Housing Complex

The Brown Line, the Beltway Line, and Other Metro Ideas That Didn’t Make the Cut

Last month, the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority published its proposed Metro 2040 update, with a new loop encircling downtown D.C. It's a plan that's sparked both excitement and criticism, with one very angry former WMATA board chairman writing recently in the Washington Post that it's "so far beyond dream as to enter the realm of fantasy."

But many other ideas—equally controversial, no doubt—got left on the cutting-room floor. Here, courtesy of Metro planning blog PlanItMetro, are a few proposals that WMATA tested before ultimately opting not to include. The proposals, according to PlanItMetro, were graded according to "ridership, impact on core capacity, transfers, reduction in vehicle miles traveled (VMT), mode share, etc." These ones didn't make the cut.

The Brown Line

The name alone is enough to generate controversy in a demographically divided and changing city. But the line itself would surely have many fans. It would have run down Wisconsin Avenue NW, through Georgetown, along Constitution Avenue, through NoMa and Bloomingdale, and up Georgia Avenue to Silver Spring before veering east into the Maryland suburbs.

brown line

The Beltway Line

This one's pretty self-explanatory. The Beltway Line would have largely paralleled I-495, intersecting the current Metro system at Greenbelt, Wheaton, White Flint, Dunn Loring, Van Dorn Street, Branch Avenue, and Largo Town Center. WMATA found that the line wouldn't have enough demand, except for maybe on the segments crossing the Woodrow Wilson Bridge and American Legion Bridge.


Green Line to BWI or National Harbor, and Other Extensions

WMATA considered 11 extensions of existing lines farther into the suburbs:

1. Green Line to BWI
2. Orange Line to Bowie
3. Green Line to Charles County
4. Blue Line to Potomac Mills
5. Orange Line to Centreville
6. Red Line to Metropolitan Grove
7. Blue Line to Bowie
8. Green Line to National Harbor
9. Yellow Line to Lorton
10. Orange Line to Gainesville
11. Silver Line to Leesburg



Infill Stations at St. Elizabeths and Elsewhere

The easiest kind of Metro station to build is one that's on an existing line. WMATA considered stations at St. Elizabeths (where the Coast Guard recently relocated and a major mixed-use development is planned), Oklahoma Avenue NE (not a major population center, but there's a substantial gap between the Stadium-Armory and Minnesota/Benning stations), Montgomery College, and Eisenhower Avenue Valley. Yellow stations in the map below are the ones that were considered; blue and orange stations are already completed and planned, respectively.


New Connections Between Lines

Without building any new lines, WMATA can shorten riders' trips by connecting lines to make for fewer transfers. WMATA considered options that would have allowed people to travel from, say, Dulles to Branch Avenue without changing trains.


Images via PlanItMetro

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  • Isaac T.

    OK. Metro. Looking over the comments here. Which show great concerns of whom should have Metro access Rail rider ship. And much blame of Virginia riders controlling all new development . The people of Maryland are speaking up !!!. True facts of Rt 210 Hwy and Branch Av. and 301 North South of Lower Virginia . There's much problems of 210 corridor up to the beltway and into Virginia and 295 to DC. And the Branch Av. 301 north from lower Virginia to the district during weekdays and weekends. Help solve this problem with southern Marylanders traffic influx of both south corridors. By Extending the Yellow line from VA across the river to lower Accokeek along the PG. County line and Charles Co. Line Extending the Green line from Branch Av to lower Brandywine of PG. County along the 301 north Rt. of Charles Co. and PG. county line . Problem solved !!! Than study rider ship . later merge the both lines . This sure plan will improve our Road ways of travel. Sothern Marylanders pay taxes Just Like Virginia taxes payers.

  • Mike Smith

    I would love an extension to Potomac Mills but even if they started working on it today I doubt I would ever get to ride on it.

  • Joe Bridge

    um, have you been on the roads in the DC area? I'm not aware of dedicated bus lanes anywhere within the city.

  • Jason Gerber

    Gov. Hogan cancelled the Red line in Baltimore and used the money for highways on the Eastern shore and bridge toll cuts.

    Purple line is probably going to be poison-pilled, but he may keep the MoCo sections before screwing PG county out of their sections.

  • James H.

    Reston, VA Rockville, MD! Screw that going all the way to DC just to go into MD