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Get There: March 18, 2007 - March 24, 2007

Kaine Signs Traffic Safety Bills

Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine announced today that he has signed several bills on traffic safety that were passed by the General Assembly. One restores the red-light camera program for the jurisdictions that want it, another limits use of cell phones by young drivers and a third raises the required age for use of child restraint seats. Kaine has not acted yet on what many Virginia leaders regard as the big enchilada, House Bill 3202, which would change the way the state finances its transportation improvements. He's likely to amend that one next week and send it back for review by the assembly. These are the specifics on the new laws Kaine signed: -- House Bill 1778 (sponsoredby De. John A. Cosgrove)/ Senate Bill 829 (sponsored by Sen. Jeannemarie Devolites-Davis) give localities the option of installing photo-monitoring systems to enforce traffic light signals. Kaine said he may submit a technical amendment...

By Robert Thomson  |  March 23, 2007; 3:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Safety  
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Advisories on Weekend Travel Delays

Saturday has been a difficult day to get around in Washington, D.C. Many streets have been closed for the National Marathon, which began at 7 a.m. Saturday, and they won't be reopened until 2 p.m. You can see a map of the route here. Update: Post staff writer Amit Paley is working on a story for Sunday's paper about the disruptive effects of the marathon on travelers. Please tell him what you experienced. You can reach him either by calling the City Desk at 202-334-7300 or by sending an e-mail to paleya@washpost.com. A traffic alert from the District Department of Transportation says only five streets are open to allow you in and out of the marathon zone during this time period: -- E Street Expressway (over the Roosevelt Bridge) -- K Street, NW (east and west through Georgetown) -- Massachusetts Avenue NW (over Rock Creek Parkway) -- Rhode Island Avenue...

By Robert Thomson  |  March 23, 2007; 9:33 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  Weekend Work  
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Expect Severe Overcrowding at Union Station

Amtrak is experiencing a signal problem at Union Station which is preventing all Camden and Brunswick trains from arriving or leaving the stop, according to the Maryland Transit Authority. "Brunswick train 891 is over 30 minutes late and Camden train 846 is still in Washington. We expect severe overcrowding in the waiting areas at Union Station," a MTA alert said....

By Liz Heron  |  March 22, 2007; 5:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  transit  
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Traffic Safety Challenges for Drivers, Walkers

At 7th and Pennsylvania, which recently became ground zero for our concerns about traffic safety, you can see the four corners of the issue. The broad junction of Pennsylvania Avenue and 7th Street in downtown Washington is daunting for pedestrians. (Robert Thomson) Traffic control officers from the D.C. Department of Public Works, those people who earn their living by standing between us and oncoming vehicles, were directing the flow through that enormous intersection where two pedestrians were fatally struck by a Metrobus last month. Metro and the District government can put up signs and retrain bus drivers, but there's nothing as effective for both pedestrians and drivers as a person with a whistle and a pair of arms controlling the rush hour flow. Traffic officer gets the attention of pedestrians and drivers. (Robert Thomson) To reach the intersection, I took the new MetroExtra bus down Georgia Avenue into downtown. Along...

By Robert Thomson  |  March 22, 2007; 8:29 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (18)
Categories:  Safety  
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Campaign For Pedestrian Safety Begins

Many of the region's political and law enforcement leaders were at Thomas Circle in Washington today to renew their annual "Street Smart" campaign for pedestrian and bicycle safety. Of late, pedestrian accidents have provided their own unfortunate reminders that we need to be alert and aware of our surroundings as we drive, ride and walk. But the problem didn't suddenly arise in the past few weeks: One out of every four people killed on the region's roads was walking or biking when the accident occurred. Police Chiefs Kathy Lanier of the District and Thomas Manger of Montgomery attended campaign launch. (Robert Thomson) There are many letters in the Dr. Gridlock mailbag from people concerned about what's going on. Some are proposing law enforcement solutions. Usually, that means they want to see more law enforcement, like more ticketing of cellphone-using drivers in the District. On the other hand, I did get...

By Robert Thomson  |  March 20, 2007; 12:01 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  Safety  
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New Metrobus Rolls Out

The bus was a new style, with a new number. The driver told boarding passengers that it made "limited stops." An electronic sign behind him displayed the name of each stop. That electronic female voice announced the name of each stop. But every half mile or so, an angered or alarmed passenger would rush up to the driver of the new MetroExtra bus operating along Georgia Avenue to tell him that he had missed the stop. "That's not my stop," he would respond. New MetroExtra bus waits downtown to begin northbound trip. (Robert Thomson) Tough being a bus driver in ordinary city driving, but this was the first day of a new service, the Georgia Avenue express created by Metro and the District Department of Transportation. Bus drivers, unlike train operators, interact a lot with their passengers as well as with traffic. I saw two do a pretty good job...

By Robert Thomson  |  March 20, 2007; 6:06 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  transit  
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New Express Bus Starts Today

Metro and the District Department of Transportation launched a new type of express bus service between the city and the Maryland suburbs this morning. You can ride the Metro Extra along Georgia Avenue and 7th Street NW between Silver Spring and the Gallery Place and Navy Memorial stations downtown during rush periods. It's one of those service innovations that I think gives us hope for creating a regional transportation system with many options for travelers. These new blue express buses will operate Monday through Friday from 6 to 9:30 a.m. and from 3 to 6:30 p.m. Click here to see a route map. The buses will supplement the regular runs of the 70 and 71 Metrobuses along that corridor, but they will skip a lot of stops. The Metrobus schedule for a trip between Silver Spring and Gallery Place calls for a 58 minute trip. On the Metro Extra bus,...

By Robert Thomson  |  March 19, 2007; 8:58 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  transit  
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