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Assessing Tuesday's Early Rush Hour

I've gotten a few letters in the past 48 hours complaining about the impact the federal shutdown had on travelers on Tuesday afternoon. My own experience was on the roads: Driving on the inner loop of the Beltway -- well not driving, exactly, more like listening to the radio with the heater on -- as lines of entering cars halted traffic shortly after 2 p.m.

The mailbag contained this typical note from a Metro rider.

Dear Dr. Gridlock:
On Tuesday when the federal government decided to close at 2 p.m. because of the winter storm, did they notify Metro of the decision? Was there anything Metro could've done to get more or longer trains or both into the system to handle the sudden crush of passengers?
After 9/11 and the rush to evacuate the city center, one would think that there would be improved coordination between federal officials and local transit authorities.

Metro acknowledges the downtown platforms and trains were jammed. Metro was notified at 1 p.m. that the federal offices would shut at 2 p.m. because of the deteriorating weather. Did you have similar experiences on the roads or rails?

By Robert Thomson  |  February 16, 2007; 8:23 AM ET
Categories:  Congestion  
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Next: Travel Troubles Here and Abroad

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