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Get There: April 20, 2008 - April 26, 2008

The Weekend and Beyond

Some tips that might improve your travels. Metro Delays Track maintenance will cause delays on the Orange and Blue lines Friday night through Sunday. See the full details in this Metro statement. Have you weekend riders noticed improvements in your travels as Metro tries to make the maintenance work more tolerable? The idea is to concentrate the work and not overburden any one line. Frederick Ramps Closing At 9 o'clock Sunday night, highway workers are scheduled to close the entrance and exit ramps from eastbound Interstate 70 onto South Street (Exit 55). Workers are installing a water main under South Street as part of a $93 million interchange and highway extension project along I-70 that is scheduled to be done in fall 2009. Use exit 54 (Route 355/85) or exit 56 (Route 144) as alternate routes during the ramp closures. The ramps should reopen by 5 a.m. Monday. Hand Grips...

By Robert Thomson  |  April 25, 2008; 6:25 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (12)
Categories:  Advisories  
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Ice Storm Anger Melts Away

It was quiet. Too quiet. In fact, the Waterford reception center in Springfield was dead quiet last night, except for the sound of water flowing in a fountain that forms the centerpiece of the entrance hall. Moving slowly forward through the dimly lit corridors, alert for charging zombies, I found my way to the room set aside for the Virginia government's forum for public comments on the ice storm that froze the nearby Springfield Interchange on Feb. 12. Inside, David S. Ekern, commissioner of the Virginia Department of Transportation, was reviewing how motorists came to be stranded for eight hours or more and what his department has done since then to improve its procedures and preparations. He delivered a good talk to an audience made up mainly of VDOT officials who were there to assist in answering questions from angry citizens. There were about two VDOT officials per angry citizen....

By Robert Thomson  |  April 23, 2008; 8:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Weather  
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Metro Tests New Flooring

I've been thinking about some new flooring for the kitchen, so I stopped by National Airport Station this morning to see if I could get some decorating ideas from the transit authority. Dark rubber flooring in car 6026. (Thomson) There was Metro spokeswoman Candace Smith holding a few floor tiles for review as she ushered reporters aboard three Metrorail test cars, each with a different type of surface under foot -- but none of them a carpet. You may see these test cars roaming the system. Let me know what you think. Metro wants to know, too. Gray rubber flooring in car 6027. (Thomson) You'll see photos of the floors on this page, but you've really got to see them for yourself. Smell them, too. It's a radical change from the carpet styles -- musty old carpet styles, with colors not found in nature -- that have adorned Metro cars...

By Robert Thomson  |  April 22, 2008; 2:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Metro  
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Hearing on Montgomery Fares, Fees

The Montgomery County Council is holding a public hearing today about proposed changes in the county's transportation fares and fees. The session is at 1:30 p.m. in the 7th Floor Hearing Room, Council Office Building, 100 Maryland Ave., Rockville. The changes are part of County Executive Isiah Leggett's proposed budget for the next fiscal year, which starts in July. The proposed changes include: -- Eliminating the Ride On bus system's "Ride About" two-week pass. -- Creating a Ride On Monthly Pass, costing $25. -- Increasing the cost of the Ride On 20 Trip Ticket from $20 to $27. -- Increasing some parking fees in the Silver Spring and Wheaton parking districts....

By Robert Thomson  |  April 22, 2008; 8:40 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  transit  
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Metro Investigating Train Doors Incident

During this afternoon's online discussion, I got a note from a Metro rider about an very disturbing incident aboard a train entering Rosslyn Station. "I was in the last car of an 8 car train this morning. As the train pulled into Rosslyn, the last car did not make it into the station and was still inside the tunnel. Nonetheless, the doors were opened to offload passengers at Rosslyn. "We were left staring at the tunnel walls. Luckily, no one was hurt. The train operator either did not know that this had happened or did not acknowledge it as he proceeded to Foggy Bottom where a number of people had to get off and take the next train back. "After last week's article regarding manual operation of doors, how does a train operator know that all of the cars are aligned with the platform? Seems like this may be a...

By Robert Thomson  |  April 21, 2008; 2:43 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
Categories:  Metro  
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Ice Storm Meeting Tuesday

Has the memory of being stuck six hours or more in the frozen Springfield interchange melted with the coming of spring? Highway information on display at Northern Virginia's Traffic Management Center. (Thomson) For those who haven't forgotten the long afternoon and evening of Feb. 12, here's your chance: The Virginia Department of Transportation is holding a forum to discuss its mistakes in planning and execution during the ice storm. VDOT's presentation begins at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Waterford, 6715 Commerce St., Springfield. Public comments will follow, starting at 7:15 p.m. People who want to speak can sign up at the door. VDOT says the comments will be used to help develop a better statewide emergency response plan, so that similar traffic paralysis doesn't happen again. You'll find a copy of VDOT's interim report on its ice storm response at this link. [ Join me at 1 p.m. today for...

By Robert Thomson  |  April 21, 2008; 5:57 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Weather  
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Beltway Lanes Clear

All the lanes on the Capital Beltway at Branch Avenue in Prince George's County have been reopened following completion of the big weekend project involving construction of a flyover ramp. For 14 hours overnight, Maryland State Highway Administration crews set a dozen curved beams for the new ramp, which is part of a $52 million interchange project, improving access to the nearby Metrorail station. The entire project is scheduled for completion early next year....

By Robert Thomson  |  April 20, 2008; 1:29 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Construction  
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