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The week ahead for traffic, transit

Construction updates | D.C. area travel tips

While temperatures and traffic are likely to be down during this first week of August, there are plenty of travel issues for those not lucky enough to be on vacation. Metro commuters this week are scheduled to have their first experience with the new wave of fare increases, including the peak of the peak surcharge and the 25 cent surcharge on paper Farecards. Drivers in the District should watch out for the annual tennis tournament on upper 16th Street NW. Here are some travel tips for the week.

Metro fare increases
The second wave of Metro's rail fare increases is to take effect. This will raise the cost of peak of the peak trips, passes and paper Farecard use. Metro has delayed major parts of the plan, as reported in today's Post by Martin Weil:

Two fare increases that were to be in effect Monday will not be imposed until Tuesday, after signs in stations caused confusion, Metro said Sunday night. One increase would have charged 25 cents more for paper Farecard use than for use of plastic SmartTrip cards. That was to begin Sunday. The other would have imposed a 20-cent charge, starting Monday afternoon peak-of-the peak rides, but the morning version already had been delayed till later this month.

The list of fares posted in stations did not show the added charge for paper card use, a Metro spokeswoman said Sunday night. Spokeswoman Angela Gates said some station managers heard complaints.

Many riders, including me, have noticed that it has been taking slightly longer to get through the fare gates during the past few weeks. We wonder if this might be the result of Metro's reprogramming of the gates to accommodate the peak of the peak surcharge.

Ohio Drive
The current phase of the National Park Service reconstruction project near the Lincoln Memorial, which has caused extensive traffic delays, will continue into mid-August and the entire project is scheduled to be done at the end of October.

Monday through Friday morning rush hours (6-10 a.m.): Ohio Drive will be two lanes of inbound traffic only. Non-rush hours will have one lane in each direction. Also during the morning rush, westbound Independence Avenue will be closed beyond 17th Street. Traffic has been advised to detour onto 15th or 17th streets or use alternate routes.

Afternoon rush hours (3:30-6:30 p.m.): Ohio Drive will be two lanes outbound only. The ramp from Ohio Drive to Lincoln Memorial Circle will be closed at all times.

No night work is scheduled.

Legg Mason Tennis Classic
The tournament is underway at the FitzGerald tennis center on 16th Street NW, just north of Colorado Avenue. Drivers and bus riders should expect extra traffic in the area during the afternoons and evenings.

Parking: Only local traffic is allowed on the neighborhood streets, which will be barricaded. Paid parking is available on the grass lot (Lot B) near the tennis stadium, but it's very limited and is not used if rain is in the forecast. (Keep track of the forecast with the Capital Weather Gang.) Updates are available online and through the tournament hot line, 202-721-9500.

Free shuttles: They run daily between the Red Line's Van Ness Metrorail station and the FitzGerald tennis stadium. There's free parking near the shuttle at the Van Ness Center Garage, at Windom Place NW and Connecticut Avenue. Show your tennis ticket at the garage for the free parking. At the tennis center, the shuttles stop outside the main gate.

The shuttles start 90 minutes before the matches through Friday. On Saturday and Sunday, they start two hours before the matches.

Metrobus: There's no rail station near the tennis stadium. However, Metro's S buses run along 16th Street NW. Silver Spring Station is the nearest rail connection.

Beltway HOT lanes
The dates for reopening the Oak Street Bridge and closing the nearby Idylwood Road Bridge for reconstruction as part of the HOT lanes project have been delayed slightly this summer. The latest estimate from the Virginia Department of Transportation is that Aug. 12 and 13.

Neighborhood residents have expressed concern that both bridges might wind up being closed at the same time, but VDOT says that is not going to happen. Residents will always have at least one bridge open.

11th Street Bridge
The construction plan for the new 11th Street Bridge somewhat resembles the one used for the Wilson Bridge in that the new spans are rising alongside the old ones. That means there's a relatively limited impact for now on bridge users.

During August, watch for off-peak lane closings in both directions on the bridge spans and nearby parts of the Southeast-Southwest Freeway, Interstate 295/DC 295 and local streets. The off-peak hours are 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. weekdays and 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. Sundays through Thursdays.

Anacostia streetcar
Installation of the streetcar tracks will lead the District Department of Transportation to impose temporary turn restrictions and detours at the intersection of South Capitol Street and First Sterling Avenue SE in Anacostia.

Beginning Aug. 7, left turns from southbound South Capitol Street to Firth Sterling Avenue and right turns from Firth Sterling to northbound South Capitol will be prohibited. The restrictions are scheduled to be in effect until Friday, Aug. 28.

In addition, the intersection of Firth Sterling and South Capitol will be closed to northbound traffic from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Aug. 14, 16, 17 and 18. Northbound traffic on South Capitol Street will have to turn right on Firth Sterling and then left on Suitland Parkway to return to South Capitol. DDOT's traffic control officers will be at the intersection, but delays are likely.

Northbound South Capitol Street traffic still will be able to turn left onto Defense Boulevard during this work.

BW Parkway
On Monday, the National Park Service is scheduled to start a roadway lighting improvement project on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway in Prince George's County. The light poles from the eastbound Route 50 split to just north of the entrance ramp connecting the northbound Kenilworth Avenue interchange will be replaced. New guardrails also will be installed.

Construction crews will work behind shoulder closures from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. weekdays. There may be some single-lane closings. The scheduled completion date for all work is March 2011.

Route 7, Leesburg
Tuesday through Friday (Aug. 3-6), watch for daytime traffic stops of up to 15 minutes on the Route 7 Bypass just west of the Route 15 interchange in Leesburg. All lanes in both directions will be stopped while Dominion Virginia Power crews pull wires across roadways for construction of its new power line.

The stops are scheduled to take place between 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and from 9 a.m. to noon on Friday.

Dulles Connector Road
The eastbound lanes of the Dulles Connector Road (Route 267) are scheduled to close from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. on Wednesday through Friday nights for work on the Dulles Metrorail project. The workers will be building a concrete structure that will straddle two piers in the median of the Dulles Connector Road.

The closings will affect drivers on both the eastbound Dulles Toll Road and the Dulles Access Road because these roads merge just east of the main toll plaza at Spring Hill Road and become the Dulles Connector Road. Drivers will be detoured to the outer loop of the Beltway, then to northbound Route 123 toward McLean, then back to the eastbound Dulles Connector Road.

Route 7, Tysons
This also is part of the Metrorail construction, which is wrapping up two years of utility relocations in Tysons Corner: Every night this week, workers will continue paving on Leesburg Pike (Route 7) between the Dulles Toll Road and Chain Bridge Road, and on adjacent roads and former service roads.

By Robert Thomson  | August 2, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Advisories  | Tags:  Dr. Gridlock, The week ahead  
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"The list of fares posted in stations did not show the added charge for paper card use, a Metro spokeswoman said Sunday night. Spokeswoman Angela Gates said some station managers heard complaints."

I'm sure this is the only thing station managers ever hear complaints about.

Posted by: DOEJN | August 2, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

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