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Get There: February 24, 2008 - March 1, 2008

Red Line Revisited

Stuck inside a tunnel with the Red Line blues again: All that stuff that happened last weekend is going to happen again, starting at 9 o'clock Friday night and continuing through midnight Sunday. Replacement of a switch at Van Ness Station means that inbound and outbound Red Line trains will be taking turns sharing a single track around the work zone in upper northwest Washington. That's a popular route for many people getting to and from restaurants, movies, games and other entertainments. Last weekend, I heard from many riders angered by the delays. (Metro says add at least 30 minutes to the time it normally takes on your Red Line trip.) The transit authority, which had extra staffers out on the line, heard your complaints, but it thinks its service plan is about as good as it can get. These are Metro's suggestions for busing around the work zone: L2...

By Robert Thomson  |  February 29, 2008; 4:49 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Metro  
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Another Blow To Northern Virginia

Northern Virginia, a cash cow for the Commonwealth and for the United States, can't catch a break from either the state or the federal government on improving its transportation system. Today, the state Supreme Court ruled that the financing system that was on track to provide $50 million a year for Metro, $25 million a year for the Virginia Railway Express and improvements to Routes 1, 7, 28 and 123 among other roads, must be scrapped. The Northern Virginia Transportation Authority's main hope for recovering the lost revenue is for the General Assembly to act before its session ends in Richmond. Anyone who recalls the struggle to win that taxing power last year will understand how difficult Phase 2 will be. Last month, it was the federal government weighing in on the plan to bring Metrorail service through Tysons and eventually on to Dulles. The Federal Transit Administration practically drove...

By Robert Thomson  |  February 29, 2008; 3:17 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (30)
Categories:  Transportation Politics  
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The Thin Green Line

The District's plan for parking on the streets around the new Nationals Park and the Nationals' plan for parking in the nearby garages and lots shows how heavily they will be relying on Metro's Green people mover. This will be Washington's first experience in the modern era with a large urban arena served by only one rail line. The program laid out in Daniel LeDuc's Post story today had better work. Delays on the Green Line during the evening rush when a night game also is scheduled will add to the crowding at the Metro Center, L'Enfant Plaza and Gallery Place transfer stations. Metro's board of directors today approved a plan to enhance bus service linking Union Station, Eastern Market and Navy Yard, which should relieve some of that pressure, because riders will be able to board the bus from stations on the Red, Blue and Orange lines. Aside from...

By Robert Thomson  |  February 28, 2008; 8:28 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (34)
Categories:  Stadium  
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I-66 Ramp Closed Today

The Virginia Department of Transportation issued this traffic alert: Interstate 66 westbound exit ramp 43A to Route 29 south will be closed from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday to allow the I-66 widening project to demolish portions of the structure over the ramp. Detour: Use exit 43B to northbound Route 29, bear left on the ramp, turn left at the light onto southbound Route 29....

By Robert Thomson  |  February 28, 2008; 4:31 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories  
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Will Stadium Overwhelm Transit?

There's a major transportation challenge coming this spring in the District: Getting people to and from, or around, the new baseball stadium. This letter from a Navy Yard commuter explores one important aspect. Dear Dr. Gridlock: I wish to address the problem of baseball stadium traffic, and more pointly the problem of getting spectators to and from the Nationals games. Currently it is expected that all of the spectators would get to and from the games by taking the train and getting off at Navy Yard Station. This is a little rinky-dink station with a little rinky-dink platform that handles only one line. One solution is to utilize the buses to take the pressure off Navy Yard, and it has been suggested that everybody be encouraged to take the N22. The problem with this is that to find the stop you have to exit the other side of Navy Yard...

By Robert Thomson  |  February 27, 2008; 8:32 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (47)
Categories:  Congestion  
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Kaine: Ice Storm Response "Abysmal"

"VDOT has felt my wrath," Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine said on WTOP radio this morning in response to a question about the Primary Day ice storm. He said the Virginia Department of Transportation is conducting "an intensive evaluation" of that nightmare afternoon and evening when commuters were stuck as long as seven hours, most notably on the 50 bridges and ramps that make up the Springfield Interchange. The report will be "transparent and open to the public," Kaine said. "My VDOT did an abysmal job dealing with that weather on Primary Day, he told the radio audience on his monthly "Ask the Governor" show. The station played a recording of traffic reporter Bob Marbourg announcing, "This is a wakeup call to everybody out there in a salt truck. ... Across the region, we are hearing from callers that the bridge decks are freezing up." That was at about 3...

By Robert Thomson  |  February 26, 2008; 10:54 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Transportation Politics  
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Weekend Frustrations on Red Line

Guys like Ben Ross, the president of the Action Committee for Transit, are among Metro's best friends. They are true believers in transit. So when Ross and his Montgomery County group have a complaint about transit, you notice. Ross is among the many people angry about the delays and crowding on the Red Line this weekend, the first of four weekends for a major track repair project at the Van Ness Station. He made public he sent to Metro General Manager John B. Catoe Jr. Dear Mr. Catoe: Trains ran on 30 minute headways Saturday night on the Red Line due to single tracking between Friendship Heights and Dupont Circle. I was on an inbound train last night that was offloaded at Friendship Heights and told to wait for the next train coming in 15 minutes. This is an unacceptable level of service at a busy time for Metro; boardings...

By Robert Thomson  |  February 25, 2008; 2:57 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
Categories:  Metro  
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What Would You Pay? And How?

How much would you pay to stay out of traffic congestion? In today's Post, Eric Weiss writes about the plans to build the high occupancy or toll (HOT) lanes in Virginia along the west side of the Capital Beltway and along I-95/395. Since the goal is to keep the extra lanes free of congestion and maintain highway speeds, there's no limit on what the tolls can be. Estimates are that they will be a dollar a mile during rush periods, but that's not a cutoff. You get to put the old equation "Time is Money" into practice. Every day. Sluggers hate the HOT lanes because they believe this will end their informal and highly successful system of carpooling. That's a separate question. For the majority of people who drive alone, how much time would you save on your trip if you could travel the interstate part at a consistent speed...

By Robert Thomson  |  February 25, 2008; 8:02 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (25)
Categories:  Congestion  
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