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Get There: August 6, 2006 - August 12, 2006

Airport Screening

We're looking to talk to flyers today. We want to hear anything and everything about your experiences and especially if you were screened a second time at gates. Feel free to comment here or send an e-mail directly to me at ginsbergs@washpost.com....

By Washington Post Editors  |  August 11, 2006; 12:35 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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Metro's Weekend Delays

Metro riders should give themselves some extra time this weekend if they are traveling on the Blue, Red or Green lines. Here are the details for those lines. On the Red and Blue, the delays will be caused by track maintenance work. On the Green Line, new rail cars are being tested. Blue Line: From 10 o'clock tonight to midnight Sunday, Metro will operate six-car shuttle trains sharing one track between the Franconia-Springfield and King Street stations. Passengers traveling between these locations should add 35 minutes to their schedules, Metro says. Once a shuttle train arrives at the King Street Metrorail station, passengers will need to transfer to a Blue or Yellow Line train at the King Street Station. All other Blue Line trains will run between the Largo Town Center and Huntington stations. For riders coming from Virginia, it's a good idea to use the Huntington Station on the...

By Robert Thomson  |  August 11, 2006; 9:21 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Metro  
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Some Travel Basics Today

If your destination is an airport, here are some reminders: You can't go through the security lines carrying any liquids or gels. They must be in your checked in luggage. The Restricted items include all beverages, shampoo, suntan lotion, creams, tooth paste and hair gel. The only exceptions, according to the Transportation Security Administration, are baby formula, breast milk, or juice if a baby or small child is traveling; prescription medicine with a name that matches the passenger's ticket; and insulin and essential other non-prescription medicines. Once you get through the security gate, remember that you still can't take any of these things onto the planes. If you buy a coffee or bottle of water, you have to drink it before you get on the plane. If you're traveling on the Metro transit system: Metro also increased security today, even though there was no specific threat to any transit system....

By Robert Thomson  |  August 10, 2006; 2:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
 
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You Could Be the End of Old Wilson Bridge

Sometime late this month, on a night when the moon won't shine, someone is going to blow the old bridge on the River Potomac. It could be you. But there's a catch: You've got to win a contest. You must prove to a panel of veteran traffic reporters that somehow, during the old Wilson Bridge's 45 years of much-maligned existence, it managed to become a personal afront, a daily insult, to you and the things you value. You must show that you, among the billions who paled as they passed over this span, have earned the right to blow it to smithereens. The people who are building the replacement bridge sense that the spirit of revenge is widespread -- so much so that they've created an entry form for detonator applicants. You must enter the Toughest Bridge Commute contest by 7 a.m., Aug. 18. The rest of us just get...

By Robert Thomson  |  August 10, 2006; 5:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Wilson Bridge  
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Red Line Blues

If there had to be a service disruption anywhere in the Metrorail system, the area near New York Avenue Station would probably be the best place to have it. If you normally traveled the eastern sector of the Red Line, then this morning, you could have used the Green Line between Gallery Place and Fort Totten to get around the stations shutdown by the police investigation of a suspicious package. Still, it took longer to get around, especially if your destination was the area around Union Station and New York Avenue. Gallery Place and Fort Totten, the transfer points between the Red and Green lines, were very crowded. Some riders remarked that it was like a midday rush hour. My own experience getting from Silver Spring to Farragut North was pretty good under the circumstances. At Silver Spring Station, there was a sign on each fare gate warning of the...

By Robert Thomson  |  August 9, 2006; 12:19 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
Categories:  Metro  
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Purple Line Prose

This summer, I've taken two tours of the proposed route for a transitway across the Maryland suburbs. One was hosted by Maryland Transportation Secretary Robert Flanagan and the other by Montgomery Councilmember Steve Silverman, who is a candidate for county executive in the Democratic primary. Flanagan wanted to show us how difficult it will be to build the Purple Line between New Carrollton and Bethesda. Silverman wanted to show us why we need it. Attitude is an interesting thing. On the Washington region's big transportation projects, it often counts for a lot. I remember when the Springfield Interchange reconstruction and the Wilson Bridge project ran into various forms of financial trouble. There were times when I thought neither one would survive. The intercounty connector highway looked dead for years. But it turns out that when politicians really believe something can and should be done, it gets done. The Rail to...

By Robert Thomson  |  August 9, 2006; 5:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
Categories:  transit  
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Roads Over Trains?

The results of my request for comment on the decline in Virginia Railway Express ridership left me wondering about commuters returning to their cars after sampling transit. (I'm an example of the opposite: I took up travel on Metro's Red Line after it dawned on me that I was paying $10 to warehouse my car downtown each day.) Transportation editor Steve Ginsberg is going to ask one of his reporters to look into it for a news story, and I may write about the question in an upcoming Dr. Gridlock column. I think a return to highways would be an unfortunate development. We need VRE and MARC to work, so that Washington commuters will have options. Steve and I would appreciate hearing from any VRE or MARC riders -- or former riders -- whom we could interview for The Post on this topic. You can let me know by sending...

By Robert Thomson  |  August 8, 2006; 5:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Commuting  
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Traffic Changes at Bolling Entrance

Some new traffic patterns are going to be in effect around Bolling Air Force Base starting this month. The main gate at South Capitol Street and Malcolm X Avenue SE is scheduled to be closed to vehicles beginning Aug. 14 for a security renovation that won't be finished until May 2007. Vehicles that have used the main gate will need to find alternatives during the renovation. To ease traffic congestion, the Naval Station Anacostia north gate, which faces onto South Capitol Street, is scheduled to open starting today, according to a statement from the Air Force. The District's Department of Transportation is retiming the stoplights at the various gates to help ease the traffic flow and will monitor the results. During the peak of the evening traffic, 11th Wing Security Forces airmen will help direct traffic, according to their commander, Maj. Richard DeMouy. "We'll also have cones in place, and...

By Robert Thomson  |  August 7, 2006; 5:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Commuting  
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