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Get There: April 15, 2007 - April 21, 2007

Weekend Travel Tips -- and Beyond

The warmer weather means that the region's transportation agencies are pumping out advisories for drivers. Many projects underway this weekend could slow down your travels. Plus, there's some significant action on the roads next week. Here are some highlights. Springfield Interchange: I-395 North between the Commerce Street Bridge and the Capital Beltway will be shut from 9 p.m. Friday to 9 a.m. Saturday to allow crews to remove the northbound left shift that has been in place for more than eight months. That was for the construction of two I-395 North bridges over the Beltway's inner loop. I-395 North will be closed again from 8 p.m. Saturday to 10 a.m. Sunday so crews can complete other work in the area. Watch for detours. Douglass Bridge: Inbound lanes of South Capitol Street were closed at 10 a.m. Friday for bridge rehabilitation work this weekend but will reopen for the Monday morning...

By Robert Thomson  |  April 20, 2007; 12:01 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Weekend Work  
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Beltway Accident Causes Delays Near Landover

A serious accident slows traffic on the Capitol Beltway in Prince George's County. Maptuit reports that a car ran into a tractor trailer that was parked on the shoulder of the inner loop near Arena Drive. Authorities are reconstructing the accident. All activity has been moved to the right shoulder. Inner loop delays begin at the Baltimore-Washington Parkway. Traffic on the outer loop begins to slow at Allentown Road....

By Kyle Balluck  |  April 20, 2007; 8:06 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Congestion  
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Security Measure Changes Commute Pattern

Are any of you commuters who use Union Station experiencing what bothers this traveler? Dear Dr. Gridlock: Just when you think the congested pedestrian traffic at Union Station couldn't get any worse, Amtrak places a barrier that forces MARC passengers through Gate A (instead of detouring to the lesser used Gate G). This setup also prevents VRE commuters from getting to/from Metro without passing through Union Station (via McDonalds, the luggage carousels, and the ever-crowded and overflowing Starbucks) . This morning especially highlighted the problems with this setup as three MARC trains were discharging passengers nearly simultaneously at the same time a large group of northbound commuters were also trying to use Gate A to get to their train. It was pedestrian gridlock! MARC notices stated that this new setup was for security reasons. I fail to see how this setup improves security at all, unless Amtrak is subscribing to...

By Robert Thomson  |  April 19, 2007; 10:06 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  Commuting  
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Regional Board Punts on Va. Road Projects

The region's Transportation Planning Board did not feel comfortable enough with plans for the new I-95/395 carpool/toll lanes or the widening of I-66 sections westbound inside the Beltway to advance those highway projects today. On an extremely close vote, the panel finally decided to wait another month to clarify some issues concerning the safety of the projects, their impact on the environment and the protections afforded carpoolers. The 13-12 vote, on a show of hands, was so close that one member called for a weighted vote on the postponement. That complex process, involving the various jurisdictions that make up the regional panel and the populations of the jurisdictions yielded this result: 7.81 for postponement and 7.19 against. Bottom line was the same as the show of hands. The board members will review the answers that the Virginia Department of Transportation supplied to their questions about the projects, go over the...

By Robert Thomson  |  April 18, 2007; 3:57 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
Categories:  Transportation Politics  
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Road, Rail Projects in Pipeline

Some of the big projects and studies proposed by Maryland and Virginia are up for approval on Wednesday before the region's Transportation Planning Board. Approval for inclusion in the regional air quality conformity analysis doesn't guarantee they'll get built, but it's a necessary step in the process and a reminder for the rest of us of what's planned. Given the time lines for some of these projects, we may look forward to traveling on them in our retirement years. Take, for example, the Route 301 Waldorf Bypass, with an estimated completion date of 2030. What the board will be asked to approve on Wednesday is a study of alternatives for upgrading and widening the highway through Waldorf or building a controlled access bypass around it, or both. The cost estimate for the project, if it gets built, is listed at $2.78 billion, or about $300 million more than the intercounty...

By Robert Thomson  |  April 17, 2007; 7:59 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (28)
Categories:  Transportation Politics  
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Taming Tourists: What Commuters Want

Readers often rise up when a writer begins to recite versus: Drivers vs. transit users, drivers vs. pedestrians, regular commuters vs. newbies ... That's what happened last week when I posted an item about tourist season in DC. Now that the two weeks of cherry blossom festivities and spring breaks have ended, I thought it might be time to reflect on what we've been through and what we'd prefer not to go through again. Although last week's posting wasn't focused specificially on how tourists use transit, many of the commenters were. Their anger was directed partly at the tourists and partly at Metro and other agencies. People said that when they try to guide tourists, the visitors snap at them. They think the agencies should provide more guidance and enforcement. For anyone who missed the discussion, here's what I thought were the main themes and some sample comments. Crowd Control:...

By Robert Thomson  |  April 16, 2007; 7:11 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Commuting  
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