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Dr. Gridlock: July 25, 2010 - July 31, 2010

Headaches on the horizon

Travel conditions in the D.C. area should be great on Friday night, the Capital Weather Gang says, but there are two projects on major highways that will be not so great for drivers this weekend.

By Robert Thomson  | July 30, 2010; 6:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories, Weekend Work  | Tags:  Dr. Gridlock  
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New locomotives for VRE

Virginia Railway Express, state and local officials welcomed the first of 19 new locomotives Friday that will improve the efficiency of the commuter rail service and pave the way for future expansions. The 19 locomotives are being built by Motive Power Inc. in Idaho and cost almost $77 million total, with funding coming from the state, local and federal governments, VRE officials said.

By Luke Rosiak  | July 30, 2010; 4:14 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Commuter Rail, Virginia  
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FAA bill delayed over DCA flights

A funding bill for the Federal Aviation Administration, stalled in Congress, was put off again Friday morning, avoiding once more the question of whether Reagan National Airport should accommodate more long-haul flights. The 60-day extension is the 14th since the last FAA authorization bill expired in 2007.

By Derek Kravitz  | July 30, 2010; 3:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Airlines, Airports, Aviation, Virginia  
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Ohio Drive schedule slips

Here's the latest update from the National Park Service about the Ohio Drive reconstruction, a relatively small project near the Lincoln Memorial that has nonetheless managed to annoy many drivers heading in and out of central Washington.

By Robert Thomson  | July 30, 2010; 2:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Commuting, Congestion, Construction, District  | Tags:  Dr. Gridlock, Ohio Drive  
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Warning for Tysons walkers, cyclists

Fences are going up around the work zone for the Tysons Central 7 Metrorail station to prevent walkers and bikers from entering the zone to cross Route 7, the Dulles Metrorail project announced today. Project managers want them to use a crosswalk at Gosnell Road/Westpark Drive to cross the busy roadway.

By Robert Thomson  | July 30, 2010; 12:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Congestion, Construction, Traffic Safety, Tysons Corner, Virginia  | Tags:  Dr. Gridlock, Dulles Rail  
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Pick a parking sign in D.C.

The District's varied rules on parking can be confusing enough as drivers move from place to place across the city, but this letter writer shows me that even in just one spot they can be baffling.

By Robert Thomson  | July 30, 2010; 11:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  District, Driving  | Tags:  DDOT, Dr. Gridlock  
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Woman locked in Metro station

A woman was briefly trapped in the Virginia Square-GMU Metro station earlier this week after a station manager closed up for the night while she was waiting on the platform, myfoxdc reported last night.

By Luke Rosiak  | July 30, 2010; 10:14 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
Categories:  Metro  
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The weekend and beyond

Travelers will enjoy a break from the heat wave this weekend, though the Capital Weather Gang's forecast does include clouds and a chance of storms late Saturday and Sunday. Whether you're saying farewell to Brooks & Dunn in Bristow, watching Street Soccer at Washington Kastles Stadium, or sitting in on the start of the Legg Mason Tennis Classic at the FitzGerald Stadium, check out this list of traffic and transit tips.

By Robert Thomson  | July 30, 2010; 10:10 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Advisories  | Tags:  Dr. Gridlock, The weekend and beyond  
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Const. Ave blocked at 3rd St.

Good morning all, The weekend kicks off in a few hours (for most of us.) Let's hope the Friday commute is a smooth one. Here's what's going on so far: 8:30 AM Update: A serious accident is being reported inbound...

By Kafia Hosh  | July 30, 2010; 8:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Commuting, Congestion, District, Driving  
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MARC cancellations

5:45 AM: The following trains on the Brunswick line are canceled this morning: Train 872 (5:38am departure from Brunswick) Train 874 (5:25am departure from Martinsburg) Train 892 (6:05 am departure from Frederick) Train 894 (7:10am departure Frederick) The trains are...

By Kafia Hosh  | July 30, 2010; 5:47 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Commuter Rail, Commuting, MARC  
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Headaches on the horizon

The threat of widespread storms has greatly diminished and overnight travel should be less eventful than your afternoon trips on the roads and rails. Friday looks like a great day to launch a weekend getaway, according to the Capital Weather Gang forecast. But if you're driving out on Friday night or Saturday morning, take note of a potential jam on the Capital Beltway.

By Robert Thomson  | July 29, 2010; 7:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Advisories, Capital Beltway  | Tags:  Dr. Gridlock, Headaches on the horizon  
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NY Ave tie-up cleared

Two lanes of outbound New York Avenue are closed due to an accident at Brentwood Parkway, causing delays. The right lane of the southbound Beltway at I-66 is also blocked due to an accident.

By Luke Rosiak  | July 29, 2010; 6:04 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Commuting  
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Wires cleared from tracks in S.S.

In the words of Metro's online service announcements, after a long day of troubles: "Disruption cleared." Trains are single-tracking between Forest Glen and Silver Spring. MARC service on the Brunswick line has just been restored, as well.

By Luke Rosiak  | July 29, 2010; 5:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  Metro, Red Line  
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Unruly passenger delays DCA flight

A US Airways flight that was waiting to take off for Boston at Reagan National Airport Thursday afternoon was called back to to its gate after the crew reported an unruly passenger on board. Rob Yingling, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority said flight 2032 was holding on a runway at about 3 p.m. when the passenger became upset. The crew called police. The plane returned to its gate, where FBI and TSA agents boarded the plane and removed the passenger without incident.

By Luke Rosiak  | July 29, 2010; 4:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Aviation  
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Flooding on Rt. 28 in Rockville

Norbeck Road between Avery and Old Baltimore is flooding, in the steep, hilly region near parkland. Drivers should avoid the area.

By Luke Rosiak  | July 29, 2010; 4:27 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Advisories  
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Leaks at Foggy Bottom

...and not information from the State Department. Heavy rains today penetrated the ceiling of the Metro station at Foggy Bottom, drenching the platform.

By Luke Rosiak  | July 29, 2010; 3:23 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Blue Line, Metro, Orange Line  
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Friendship Heights reopened

Update 3:39p.m.: Friendship Heights has been re-opened after a power outage shut down lights, escalators, elevators and fare gates. Original post: Friendship Heights station has been closed due to a loss of lights in the station, according to Metro. Trains are passing through, and shuttle service is available to and from Tenleytown for riders who need to board or exit at the station.

By Luke Rosiak  | July 29, 2010; 2:32 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Metro, Red Line  
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McCartney: Get serious, Metro

In today's newspaper, Post columnist Bob McCartney contends that other factors aside, the NTSB had it right: Systemic deprioritization of safety is a cultural issue, one of attitudes and mindsets--and changing those doesn't cost a cent.

By Luke Rosiak  | July 29, 2010; 9:06 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Metro  
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Va. Rep. to DC: Leave slugs alone

Don't mess with the slugs (or those who drive them). That's what U.S. Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.) said in a letter to D.C. Police--who said they agreed--after reports of ticketing slugging commuters made headlines last month. Connolly, a first-term congressman from Northern Virginia facing re-election this fall, contacted D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier following a WJLA/ABC 7 report last month that suggested police were targeting slugging commuters, handing out $100 tickets.

By Luke Rosiak  | July 29, 2010; 8:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
Categories:  Commuting, District, Virginia  | Tags:  Slugging  
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Suitland Pkwy: Lane Blocked

Update: 8:30 AM: A traffic accident has blocked the left, inbound lane of the Suitland Parkway after Stanton Road S.E. Update: 8:25 AM: The right lane is closed on St. Patrick Street at Gibbon Street in Old Town Alexandria because...

By Kafia Hosh  | July 29, 2010; 7:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Commuting, Congestion  
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Metrorail delays morning surcharge

Metrorail will impose only the afternoon portion of its new "peak of the peak" fare surcharge on Monday. Commuters will get a few weeks reprieve on paying the extra 20 cents during the morning peak, as the transit authority struggles to adjust its fare programming.

By Robert Thomson  | July 29, 2010; 6:40 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (27)
Categories:  Metro  | Tags:  Dr. Gridlock, Metro budget, Metrorail  
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Area delegation to meet with NTSB head

Members of the Washington D.C. Area Congressional Delegation will meet with the head of the National Transportation Safety Board to hear more about the panel's findings and recommendations on last year's Metrorail crash. The meeting with board Chairwoman Deborah A.P. Hersman is scheduled for Friday.

By Luke Rosiak  | July 28, 2010; 6:02 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Metro, NTSB, Transportation Politics  
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Saul to develop near Wheaton Metro

A development team led by the company B.F. Saul will spearhead mixed-use development around the Wheaton Metro station, Montgomery County and WMATA announced today.

By Luke Rosiak  | July 28, 2010; 3:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (19)
Categories:  Construction, Maryland, Metro, Red Line  | Tags:  Transit-oriented development  
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Wolf: Dulles Greenway is 'highway robbery'

U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) once again urged Virginia transportation officials this week to reduce toll fares on the Dulles Greenway, calling fare hikes in recent years "highway robbery."

By Derek Kravitz  | July 28, 2010; 3:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Commuting, Driving, Northern Virginia, Virginia  
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Stopping at dark intersections

When power outages occur and traffic signals fail, I've often urged drivers to treat darkened intersections as all-way stops. Now, I see John B. Townsend II at AAA Mid-Atlantic is noting that Maryland has no law requiring that.

By Robert Thomson  | July 28, 2010; 3:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Driving, Maryland  | Tags:  Dr. Gridlock, travel tips  
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Expanding Metro color scheme?

I invited readers of our Commuter page to comment on Metro's proposal to create several new train routes next year. The plan to divert some Blue Line trains from the Rosslyn tunnel and to put some trains on a route between West Falls Church and Largo would affect riders on all lines but the Red Line.

By Robert Thomson  | July 28, 2010; 1:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (25)
Categories:  Metro  | Tags:  Dr. Gridlock, Metrorail  
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Fairfax: Ban smoking at bus shelters

Fairfax County officials are pushing to ban smoking at all public bus shelters, eight months after Virginia's restaurant-and-bar smoking ban went into effect. The ban would address the "health implications of breathing secondhand smoke," said Fairfax Supervisor Jeff C. McKay...

By Luke Rosiak  | July 28, 2010; 12:32 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Commuter Bus, Virginia  
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200 NYC station agents laid off

Washington isn't the only city experiencing subway woes. A budget crisis in New York City has led its transit agency to lay off hundreds of station agents at the only U.S. subway system larger than DC's--layoffs that were originally blocked by a judge last month.

By Luke Rosiak  | July 28, 2010; 12:02 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Commuter Rail  
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Traffic experiment on GW Parkway

Drivers heading south on the 14th Street Bridge have complained about the congestion on the ramp leading to the northbound George Washington Parkway stemming from the reconstruction of the Humpback Bridge. On Monday, Aug. 2, the Federal Highway Administration and National Park Service will begin a one-week test of a new traffic pattern to see if it relieves that congestion.

By Robert Thomson  | July 28, 2010; 9:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Congestion, Construction, Virginia  | Tags:  Dr. Gridlock, Humpback Bridge  
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D.C. chat on parking enforcement

The parking enforcement division of the D.C. Department of Public Works will hold a chat at noon on Wednesday with Director William O. Howland Jr. and other department officials. Here's a link to the one-hour chat page on DPW's Web...

By Michael Bolden  | July 28, 2010; 8:53 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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Const. Ave. @ 17th St. NW cleared

Here are the things commuters need to know about this morning. [

By Mark Berman  | July 28, 2010; 5:50 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Advisories, Commuting  | Tags:  morning commute  
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Headaches on the horizon

There's no more than a sprinkle to afflict travelers overnight, but the Capital Weather Gang says we'll be back into heat and humidity on Wednesday. Here's a headache for hikers and bikers in Northern Virginia.

By Robert Thomson  | July 27, 2010; 7:52 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories  | Tags:  Dr. Gridlock, Dulles Metrorail  
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Strasburg alert: Nats game at 7:05

Transit services and the District's traffic management tend to get a decent amount of credit for how they've handled Nationals Park, unless Stephen Strasburg is pitching. The rookie, who is scheduled to start tonight's home game, tends to draw a crowd, which tends to draw travel grumbles from fans and commuters.

By Robert Thomson  | July 27, 2010; 5:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories, Events  | Tags:  Dr. Gridlock, Nationals Park  
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Eastbound U Street reopened

Update 6:28pm: Eastbound U Street has reopened. Update 6pm: The flow of water from a broken valve near U Street and Florida Ave. is subsiding, but not before frightening residents of English basements in the area, who feared flooding. Residents near U Street and possibly Adams Morgan should expect their water to be cut off, an official said, as DC Water is now digging in the street to repair the valve.

By Luke Rosiak  | July 27, 2010; 4:26 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Advisories, District, Driving  
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Where crash report leaves Metro riders

Deborah Hersman, the chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, said the panel's recommendations regarding the Red Line crash are not an indictment of any individual, but they amount to a withering rebuke of those collectively responsible for operating the nation's second largest subway system.

By Robert Thomson  | July 27, 2010; 3:29 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
Categories:  Metro  | Tags:  Dr. Gridlock, Metrorail, Red Line crash  
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NTSB: Track circuit one of many factors

The NTSB adopted about 39 findings on the cause of the Red Line crash and adopted a multifaceted probable cause statement about the crash, which includes a failure of the track circuit module designed to detect trains. The lack of safety culture, a failure to maintain the automatic train control system and the ineffectiveness of safety oversight all contributed to the accident, the NTSB said. The use of the 1000 series rail cars contributed to the severity of the crash and the loss of life, the NTSB found.

By Michael Bolden  | July 27, 2010; 1:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (30)
Categories:  Metro, NTSB  
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Purple Line added to Montgomery plans

A state proposal to build a 16-mile Purple Line is now officially part of Montgomery County's master plan, staff writer Katherine Shaver reports on the Post Now blog.

By Washington Post Editors  | July 27, 2010; 1:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Commuting, Maryland, Purple Line  
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Distracted driving summit planned

A second national summit on distracted driving will be held Sept. 21 to highlight the problem and find ways to combat it, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced Tuesday.

By Michael Bolden  | July 27, 2010; 12:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Driving, Traffic Safety, Transportation Politics  
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IAD flight makes emergency landing

A United Airlines jet headed to California made an emergency landing in West Virginia after pilots reported smoke in the aircraft. The Boeing 757 landed at Charleston's Yeager Airport about 9 a.m. Tuesday. No injuries were reported among the 178...

By Michael Bolden  | July 27, 2010; 12:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Airlines, Airports  
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Family: What good will this do?

Kenneth Hawkins, whose brother Dennis was killed in the Red Line crash, expressed some satisfaction that "hard-core facts" about causes of the crash emerged in the morning session of the National Transportation Safety Board's meeting Tuesday. But he remained dissatisfied overall.

By Michael Bolden  | July 27, 2010; 11:57 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Metro, NTSB, Transportation Politics  
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No smoke at Van Ness Station

11:30 a.m. Update: According to D.C./Fire/EMS, the smoke was actually dust from an air handle. Original post: D.C. Fire/EMS is reporting smoke at Van Ness-UDC Station. Metro is not reporting any Red Line delays. What are you seeing? Post a...

By Michael Bolden  | July 27, 2010; 11:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Metro, Red Line  
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NTSB: 'Bellying' 1000 Series not safe

The staff of the National Transportation Safety Board said this morning that Metro's procedure of placing its oldest cars, the 1000 Series, in the middle of trains is not safe, and it will recommend the removal of all 300 such cars from service.

By Robert Thomson  | July 27, 2010; 10:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  Metro  | Tags:  Dr. Gridlock, Red Line crash  
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Outages remain a traffic problem

Outages remain a traffic problem

By Mark Berman  | July 27, 2010; 10:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Advisories  | Tags:  power outages  
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Possible fire causes major VRE delays

There are some big VRE delays due to a possible fire near the tracks in Fredericksburg.

By Mark Berman  | July 27, 2010; 6:58 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Virginia Railway Express  | Tags:  vre, vre delays  
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Some MARC ticket machines down

For MARC riders: The ticket machines at Germantown, Kensington and Rockville are out of service Tuesday morning.

By Mark Berman  | July 27, 2010; 5:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  MARC  | Tags:  marc  
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Delta carrier fined for bumping

Delta Air Lines's Comair commuter carrier was fined $275,000 for violating federal rules on bumping passengers from oversold flights, the U.S. Transportation Department said.

By Michael Bolden  | July 26, 2010; 5:43 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Airlines, Aviation  
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MARC trains will be short

5:52 P.M. UPDATE: MARC Train 534 on the Penn Line will also be one car short. MARC 437 on the Penn Line is operatiring 15 minutes late due to a disabled freight train outside New Carrollton, the MTA said. 5:14...

By Michael Bolden  | July 26, 2010; 5:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Commuter Rail, Maryland  
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Vehicle overturns in 3rd St. Tunnel

After a major storm tore through the region yesterday, there are going to be outages and traffic issues to deal with this morning. Plenty of traffic lights are still out, and drivers should treat any intersections with flashing lights as four-way stops. Here's a roundup of some headaches awaiting you on the road.

By Mark Berman  | July 26, 2010; 5:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  Advisories, Commuting  
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NORAD plans Washington exercise

The North American Aerospace Defense Command will conduct early morning exercises over the Washington area. The exercises will take place between midnight and 2 a.m. Tuesday and Wednesday. Civil Air Patrol aircraft and Coast Guard HH-65 Dolphin helicopters will take...

By Michael Bolden  | July 26, 2010; 4:56 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories, Aviation  
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Weather causing flight delays

The Federal Aviation Administration is reporting delays for flights bound for Atlanta, Newark and Houston due to weather in those areas. Delays range from about 30 minutes for Newark-bound flights to 50 minutes for Atlanta and more than an hour...

By Michael Bolden  | July 26, 2010; 4:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Airlines, Airports  
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More than a flat tire

According to DDOT director Gabe Klein, there have been 303 reports of tree damage, and 140 have been resolved by the Urban Forestry department, while at 100 sites, there are electrical wires tied up in the trees, and the city is waiting on PEPCO.

By Luke Rosiak  | July 26, 2010; 2:22 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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Power outages throughout region

NOON UPDATE: PepcoConnect's Andre Francis just tweeted that the utility has about 225,000 people without power.

By Mark Berman  | July 26, 2010; 12:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Advisories  
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Red Line crash meeting Tuesday

The National Transportation Board will hold a meeting on the cause of the June 2009 Red Line crashon Tuesday.

By Michael Bolden  | July 26, 2010; 11:47 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Metro, NTSB, Transit, Transportation Politics  
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Md. proposes ICC bus service

Readers have asked Dr. Gridlock about mass transit on the Inter-County Connector, the controversial highway in the works for more than half a century, and Maryland officials have weighed in with an answer. They're proposing two express bus routes are expected to operate along the new Intercounty Connector and existing roads connecting P & R lots in Montgomery County to the BWI Airport, MARC Penn Line, and Fort Meade when the first stretch of highway opens.

By Luke Rosiak  | July 26, 2010; 9:10 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Highways  | Tags:  Inter-county connector  
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MARC Camden Line delays

MARC's Camden Line train 844 is running 15 minutes late due to signal problems as it approaches College Park.

By Mark Berman  | July 26, 2010; 8:42 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  MARC  | Tags:  marc, marc delays  
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What's up near 14th Street Bridge

When I hear about construction issues at the 14th Street Bridge, drivers usually are asking about the northbound span. But last week, I got complaints about construction-related congestion approaching the southbound span. Here's one such letter.

By Robert Thomson  | July 26, 2010; 8:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Commuting, Congestion, Construction, District  | Tags:  DDOT, Dr. Gridlock  
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Metro expects minimal delays

Sunday's storms will have only a minor impact on Metro commutes this morning, according to Metro.

By Mark Berman  | July 26, 2010; 6:33 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Metro  | Tags:  wmata  
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Potential VRE crowding

Riders on VRE's Manassas Line can expect a little crowding this morning.

By Mark Berman  | July 26, 2010; 6:08 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Virginia Railway Express  | Tags:  vre  
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WB New York Ave. closed after crash

Westbound New York Avenue is closed at North Capitol Street after an accident. Transportation officials say the road could remain shut through the morning rush hour.

By Mike McPhate  | July 26, 2010; 4:46 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Advisories, District, Driving  
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