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Get There: August 12, 2007 - August 18, 2007

Letter From Fed-Up Metro Rider

This letter came in on Aug. 1 from an Arlington commuter who gave up on Metro. He starts off describing a particular incident, but it wasn't this one thing that led him to switch to his car. I'm a big fan of transit, but I know that day-after-day crowding and delays on Metro wear people down. See what you think of a fellow commuter's thought process. Dear Dr. Gridlock: Tonight on my commute from Navy Yard to Clarendon, I saw an altercation on the Orange Line. As we approached Rosslyn, a male rider started to try to get to the doors a few seconds before the train stopped. As the train was packed, I can't say I blamed him. More than once I've missed exiting my train at Clarendon because of the number of folks clustered around the doors. Unfortunately for this gentleman, he stumbled and bumped into a woman....

By Robert Thomson  |  August 17, 2007; 5:17 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Metro  
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Warning Sign Added Before Beltway Ramp

Maryland's highway administration said today that it took a step to help drivers confused by the new traffic pattern at a Capital Beltway exit in Silver Spring. A new message board is in place before Exit 29 on the outer loop reading "MD 193 east and west - use exit 29." Motorists who follow those directions will arrive at a rebuilt ramp, now controlled by a traffic light, which takes drivers either east or west onto Route 193 (University Boulevard). Watch for rough pavement at Beltway's new Exit 29 intersection with University Boulevard. (Robert Thomson) The green overhead signs on the outer loop had been changed to reflect the new pattern, in which the rebuilt ramp does the job formerly performed by two ramps, which were designated A and B. The second one, which used to take drivers east on University toward Langley Park, is now closed. "Before the [rebuilt]...

By Robert Thomson  |  August 16, 2007; 1:04 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Construction  
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Give Them a Brake

The Maryland State Highway Administration yesterday urged drivers to be cautious when they pass through work zones following the deaths of two members of a highway crew and the injury of three other men on Route 29 in Burtonsville this week. The five, employees of PDI Sheetz of Linthicum Heights, were working on a bridge patching project along Route 29 over the Patuxent River. Manuel De Jesus Gonzalez-Geronimo, 31, was driving a north on Route 29 at about 1 p.m. on Monday when his van struck a truck, then pinned the five workers who were sitting on a guardrail north of Route 198, near the Howard County line, The Post reported. Martin Ruffin, 30, of Baltimore and James Cronin, 37, of Glen Burnie were fatally injured. Two other men are in critical condition. Gonzalez-Geronimo, who police said is an unlicensed driver in the country illegally, fled after the accident but...

By Robert Thomson  |  August 15, 2007; 4:43 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Construction  
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Use Caution at Beltway Interchange

For many drivers used to taking the exit from the Beltway's outer loop onto University Boulevard in Montgomery County, the new traffic pattern will come as a complete surprise. Old ramp to eastbound University Boulevard now shut. (Robert Thomson) The new ramp from the Capital Beltway outer loop to University Boulevard (Exit 29) is completely operational now, including the traffic light at the top of the ramp that controls traffic heading east and west on University. I drove it three times this morning, and it seemed to work fine. On the ramp, two lanes go east and two go west. But if you're used to the old traffic pattern at that Silver Spring interchange, which involved an Exit A and an Exit B, then watch out: The second ramp, the Exit B that used to take drivers east toward Langley Park and College Park, is now closed. This eliminates a...

By Robert Thomson  |  August 15, 2007; 12:07 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Construction  
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Unpleasant Epilogue to Movie

If you're going to this week's outdoor film festival at Strathmore Hall in North Bethesda, remember that the movies are free, but the parking in the Metro garage is not. Dear Dr. Gridlock: Here is a complaint I just sent to Metro. I was too annoyed to send it Saturday, but I've cooled down enough to be coherent now. "From about 10:40 p.m. until 11:23 p.m. Friday night, I was trapped in the parking garage at Grovsenor-Strathmore station. Someone who walked to the exit to see what was going on said that all 4 exit gates were blocked by cars that did not have [SmarTrip] cards. I don't know how many people were inconvenienced -- well over a hundred from what I could see. You need to authorize parking employees to let cars out -- even if you lose a few parking fares -- rather than hold numerous customers hostage...

By Robert Thomson  |  August 15, 2007; 5:02 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (33)
Categories:  Events  
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Whitehurst Ramp Closed

The ramp from Interstate 66 and the Potomac River Freeway to the Whitehurst Freeway is shut until Aug. 24 for maintenance and emergency repairs, the District Department of Transportation says. DDOT plans to close the ramp again during a second phase of the project during September and October. On two Fridays, Sept. 7 and Sept. 21, the ramp will be closed from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Then it will be shut down again from Monday, Oct. 1, through Friday, Oct. 5. Here's the detour plan from I-66/Potomac Freeway (watch for signs): -- Make a left to exit onto Rock Creek Parkway, -- Bear right at the yield sign on 27th Street NW, -- Turn left onto Whitehurst Freeway. Thanks to blogger "Woodley Park" for pointing out that I had omitted this project from my list of traffic advisories in a previous entry. Woodley also said that the ramp closure...

By Robert Thomson  |  August 14, 2007; 5:01 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (14)
Categories:  Construction  
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Accident Blocks Lanes on U.S. 29

A serious accident occurred Northbound on Route 29 at Dustin Road just south of the Patuxent River. Lanes are blocked each way, according to Maptuit....

By washingtonpost.com editors  |  August 13, 2007; 1:49 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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New Light at Beltway Ramp

Drivers should be on the lookout this week for a new traffic signal at University Boulevard and the Capital Beltway in Silver Spring. It's part of a $1.6 million reconstruction project that is still just a little more than half done, but many readers have been asking what's up here. Their basic question is, Why do we need another traffic light? What the state hopes this will do is improve safety and ease congestion on the Beltway's outer loop at a cloverleaf interchange designed for a bygone era. Drivers entering and exiting the outer loop have been using the same merge lane, creating a tight weaving pattern in which they have to make split second guesses about what other drivers are going to do while rapidly accelerating or decelerating (or sometimes both). Police recorded 11 crashes there from 2003 to 2005, said Chuck Gischlar, a spokesman for the Maryland State...

By Robert Thomson  |  August 13, 2007; 5:09 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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