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Get There: July 22, 2007 - July 28, 2007

Detour to a Dead End

Drivers perplexed by the detour signs guiding them around the shutdown Grosvenor Lane Bridge over Interstate 270 in Bethesda should find them changed by the end of today, and that will be a good thing. Follow this detour sign on Old Georgetown ... Dear Dr. Gridlock: Laughably, but true, the Maryland State Highway Administration has placed signs on Old Georgetown Road that lead drivers to the construction site rather than around it. After going a mile out of their way, a driver must make a U-Turn and return to Old Georgetown Road. Then, there are no signs leading them to Tuckerman Lane or West Cedar Lane. It is a long detour, with many possible incorrect turns for those not familiar with the area or without GPS systems. Many signs are needed. Rochelle Follender Bethesda Fortunately, I had my GPS on Thursday afternoon, for indeed, just as our letter writer says,...

By Robert Thomson  |  July 27, 2007; 5:24 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Construction  
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Revolt of the Slugs

Last night at Forest Park High School in Woodbridge, Dennis Morrison had to fend off a slug attack. There were about a hundred of them, and it was a near thing. For a while, he was surrounded. And he couldn't give them what they wanted. What had drawn them to the school was a common enough sort of government presentation about an upcoming transportation project: Virginia's plan to ease congestion along the Interstate 95/395 corridor south of Washington. The session was supposed to begin with an open house in which people entered a large room and wandered from display to display asking questions about particular aspects of the project. Then they would gather in an auditorium where state officials would provide an overview of the work. Click on picture for a biography of Dennis Morrison. (VDOT photo) And it did go like that -- for the first few minutes. Then...

By Robert Thomson  |  July 26, 2007; 7:35 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
Categories:  Transportation Politics  
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How Do You Fix a Bus Service?

The Metro buses that run the 30s routes along Wisconsin and Pennsylvania avenues are among the most popular and problematic in the transit system. As they travel between the Naylor Road and Friendship Heights Metro stations, carrying about 20,000 riders on weekdays, they make 116 stops and pass through 130 traffic signals. They do that in some of the worst traffic congestion that an urban area can provide over about 14 miles. The 30s line gives Metro a chance to study most of the challenges a bus system can face, along with many of the solutions planners can envision. Last night, the transit authority and the District Department of Transportation held the second of two forums that drew on another source of solutions: the riders. "What do you need this bus to do?" said James Hamre, a Metro senior planner working on the study. Isn't that a refreshing way to...

By Robert Thomson  |  July 25, 2007; 7:38 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (30)
Categories:  Metro  
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Traffic Report on Legion Bridge

Back in May, I said that the traffic backup on the south side of the American Legion Bridge was the worst construction-related congestion in our region. Today, that burden has shifted over to I-295 traffic around the 11th Street Bridge, because of the summertime shutdown of the Frederick Douglass Bridge. (Why is it always bridges?) The backup on the Beltway's inner loop and on the northbound George Washington Parkway was bad Monday and today. But that's a significant improvement from May. A couple of things have changed, of course: It's summer and some commuters are on vacation. The Maryland State Highway Administration, which had created a staging area for the bridge painting project on its southeastern side and shortened up the parkway's merge lane, realigned the work zone to lengthen the merge somewhat. The most significant development for commuters who use this parkway-Beltway route between Arlington and Bethesda-Rockville-Gaithersburg is that...

By Robert Thomson  |  July 24, 2007; 9:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
Categories:  Construction  
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Express Toll Lanes in Your Future?

This letter contains an excellent summary of questions travelers have raised about the proposal to create express toll lanes along I-95/395 where drivers are used to seeing the High Occupancy Vehicle lanes. This week a set of forums in Northern Virginia will offer a chance to get some answers and ask more questions about this project, which is bound to change the commute for many thousands of people. Dear Dr. Gridlock: I'm concerned that the conversion of I-95/I-395 HOV lanes to HOT [high occupancy or toll] lanes is a fait accompli and that commuters do not understand the ramifications. I use the HOV lanes daily from Springfield to the Pentagon at 6:30 a.m. and back to Springfield at 5 p.m. Issues: The toll will be in place all the time. Weekends, nights and middays are no longer free. This removes the incentive for commuters to travel early in the morning...

By Robert Thomson  |  July 23, 2007; 9:53 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Commuting  
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