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Get There: November 25, 2007 - December 1, 2007

Slick Tracks Slowed Morning Metrorail

The trains are back up to their normal speed now, but for a few hours this morning, Metrorail dropped speeds in many areas because the tracks were unusually slippery. It was a combination of falling leaves and morning dew. On the last day of November, leaves are still coming down. Along many sections of the above-ground tracks, the combination of leaves and dew creates a slickness that makes it more difficult to start and stop the trains. (This contributes to another routine problem on train cars: the flattening of wheels because of irregular wear. Sometimes they have to be taken into the shop for rounding.) Metro spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said in a statement that for safety, Metro slowed the trains from their normal operating speed of 55 mph down to 30 mph in the areas around 27 of the transit system's 86 stations. This widespread speed restriction was in effect...

By Robert Thomson  |  November 30, 2007; 9:40 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Metro  
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The Weekend and Beyond

Army-Navy Traffic Watch out for heavy traffic on Interstate 95 in Baltimore on Saturday. About 71,000 people will be going to the annual Army-Navy football game at the Ravens stadium. Parking lots open at 7 a.m., and kickoff is at 12:20 p.m. The heaviest interstate traffic is likely to be on the approaches to Russell Street (Exit 52) and Interstate 395 (Exit 53) about three hours before game time. Also, watch out for the construction that has narrowed the lanes on the Baltimore Washington Parkway at Russell Street. If you're not going to the game, consider taking I-895 or I-695 east to get around downtown Baltimore and reconnect with I-95 either north or south of the city. For up to date traffic information on Saturday, look at traffic.md.gov. If you are going to the game, get there early. You can find information about Baltimore City street closings and parking restrictions...

By Robert Thomson  |  November 30, 2007; 5:13 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories  
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HOV Restriction May Return

The Virginia Department of Transportation wants to restore the carpool restrictions on a three-mile stretch of I-395's southbound HOV lanes that have been open to everyone during the afternoon since 1982. If the Commonwealth Transportation Board approves the move at its Dec. 13 meeting, the restriction will be back in effect in mid-January. That southbound stretch was open to all traffic between 3:30 and 6 p.m. to ease congestion through the Springfield Interchange. But now that the interchange has been rebuilt, VDOT thinks traffic flow would be better served by restoring the HOV-3 restriction. In the current set up, vehicles that don't have three people on board are allowed to enter the HOV lanes at a ramp south of Duke Street and continue to the Old Keene Mill Road exit or to the flyover leading to the general traffic lanes. The rebuilt interchange has 11 lanes to handle local and...

By Robert Thomson  |  November 29, 2007; 5:01 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Driving  
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Detour on Foxhall Today

After the morning rush today, Foxhall Road NW will be shut to northbound traffic between MacArthur Boulevard and Reservoir Road. The closure, scheduled to last from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., will allow the District Department of Transportation to pave the roadway between MacArthur and Greenwich Parkway. The northbound traffic on Foxhall will be sent to MacArthur and to Reservoir, then back to Foxhall. Southbound traffic will still be able to use Foxhall, DDOT said....

By Robert Thomson  |  November 29, 2007; 4:32 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories  
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Gas Main Break Closes Route 1 in Va.

Route 1 is closed in both directions at Monroe Ave. in Alexandria due to a natural gas leak, causing signficant delays, according to washingtonpost.com's Traffic service....

By Washington Post Editors  |  November 28, 2007; 4:19 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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Metro Cuts Weekend Service

Commenter "Jay" on the previous blog entry has rightly reminded me that I should call your attention to the story in today's Post by Lena Sun about the service cutback Metro initiated last weekend: Riders this winter will see more four-car trains and fewer six-car trains. Oddly, this was not something Metro chose to announce to riders. It just happened. Metro routinely announces bus detours for weekend events or plans to take an elevator out of service for repairs. But the only reason you know about the four-car trains is that Lena Sun went after the story. Weekend Metrorail service has always been among the top complaints among my readers. Might as well drive, they say, if the service is going to be that poor. The problem for riders has been the maintenance and rail car testing program that forces trains to share one track for travel in both directions....

By Robert Thomson  |  November 28, 2007; 3:49 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Metro  
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D.C. Shows Off New Bus Shelters

At more than 40 spots across the District, bus passengers await their rides under new aluminum and glass shelters. More than 600 of them are on the way under a deal the city signed with Clear Channel Adshel. New shelter design. (Clear Channel) On Tuesday morning, Mayor Adrian Fenty and Transportation Director Emeka Moneme showed off one of the new ones outside a Popeye's near the intersection of Benning Road NE and East Capitol Street. The new style has great curb appeal. Moneme pointed to one of the old brown, glass-less shelters across Benning Road, and the contrast was immediately obvious. The new one has a modern, urban look. Plus, it has information. The big new bus map is another breakthrough in shelter design. And someday, we all hope, the panel that runs along the top of the shelter will display Next Bus information, giving riders a realistic idea of...

By Robert Thomson  |  November 28, 2007; 5:49 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
Categories:  transit  
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Where to Live?

Letters from people planning a move to Washington offer a chance to think about our transportation assets and liabilities. Here's one I'm hoping you can help me answer. Dr. Gridlock: I am only now discovering your column after years of reading the Washington Post, and that's because I'm moving to DC next month! I'll be working in Arlington, and living there for a month until I find a place. I was most intrigued by what I read about VA vs. MD commuting. It was from January and I was wondering if there's any updates on this debate and where I might find more information to help us decide. Just because I'll be working in Arlington, I'm not yet convinced that I should move my family there. My wife used to live in DC more than a decade ago and favors Maryland. I only know that I do not want to...

By Robert Thomson  |  November 27, 2007; 5:32 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Commuting  
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Easier Return After Thanksgiving

Post reporters Bill Brubaker and Ian Shapira talked to travelers and travel experts on Sunday who described the return traffic from Thanksgiving as surprisingly light for what is often the worst day of the year for long distance riders. My own experience with the Wednesday before and the Sunday after Thanksgiving, plus advice from readers and transportation experts, has led me avoid the roads on those days. We've certainly seen people spread out their departure days and times over the past few years. But the return trips still were squeezed into a much narrower window, as most people still lingered with family and friends until Sunday. This year, I left Washington for Cape Cod on the Saturday before Thanksgiving and returned the Saturday after. On the return trip, we encountered 11 miles of heavy traffic getting through New Haven, Conn., and I thought it would remain so for the next...

By Robert Thomson  |  November 26, 2007; 7:44 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Getaway  
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