metro can do, we wouldn't need Metro. And obviously we need Metro. This is a necessary evil. The platforms must be repaired after 35 years of inadequate maintenance.

Crumbling platforms at Braddock Road (left) and King Street (right)
necessitate the platform renovations and summer shutdown.

2) The worst should be over. Last week, the first week of the shutdown, was expected to be the worst week because both passengers and shuttle-bus drivers were learning their way around the new system. So this should have been the week of maximum confusion and disarray. We also had a huge downpour on Tuesday and a massive accident closing the I-395 HOV lanes for more than an hour on Wednesday, as well as a temporary train switching problem at National Airport that same day. That certainly did not help things! But we hope and expect it will run a bit more smoothly next week and even better in weeks to come, particularly as school children finish up their school years. So, as bad as this beginning was, it should only improve over time, though still not back to normal (of course) until September.

Please keep bringing me your issues and concerns, particularly if the problems you told me are not getting better or if new ones arise, by letting me know publicly on Facebook or Twitter or privately in email

In addition to bringing issues and suggestions to me, you should contact Metro directly. I'm just the middleman (although a loud voice, if problems remain unfixed). But your first stop should always to be to contact Metro, and hopefully they will be able to resolve problems without my intervention.


Call 202-637-1328 (Weekdays: 8:30 am - 5:00 pm);
Contact Metro link:

And/or use the online customer comment form:

Let me know in particular if Metro is unresponsive to you.
I've scheduled another meeting with Greg this Friday. I intend to continue these weekly meetings as long as your complaints keep coming.
For a suite of informational resources, including many different and very useful tools to help you, go to
SOUTH of Washington National Airport, most of us living in the 45th district (Eastern Alexandria) will have to use the Yellow Line Shuttle between our home metros and Crystal City, where we can then board trains as usual. (There is also Blue Shuttle service between King Street Metro and the Airport. See maps below.)

Rail service between Washington National Airport, Crystal City, and other points NORTH of the Airport will operate as usual, with trains supposed to be operating every four minutes during peak periods.

Unfortunately, if you want to go to the Airport from Braddock Road, there is no longer a direct route this summer. You would have to take the free Yellow Shuttle South to King Street Metro and then the free Blue Shuttle North to the Airport. And vice versa to go to Braddock from the Airport. (See maps below.) Or you could take the Yellow Shuttle North to Crystal City Metro and then the train back south to the Airport (and vice versa). This latter route may be quicker but because you're using the train, there would be a charge.

Parking will be free at Van Dorn Street, Franconia-Springfield and Huntington stations throughout the shutdown.

Free Yellow Shuttle (Note it does NOT stop at the Airport)
Free Blue Shuttle (Note it does NOT stop at Braddock Road.)
Enhanced Metrobus
Other Regional Transportation

Cleaning Up the Potomac River

With Delegates Karrie Delaney and Alfonso Lopez
at the Clean the Bay event with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

Yesterday, my House colleague and friend, Delegate Karrie Delaney, and I co-hosted a Clean the Bay (or in our case, the Potomac River which flows into the bay) event as part of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's Clean the Bay Day. Delegate Alfonso Lopez popped by as well. Over 200 people in Alexandria and 6,000 volunteers across the Commonwealth joined together at Virginia's waterways to pick up litter and trash and do our small part in protecting our water. It was a very impressive turnout.
As a member of the Virginia Environment and Renewable Energy Caucus, I am committed to responsible environmental stewardship. And as you can tell from the photos below, I am all in on making sure Virginians have clean water. 


Tuesday, June 11 is Primary Day

Early voting has already begun!

As you know, unlike most other states, Virginia has elections in June and November every single year. Primary day -- Tuesday, June 11 -- is right around the corner.

Early voting has already begun. In-person absentee voting for the June 11, 2019 Democratic Primary Election continues through Saturday, June 8. 

Click links below to learn more about how to vote early in your jurisdiction:

Alexandria early voting information

Arlington County early voting information

Fairfax County early voting information

These primary elections may very well decide who becomes the next general election winner in each of these jurisdictions. So please get out and vote!

For my constituents still undecided, I have made endorsements in each of the three jurisdictions I'm proud to represent. 

In Alexandria, I support Greg Parks for Clerk of Court

In Arlington, I support Parisa Dehghani-Tafti for Commonwealth's Attorney.

In Fairfax County, I support Steve Descano for Commonwealth Attorney. 

Read my next newsletter (coming out Tuesday, one week before the election) to find out why.

Upcoming Events

Please Join Me!

(I personally participate in the events in red)

Sunday, June 2
2:00 - 4:00 pm
Mark's Monthly Meetup
Los Tios

2615 Mt. Vernon Ave., Alexandria
(Come late. Leave early. Have a margarita.
Thoughts on gun safety, Metro, or something else?
Let me know what's on your mind.)

Sunday, June 2
6:00 - 9:00 pm
Fairfax County Democratic Committee Jefferson-Obama Dinner
Hilton McLean Tysons Corner
7920 Jones Branch Drive, McLean
(which I'll be leaving early to attend...)
Sunday, June 2
8:30 - 10:00 pm
Close Up (High School) Debate with a Conservative
Key Bridge Marriott
1401 Lee Highway, Arlington
(no cost...great way to see me in action, changing young minds)
Monday, June 3
7:30 - 9:00 pm
Alexandria Democratic Committee Meeting
Minnie Howard School
3801 W. Braddock Rd., Alexandria
(Isn't it time you joined the ADC to make a difference in November?
No cost just to show up.)

Thursday, June 6
6:00 - 9:00 pm
Blue Alexandria Dinner
The Westin Alexandria Old Town
400 Courthouse Square

(My table is full. But please come by and say hello.)

Tuesday, June 11
Polls open from 6:00 am - 7:00 pm
(As usual, I will be visiting
every one of the 23 polling locations
in every one of the 23 precincts
of the 45th District I'm so proud to represent.
I hope to see you there!) 

It is always my honor and privilege to serve you.

Delegate Mark Levine
Serving Alexandria, Arlington, and Fairfax in Virginia's 45th District