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Get There: March 2, 2008 - March 8, 2008

Renewed Focus on Safety

The region's transportation and law enforcement officials are about to launch their 2008 Street Smart campaign for pedestrian safety. It's both an educational and enforcement effort, directed at pedestrians and bikers as well as motorists. The campaign, which began in 2002, responds to these sad facts: On average in our region, about six pedestrians are injured each day, and a pedestrian is killed every 4.4 days. Pedestrians account for a quarter of traffic fatalities What's your pedestrian safety tip? Many safety improvements are visible on our roads, including better crosswalks and traffic calming methods. But here's a letter I got from a reader illustrating things we can do to protect ourselves, without waiting for the government or the police to take action on our behalf. Dear Dr. Gridlock: When it is dark or during inclement weather, it is quite an achievement that the Metro bus drivers are able to simultaneously...

By Robert Thomson  |  March 5, 2008; 6:16 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (19)
Categories:  Safety  
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Va. Transportation Taxes Halted Today

Because of last week's decision by the Virginia Supreme Court, the state and the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority will stop collecting the transportation taxes and fees that took effect in January under the plan passed last year by the General Assembly. The authority is working on a plan for refunds on the taxes already collected, but doesn't have anything to announce on that yet. None of the money collected has been spent. In fact, the authority has a very small staff at this point and asks people to hold off on calling its office, because it can't answer individual questions over the phone and really doesn't have anything to add at the moment. Friday's court ruling said the legislature did not have the right under Virginia's constitution to grant taxing powers to the transportation authority. The ruling did not void the authority itself, which was created under separate state legislation...

By Robert Thomson  |  March 4, 2008; 12:06 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Transportation Politics  
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Updates on MD Bridge Projects

The Maryland State Highway Administration sent along this information about the longterm bridge replacement project on Kenilworth Avenue at Route 50 in Prince George's after noticing a reader had asked for an update. Replacement of the parallel bridges, which began in late-summer 2006, is now more than half done and should be completed by next winter. Traffic switched to the bridge that has been completed in December, and workers are now demolishing the other bridge. Meanwhile, they are doing some pile driving and concrete work this month on the replacement structure. During the summer, SHA says, concrete will be poured for a new bridge deck. All during construction, three lanes in each direction of Kenilworth stay open, but watch for lane closures between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. This is a major traffic junction -- two heavily traveled commuter routes -- and the going is rough through...

By Robert Thomson  |  March 4, 2008; 5:40 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Construction  
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Parkway Bridge Update

Since the big reconstruction project started in January on the George Washington Parkway's Humpback Bridge, I haven't heard many complaints from drivers, bikers or walkers. And I hope that means that the work so far has not caused much difficulty. This week's activity: On the southbound side, the right lane is closed from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Lane closures are never permitted during the peak periods, though just the presence of such a project is likely to cause slowdowns during times when the traffic volume is high. This project is still just getting underway, and isn't scheduled to be finished till spring 2010. Each week, the Federal Highway Administration, which is doing the job in conjunction with the National Park Service, posts an update on its Humpback Bridge page. You can find more details about the project and its goals on this page. Right now, the...

By Robert Thomson  |  March 3, 2008; 1:46 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Construction  
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