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Dr. Gridlock: October 3, 2010 - October 9, 2010

Dodging road closings & rail work

The Capital Weather Gang forecast for this weekend calls for sunny, dry weather with pleasant temperatures, great weather for those off for the long Columbus Day weekend or participating in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure breast cancer walk. However, if you're counting on the Orange or Blue lines for your travels through downtown Washington, you're in for trouble. Read on to see what's in store for the weekend.

By Michael Bolden  | October 9, 2010; 9:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Advisories, Congestion, Driving, Events, Metro, Weekend Work  
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Single-tracking on Red Line

8:12 a.m. Update: Metro says the disruption has been cleared at Rockviille. However, that means a return to single-tracking as the platform work at Rockville continues throughout the weekend. Original post: Metro has discontinued train service between Shady Grove and...

By Michael Bolden  | October 9, 2010; 7:41 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories, Metro, Red Line  
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Metro station shutdown near

Metro plans to cut the Blue and Orange lines in the middle of downtown Washington over the entire Columbus Day weekend. The shutdown at Farragut West and McPherson Square and on the Blue/Orange Line level at Metro Center will create...

By Michael Bolden  | October 8, 2010; 8:21 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Metro  
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FAA warns airlines about batteries

Federal aviation officials are warning air carriers that new research shows lithium batteries are sensitive to heat and can ignite in flight if transported in cargo compartments that get too hot. The Federal Aviation Administration also acknowledged publicly for the...

By Michael Bolden  | October 8, 2010; 2:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Airlines, Aviation  
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Third Street Tunnel delays

D.C. officials report that a vehicle accident is causing delays in the northbound Third Street Tunnel....

By Michael Bolden  | October 8, 2010; 2:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  District, Driving  
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Wheaton escalator service restored

The ups & downs of Metro | A look at Metro's escalators | Outages The climb to fix Metro's escalators Metro's rocky rideUSER PHOTOS: Share pictures of your experiences on Metro trains and buses.TIMELINE: Take a look back at mishaps...

By Michael Bolden  | October 8, 2010; 1:46 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Metro  
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FAA: Runway incidents down 50%

The number of runway incidents that pose a danger of planes colliding dropped by half over the last 12 months, federal transportation officials said Friday. There were six incidents during the federal budget year ending Sept. 30 in which a plane on the wrong runway or crossing a runway risked colliding with another plane, the Federal Aviation Administration said. There were 12 such incidents in the 2009 budget year.

By Michael Bolden  | October 8, 2010; 1:22 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Airlines, Airports, Aviation  
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Chain Bridge open this weekend

The District Department of Transportation says Chain Bridge will remain open this weekend. It had been scheduled to close as part of the bridge rehabilitation project. The work, which began last year, is now scheduled to be completed in November....

By Michael Bolden  | October 8, 2010; 12:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Construction, District, Driving  
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Va. Metro board plan rejected

As expected, Northern Virginia leaders voted down Gov. Robert F. McDonnell's attempt to gain two state seats on Metro's board of directors Thursday night. The Northern Virginia Transportation Commission voted 12 to 6 to keep control of the state's four members on the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Board at the local level.

By Anita Kumar  | October 8, 2010; 12:19 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Metro, Transportation Politics, Virginia  
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Metro's new voice

That new voice you may hear in Metro stations is brought to you courtesy of the Department of Homeland Security. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is the voice of a new public awareness message aimed at heightening the awareness of...

By Michael Bolden  | October 8, 2010; 12:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Metro  
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Economy parking full at DCA

Reagan National Airport reports that the economy parking lot is full. However, there is plenty of space available in all of the daily and hourly garages. You can check the status of parking at DCA on the airport's Web site....

By Michael Bolden  | October 8, 2010; 11:44 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Airports, Aviation  
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Georgia Ave. reopens in Aspen Hill

12:40 p.m. Update: Georgia Avenue has reopened. Noon Update: Georgia Avenue northbound remains closed, according to Maryland transportation officials. The Maryland DOT is also reporting that two of four lanes of Shady Grove Road eastbound are blocked at I-270 because...

By Michael Bolden  | October 8, 2010; 10:49 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
Categories:  Driving, Montgomery County  
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BWI sets August record

BWI set an August record for traffic this summer, recording more than 2.1 million passengers, according to data from the airport. Officials with Baltimore-Washington International Marshall Airport said August was the airport's second-busiest month ever and represented a 5.2 percent...

By Michael Bolden  | October 8, 2010; 10:29 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Airports, Aviation, Maryland  
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Single-tracking on Orange Line

Work on the Orange Line is causing single-tracking again. For the past two weeks, Orange Line trains have been sharing one track between the West Falls Church and East Falls Church stations between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. The work...

By Michael Bolden  | October 8, 2010; 10:18 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Metro, Orange Line  
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Rail security sweeps underway

Law enforcement across the country are conducting security sweeps at rail stations today as part of Operation RAILSAFE (Regional Alliance Including Local, State and Federal Efforts). The exercise includes more patrols at stations, more security aboard trains, canine sweeps and...

By Michael Bolden  | October 8, 2010; 10:02 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Amtrak, Metro, Transit  
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C and 4th streets NE blocked

A report of a gas smell has some C and 4th streets blocked in Northeast while crews investigate the source.

By Mark Berman  | October 8, 2010; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Advisories, Commuting, Congestion  
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Metro conducting rider survey

Metro is conducting a passenger survey in what appears to be a prelude to previously announced changes to service on the Blue and Orange lines. The survey asks standard information about age and Metro use, but then asks if respondents are familiar with a plan to ease congestion at Rosslyn Station next year.

By Michael Bolden  | October 7, 2010; 6:23 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  Metro  
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Lane restrictions near H St. NE

The District Department of Transportation plans to reduce traffic to a single lane on Fourth and Fifth Streets NE between H and G Streets for a month as part of the H Street reconstruction project. The following restrictions begin Friday...

By Michael Bolden  | October 7, 2010; 6:10 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  District, Driving  
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N.J. governor blocks transit tunnel

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Thursday killed a decades-in-the-making train tunnel connecting New Jersey and Manhattan, saying the state can't afford to pay for cost overruns on the underway project. Construction on the project began last year and was...

By Michael Bolden  | October 7, 2010; 2:04 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Amtrak, Transit, Transportation Politics  
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Cars deadly for birds on 295

About 200 tiny chimney swifts were struck by cars along Interstate 295 Wednesday. The American Bird Conservancy said in a statement that it's possible "atmospheric conditions forced the birds to fly very low to the ground where they were struck...

By Michael Bolden  | October 7, 2010; 1:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  District, Driving  
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Pole-dancing on Metro

Post fitness columnist Vicky Hallett writes in the MisFits column today that transit riders can use their commuting time to maintain their health. Some of the advice from today's column: If you're standing by a pole: -- Get a grip and lift up on your toes to perform calf raises. -- Take one foot off the ground and pulse the leg inward and then outward. Try not to kick anyone.

By Michael Bolden  | October 7, 2010; 1:24 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Metro  
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N.Y. transit riders take another hit

Washington's Metro riders aren't alone in enduring the pain of fare increases. Things are worse in the Big Apple, where transit officials have eliminated kiosks and subway lines to cover a huge budget deficit. On Thursday New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority went further and raised monthly unlimited bus and subway fares and increased commuter rail ticket prices as part of a plan to raise $400 million next year amid state funding cuts.

By Michael Bolden  | October 7, 2010; 1:07 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Metro, Transit, Transportation Politics  
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Lane to close on N.Y. Ave.

If you''re one of the intrepid commuters who brave the construction on New York Avenue every day, Friday will bring more challenges. The District Department of Transportation will close the right westbound lane of the road from Fairview Avenue to the site of the construction of the new Ninth Street Bridge. The closure is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. on Friday and last through 6:30 a.m. on Monday, weather permitting.

By Michael Bolden  | October 7, 2010; 12:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Commuting, District, Driving  
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Telework as alternative commute touted

The area's largest employer--the federal government--is hoping some of its employers will make a change in their commute: forgoing the commute entirely in favor of tele-work, especially when factors like weather make getting into the office nearly impossible. That was the sentiment at a Telework Town Hall Meeting today downtown.

By Luke Rosiak  | October 7, 2010; 12:46 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Commuting, Transportation Politics  | Tags:  Teleworking  
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Metro cuts some holiday routes

Starting Monday (Columbus Day), Metro plans to implement a new holiday schedule that reduces or eliminates service on some routes in Maryland and Virginia. Metro said the move will better align service with passenger demands. The changes will be in...

By Michael Bolden  | October 7, 2010; 12:21 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Metro, Metrobus  
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Streets closed for Komen walk

Potomac Avenue Southeast from South Capitol Street to First Street SE and First Street SE from Potomac Avenue to N Street SE will be closed from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday and Friday in preparation for the Susan G....

By Michael Bolden  | October 7, 2010; 10:59 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories, District  
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Delays on Orange Line

Work on the Orange Line is causing single-tracking through Friday. For the past two weeks, Orange Line trains have been sharing one track between the West Falls Church and East Falls Church stations between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Crews are installing new cross ties and new rail in the area between the two stations, which allow trains to operate at normal speeds, according to Metro. As a result of these repairs, the transit authority will be able to lift speed restrictions currently in place between the two stations.

By Michael Bolden  | October 7, 2010; 10:53 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Metro  
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Metro's Columbus weekend disruption

Deterioration along the platform at Rockville Station. (WMATA) The Blue and Orange lines will each be split in two sections from 10 p.m., Friday through the midnight closing on Monday, Columbus Day. During that time, Blue Line trains will...

By Michael Bolden  | October 7, 2010; 9:52 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Metro, Weekend Work  
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Fairfax Connector schedules changing

The Fairfax Connector bus system will change some routes and schedules in Mount Vernon, Reston and Tysons Corner starting Monday. The routes affected are 151, 152, 574 and RIBS 5. A new route, numbered 159, will be created.

By Michael Bolden  | October 7, 2010; 9:37 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Northern Virginia, Transit  
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ICC paving tonight

The Maryland State Highway Administration says workers will pave lanes of the unfinished Intercounty Connector between Shady Grove Road and I-370 tonight, weather permitting. Work hours will be 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. This western portion of the highway is...

By Michael Bolden  | October 7, 2010; 9:32 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Maryland  
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Big MARC delays

MARC Penn Line train 513 is having mechanical problems with its breaks in Perryville.

By Mark Berman  | October 7, 2010; 7:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Advisories, MARC  
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Conn Ave. reopens after accident

Check back here throughout the morning for updates on things impacting your commute.

By Mark Berman  | October 7, 2010; 5:50 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Advisories, Commuting, Congestion  
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VRE delays

Delays for VRE riders.

By Mark Berman  | October 7, 2010; 5:49 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories, Virginia Railway Express  
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Rosslyn street becoming one-way

North Moore Street in Rosslyn will switch to a one-way street heading south toward Wilson Boulevard as early as Saturday due to the start of two construction projects. The new traffic patterns will remain in place for three years. Rosslyn's new Metro station entrance project will begin later this month and construction on the 1812 North Moore skyscraper will begin later this fall.

By Michael Bolden  | October 6, 2010; 12:08 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Driving, Metro, Northern Virginia  
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NTSB: Transportation fatalities fall

Transportation deaths in the United States decreased by about 9 percent from 2008 to 2009, according to data released by the National Transportation Safety Board. The preliminary figures include highway, rail, aviation, pipline and marine fatalities. The total in 2008 was 39,569 and fell to 35,928 in 2009, the NTSB said. "While statistics show that transportation fatalities have declined this past year," said NTSB Chairman Deborah A. P. Hersman, "we continue to see far too many accidents in all segments of the transportation community. There is still much work to do to prevent the loss of life on our roads, rails, waterways, and skies."

By Michael Bolden  | October 6, 2010; 11:35 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Highways, Metro, NTSB, Traffic Safety, Transportation Politics  
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Maryland to offer 511 traffic news

Maryland's State Highway Administration will begin offering traffic information next fall through the 511 phone and Internet system. Maryland will be joining many other states, including Virginia, that now offer this very helpful service.

By Robert Thomson  | October 6, 2010; 10:55 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Driving, Maryland  | Tags:  Dr. Gridlock  
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Chat with VRE's chief executive

The chief executive officer of Virginia Railway Express will be online today to field -service related questions. The discussion with Dale Zehner begins at noon at www.vre.org/chatterbox. You can ask a question ahead of time and check back later to...

By Michael Bolden  | October 6, 2010; 10:06 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Commuter Rail, Virginia Railway Express  
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Nation marks Walk to School Day

Wednesday is Walk to School Day, an idea being promoted as a way to not only help keep students healthy but also improve the environment. Organizers says the percentage of students walking or bicycling to school in the United States...

By Michael Bolden  | October 6, 2010; 9:25 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  District, Maryland, Traffic Safety, Virginia  
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MARC delays and crowding

MARC Brunswick Line train 892, departing from Frederick at 7:45 a.m., is running 18 to 20 minutes late.

By Mark Berman  | October 6, 2010; 6:43 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Advisories, MARC  
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Big backups and delays in VA

A roundup of the morning traffic woes

By Mark Berman  | October 6, 2010; 5:50 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories, Commuting  
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Flight safety demo a YouTube hit

Flight attendants for a low-cost Philippine airline who dance to Lady Gaga to keep passengers from snoozing through an in-flight safety demonstration are the latest YouTube sensation. A video of stewardesses performing a choreographed routine aboard a Cebu Pacific flight last week to demonstrate safety procedures has received more than 6.5 million hits after being posted on the popular video sharing Web site.

By Michael Bolden  | October 5, 2010; 1:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Airlines, Airports, Aviation  
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I-95 incident a chain of crashes

Traffic on northbound I-95 was at a standstill for more than an hour on Monday -- and delayed for at least three -- and it wasn't just a simple accident that caused the problem near Dale City. According to the Virginia State Police, multiple crashes occurred, leaving six people injured including a state trooper.

By Michael Bolden  | October 5, 2010; 12:47 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Northern Virginia, Virginia  
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Chat with DDOT's director

Gabe Klein, the director of the District Department of Transportation, will host a live Web discussion today at 12:30 p.m. The chat will be available on DDOT's Web site and is open to anyone interested in transportation in the District....

By Michael Bolden  | October 5, 2010; 11:07 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Commuting, District, Driving, Metro  
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New slug line to Alexandria

A new "slug line" starting later this month will help drivers and passengers zip along HOV lanes from Woodbridge straight to Alexandria (to the Eisenhower Metro station or Alexandria VRE stop).

By Luke Rosiak  | October 5, 2010; 9:52 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Commuter Rail, Commuting, Virginia, Virginia Railway Express  | Tags:  Slugging  
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VRE riders and Broad Run

For VRE riders using the Broad Run station: A vehicle hit the low bridge on Piper Lane, according to a VRE alert.

By Mark Berman  | October 5, 2010; 6:51 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories, Virginia Railway Express  
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MARC Brunswick Line delays

Already some delays for MARC riders.

By Mark Berman  | October 5, 2010; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories, Maryland  
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Man found shot at Huntington Metro

A man who had been seriously wounded was found late Monday at the Huntington Metro station in the Alexandria section of Fairfax County

By Mark Berman  | October 5, 2010; 5:57 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories, Metro  
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Congestion on I-395 North

A roundup of the morning's traffic woes

By Mark Berman  | October 5, 2010; 5:55 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories, Commuting, Congestion  
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Miss Dr. Gridlock's chat?

A transcript of Dr. Gridlock's chat today.

By Mark Berman  | October 4, 2010; 7:09 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Advisories  
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Red Line delays due to malfunction

7:04 p.m. Update: Metro's latest alert warns that delays are still continuing. 6:33 p.m. Update: The Post's Lena H. Sun reports that people are eight people deep on the platform at Farragut North, and there have been no announcements explaining...

By Michael Bolden  | October 4, 2010; 6:06 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Metro  
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Accident cleared on I-395 N

6:30 p.m. Update: The accident has been cleared and traffic has returned to normal. 6:18 p.m. Update: Two lanes of traffic are now getting by, but authorities remain on the scene. 6:10 p.m. Update: The accident appears to have occurred...

By Michael Bolden  | October 4, 2010; 5:53 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Commuting, Northern Virginia, Virginia  
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Metrobus involved in crash

[This post has been updated to reflect more accurate information provided by ARLnow] One person was injured Monday afternoon in an accident involving a Metrobus and a vehicle in Arlington, officials said. About 20 people were on the bus at...

By Michael Bolden  | October 4, 2010; 5:47 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Metro, Metrobus  
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Feds urged to use Bikeshare program

Three federal agencies are offering employees corporate memberships with the District's Capital Bikeshare Program to help promote the new citywide program and reduce the government's carbon footprint.

By Ed O'Keefe  | October 4, 2010; 4:46 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Biking, Commuting  
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Trooper hurt in 95 accident; delays

4:55 p.m. Update: All lanes have reopened. Traffic cameras show traffic beginning to move smoothly. 4:39 p.m. Update: Traffic backups now extend two miles, according to VDOT. Most of the investigators appear to have left the scene, although a...

By Michael Bolden  | October 4, 2010; 2:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Virginia  
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Dueling 'yield' signs on ramps

During my regular Monday chat, a traveler asked about a confusing situation on ramps approaching the outer loop of the Capital Beltway in Maryland.

By Robert Thomson  | October 4, 2010; 1:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Capital Beltway, Driving, Highways, Maryland  | Tags:  Dr. Gridlock  
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Md. opens new E-ZPass offices

With the first segment of the Intercounty Connector scheduled to open late this year or early next year, the state of Maryland has opened E-ZPass offices at either end of the new toll road.

By Michael Bolden  | October 4, 2010; 1:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Maryland, Montgomery County, Prince George's County  
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Panhandler cut in Foggy Bottom

12:12 p.m. Update: About 11 a.m. an "aggressive panhandler" at 2301 I (Eye) St. NW, near one of the Foggy Bottom entrances, was grabbing at passersby, according to D.C. police. A passerby took exception and used a pocketknife to slightly...

By Michael Bolden  | October 4, 2010; 11:37 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
Categories:  Metro  
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Metro's Columbus Day shutdown

Metro plans to close two stations and suspend service on the Blue and Orange Lines at Metro Center during the upcoming Columbus Day weekend while crews install new equipment as part of recommendations by the National Transportation Safety Board. Read...

By Michael Bolden  | October 4, 2010; 11:04 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Metro  
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Transportation in trouble

Our nation's transportation system is in serious trouble. That's the conclusion of a report issued this morning based on conference held last year by more than 80 transportation experts, including two former transportation Cabinet secretaries, Norman Y. Mineta and Samuel Skinner.

By Michael Bolden  | October 4, 2010; 10:16 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Metro, Transportation Politics  
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Have any questions for Dr. Gridlock?

Chat with Dr. Gridlock today at noon.

By Mark Berman  | October 4, 2010; 9:55 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories  | Tags:  dr. gridlock, metro  
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The week ahead for traffic, transit

Travelers will want umbrellas and jackets as this week starts off, but the weather in the D.C. area will get more pleasant as the week develops. There will be many interesting challenges for drivers and transit users. See the highlights here.

By Robert Thomson  | October 4, 2010; 7:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Advisories  | Tags:  Dr. Gridlock, The week ahead  
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VRE apologizes for delays

Virginia Railway Express officials have released an apology and explanation for the delays that afflicted some Fredricksburg riders this morning. Here's the company's explanation

By Mark Berman  | October 4, 2010; 6:42 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Virginia Railway Express  
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NY Ave less backed up

A roundup of the morning traffic woes.

By Mark Berman  | October 4, 2010; 5:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories, Commuting, Congestion  
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