Metro riders have probably heard a man with a booming voice singing hymns and songs of worship at station entrances near Dupont Circle, Farragut and downtown. Andrew Lewis is the 50-year-old owner of that voice, and he’s been spreading his sharing his message with morning commuters for the past three years.
“The Lord spoke to me and told me to step out here on the streets and do full-time ministry,” Lewis said. “That’s what I’ve been doing ever since, reaching out by singing praise and worship.”
Ask Lewis what he does for a living and he’ll tell you: this. He keeps a donation box close by while he belts out holy praises at the top of his lungs.
Despite not having any formal musical training, Lewis shares this message through song. Though his message isn’t always well-received, Lewis said his goal is to be heard, even if people aren’t listening.
“I don’t have any complaints,” he said. “I’m doing what I’m passionate about, and that’s key. Regardless of what I’m going through, I know who my source is. That’s what got me through the fire.”
“The fact that I can reach people in the great capacity I have over the last three years is a blessing in itself,” said Lewis. “We’re in a world where not everyone believes, so I know what I’m up against. For the most part, it’s been a great journey.”
The Richmond native was ordained as a Baptist deacon in the summer of 2009. At the time, he lived in Newport News, Va., and worked with the ministry at the Providence Baptist Church.
About month after his ordination, Lewis was preparing to make dinner late one night by heating up some vegetable oil in a stockpot. He left the room for a moment and came back to find a disaster.
“When I came back into the kitchen, the apartment was on fire,” Lewis recalled. “I didn’t have a fire extinguisher and I wasn’t really thinking, so I pitched some water on it. It was just instinct.”
That panic-driven instinct resulted in an explosion that covered Lewis in hot oil. He was able to exit the apartment through a window and seek help at a fire station across the street, but he was badly burned.
After a full day of being blind in both eyes, skin grafts, surgeries and five months of recovery, Lewis was well enough to leave town. He bounced between Virginia and New York before settling in D.C. three years ago.
Though Metro riders have gotten used to his morning gospels, Lewis said his journey is coming to an end, at least for now. In December, he’ll move back to Richmond to care for his elderly mother and try to find other work.
In terms of the rest of his future, there’s only one thing Lewis knows for sure.
“Even if I’m not singing, the ministry will always be in my life because that’s just who I am,” he said. “I just want to keep reaching people and letting my light shine.”
(Updated at 11:48 a.m.) A near-collision involving a Metro bus at the intersection of 14th and U streets NW sent at least two riders to the hospital with minor injuries earlier today.
A Metro spokesperson said a car swerved in front of a 52 bus heading southbound on 14th Street NW near the intersection around 10:30 a.m. today. To avoid a collision, the driver of the bus applied the brake suddenly, lurching several passengers forward.
D.C. Fire and EMS spokesperson Oscar Mendez said two riders were taken to the hospital with minor injuries following the near-accident. A Metro spokesperson said four riders were transported to the hospital.
Both Mendez and the Metro spokesperson said the riders were likely transported to the hospital as a precaution.
Image via D.C. Fire and EMS Twitter
Seven transgender-rights activists hoisted a banner to protest the unjust treatment of transgender people at the Dupont Circle Metro station between 8 and 9 a.m. this morning.
The public display was organized by transgender rights group DC Trans Power.
Activist Jes Grobman said the banner was meant to disrupt commuters’ lives to bring attention to the cause.
“Last week, there were three trans people killed,” said Grobman. “It’s hard to connect those stories to reality. People need to be confronted and faced with the fact that we are dying.”
“We got a lot of support,” they added. “People on the streets walked by thanking us.”
Grobman said today’s protest is the first in a series of impromptu public displays.
“We’re going to keep doing things,” they said. “We keep being killed. We keep being unable to get jobs and afford housing. These are issues that are continuous.”
Image courtesy of DC Trans Power
— kl swa (@swannlake202) August 20, 2015
A power issue caused the lights to go out at the U Street Metro station earlier this morning.
A Metro spokesperson confirmed the station had a “power issue” that affected its lights but not its rail service.
The lights came back on around 10:17 a.m., Metro tweeted.
U Street: Power has been restored, all faregates and escalators have returned to service. 10:17a #wmata
— Metrorail Info (@Metrorailinfo) August 20, 2015
The Washington Post’s Dana Hedgpeth spotted the outage earlier today.
— Unsuck DC Metro (@unsuckdcmetro) August 14, 2015
A woman was spotted climbing onto the tracks at the Dupont Circle Metro station, reported local transportation blogger Unsuck DC Metro earlier this morning.
In a series of photographs sent to Unsuck DC Metro by a user identified as “William,” a woman can be seen climbing down onto the tracks and posing for a photo.
WMATA spokeswoman Sherri Ly said that, while the agency wasn’t aware of that specific incident, it wasn’t particularly surprised that it occurred.
“It’s not necessarily uncommon,” Ly said.
“We’ve had this happen numerous times in a week,” Ly added. “Sometimes, people drop their cell phones or their wallets. It’s so important to them that they will go down onto the tracks to retrieve whatever it is. It does happen more frequently than the public may realize.”
Image via Unsuck DC Metro
(Updated at 5:08 p.m.) Golden Triangle BID would like to change the Farragut West Metro station’s name.
The business improvement district last night asked Dupont Circle’s ANC 2B to consider urging WMATA to add “White House” to the station’s title.
Ted Jutras, Golden Triangle BID’s planning manager, laid out the organization’s case at the meeting.
“With the silver line extension coming to Dulles and a lot of the tourist traffic coming in, Farragut West will be the most convenient first stop for the White House,” Jutras explained. “From a neighborhood standpoint, increased foot traffic in the area would help the businesses on our side of the White House.”
Jutras added that adding the words “White House” to the Farragut West Metro station may also prevent photo-seeking tourists from traveling all the way to Metro Center in search of the iconic residence and therefore prevent congestion.
Jutras said the district would like to submit the suggestion in time for WMATA to consider it during the agency’s upcoming station name and map revision period.
Leona Agouridis, executive director of Golden Triangle BID, is working on a draft of a letter to WMATA urging the agency to change the station’s name, added Jutras.
Commissioner Mike Feldstein, 2B-01, then said he’d like to remind the room that it was the commission, not the BID, that suggested adding “White House” to the station’s name.
“Golden Triangle came to us and asked to change the name of that station to Golden Triangle,” Feldstein said. “We argued the name should be changed to the White House.”
Other commissioners followed with concerns.
“I’m actually not sure if it is closer [to the White House] than McPherson Square,” said Commissioner Daniel Warwick, 2B-02. “And if you just add it to Farragut West, maybe people on the Red Line would go to Metro Center and then transfer to Farragut West.”
“With regard to Farragut North, for exactly that reason, we would support if Metro wanted to add ‘White House’ to Farragut North as well,” responded Jutras.
“As I listen to this, I’m struck by the confusion that this would cause,” said Commissioner Abigail Nichols, 2B-05. Nichols added that, if Farragut North and Farragut West would include the words “White House,” why wouldn’t McPherson Square due to its closer proximity to the White House?
“As McPherson is not within the Golden Triangle BID, we’re not taking a stance on McPherson,” responded Jutras. “The resolution as it’s put forward is for Farragut West. The BID would also fully support adding White House to the name Farragut North.”
When put to a vote, the resolution failed 1-6-0.
Chairman and Commissioner Noah Smith, 2B-09, summed up his thoughts before moving on to another resolution.
“I don’t think we have a lot of angst with the idea of changing names,” Smith said. “We’re not married to Farragut West by any means. But I personally would suggest a more comprehensive plan.”
Photo via Flickr.com/Matt’ Johnson
(Updated at 9:05 a.m.) D.C. Fire and EMS crews responded to a report of a Metro bus on fire in Columbia Heights earlier this morning.
Officials tweeted that they received reports of a vehicle fire near the intersection of 14th Street and Park Road NW around 8:13 a.m.
— DC Fire and EMS (@dcfireems) July 29, 2015
Metro employees on the scene told a Borderstan reporter that fire crews came because there was smoke coming from a belt located in the engine compartment.
“You know how it is in this town, a little smoke and everyone freaks out,” said a DDOT worker at the scene.
There is no visible damage to the bus.
When reached by phone earlier today, D.C. Fire and EMS spokesperson Oscar Mendez said that fire crews responded to reports of flames coming from the radiator engine compartment of a Metro bus.
A Metro spokesperson was reached by phone and is currently looking into the incident.
The incident occurred while the bus was stopped near the intersection of Georgia Avenue and Irving Street NW.
According to Metro spokesperson Sherri Ly, a man and a woman began to argue with each other while the bus was stopped. As the female passenger began to leave the bus, the man followed her.
The woman then turned and sprayed the man with pepper spray, catching several others in the line of fire.
Both the woman and the man left the scene before police arrived, says Ly.
D.C. Fire and EMS spokesperson Oscar Mendez says emergency crews treated the victims for minor injuries related to pepper spray exposure near the 3000 block of Georgia Avenue NW.
Three of the victims were children, authorities say.
UPDATE: 3000blk of Georgia Ave NW. 6 pts transported with minor injuries. 3 adults; 3 minors.
— DC Fire and EMS (@dcfireems) July 28, 2015
Image via Google Street View
— New Columbia Heights (@newcolumbiahts) June 26, 2015
A Metro bus on the 54 line filled with smoke and was evacuated earlier this morning, say D.C. Fire and EMS officials.
Firefighters were first notified of a report of smoke coming from a bus at the intersection of 14th and Girard streets NW before 10:37 a.m. this morning.
When firefighters arrived, officials say the bus was already parked and evacuated.
New Columbia Heights blogger Andrew Wiseman wrote earlier today that he was on the 54 bus when it filled with “noxious fumes.”
“It was a bit hard to breathe and everyone around me started coughing,” wrote Wiseman. “We couldn’t see any smoke, and only some of us smelled it, but everyone was coughing. It smelled kind of like gasoline, but much more unpleasant and irritating.”
One person was taken from the scene to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries “due to another incident not related to first report,” said D.C. Fire and EMS Public Affairs Specialist Oscar Méndez.
Metro announced last week that it will add nine new southbound “short trips” during morning rush hour in attempt to reduce overcrowding on the S-line buses. The crowded buses have caused problems for residents who board along 16th Street NW.
According to Metro, the additional buses will start service on 16th Street NW at Harvard Street NW, making all S2 stops on 16th Street to H Street NW. At H Street, the buses will turn left and go west to 14th Street NW.
The change came after ANC 2B-04 Commissioner Kishan Putta organized a series of meetings with residents, commuters and Metro employees and planners.
“My biggest issue is that I can stand waiting for the bus for 30 minutes during rush hour and 10 buses — I have counted, not an exaggeration — come by and do not stop. Even if the bus isn’t full because the bus drivers do not make people move towards the back of the bus,” one local resident told Putta.
Another resident experienced frustration after several buses passed and she waited in the cold with her infant.
“The most frustrating is that by the time the bus reaches K Street NW, it is almost empty,” the resident said, explaining the overcrowded situation during rush hour commutes.
At the last meeting, Metro proposed three possible plans to attendees, who voted on their preferred plan. More residents and commuters were in favor of increasing the frequency of buses over increasing the area covered.
Because the buses will start service at Harvard Street NW, passengers at bus stops south of Mount Pleasant should find it easier to find room to board, Metro says.
In December, Metro extended the hours of MetroExtra service on 16th Street to provide additional capacity during the late-evening hours, between 7 and 9:30 pm.
Metro’s Director of Bus Planning Jim Hamre and five additional Metro employees joined ANC 2B Commissioners Noah Smith and Kishan Putta, and a handful of local residents on Wednesday night to present potential solutions to the overcrowding on 16th Street buses.
Wednesday night’s meeting was the second meeting Metro attended to work with local residents on the bus-crowding problem. Hamre presented three options to attendees, all of which include additional short trips between 7:35 and 9:15 am on weekdays.
“We need something short-term until we can come up with some long-term solutions,” said Hamre, who also mentioned that adding buses will be a part of the long-term solutions due to the District’s population shift and recent boom in development.
According to Hamre, Metro sees a 3:1 commuter pattern ratio, meaning most commuters travel on the same days and during the same hours, compared commuters in other cities.
Below are the proposed options, as presented on Wednesday night.
Metro’s Proposed Plans
- Extra short trips every 15 minutes from U Street NW to H Street NW.
- Bus layover at U and 15th Streets NW.
- Annual additional cost: $130,000.
- Requires two additional morning peak buses.
- Extra short trips every 15 minutes from V Street and 14th Streets NW to H Street NW.
- Bus layover at 15th and V Streets NW.
- Annual additional cost: $130,000.
- Requires two additional morning peak buses.
- Will not cover any additional stops than covered in 1A.
- Extra short trips every 20 minutes from Euclid Street to 16th and K Streets NW
- Bus layover at Euclid and 16th Streets NW.
- Requires two additional morning peak buses (going to a 15-minute frequency would cost $195,000 and require three additional morning peak buses).
- 15th Street NW becomes one lane north of W Street, potentially causing delays if street is blocked.
- Would not cover stops at Lafayette Square and McPherson Square that are covered in Option 1.
Residents at the meeting took a straw poll — more residents were in favor of increasing the frequency of buses than increasing the area covered (as described in Option 2).
“Residents may be in disagreement about one option, but there is total agreement that we want to see one of these in place,” said ANC 2B-09 Commissioner Noah Smith.
Hamre said he and his employees will take the response from the meeting back to headquarters and begin to work on implementing the change. He expects the changes could take place as early as mid-March.
Putta and Smith will work with local residents to conjure up additional support from residents in the form of a letter to send to Metro, as well.
Metro might just offer a solution to the bus problem many residents are experiencing for the S2 and S4 buses on 16th Street NW.
Following up on complaints and a community meeting organized by ANC 2B04 Commissioner Kishan Putta, Metro will hold a meeting for the community next Wednesday, February 20 at The Chastleton Ballroom (1701 16th Street NW).
The purpose of the meeting will be for Metro to present its proposed solutions to the bus back-up to the public.
The routes on the 16th Street bus line have the highest ridership in DC, and many commuters are seeing buses pass by them due to overcrowding.
One possibility Metro previously discussed is a rush hour route that focuses on the morning problem strip: Columbia Road to downtown DC. But one obstacle is layover space — a bus route requires a location for the bus drivers to park, pause, and get ready for an on-time departure.
Wednesday’s meeting will begin at 7 pm and is open to the public.
It’s a good thing warm weather is coming to the District this weekend, because many commuters will be without their pants. Yes, you heard correctly. People are going pants-less.
Sunday is the annual No Pants Subway Ride, a tradition that was originally started by Improv Everywhere.
For those interested in showing a little leg, the DC group (organized by Capitol Improv) will meet at Hancock Park, right outside the L’Enfant Metro station, at 2 pm on January 13. The nearest intersection is 7th and C Street SW.
After an exciting Metro ride, an after party will take place in the neighborhood at Cobalt (1639 R Street NW) for a 21+ crowd.
Show what you got, Borderstan. And please – make sure you wear some underwear (layering pairs is a safe bet).
Hurricane Sandy is closing in on DC, and the city is preparing itself for the worst. As of this evening, the Federal Government, the DC Government and all Metro service has been suspended for Monday, October 29, in anticipation of the storm. According to a statement from Mayor Gray’s office, Metro service will only be restored when it is safe to do so. Following the storm, Metro personnel will need to perform a comprehensive damage assessment, including inspections of track, bridges, aerial structures, stations and facilities.
The weather and transportation closures will make it especially hard for commuters to get to work Monday morning, with bad road conditions expected. Additionally, Capital Bikeshare announced that it will be closing temporarily starting at 1 am Monday morning. According to an email alert, the system will reopen when weather conditions allow.
Streetsweeping has been suspended through Wednesday. There is no parking enforcement tomorrow. In addition, the DC Department of Transportation has generators in place at major intersections. If power is disrupted, traffic signals will continue to work, and DDOT traffic control officers will be deployed to direct traffic where necessary.
All throughout the weekend, DC residents and employees were busy preparing for Hurricane Sandy. The city’s grocery stores were wiped clear of bottled water and other essentials, and the city placed sandbags in areas where flooding could be problematic. In this year’s past storms, flooding has been a problem in the Borderstan area.
According to The Washington Post, DC is expected to experience 4-7″ of rain and a long period of sustained winds above 35 mph, with peak gusts of more than 60 mph from Hurricane Sandy.
According to WTOP, several locations in DC have opened as shelters ahead of Hurricane Sandy, including:
- Turkey Thicket Recreation Center, 1100 Michigan Avenue NE
- Bald Eagle Recreation Center, 100 Joliet Street SW
- Emery Recreation Center, 5701 Georgia Avenue NW
- Guy Mason Recreation Center, 3600 Calvert Street NW
- Chevy Chase Community Center, 5601 Connecticut Avenue NW
- Deenwood Community Center, 1350 49th Street NE
For information on closings, delays and weather, check WTOP’s website for the latest listings.
From Mary El Pearce. Follow her on Twitter@CupcakesDC and email her at maryelp[At]borderstan.com.
It’s the little things in life that make me happy — flowers blooming, my dog greeting me at the front door when I get home from work, running into the Metro station to find I have one minute until my train arrives. It’s also the little things in life that make me rage with anger — left-side escalator standers, tourists who hold open Metro doors so all 15 of them can get in and perhaps the most serious offense, Seat Hogs.
The Seat Hog takes up two seats during rush hour or events that cause Metro trains to be crowded. This is super inconsiderate not just because people like to sit down, but it also encourages people to crowd doorways — which prevents others from getting on the Metro, which can cause people to have to wait for another train.
Examples of Seat Hoggery
Spreading your legs so no one can squeeze in next to you. You’re not in your office, you’re on public transportation. It’s not supposed to be comfortable. If you need that much room then you should just stand.
Falling asleep across two seats. I’ve fallen asleep on the Metro many times. You really only need one seat, by the window, where you can lean your head and others can utilize the seat next to you with ease.
Using one seat for your bag. You know how in airplanes you have to put your bag on the floor? Consider it the same for the Metro.
Sitting in the outer seat. Common courtesy calls for you to scoot to the inner seat if it’s available. There’s not enough room for someone to climb over you, and most people who sit in the outer seat avert eye contact with those who want to sit down. But I’m getting off at the next stop and I don’t want to make someone else get out so I can get out, you may think, assuming you’re being polite. You’re not being polite. Stand up if your stop is next and you don’t want to sit in the inner seat.
You should know that in any of these cases I will hover over you and stare you down until you acknowledge me.
If you don’t acknowledge me I will say, “May I sit down?” (Seat Hogs always look surprised, as if they have no idea they are occupying two seats. In reality, they’ve been quietly avoiding eye contact so they don’t have to move.)
Only once has this method threatened to be hazardous to my safety (that woman was having a bad day, but how was I supposed to know?), so the odds of successfully claiming the second seat from a Seat Hog have proved to be in my favor. I encourage you to claim your sitting rights as well.