WMATA looking for volunteers for new vibration study - Will new tests clear up the issue of shaking houses?


Since this summer, residents have noticed a rumbling noise and their homes shaking throughout the day. Some people thought it was trucks outside, others wondered where the new cracks in their walls were coming from. Finally, residents began to realize that the timing of the noise and the shaking coincided with Metro trains running underground – sometimes rumbling and  shaking houses every 7 minutes.

After initially denying the issue, WMATA agreed to attend a community meeting with residents, Ward 4 Councilmember Brandon Todd and ANC 4C Commissioner Timothy Jones. Over and over, residents at the meeting described similar stories of glassware shaking, cracks in ceilings and walls and their houses shaking – all starting this summer.

The only thing that seems to have changed in the years since the Green line was established are the new 7000 series trains. Heavier and louder, these more modern trains appear to be a probable cause of the noise and shaking. While WMATA said they couldn’t ascertain the cause, a recent WUSA 9 report showed that one resident’s house shook every time a 7000 series train passed underneath. WMATA said they would continue to research, following a letter from Councilmember Todd and an article in the Washington Post came out.

It appears the pressure on WMATA from resident, media and the DC Council have helped push Metro to keep studying the issue. While WMATA  said in the fall that their own engineers could find no correlation, according to Councilmember Todd’s office, WMATA has hired a consulting firm called Wilson Ihrig to conduct more sound and vibration tests. Only in the planning phase, they are looking to schedule field testing in selected area homes.

Metro is seeking residents willing to allow the Ihrig engineers into their homes to measure the vibrations and noise. 

Want to volunteer for an acoustic / vibration study?
If you think you’re affected by metro trains and want to participate in a study, send your name, address and phone number via email to WMATA representative Ann Chisholm. You will most likely need to allow the engineers to access your home to measure. 

While many are not sure what the solution will be, finding the cause – or confirming their suspicions – is something many residents want.

Drew Schneider

Local DC blogger in Petworth, Washington DC.

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