WMATA says they intend to continue researching resident claims that houses along the Green/Yellow line in Petworth are being shaken by trains.
At a meeting on December 12th, a large group of neighbors met with WMATA representatives to share the concerns they've been reporting to the transit agency. Clearly, the issue of noise and shaking homes isn't limited to one house or one area -- it runs all along the underground rail line used by Metro.
As Petworth News reported after the meeting, the message from neighbors as far north as Allison, south to Randolph, and from 4th across to 7th Street and along New Hampshire Avenue is incredibly consistent: the noise and shaking started mid-summer and it's getting worse.
WMATA started using their new 7000 series trains on the Green line this summer, and the trains are both larger and heavier, making them the suspected culprit.
In a follow-up article by the Washington Post published on December 31st, reporter Martine Powers met with residents to investigate the possibility that the noise and shaking is being caused by an increase in usage of the new 7000 series trains:
On a recent Thursday morning, a Washington Post reporter spent two hours in the Georgia Avenue-Petworth station, noting each time that a 7000-series train entered the station. At the same time, [resident David] Solimini wrote down every time that he heard the loud rumble on the first floor of his house, five blocks away.
The numbers matched perfectly: Every time he noted a significant rumble, a 7000-series train had passed through the station moments before or after.
Connecting the new 7000 series trains to the recent appearance of noise and shaking is important, as it helps justify the claims by residents that WMATA at first dismissed. WMATA brought engineers out to Petworth to study the issue (saying the vibrations were "negligible," and according to WaPo, is planning on bringing in "outside experts to perform additional tests."
WaPo spoke with Metro spokesman Richard L. Jordan, who said, “Because we take this matter very seriously, Metro is in the process of bringing in third-party engineers to conduct additional tests before we make a final determination.”
Ward 4 Councilmember Brandon Todd spoke to WaPo, saying, “Anytime something like vibrations begin when they did not occur before — especially so recently, with the work that Metro is doing with SafeTrack — it’s something that I take seriously. I just want to get to the bottom of it.”
After the meeting on December 12th, Todd sent WMATA General Manager Paul J. Wiedefeld a letter formally asking the agency to determine the cause of the issue. In the letter, Todd writes that "Residents uniformly say that the vibrations abruptly started this past summer. They are in agreement that over the past months, the shaking has become increasingly severe. In addition to being a nuisance – waking residents up at 5:00 AM and keeping them awake until midnight or later – this issue endangers residents by threatening the structural integrity of their homes. I take this issue extremely seriously, and look forward to working with you and WMATA officials to understand the cause of the vibrations and lay out a timeline to address them as quickly as possible."
Hopefully the media attention, along with Todd's office keeping the pressure on WMATA will get an answer. Further investigations will serve as an impetus to finding options to deal with not only the noise and shaking, but any side-effects and impacts to residents' homes and quality of life.
Update 1/5/17: Are you experiencing the shaking, noise or home damage problems?
Former ANC 4C Commissioner Taalib-Din Uqdah had a good suggestion to contact WMATA when you experience problems or have concerns, keeping the pressure on them to take investigate and report back to the community:
- Contact Commissioner Timothy Jones (4C08@anc.dc.gov), who has been spearheading on behalf of residents.
- Contact Ward 4 Councilmember Brandon Todd's office.
- File an "official" complaint on WMATA's website using their general complain form, or email WMATA customer service directly.
- Contact WMATA's government affairs liaison Ann Chisholm.
- Feel free to cc Petworth News (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Here's all the email addresses in one place for easy copy & paste:
email@example.com, 4C08@anc.dc.gov, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
The more attention this gets, the better.
- Neighbors report shaking houses, rumbling noises along Metro's Green line (Petworth News, December 13, 2016)
- What’s that mysterious rumble? Petworth residents eye Metro’s new trains as cause of disruption (Washington Post, December 31, 2016)