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Get There: May 4, 2008 - May 10, 2008

The Weekend and Beyond

The main events this weekend are the projects at the Wilson Bridge and on Metro's Green and Yellow lines at Mount Vernon Square. Both are likely to cause delays. But watch out also for the emergency storm sewer repair on New York Avenue NE. Metro Weekend Delays The switch replacement project at Mount Vernon Square, which will cause delays on the Green and Yellow lines, began at 11 p.m. Friday and continues through Sunday night. After this, the project has three more weekends to go: May 16-18, May 30-June 1 and June 6-8. (It's always Friday night through Sunday night.) Wilson Bridge The word has gone out up and down the East Coast about the construction work and resulting delays likely to occur this weekend, from Friday night through Sunday. (There was some concern about the weather, but that's looking better and the plan is a go.) Read the details...

By Robert Thomson  |  May 9, 2008; 2:36 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Advisories  
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Awaiting Word on Wilson Bridge

[6:30 p.m. update: The weather is looking better, and the weekend project is a go.] Wilson Bridge project managers, who have scheduled a very active weekend for work on the Capital Beltway's outer loop between Springfield and the bridge, are watching the weather. They probably will make a final decision late this afternoon about whether to proceed. Under the current schedule, the outer loop would be reduced to one lane in the work zone starting at 9 o'clock tonight. Also, the four ramps to and from the outer loop at Route 1 would be closed and traffic detour. Similarly, the ramp from Telegraph Road northbound to the outer loop would close and a detour would be created. Early Saturday, according to the schedule, the ramp from I-95 northbound to the outer loop would close to divert traffic from the work zone. It would reopen when the traffic volume lessened, but...

By Robert Thomson  |  May 9, 2008; 12:32 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories  
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Emergency on NY Avenue NE

New York Avenue is likely to be a mess this weekend. The District Department of Transportation just issued this statement: At 10 o'clock this morning two inbound lanes on New York Avenue NE between Fairview Avenue and the 9th Street-Brentwood Parkway ramp closed indefinitely because of a broken storm sewer. Repairs will begin after the heavy rain leaves the area and crews can work. DDOT expects the inbound lanes will be closed throughout the weekend. I'll watch for updates and post them here. The storm sure made commuting difficult. VRE and MARC had many delayed trains and some cancellations. How was your trip? The weather should improve for the afternoon commute, as the rainfall tapers off. Watch our traffic page for updates on incidents across the region. You'll find the traffic camera views there, too....

By Robert Thomson  |  May 9, 2008; 10:37 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Advisories  
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Navigating Metrorail This Weekend

The track work and resulting delays this weekend will be quite extensive. They affect the Green, Yellow and Orange lines, but it's the Green and Yellow that will be hardest hit, because of the switch replacement project at Mount Vernon Square. You Red Line riders suffered over the winter and are getting a bit of a break right now. The transit authority estimates that between 11 p.m. Friday and the end of service on Sunday, Green and Yellow line passengers should add 30 to 45 minutes to their usual travel times between Mount Vernon Square and L'Enfant Plaza. (It's about a mile and a half between the stations. Many of you could out walk the train.) The group likely paying the most attention to this consists of baseball fans with tickets to the weekend series with the Marlins at Nationals Park, near Navy Yard Station on the Green Line. Tonight's...

By Robert Thomson  |  May 9, 2008; 6:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Metro  
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Wilson Bridge Delays This Weekend

Delays and detours at the Wilson Bridge this weekend will remind drivers of what happened before the first new span opened in the summer of 2006. As traffic planners prepare to open the second span, they are dusting off their '06 message: Expect serious delays while construction crews set up Capital Beltway lanes to align with the new bridge. Incredibly, people up and down the East Coast got the word two years ago, and most did the smart thing by dodging Washington or just staying home. I hope history repeats itself this weekend, the first of two this month for the Beltway reconfiguration. The trouble zone for drivers will stretch along the outer loop between the Springfield Interchange and the bridge. Go west around the Beltway or up I-395 to avoid the work area. Here's the plan. 9 p.m. Friday -- The outer loop will be reduced to one lane...

By Robert Thomson  |  May 8, 2008; 6:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Construction  
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Indoor-Outdoor

Got this photo from Catherine Swinson in the District, showing a scene she photographed this week with her iPhone at 11th and H streets NW, where she said a sink hole had developed. "I particularly liked the cone that was placed there," she said....

By Robert Thomson  |  May 7, 2008; 8:11 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Driving  
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Metro Outlines Track Work Plan

The transit authority has unveiled its guide for rail travel during the four weekends of track work needed to replace the switch at Mount Vernon Square. With plans this detailed, you could invade a small nation. I'll give you the link here, and just deal with a few highlights. Switch replacements and the resulting lengthy delays on train lines are unfortunate but not new. The new thing with this particular project is that it's on the main route to the new baseball stadium, so it's unclear what the impact will be -- though it can't be good. Nationals Park is nearest Navy Yard Station, on the Green Line. The switch replacement weekends overlap with two Nationals homestands: May 9, 10, 11 and June 6, 7 and 8. Here's what Metro plans to do on May 10-11 and June 7-8 (the Saturdays and Sundays) to ease congestion and waiting times: Getting...

By Robert Thomson  |  May 6, 2008; 9:36 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
Categories:  Metro  
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Signs of HOT Lane Construction

During Monday's online discussion, a reader asked, "Whatever happened to HOT lanes on 495 in VA?" Drivers on the western side of the Capital Beltway in Virginia should be seeing signs of the work now. Four areas along the Beltway that are owned by the Virginia Department of Transportation are being cleared for storage of equipment. They're at Georgetown Pike, Chain Bridge Road, Interstate 66 and Braddock Road. At the Georgetown Pike site, you'll see office trailers for the project. You'll probably be seeing them until 2012, when the HOT (high occupancy or toll) lanes are scheduled to be completed. Construction is scheduled to begin in July. Two lanes will be added to each side of the Beltway along the 14 miles from Springfield to north of the Dulles Toll Road. Then four inside lanes will be converted for use by carpoolers and buses, traveling for free, and solo drivers...

By Robert Thomson  |  May 6, 2008; 6:09 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Construction  
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Ridership, Revenues Looking Up

Because the fare and fee increases haven't discouraged people from riding Metro, the transit authority staff won't be requesting the 25 cent rise in parking fees that remained an option after the Jan. 6 hikes. But what do you make of this: Despite the largest cost increases in Metro's history, rail ridership remains strong. In fact, it didn't just hold steady, it grew 6 percent in January, 4 percent in February and 3 percent in March. The budget staff expects a 3 percent growth over the next few months, hence the confidence that Metro will hit the revenue target of $109 million by July that it sought from the higher fares and fees. At the fare hearings late last year, speaker after speaker talked about abandoning Metrorail, or at least about the prospect that many others would abandon Metrorail. Are gas prices the only explanation as to why that didn't...

By Robert Thomson  |  May 5, 2008; 3:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
Categories:  Metro  
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Most Dangerous Crossings

This week, we'll be talking about traffic jams connected to the Wilson Bridge project and transit delays because of Metro's plan to replace a switch at Mount Vernon Square. There will be forums about the Purple Line in Maryland and an announcement from Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine about how he wants to restore financing for transportation. But I'd like to start by asking you a question about pedestrian safety stemming from a letter in Sunday's Dr. Gridlock column in The Post. First, the letter. Dear Dr. Gridlock: So many people cross between corners that it is no wonder there are so many pedestrian deaths. Add to this the fact that people do not pay attention to the crosswalk signs, and there is a major problem. A gentleman walked in front of me in the middle of a block while on his cellphone last week. Downtown Silver Spring could probably support...

By Robert Thomson  |  May 5, 2008; 9:44 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (22)
Categories:  Safety  
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