Axios D.C.

Picture of the D.C. skyline.

🎉 Congratulations! We made it to Friday.

🎃 Halloweekend weather: Lots of rain today with the potential for serious flooding. Be careful out there.

  • Saturday: 62 and partly cloudy.
  • Sunday: 65 and partly cloudy.

Today's newsletter is 916 words — a 3.5-minute read

1 big thing: Delays ahead

Illustration of a Metro train with a front window shaped like a danger sign.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Reduced Metrorail service will continue through at least Nov. 15, the transit agency announced yesterday, prolonging the region’s transportation headache.

Driving the news: Metro general manager Paul Wiedefeld said inspections have been completed on all 7000 series cars, but they remain out of service since being pulled on Oct. 18 after a derailment revealed wheel-based issues dating back to 2017.  

  • “I think it’s too soon,” he said about who should be held accountable. “I think we let the investigation take its course.”
  • The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the derailment and wheels on the 7000 series, which is the system’s newest train cars.
  • Wiedefeld said Metro is working with the independent watchdog group Washington Metrorail Safety Commission on a “testing plan that will allow the trains to safely return to service.” Metro has 748 of the 7000-series cars, making up about 60% of its fleet. 

Details: Metro is aiming to increase the number of trains running daily from 31 to 50, Wiedefeld said, by bringing older cars back into service after safety inspections.

  • Red Line trains will continue running every 15 to 20 minutes and every 30 to 40 minutes on other lines. Silver Line service will still only run between Wiehle-Reston East and Federal Center SW.

What they’re saying: EatWell DC restaurant group owner David Winer says many of his employees have long given up on Metro as a reliable source of transportation.

  • “It’s just one more nail in a system that seems to be rife with incompetence, and our staff has little faith,” Winer tells Axios.

Read the full story.

2. Diving deeper into Metro’s mess

A Metro platform with long wait times. People stand with their luggage waiting for the train.

Photo: Nick Johnston/Axios

It seems we were too easy on Metro last week when we raced from National Airport to Axios HQ in Clarendon.

Why it matters: A second trip from the airport Wednesday evening highlights how bad service has become and what we’ll be dealing with for at least two more weeks.

After returning from a visit to our Axios Local friends in Austin, Texas, our publisher Nick Johnston faced a 20+ minute wait for a Yellow Line train going downtown.

  • The full trip to Chinatown was 43 minutes! That’s crazy for a subway platform from where you can see the Washington Monument.
  • That’s compared to about 10 minutes in an Uber. And Google says you can bike it in just 31 minutes!
  • It’s one thing to ride home, but boy, Metro’s delays are making it hard to plan a commute, a trip to the airport, or anything else for that matter.

The bottom line: Metro isn’t a reliable mode of transportation right now—a huge problem for thousands of DMV residents.

📢 Let us know: How are Metro delays impacting how you get around to work, school, dates, doctor’s appointments, and more?

3. Around the Beltway: 💉 Boo(ster) at the zoo

A giant lion statue with a mask over its mouth. People stand in front looking at the statue.

Photo: Pete Kiehart/Bloomberg via Getty Images

🚨 D.C. residents can now sign up for U.S. Capitol Police security alerts through Alert DC.

  • D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton pushed for the change after the Jan. 6 insurrection.

🏠 Seven D.C. council members yesterday sent a letter to Mayor Muriel Bowser asking her to use local funding to increase emergency rental assistance after the federally funded Stay DC program stopped accepting applications Wednesday night.

  • Bowser said she’s pushed for expedited funding from the U.S. Treasury Department to continue to provide rental assistance. 

💉 Get your COVID-19 shot at the National Zoo today. 

  • The National Zoo will be hosting a vaccine clinic, with all three types of vaccines and boosters available, from 9am to 2pm in their visitor’s center.
  • DC Health will also host a clinic at the zoo next Friday, Nov. 5 from 9am to 2pm.
  • Vaccine cards and personal ID will be required for boosters, and the clinics are open to both D.C. and non-D.C. residents over the age of 12. 

4. NoMa encampment clearing is completed

The M Street underpass with construction materials last month when the city first started clearing it.

The M Street underpass pictured last month when the city first started clearing it. Photo: Chelsea Cirruzzo/Axios

D.C. officials returned yesterday to finish permanently clearing two encampments in NoMa, continuing a pilot program aimed at providing some residents temporary leases and clearing multiple encampments. 

Why it matters: This particular clearing had been paused last month when an unhoused man was hospitalized after being lifted by a piece of heavy machinery operated by the city. 

  • Following the incident, deputy mayor for Health and Human Services Wayne Turnage said protocols would be changed to tighten perimeters around encampments and to check tents before removal. 
  • Photos sent yesterday to Axios by a mutual aid group on-site show the city putting up police tape around the encampment’s remaining tents, resuming the use of a small Bobcat, and then placing concrete barriers on the now-cleared sidewalks. 

Some residents of the encampment told Axios they’ve since moved into apartments or were awaiting placement last month. 

The bottom line: Encampment clearings have garnered attention in recent months, after being paused during the pandemic. At least one more is planned for Nov. 3, and others have been proposed.  

  • Some D.C. council members have praised DMHHS for offering residents housing but expressed concern about the speed and safety of encampment clearings.
  • Housing advocates and mutual aid groups have launched a letter-writing campaign asking officials to stop clearing encampments until every resident who chooses to participate is in permanent housing.

5. Pic du jour: Barbie’s haunted mansion

Barbie Pond has a display of naked Barbies dressed for Day of the Dead.

Photo: Paige Hopkins/Axios

Logan Circle’s Barbie Pond on Q St. NW features a rotating display of Barbie dolls.

  • The pond’s curator has featured displays ranging from Kamala Harris dolls to a “9 to 5” movie display.

Currently, the Barbie pond is a graveyard full of Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) dolls.

  • Some of them have signs that say “I did my own research," a not-so-subtle message to unvaccinated passersby.

Our team is excited to unwind this Halloweekend!

🦓 Chelsea is being a zebra just like everyone else. 

🎭 Cuneyt is looking to find his old Scream mask.

💁🏾‍♀️ Paige is dressing up as MOOD 4 EVA Beyoncé, which is really the vibe she aims to emulate every day.

🐕 Kayla isn’t dressing up, but her dog sure is!