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Get There: June 3, 2007 - June 9, 2007

All Lanes Reopened on GW Parkway

All lanes are now open on the George Washington Memorial Parkway following an earlier incident involving an overturned vehicle, according to traffic alerts provided by Arlington County....

By washingtonpost.com editors  |  June 8, 2007; 11:28 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Congestion  
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Is It Summer Yet?

It's after Memorial Day, which we always tell our readers is the start of summer vacation season, when our transportation concerns shift from commuting to long range travel. So far, I'm not seeing it. Are you? Here's what I am seeing: The roads I've traveled on during the past week, like the Capital Beltway, I-66, Routes 7 and 123, East-West Highway, Route 29, Wisconsin Avenue, Connecticut Avenue -- they all seem just as crowded as usual. Metro, too: The midday trains on the Red, Green and Orange lines have plenty of standees. Metrorail reported three exceptionally crowded days this week.Thursday was the eighth highest ridership day in its history, with 793,392 trips taken. Wednesday became the seventh highest ridership day, with 796,087 trips, and Tuesday was the 11th highest, with 783,024 trips. (Metro thinks Nationals baseball had something to do with that. Not from where I was sitting at RFK...

By Robert Thomson  |  June 8, 2007; 5:06 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Commuting  
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D.C. Discusses Douglass Bridge Closing

Bottom line for commuters on the temporary closing of the Frederick Douglass Bridge this summer: "No question it's going to be painful." That was the message delivered to reporters this morning by Kathleen Penney, deputy chief engineer for the District Department of Transportation, which is in charge of the bridge reconstruction. South Capitol Street commuters who want to continue driving toward downtown Washington during the shutdown, scheduled to begin the night of July 6, will use the 11th Street Bridge as the primary detour, but also might choose to cross the Anacostia River on East Capitol Street, Benning Road or New York Avenue. If you cross at East Capitol Street you could park at RFK Stadium for $5 a day and take Metrorail or a bus downtown. An additional lane of I-295 between Suitland Parkway and the 11th Street Bridge will be paved to increase traffic capacity. I think most...

By Robert Thomson  |  June 7, 2007; 12:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Construction  
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Navigating a New Commute

I've got a request of you experienced D.C. commuters: Help me give good directions to a new Post staffer who assists me on the Dr. Gridlock columns. Mark Berman works out of our downtown Alexandria bureau. He's moving to Woodley Park. Some days, he'll be able to take Metro back and forth, but on others, he'll need his car. Like many people who have either changed jobs or changed residences, he's puzzling through his travel options. What's his best driving route? There are a few options, but they can be crowded during peak times. Should he take Rock Creek Parkway to I-66, cross the river and get onto the George Washington Parkway south? Is that the best path for traffic volume and for reliability? How about Rock Creek to the Memorial Bridge and then onto the GW Parkway southbound? Is the Park Service's construction along Rock Creek causing you drivers...

By Robert Thomson  |  June 7, 2007; 7:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
Categories:  Commuting  
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Constitution Ave. Closed Near Capitol

D.C. police have shut down Constitution Ave. in both directions between 4th St. NE and Delaware Ave. due to a suspicious package found near the Hart Senate Office Building, according to MapTuit and broadcast reports. The Metropolitan Police Department is trying to determine whether a package found at a private residence is an explosive device, according to TV reports....

By Liz Heron  |  June 6, 2007; 9:52 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Congestion  
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Motorcycle Safety Draws Attention

During a Live Online discussion on May 29 and again in my Dr. Gridlock column on Sunday, issues about motorcycle safety arose. Partly influenced by Grid Sister's work over the years with head injury victims, I said in the chat that I did not recommend motorcycling as a way of commuting to and from the District. In the Sunday column, a reader wrote in to warn other cyclists about the dangers of uneven pavement on I-270 and on other roadways under construction. Uneven paving during I-270 resurfacing drew reader concern. (Robert Thomson) Since then, I've received these two letters from cyclists who wanted to discuss aspects Dear Dr. Gridlock: There's a reason (or two) that you see more people interested in bikes here. I guess public transportation is your first love but for some people, myself included, it's not an option and the only viable alternative is motorcycling. Being a...

By Robert Thomson  |  June 6, 2007; 7:29 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (63)
Categories:  Safety  
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Tough Decision on Tysons Rail

This was one weird meeting at the Fairfax Government Center: For about an hour on Monday afternoon, the County Board of Supervisors tried to pry information about the Dulles rail project out of the county's own staff members, some of whom could not answer fully because they were sworn to secrecy about details of the pending contract. Too many secrets. They have plagued the public-private partnership deal to build the rail line. Public responsibility for building it has passed from the state of Virginia to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority. When the trains start running, it will become the responsibility of the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority to operate them. Fairfax County, which will have all the stations in the first phase of the project, will be contributing $400 million through a local funding agreement, so the Board of Supervisors must sign off on that at its June 18 meeting. If...

By Robert Thomson  |  June 5, 2007; 8:16 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (22)
Categories:  Transportation Politics  
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Fairfax Board Will Vote on Rail Line

The Fairfax County Board this afternoon decided not to delay a June 18 vote that will determine the fate of the Tysons rail project, despite concerns that it has not yet seen the contract for what will be one of the most expensive public works projects in U.S. history and one of the most important transportation programs for the future of Northern Virginia. County government staffers, upon whom the board relies for much of its information about the project, had to sign confidentiality agreements limiting their discussions with the board members. A representative of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which is in charge of the rail project that ultimately is supposed to reach Dulles Airport at a cost now estimated at $5 billion, said the the contract cannot be made public until it is complete. He said he hoped to have copies for the board members by Friday. Many board...

By Robert Thomson  |  June 4, 2007; 3:24 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Transportation Politics  
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Re-Routing Some Md. Commuter Buses

We're in the final day of the weekend lane closings on the Frederick Douglass Bridge. The outbound lanes of South Capitol Street are to reopen in time for this afternoon's rush. But the various transportation agencies that bring commuters into Washington and get them home again are making plans for the big July-August shutdown of the entire bridge for reconstruction. The latest agency to announce preparations is the Maryland Transit Administration, which operates commuter buses as well as the MARC trains. Some of the buses will have to be diverted and their schedules adjusted during the reconstruction. The transit administration is asking for comments from Southern Maryland commuters about how this should work This long-planned project is going to have a major impact on thousands of travelers, whether they drive, take Metrorail or buses, so I think Maryland is cutting it a little close in getting its passengers prepped for...

By Robert Thomson  |  June 4, 2007; 5:03 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Construction  
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