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Get There: November 26, 2006 - December 2, 2006

Citizens Talk Back to Metro

One of the things that keeps my column in business is that citizens often aren't satisfied by the responses they get from transportation agencies when they have complaints or questions. That was the tone of several comments to Metro board members at the transit authority's town hall meeting Wednesday night in Rosslyn. Board chairman Gladys Mack and board member Chris Zimmerman acknowledged that customer service has been a longtime problem. They noted that citizens who call with complaints often wind up with an explanation of why bad thing is happening, rather than an indication that the problem will be addressed. The quality of customer service is a concern to the board, they said, and it's one of the key reasons they picked John Catoe of Los Angeles to be the new general manager. He intends to make customer service a priority, Mack and Zimmerman said. Metro has done a better...

By Robert Thomson  |  December 1, 2006; 8:03 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Metro  
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Va. To Use Toll Booth Cameras

In Virginia, the government can't use cameras to take pictures of red light runners. That's Big Brotherism, according to the General Assembly. But apparently it's okay to use cameras to catch toll jumpers. The Virginia Department of Transportation sent out a notice on Wednesday warning all that the cameras are being tested on the Dulles Toll Road, Powhite Parkway Extension near Richmond and the Coleman Bridge in Hampton Roads. Starting early next year, toll violation notices will be sent to motorists when their vehicles' images are captured by the cameras. Notices will state the date of the violation and will include a photo of the license plate taken at the time of the violation, VDOT said. Violators will be asked to pay the toll amount and will be assessed the toll plus a $25 administrative fee. There are appeals procedures to follow for cases of mistaken identity, sold or stolen...

By Robert Thomson  |  November 30, 2006; 8:31 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  highways  
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We Can Solve This, But ...

We can ease traffic congestion and make travel safer. Some will say that statement is a no-brainer, while others will say, Not so fast, doc, we can't build our way out of congestion. There's a dispair over congestion that amounts to acceptance, a sense that what is bad now can only get worse. But I'm looking forward to the new ramp that will open next week at the Springfield interchange. When I'm driving south from the Beltway onto I-95, I won't have to slide across several lanes of traffic to get where I need to be. The recent widening of I-66 near Manassas and the opening of the ramps at Route 28's Sterling interchange will make things better. The new interchanges on Route 29 in Maryland have made things better. On Tuesday afternoon, a group of Virginians gathered at the Capital One building in McLean because they also believe that...

By Robert Thomson  |  November 29, 2006; 7:59 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Congestion  
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Advisories for D.C. Drivers

Here are a couple of advisories for drivers in Northwest Washington: Beach Drive Closings: Rock Creek's Beach Drive between Tilden Street/Park Road and Blagden Avenue will be closed periodically between 9:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. today and tomorrow because of a stream restoration project in the area. The construction involves landscaping and stone work adjacent to the Peirce Mill dam. Woodley Road Work: Washington National Cathedral wants to alert drivers to possible traffic disruptions related to construction of new parking garages. Two flaggers will control traffic in the 3600 block of Woodley Road, where traffic is restricted to one lane because of utility work. To limit the impact on drop-offs and pick-ups at the cathedral schools, the work is being done between 8:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. On Saturday, that section of Woodley is scheduled to be closed between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. to allow room for a large...

By Robert Thomson  |  November 28, 2006; 6:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Construction  
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Sharing Holiday Travel Experiences

Fellow Thanksgiving travelers know that there's a curse on Delaware. There's something about that short stretch of I-95 across The First State that finds a way to create trouble for motorists. On Sunday, left Cape Cod at 6 a.m., and had a pretty smooth trip, even clearing the lane merge around Exit 8 on the New Jersey Turnpike with no trouble at 11:15 a.m. (By the way, it worked well for us to stay in the truck lanes, rather than the cars-only lanes, at that merge. There were few trucks, and there is no merge for the right-most lane.) Even the toll plaza at the Delaware Memorial Bridge was a breeze. Then it stopped. Traffic on I-95 was backed up across the entire state of Delaware because of an accident near Elkton, Md. After I tuned in the Delaware Department of Transportation's radio at 1380 AM and learned the cause...

By Robert Thomson  |  November 27, 2006; 8:12 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (40)
Categories:  holiday travel  
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