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Dr. Gridlock: February 6, 2011 - February 12, 2011

House GOP proposes cuts to WMATA

Ben Pershing reports on D.C. Wire that House Republicans' spending resolution, unveiled Friday night, would cut federal payments to the District by nearly $80 million and slash Metro funding by $150 million over the next eight months. The bill would...

By Washington Post editors  | February 11, 2011; 9:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
 
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Arlington closures for Valentine's 5k

South Joyce Street and portions of Army Navy Drive will be closed Feb. 13 for the Valentines Day 5K race. South Joyce St. between South 15th St. and Army Navy Dr. and Army Navy Dr. between South Joyce St....

By Christy Goodman  | February 11, 2011; 5:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories, Northern Virginia  
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The weekend and beyond

Travel conditions should be just fine around the D.C. region this weekend, with moderate temperatures and no precipitation. Both the Capitals and the Wizards have Saturday games at Verizon Center, while the Georgetown Hoyas are there at 1 p.m. Sunday, so watch for extra car and pedestrian traffic in Chinatown. There are no big road work projects scheduled to delay your trips, but watch for the usual track work on Metro. Here are some highlights.

By Robert Thomson  | February 11, 2011; 5:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Congestion, Construction, Driving, Metro, Transit, Weekend Work  | Tags:  Dr. Gridlock, The weekend and beyond  
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Metro eyes 12am weekend closures

At a board committee hearing today, closing the rail system at midnight instead of 3 a.m. on weekends was suggested as a solution to chronic maintenance problems.

By Luke Rosiak  | February 11, 2011; 4:31 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (89)
Categories:  Metro, Transportation Politics  
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Green Line on schedule

There are delays on three Metro lines already this morning: A disruption at Shaw-Howard University is causing delays on the Green and Yellow lines in both directions (it has since been resolved, but delays remain); and a train malfunction at West Falls Church is causing Orange Line delays to New Carrollton.

By Mark Berman  | February 11, 2011; 10:10 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Metro  
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Flight cancellation tactic pays off

Airlines' strategy to cancel flights early and often ahead of bad weather paid off in December, when not a single U.S. flight was stuck for more than three hours because of a massive post-Christmas blizzard.

By Samantha Bomkamp, Associated Press  | February 11, 2011; 9:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Airlines, Airports, Aviation  
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Beltway congestion in VA, MD

We'll be updating throughout the morning on traffic conditions. Make sure to let us know what you see and hear in the comments below or via Twitter

By Mark Berman  | February 11, 2011; 5:49 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Commuting, Congestion  
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Metro to study streetcar integration

A $250,000 regional study will examine ways in which the handful of streetcar projects being considered by various jurisdictions can integrate with Metro in a way that is cost-efficient and makes for a fast, integrated metropolitan transportation system, Metro said Thursday.

By Luke Rosiak  | February 10, 2011; 5:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Metro, Transportation News, Transportation Politics  | Tags:  Streetcars  
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Are Metro's records responses reliable?

Metro is not subject to the federal Freedom of Information Act, but it has its own Public Access to Records Policy (PARP), which is modeled on the same standards. But while federal agencies must respond to requests for records within 20 days, Metro is notoriously less responsive, often eventually replying with requests for clarification or denials or--most troublingly--failing to respond at all. (State and local governments have their own sunshine laws.)

By Luke Rosiak  | February 10, 2011; 5:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Metro  
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Metro discusses security, freedom

Tom Downs, one of the new Metro board members, led an overdue discussion today of issues stemming from the transit authority's decision in December to have transit police and the TSA inspect riders' property.

By Robert Thomson  | February 10, 2011; 4:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Metro, Transportation Politics  | Tags:  Dr. Gridlock, bag inspections  
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Amtrak train strikes person

MARC and Amtrak train service between BWI Rail Station and Baltimore was suspended Thursday morning about 11:30 a.m. after a New York-bound train struck a person.

By Washington Post Editors  | February 10, 2011; 11:52 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Amtrak  | Tags:  Amtrak, MARC  
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Pr. William commuters to lose parking

A slugging and commuter parking system that has worked well for years according to Princce William County commuters will come to end Monday, forcing more than 700 people to find a new way to work. Potomac Mills mall officials announced in January that on Feb. 14 they would slash the number of commuter spaces from about 1,000 to 275, leaving commuters frantically searching for new places to slug and catch the bus.

By Jennifer Buske  | February 10, 2011; 11:19 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Commuting  
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TSA mulls 'trusted traveler' program

Transportation Security Administration head John S. Pistole is considering the concept of a "trusted traveler" program that would speed passengers willing to provide detailed advance personal information through airport security checkpoints.

By Ashley Halsey III  | February 10, 2011; 11:10 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Airports, Aviation  
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Amtrak ridership increases steadily

Amtrak ridership has risen for 15 months in a row, and last month marked its best January ever with 2.1 million passengers. In seven of the last eight years, it has set yearly records, and carried 28.7 million riders in fiscal year 2010.

By Luke Rosiak  | February 10, 2011; 10:27 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Commuter Rail, Transportation Politics  
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Tesla Motors opens D.C. showroom

Tesla Motors, the California-based car company that has been delivering its sporty electric Roadsters to customers since 2008, opened its Washington showroom this week.

By Washington Post Editors  | February 10, 2011; 9:06 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Driving  | Tags:  Tesla, electric cars  
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Watch for slick spots this A.M.

Keep your eyes on Dr. Gridlock throughout the morning, as we will update you during the commute on any headaches and issues.

By Mark Berman  | February 10, 2011; 5:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Commuting, Congestion  
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Md. rail bill targets Holocaust links

A bipartisan group of Maryland lawmakers has introduced a bill that would require companies bidding on Maryland Area Regional Commuter train contracts to disclose any relation to rail companies that transported Holocaust prisoners to Nazi death camps.

By Katherine Shaver  | February 9, 2011; 5:34 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (18)
Categories:  MARC, Maryland, Virginia Railway Express  
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Metro to honor MARC tickets

Metro will honor MARC train tickets for the Brunswick Line Wednesday afternoon due to the morning problems on the Maryland commuter rail service, state officials said.

By Washington Post Editors  | February 9, 2011; 3:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  MARC, Maryland, Metro  
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Domes aim to make SmarTrip faster

Metro is installing new equipment designed to read SmarTrip cards more quickly at fare gates and speed the movement of customers through the rail system.

By Ann Scott Tyson  | February 9, 2011; 2:17 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  Metro  
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Metro's union on safety progress

Metro's general manager Richard Sarles has made addressing safety concerns and building a "safety culture" in the ranks of the agency's 10,000 employees, following scathing criticism from the National Transportation Safety Board.

By Luke Rosiak  | February 9, 2011; 2:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Metro  
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Bag checks are on Metro agenda

The Metro board's Customer Service and Operations Committee has scheduled a discussion of the police bag inspection program for its Thursday morning meeting. This is the first scheduled public discussion of the new policy imposed by the transit authority in December.

By Robert Thomson  | February 9, 2011; 9:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
Categories:  Metro, Transportation Politics  | Tags:  Dr. Gridlock, bag inspections  
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Metrorail death ruled accidental

The District medical examiner's office ruled as accidental the death of a man hit by a train and found on the Metrorail tracks at Farragut North Station on Jan. 15.

By Ann Scott Tyson  | February 9, 2011; 8:49 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Metro  
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A messy commute on roads, rails

A nightmarish commute Wednesday morning troubled commuters on the roads and rails throughout the region. Delays on Metro's Red Line began before 7 a.m. and didn't let up as the morning wore on, while MARC riders awoke to find multiple trains canceled.

By Mark Berman  | February 9, 2011; 8:40 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Advisories, Commuting, Congestion  
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Baggage handler trapped at National

Authorities say a baggage handler became trapped in the cargo hold of a plane set to depart from Reagan National Airport and was only freed after screaming and pounding.

By The Associated Press  | February 9, 2011; 8:21 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Airports, Aviation  
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Red Line delays

There are delays on the Red Line due to a track problem outside of Glenmont. Trains are sharing the same track between Wheaton and Glenmont, and there are delays in both directions.

By Mark Berman  | February 9, 2011; 6:57 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Metro  
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Major MARC delays and cancellations

There are major headaches for MARC riders this morning: All Frederick trains are canceled this morning due to a disabled freight train blocking entry to the main tracks.

By Mark Berman  | February 9, 2011; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  MARC  
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Overturned tractor-trailer closes I-66W

The Virginia State Police have charged Oscar R. Albarracin, 34, of New York, of reckless driving regarding the tractor trailer accident on I-66 West early Wednesday morning. Albarracin and a male passenger were both wearing seatbelts during the accident; the male passenger was not injured, while Albarracin was transported to Ffx Inova Hospital for treatment.

By Washington Post Editor  | February 9, 2011; 5:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Capital Beltway, Commuting, Congestion, Driving, Highways, Northern Virginia  
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Arlington drops HOT lanes lawsuit

The Arlington County Board announced Tuesday that it would drop a controversial HOT lanes lawsuit against state and federal transportation officials and agencies. "With the announcement last week by [Virginia Transportation] Secretary [Sean T.] Connaughton, it is clear that the...

By Christy Goodman  | February 8, 2011; 6:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  Northern Virginia, Transportation Politics, Virginia  
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Potential for MARC crowding

MARC trains 534, scheduled to depart Union Station at 5:20 p.m., and 436, 5:35 p.m. departure, will both operate one car short this evening bringing the prospect of crowding for Penn Line riders.

By Washington Post Editors  | February 8, 2011; 4:17 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  MARC, Maryland  
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VRE to hold fare change hearing

Virginia Railway Express officials will host their next public hearing on proposed fare and policy changes on Wednesday. The hearing will begin at 7 p.m. at the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission, 14700 Potomac Mills Rd. Four more hearings will...

By Jennifer Buske  | February 8, 2011; 3:49 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Virginia Railway Express  
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Wind may cause travel problems

[This post has been updated] A wind advisory in effect for much of the region through 8 p.m. could pose problems for travelers. Strong gusts of up to 50 mph are expected Tuesday afternoon, which could down power lines and...

By Washington Post Editors  | February 8, 2011; 12:49 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Beltway lanes closing overnights

Rush-hour slowdowns on the Capital Beltway at Tysons Corner may be partly attributable to drivers gawking at the array of concrete piers and construction equipment that appears to change daily. But the lane closings for the Dulles Metrorail project are scheduled only for the night time.

By Robert Thomson  | February 8, 2011; 11:40 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Advisories, Capital Beltway, Congestion, Construction, Driving, Tysons Corner, Virginia  | Tags:  Dr. Gridlock, Dulles Metrorail  
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What do Va. commuters need?

TRIP, a research and advocacy group sponsored by insurance companies, transportation businesses, labor unions and others interested in building the transportation system, released a list today showing transportation projects it says Virginia needs to prosper.

By Robert Thomson  | February 8, 2011; 11:05 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (38)
Categories:  Commuting, Congestion, Construction, Highways, Metro  | Tags:  Dr. Gridlock  
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Feds plan to spend $53 billion on rail

PHILADELPHIA -- The Obama administration plans to spend $53 billion on high-speed and intercity rail over the next six years. Vice President Biden and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood made the announcement Tuesday morning during an appearance at Philadelphia's 30th Street Station. The money will be used to build new high-speed rail networks and to make existing rail networks faster.

By Ashley Halsey III  | February 8, 2011; 10:59 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (72)
Categories:  Amtrak, Passenger Rail  
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MoCo gets $15 million for transit, roads

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation reports that it has received more than $15 million in stimulus funds for traffic and transit improvements.

By Washington Post Editors  | February 8, 2011; 10:25 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Montgomery County  
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Inbound 11th St Bridge reopened

We'll be keeping tabs on the morning commute here, so check back regularly for updates on the headaches and issues you can expect. And as always, let us know what you see and hear out there

By Mark Berman  | February 8, 2011; 5:55 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Commuting, Congestion  
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Snow disrupting some flights

Wintry weather in the South and Southwest has caused many airlines to issue travel waivers for flights that are occurring over the next two days. Forecasts from the National Weather Service were calling for dangerously cold temperatures and hazardous travel...

By Washington Post Editors  | February 7, 2011; 7:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Airlines, Airports, Aviation  
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TSA: Just say no to private screening

The Transportation Security Administration plans to stop allowing airports to hire private contractors to conduct passenger screening, according to recent statements on the agency's Web site.

By Washington Post Editors  | February 7, 2011; 5:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Airports, Aviation  
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Super Bowl crackdown nets many DUI arrests

Maryland police arrested dozens of suspected drunk drivers on Sunday as part of a crackdown for Super Bowl Sunday. Troopers issued more than 3,000 traffic citations and warnings statewide. Virginia State Police arrested two drivers in Arlington Sunday as part of its "Trooper Bowl" enforcement program.

By Washington Post Editors  | February 7, 2011; 5:31 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Northern Virginia  
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Sligo Creek Pkwy. reopens

7:24 p.m. Update: Sligo Creek Parkway has reopened, according to traffic reproting services. Original post: Sligo Creek Parkway is closed between Maple Avenue and Old Carroll Avenue due to concrete falling from an overpass, WUSA is reporting. The report says...

By Washington Post Editors  | February 7, 2011; 5:22 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Driving, Montgomery County  
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Penn Line train will be short

Penn Line Train 534 will be one car short, according to the Maryland Transit Administration. The train is scheduled to depart Union Station at 5:20 p.m. MARC's Penn Line T runs from Washington through northeastern Maryland via Baltimore....

By Washington Post Editors  | February 7, 2011; 5:14 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  MARC, Maryland  
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Power outage delays Newark flights

6:55 p.m. Update: A 90-minute power outage at Newark Liberty International Airport caused chaos with airlines' schedules and left them struggling to get back to normal late Monday. Residual delays were expected into the evening as a result of the...

By Washington Post Wire and Staff Reports  | February 7, 2011; 3:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Airports, Aviation  
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Amtrak proposes $13.5-billion project

Amtrak is proposing a $13.5 billion project that will include building two commuter rail tunnels from New Jersey to New York by 2020, replacing a $9.7 billion project that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) killed.

By Washington Post Wire and Staff Reports  | February 7, 2011; 3:02 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Amtrak  
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ICC toll road to open Feb. 22

The first segment of Maryland's newest toll road, the Intercounty Connector, is scheduled to open Feb. 22, according to state officials. The 7.2-mile section between I-370 and Georgia Avenue will open at 6 a.m. that day. A ribbon-cutting ceremony will...

By Washington Post Editors  | February 7, 2011; 2:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Maryland  
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Dr. G on construction, Metro & more

Dr. Gridlock was online today at noon answering your questions in his weekly live chat. He takes on construction schedules for long-delayed or extra-bumpy routes (cold weather has held up some paving), Metro searches and doors that won't close, and choosing a neighborhood for an ideal commute.

By Luke Rosiak  | February 7, 2011; 11:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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FAA fund declines; fees could result

The Federal Aviation Agency's primary source of funds is drawing down unsustainably, according to a Government Accountability Office report released today. Increased fees on flyers are among the possible results.

By Luke Rosiak  | February 7, 2011; 11:01 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Airlines, Airports, Transportation Politics  
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Orange Line delays cleared

There are delays on the Orange Line stemming from a train malfunction at Ballston. The malfunction has been resolved, but delays remain in both directions.

By Mark Berman  | February 7, 2011; 8:44 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Metro  
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Fire snarls traffic around the Mall

We'll be keeping an eye on traffic and transit issues this morning, so be sure to check back in throughout the morning rush. Let us know anything you see or hear about by talking to us in the comments below or on Twitter

By Mark Berman  | February 7, 2011; 8:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Commuting, Congestion  
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VRE delays, Metro Option open

VRE trains 312 and 332 are very delayed due to equipment problems this morning. The Metro Option is open, so VRE riders can show their tickets for access to the Metro system.

By Mark Berman  | February 7, 2011; 8:26 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Virginia Railway Express  
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The week ahead for traffic, transit

The Capital Weather Gang's forecast suggests a pretty good week for travel in the D.C. area. There's a chance of precipitation tonight and on Thursday, but neither looks like a big threat to commuters at the moment. Temperatures are likely to be in the 30s and 40s. There's plenty of work scheduled on the roads and rails throughout the week. Here are some highlights.

By Robert Thomson  | February 7, 2011; 7:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Commuting, Congestion, Construction, Driving, Metro, Transit  | Tags:  Dr. Gridlock, The week ahead  
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Potential for crowded MARC trains

Once again, several MARC Penn Line trains will be running one car short due to an equipment shortage.

By Mark Berman  | February 7, 2011; 5:47 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  MARC  
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