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Get There: February 25, 2007 - March 3, 2007

Accident Causes Congestion at Branch Avenue

Lanes have reopened on both the inner and outer loop of the Capital Beltway after an accident involving three tractor trailers -- one leaking fuel -- shut down I-495 at the Branch Avenue exit, according to a Maptuit traffic alert. Commuters can still expect delays before Route 210 on the inner loop, and from Central Avenue on the outer loop....

By Liz Heron  |  March 2, 2007; 5:07 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Weekend Work on Roads and Rails

Here are a few projects to keep in mind if you're driving or taking Metrorail this weekend. -- Whitehurst Freeway: The ramp that leads to the I-66 East exit will be closed for preventative maintenance and emergency repair from 7 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday. The detour takes vehicles east on Whitehurst, right onto 27th Street, left onto I ("Eye") Street and then back to the freeway. (By the way, this work has nothing to do with the District's discussions about eventually tearing down the Whitehurst.) -- Metrorail: There's plenty of track work and train car testing affecting riders on the Blue, Yellow, Green and Orange lines this weekend. You can read all the details by clicking here. The situation likely to have the most impact on travelers is the rail switch reconstruction at Braddock Road Station. That will disrupt service on the Blue and Yellow lines from 10...

By Robert Thomson  |  March 2, 2007; 8:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Construction  
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Citizen Impact on Transportation Issues

In the past 24 hours, I've visited two groups of your fellow citizens who were working to make sure the Deciders in our transportation agencies hear what you think. It's a tricky business in which handfuls of people invest vast amounts of their time while the rewards remain unclear. Last night, the Metro Riders Advisory Council held a session exploring how it could work with the new transit budget proposal to advance the interests of people who ride the trains and buses. Sounds like a pretty good idea, right? Three people showed up to offer their ideas to the council. If they're going to have real clout with the Metro Board of Directors during the budget discussions over the next couple of months, the riders' council members need to hear your ideas. This is a weird little period in which Metro has put its proposals to increase fares and cut...

By Robert Thomson  |  March 1, 2007; 2:23 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Transportation Politics  
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Should Metro Riders Have Bill of Rights?

Is this a fair comparison? When Metro riders were commenting in the entry below about the big service disruptions Monday afternoon on the Orange and Blue lines downtown, I was thinking about how JetBlue's management reacted to its storm delays and cancellations. The airline managers practically eviserated themselves in shame over their failure to provide service to their passengers. You can go to JetBlue's Web site and hear David Neeleman, the CEO, apologize for the poor service and promise that it would never happen again. He announces a specific set of service changes to back up that promise. Posted on the Web site is a passengers' bill of rights explaining what the airline will do for you if it fails to deliver the service a customer paid for. From time to time, Metro fails to provide the service passengers have paid for, as happened Monday afternoon when a report of...

By Robert Thomson  |  February 28, 2007; 8:42 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Metro  
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Complaints on Monday's Metro Disruption

I've gotten a couple of complaints today from riders affected by Monday afternoon's service disruption on the Orange and Blue lines downtown, and I'm wondering if any of you had similar experiences. The writers are complaining about a lack of information, as well as about the disruption itself, which followed a report of smoke in the tunnel between Federal Triangle and Smithsonian. Dear Dr. Gridlock: It is rush hour, 6:30 p.m. on a Monday, a large and restless crowd is on the platform at Metro Center downstairs. For almost 15 minutes no information displays on the monitors, no trains pass by (4 the other way), no announcements of any sort and the Manager loitering on the platform knows nothing. Even better, he informs a concerned customer that he has no way to communicate with the office - no radio, only shoes for walking there. Good thing there wasn't an emergency...

By Robert Thomson  |  February 27, 2007; 2:01 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (31)
Categories:  Metro  
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Meetings on Traffic and Transit Concerns

There are two meetings coming up today and tomorrow I thought many of you would like to know about, because they concern issues we've talked about here: Today, it's the Whitehurst Freeway and whether it should be torn down. Tomorrow, it's Metro's budget for the year that starts on July 1. This afternoon at 3 o'clock, D.C. Councilmember Jim Graham, chairman of the Council's Committee on Public Works and the Environment, will convene a public oversight roundtable on "The Future of the Whitehurst Freeway." (That's encouraging. I hope the Whitehurst has a future.) The session will be held in Room 412 at the Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. If you're not already signed up to testify, written statements still can be made part of the official record. Copies of such statements should be submitted to LaDorsa Willis, Committee on Public Works and the Environment, Room 116, 1350 Pennsylvania Ave....

By Robert Thomson  |  February 27, 2007; 6:20 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Transportation Politics  
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Travel Troubles Here and Abroad

After spending the past week in Mexico City's chaotic traffic, it will take a moment to crank back up to outrage about what we're traveling through here. The freestyle driving techniques in the Mexican capital take your breath away. The rare traffic signal or stop sign is merely an advisory. Lane markings are silly things. Cars slow only for speed bumps on local streets or for the often impenetrable rows of halted vehicles on the highways. Some of you must have had similar experiences in other cities' traffic. What ranks as the worst, and what did it take to restart your anger at our daily experiences in the Washington area? Picking up the Sunday Post's front page and reading about the recent confrontations between Metrobuses and pedestrians was a good start. And looking at the results of the Virginia General Assembly's effort to produce a transportation improvement plan was a...

By Robert Thomson  |  February 25, 2007; 5:37 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (21)
Categories:  Commuting  
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