Early Arrivals

We have a number of people and groups arriving to the conference either Monday night or sometime on Tuesday. That is swell! The University of Maryland will be waiting for you in the lobby of the Prince Frederick dorm (Building #425, Sector D12 on the map, click here); the desk is open 24 hours during our regular conference.

The desk will open for Monday arrivals on an as-needed basis.

Monday arrivals: please give conference host Steve Thurston an ETA so that he can let UMD know to staff the desk and when. (Steve: heraldtrib @ gmail.com | 703-594-6397)

Tuesday arrivals, especially those arriving at non-business hours, please give conference host Steve Thurston an ETA so that he can let UMD know to staff the desk and when. (Steve: heraldtrib @ gmail.com | 703-594-6397.) UMD will be staffed-up during the day.

By Wednesday, the dorm will be fully staffed, and open 24/7.

Metro: Understanding the Maps and Signs

Update: After the ISWNE Winter board meeting, the decision was made to move away from the Metrocards to buses for our two main trips. We will not be issuing the metrocards. However, you may still find a need for one, either getting from the airport or getting around town on Friday evening, a dinner-on-your-own day. The following blog post is still applicable!

Look at the train map here. The train lines are color-coded, but they are directionally all over the place. Lines do not run north-south, east-west or even Virginia to Maryland and Maryland to D.C. The lines are U’s, and lower case r’s and a couple are sort of C-shaped and, generally, lumpy.

This sign is on the platform for the Red Line (RD) train toward the Glenmont Station.
This sign is on the platform for the Red Line (RD) train running toward the Glenmont Station.

They call it the “Hub and Spoke” system meaning that “spokes” zig-zag in from the ‘burbs to the downtown hub; it’s transportation that is meant to get people from the bedroom community to the hotbed of political power. But it can be a mess for first-time users.

Picking the right platform–and therefore taking the train heading in the right direction–can be a bit confusing. A quick four steps will help you:

  1. Look at the Metro map and find your current station.
  2. Look for your destination station.
  3. Follow the map from your current location, through your destination to the endpoint of that trainline.
  4. Look for the sign that is the right color and lists that final station.
    1. eg: The east-bound end of the Orange Line ends in New Carrollton, Md.; therefore, the sign reads Orange Line/New Carrollton (and if you can understand the PA system in the echo-chamber station, the messag will say, “Orange Line train, New Carrollton.”).
    2. Signs on the outside of the trains indicate the “color” of that particular train (since some trains share a track–don’t get on the blue train when you want orange).

[See an example of this method and directions from the various airports and bus stations after the jump:] Continue reading “Metro: Understanding the Maps and Signs”

SmarTrip Cards: Your Ticket to Ride (Updated)

Update: After the ISWNE Winter board meeting, the decision was made to move away from the Metrocards to buses for our two main trips. We will not be issuing the metrocards. However, you may still find a need for one, either getting from the airport or getting around town on Friday evening, a dinner-on-your-own day.

ISWNE Conferees will get SmarTrip cards with their conference registrations at ISWNE DC 2017 (it’s about a $60 value, so you’ll want to keep it safe once you get it). As we move from place to place, we’ll have people ready to help out-of-towners stay with the pack, but you might find yourself going off without us (on purpose, I hope) at some point.

Metro personnel tell us that the card works for a week starting with the first day that it is used. We’ll use it on Thursday June 29 to go to the U.S. Capitol and Library of Congress, so the pass should be good through Wednesday July 5. You can use it to get downtown for the July 4 fireworks, if you stay in DC for that.

[Dual-Sidebar: 1: We will stay at the University of Maryland, College Park campus, but they cannot allow people to stay after our Sunday July 2 departure. If you plan to stay in DC for the big holiday, book that hotel now! 2: Metro is undergoing some changes, so there is a chance the card and what it gets us will change somewhat. I’ll keep you informed. –Steve Thurston]

You might want to take the train from the airport to College Park, and if so, you might need your own SmarTrip card. Purchasing kiosks are confusing, so you might want to look at this video from the Washington Metropolitan Transportation Authority (WMATA). It’s cute and lasts a couple minutes. It shows you how to buy and refill a card. If you stay long enough, you might have to refill the card from us!

[Final Sidebar: Metro used paper “Farecards” for years. If you have used them in the past, remember that fondly, if you wish, but I’m sorry that they have been phased-out.]