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Get There: November 12, 2006 - November 18, 2006

Freeway's Future Debated

The District's Department of Transportation expects that by the end of the month it will have a final version of the consultant's report on what to do with the Whitehurst Freeway, the elevated link between Georgetown and Foggy Bottom. But in the world of government planning, a final report is just the beginning. In fact, there have been at least four other studies of what to do with the freeway. At a D.C. Council committee hearing on Wednesday, committee chairman Carol Schwartz expressed her determination to make sure that the proposal to tear down the freeway does not advance to the next stage, a million dollar environmental impact study of the top alternatives presented in the consultant's study. For those commuters who use the Whitehurst to skirt Georgetown's congested streets, the only good alternative is a tunnel, but that would cost far more than it's worth. It's difficult to find...

By Robert Thomson  |  November 17, 2006; 8:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  highways  
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Red Line Service Disrupted

UPDATE: Metro says power was restored and service resumed at 7:29 a.m. Metro is reporting a disruption between the Dupont Circle and Woodley Park-Zoo/Adams Morgan stations on the Red Line in both directions due to a loss of rail power. Shuttle service has been requested between the Farragut North and Van Ness-UDC stations. Metro spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein told the Associated Press that 75 passengers who were aboard a Shady Grove bound train when the outrage occurred were led back to the DuPont Circle station by Metro employees. Farbstein says the passengers were led along the safety catwalk and have since boarded buses to unaffected stations. Farbstein said maintenance crews are trying to find out what's caused the power outage....

By Kyle Balluck  |  November 16, 2006; 8:04 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Metro  
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Thanksgiving Travel Advisory

Many of you have told me that you loathe the Delaware portion of I-95, particularly during the highway bridge rebuilding that has narrowed it from four lanes to two. Delaware's Department of Transportation doesn't like it any better than the rest of us, and its crews are working to finish that project by next Wednesday morning. If they make their deadline -- and they're paying very close attention to it -- I-95 would be restored to four travel lanes just in time for the biggest part of the Thanksgiving getaway. Of course, this news may complicate travel planning for some of you who are heading north for the holiday. Leave before Wednesday and drive through the restricted highway or wait till Wednesday, or later, and have four lanes? Here are some interesting traffic statistics from the Delaware DOT that you might consider in planning your passage through that state. These...

By Robert Thomson  |  November 15, 2006; 8:19 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
Categories:  Getaway  
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Fixing Problem at Conn. Ave. Bridge

Several readers have been asking about a situation at the Klingle Bridge reconstruction area on Connecticut Avenue, and the District's Transportation Department had some news about this major commuter route. Dear Dr. Gridlock: A warning note to motorists traveling southbound on Connecticut Avenue near the Klingle Bridge project: DDOT has rerouted several southbound lanes of Connecticut Avenue just south of Klingle bridge. The city put up electronic lane markers above the street, which is helpful, but some motorists aren't seeing the traffic signals for the Kennedy-Warren apartment complex or the entrance for the National Zoo, which are at street level. This past weekend, I noticed several cars zoom through the intersection and a couple more drivers slam on their brakes to stop at the red lights between Devonshire and the pedestrian crossing for the zoo. Dan Crowe Cleveland Park DDOT plans to relocate the hanging lights so there is less...

By Robert Thomson  |  November 14, 2006; 12:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Construction  
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Advice on a Southern Getaway

Here's a question from a reader concerning our discussion of long distance driving. She's asking about how to get past Richmond. I've always gone straight through the city on I-95, rather than use I-295 to get around Richmond and Petersburg. The traffic congestion on the direct route never seemed bad enough to merit the diversion. Am I wrong about that? And I haven't driven through Georgia and Florida in 30 years, not since a friend and I decided it would be a swell idea to drive straight from New York to Fort Lauderdale without stopping. You don't have to tell me that was a bad idea. I knew that after the first 18 hours. But can anyone help our letter-writer with the southern part of this long trip? Here's the letter: Dear Dr. Gridlock: Every time you have a discussion on alternative routes north, I hope for the same going...

By Robert Thomson  |  November 14, 2006; 8:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Getaway  
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Metro Responds on Escalators, Parking

Those of us who cover transportation for The Post have left some questions hanging during our Live Online discussions, so I thought I'd pass along some answers we've gotten. During Roads & Rails with Eric Weiss and Lena Sun on Monday, a reader wanted to know Metro's official policy for bikers if a rail station has a broken elevator. Can they take the escalators? Lena said she talked to Metro spokesman Steven Taubenkibel, who told her that official policy would be that bikers should go to next station with a working elevator. Metro doesn't want people with bikes using the escalators for safety reasons, envisioning a bad outcome for other passengers if a biker lost hold on a bike and it fell down the escalator. (That part seems reasonable to me, but I know a lot of Metro customers wish the system had a better way of alerting them to...

By Robert Thomson  |  November 14, 2006; 6:06 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Metro  
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Big Improvement for Beltway Traffic

Maryland's State Highway Administration says it's attacking a major problem on the Capital Beltway's inner loop. It's widening the ramp that leads to southbound Wisconsin Avenue in Montgomery County. That stretch of the Beltway is notorious for congestion during the afternoon rush. Many drivers who work in Northern Virginia and live in Maryland or the District know what I'm talking about. The SHA says that more than 244,000 vehicles travel that stretch of the Beltway daily. The exit ramp for southbound Wisconsin is going to be widened to two lanes. Drivers will also see curb and gutter replacement, roadway patching, grinding and resurfacing and re-striping. The $654,000 project should be completed in the spring, the SHA says Some pain first, of course: To accommodate the work, the ramp will be narrowed between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. weekdays. Watch for arrow boards, drums and temporary traffic signs in the work...

By Robert Thomson  |  November 13, 2006; 3:46 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
Categories:  highways  
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Holiday Tips for Drivers

We're approaching the season when my Internet skills get sharpened: holiday shopping season. I'll do almost anything to avoid getting malled at Tysons or along Rockville Pike. I lock in certain days off in December at the start of each year, not so we can travel to relatives, but so I can perform those few shopping tasks I can't get done online. Any travel at all along the main shopping routes is vexing, whether I'm actually doing holiday shopping or just trying to get from one place to another. There are bottlenecks to avoid, lanes to steer clear of and times of day to just stay off the roads. If I do have to enter a mall parking lot or garage, I'll park in the remotest regions, to avoid those drivers who trail you around, like stalkers, as you head back to your car. No one in a mall parking...

By Robert Thomson  |  November 13, 2006; 10:04 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (19)
Categories:  Congestion  
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