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Get There: April 27, 2008 - May 3, 2008

The Weekend and Beyond

Here are some travel tips for your weekend and the rest of May, when we'll have some big disruptions because of road and rail projects. Weekend Metro Delays The transit authority is doing track maintenance this weekend along the Orange and Blue lines, causing delays for riders. Full details are in this statement from Metro. But that's nothing compared to this next one. New Metrorail Project The transit authority is planning a switch replacement project at Mount Vernon Square that will slow travel on the Green and Yellow lines during four weekends this month and next, including two when people will be traveling to games at Nationals Park. The $475,000 project, which stems from a recommendation made by the National Transportation Safety Board following a derailment at the station, is scheduled to begin next weekend. The work will start Friday night and continue through Sunday. The other weekends are May...

By Robert Thomson  |  May 2, 2008; 11:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
Categories:  Advisories  
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Train Operators Blamed for Doors Problem

Lena H. Sun reports in today's Post on the problem you readers alerted us to concerning the train doors opening in tunnels. In the two incidents this week and last at Rosslyn Station and in other incidents, the transit authority says the operators are simply forgetting that the train is eight cars long. An eight-car train must pull up to the very front of the platform to get all the cars in the stations. Here's another letter I got about this week's incident at Rosslyn. Dear Dr. Gridlock: I was pleased to see some attention paid in your April 21 blog post about an incident where the doors of the last car in an 8-car Metro train opened while the car was still in the tunnel at Rosslyn. I was on that train and it was rather disturbing. I complained to Metro and got a good response, but this morning...

By Robert Thomson  |  May 2, 2008; 8:56 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  Metro  
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Lane Closures at Reagan National

Drivers heading for the airport from the GW Parkway are likely to encounter some new delays starting next week, and they are going to be with us for quite a while. What To Look For The left lane of the airport entrance road will be closed next to the parking garage. On the roadway leading to and from garage parking, the left lane will be closed. The "return to airport" traffic coming from the parking garage exits will be rerouted to a new ramp just beyond the old ramp. (See it on the airport's project page.) After the lane closures take effect -- and that's scheduled for Monday -- a construction crane will be set up within the parking garage. That will temporarily reduce the traffic entering the airport to one lane. The 25-space bicycle rack at Garage C will be unavailable during construction, because it's too close to the...

By Robert Thomson  |  May 1, 2008; 6:24 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Construction  
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Despite Comeback, Rail Plan Still Faces Hurdles

The Dulles rail project, a central artery in Northern Virginia's transportation plans, came back from the dead today, but remains in intensive care. The Federal Transit Administration signaled that the program to build the Metrorail line through Tysons Corner can now advance, despite the FTA's lingering concerns with the management and financing of the project. "We have sent the required 10-day notification to Congress that we intend to move the project into the Final Design stage of FTA's New Starts Process," FTA Administrator James Simpson said in a statement. "FTA will commit $158.7 million to use toward completion of a financial plan, construction plans, detailed engineering specifications and cost estimates, and other technical requirements." Here's a list of what changed since January on the FTA's scorecard. Here's the list of "buts": The FTA says it won't commit any money for construction until a set of issues are resolved. The Metropolitan...

By Robert Thomson  |  April 30, 2008; 4:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Transportation Politics  
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Train Doors Open in Tunnel Again

Again this morning, the doors on an eight-car Metro train opened while a train car was still in the tunnel outside Rosslyn Station. No one was injured, but alarming as it is for this to happen once, it now has happened twice in two weeks. Dear Dr. Gridlock: The incident on an eight-car Orange Line train at Rosslyn, in which the doors of the last car were opened into the tunnel, reported on your blog on April 21 happened again this morning. By dumb luck, my partner and I have been present for both incidents on our commute into the city from Court House. Today, at 8:19 a.m., the incident repeated itself identically. An eight-car train, which had successfully made it all the way onto the Court House platform where we boarded, pulled into Rosslyn, but the last car failed to make it into the station. The operator then opened...

By Robert Thomson  |  April 30, 2008; 1:46 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Metro  
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Free Ride Today on Va. Buses

Get to know a Northern Virginia bus today. It's free. This one-day free ride on any route in Northern Virginia was scheduled by the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission to remind commuters that the free bus option will be there again this summer, whenever a bad air day is forecast. These Code Red air quality alerts don't come very often anymore, and an alert doesn't mean that we've actually violated our air quality standards. In fact, we've done a good job avoiding that in recent summers. Still, the regional Council of Governments predicts we could have one to five alerts this summer. One way to reduce ozone pollution is to get people out of their cars and on transit. Virginia jurisdictions subsidize the free bus rides, using funds from the federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality program. Of course, the sponsors hope that you'll be enticed by the free ride and...

By Robert Thomson  |  April 30, 2008; 5:37 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  transit  
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Ball Game Shuttle Working Well

A month into the baseball season, fans and commuters seem to be having a relatively easy time dealing with the new stadium on South Capitol Street. Take the shuttle from the shuttle. The e-cruzer picks people up on south side of Nats Express bus stop.(Thomson) After a few weeks of wandering around the outside of the stadium to view the traffic and transit concerns raised by readers, I went to one of the Nationals-Mets games last week. We drove to Lot 8 on the south side of RFK Stadium, parked for free and took the free Nationals Express shuttle to Nationals Park. This was a breeze. From Lot 8 to the stadium turnstyle took 19 minutes, or about half the time it took to get a hot dog during the game. The trip back to Lot 8 after the game was similarly easy. Couple of things along the way: There...

By Robert Thomson  |  April 28, 2008; 9:29 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Stadium  
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