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Get There: November 5, 2006 - November 11, 2006

Beltway Reopens Following Accident

All lanes were closed northbound on the beltway between Route 50 and I-66, according to Maptuit....

By  |  November 10, 2006; 9:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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What the Elections May Bring

Most political commentary has been focused on blue-red fortunes and control of Congress, but my attention zone is a bit narrower: What will the results mean for our transportation system? (Being a firm believer that all politics is local.) In Maryland, will a Democratic governor place a greater focus on the two transit projects in our region and on support of the Metro system? Chances are the Martin O'Malley administration will pick light rail over bus rapid transit for the Corridor Cities Transitway and the Bicounty Transitway. (In fact, we may go back to calling that Bethesda-New Carrollton route the Purple Line.) An O'Malley administration will have to decide not only on the routes but on the funding for those projects. How much will political geography count for? Will the former Baltimore mayor favor the city's Red Line and other projects that benefit that portion of his base? Will he...

By Robert Thomson  |  November 10, 2006; 6:35 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Transportation Politics  
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Friday's No Holiday For Metro

Metro is one of the nation's most heavily used transit systems, and that applies to holidays, as well. The transit authority looked at its ridership numbers and over the summer decided to run a regular weekday schedule on four holidays. The next one coming up is Friday, the federal observance of Veterans Day. Metrorail, Metrobus and MetroAccess will all be on their regular weekday schedules, collecting regular fares and parkign fees. The other days that are no longer holidays for Metro because of the high ridership are Columbus Day, Martin Luther King Day and Presidents Day....

By Robert Thomson  |  November 9, 2006; 6:22 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Metro  
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New Kicks on I-66

Travelers have been using that wider new section of I-66 around Manassas for only a few hours now, and already I've heard from a commuter complaining about a new chokepoint forming around exit 43, which is the Route 29 exit. He says westbound drivers heading home tonight will have to squeeze down from the wider, four-lane section to two lanes just a short way before they exit for Route 29. This morning, he said, the eastbound drivers heading from Route 29 onto I-66 found the experience as bad as ever for the first three-tenths of a mile on the interstate before it opens up, thanks to the widening. The next phase of the widening, to Gainesville, is scheduled to begin in the spring, as Eric Weiss reported in today's Post. These days, most of our highway projects are done in phases. The improvements to Route 29 in the Maryland suburbs...

By Robert Thomson  |  November 8, 2006; 11:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Congestion  
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Bumper Politics

The election may be over, but I wanted to share with you a letter that is timeless in terms of the point it makes about common courtesy. This was a followup to a letter I ran in my column on Oct. 29: Dear Dr. Gridlock: We tried to keep a favorite on our car: "Friends don't let friends vote Republican." Living in very liberal Arlington, but on a completely Republican block, except for us, we thought it was a great bumper sticker with a sense of humor. The first time we had it, the kids were little and we were stopped at a red light when a man in the car in front of us, Mercedes with the top down, got out of his car and in a heavily-laced alcoholic breath, proceeded to send nothing but expletive deleteds into our open windows. Kids were in shock, but I gracefully replied:...

By Robert Thomson  |  November 8, 2006; 6:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Transportation Politics  
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Turning on the Hydrant

Eric Weiss writes in today's Post about an encouraging trend: Local governments are stepping in where the states are failing. They're financing and building transportation improvements. These are investments that Virginia and Maryland should be making, but when the house is burning, you can't stand around arguing about who's going to hook up to the hydrant. Inaction at the state level -- particularly in Virginia -- is leaving the governments in the Washington suburbs with little choice. Either they arrange for the necessary transportation improvements themselves, or they won't happen. If they don't happen, current and future residents won't enjoy the benefits of the mobile society that some of us are old enough to remember. Two rapidly growing outer suburbs have bond money on their ballots today: In Prince William County, there's a $300 million bond to improve Routes 1 and 28 and some other roads. In Loudoun County, there's...

By Robert Thomson  |  November 7, 2006; 8:13 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Transportation Politics  
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Traffic Officers On Duty at Midday

Some of you who leave your offices for lunch in downtown Washington have been telling me there's something different in the air: the sound of whistles. In fact, you're right. The District's Department of Public Works figured out it had enough traffic control officers between the morning and evening rush hour shifts to start a midday patrol at 16 dowtown intersections. I saw three of them working last week at Connecticut Avenue and K Street. One officer took the center of the intersection and the other two monitored crosswalks, where the lunchtime crowding was heavy. Another three officers were right nearby at 17th Street and Connecticut. That's a lot of whistles. The DPW program is two years old. It used to be that if you saw the traffic officers at midday, they were trainees, getting their first experience before being assigned to the more demanding rush hour shifts. But since...

By Robert Thomson  |  November 6, 2006; 8:10 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Safety  
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