Reporting on pedestrian life in the D.C. area

What Metro's new Rush+ station signs will look like

April 9, 2012 - 10:41 AM
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(Photo: WMATA)

Metro will begin its new reshuffling of train service known as Rush+ on June 18, 2012, and new signs will be coming soon.

WMATA released the new Metro map (with new station names, updated logos, and more) around the middle of last month. Metro's sell — "Rush+ will improve service for nearly 110,000 customers on the Green, Yellow, Blue, and Orange lines. Twenty-one stations will get more frequent service with six additional trains every hour of rush hour." But as Metro General Manager Richard Sarles explained last week, the agency will need to alert people to the changes over the next two months.

Now WMATA is looking at how to update more than 2,600 signs and more than 5,000 maps at its 86 stations and has released an RFP due Wednesday on how to create these Rush+ signs. The RFP states that Metro wants "135 hang-ready, site-specific vinyl on aluminum way-finding signs for Metrorail Rush Plus" for the first few of the stations: Largo Town Center, Morgan Boulevard, Gallery Place, Ronald Reagon Washington International Airport, Archives Navy, Fort Totten, and NoMa-Gallaudet. Get excited because we'll likely start seeing these soon enough. Metro wants the signs for these seven stations delivered between May 17 and June 7.

Perhaps what's most fun about this RFP are the design documents that show how WMATA is approaching the new signs. We affirm, for instance, that WMATA has settled on Helvetica for the Metro line letters. The transit agency also will change the directions of its Rush+ sign stripes depending on whether it's a horizontal sign (which will have vertical stripes) or vertical one (which will have horizontal).

Some stations will, according to RFP designs, feature a "Rush Only" stripe on their pylons to show which receive certain lines during rush hour:

Chocolate strawberries
(Photo: WMATA)

Or here, check out how Metro will represent the Rush+ changes on a full stretch of a line for commuters trying to understand the new system:

Chocolate strawberries
(Photo: WMATA)

The dashed lines always underscore new rush hour service, and as Metro officials have pointed out, riders will need to pay more attention than ever to their trains' destination point now during rush hour. "On the map, trains that operate between Franconia-Springfield and Greenbelt are shown by extending the Yellow Line – with dashed lines to indicate 'rush-hour only' – to both new endpoints," WMATA explains. "Regular Yellow Line service between Huntington and Mt. Vernon Sq/Fort Totten is reflected with a solid Yellow Line. Similarly, a dashed extension Orange Line has been added to the map between Stadium-Armory and Largo Town Center to reflect the new trains that will operate between Vienna and Largo Town Center."

Metro has allocated $3.1 million from its 2012 budget to these broader sign and map updates. Updating the system map and fare charts will cost about $300,000 from the capital budget, Metro predicts, and updating the station signage will cost $2.4 million of capital. Half of a million will go toward customer information campaigning and rail start-up costs.

Sidenote: Are we writing "Rush Plus" or "Rush+"? Metro seems to have decided on the latter but their procurement documents (and a lot of initial media coverage) wrote out the service realignment name.

See of all Metro's sign procurement documents for yourself here and Rush+ here.

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