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Get There: May 11, 2008 - May 17, 2008

The Weekend and Beyond

Metro Track Work The four-weekend switch repair project at Mount Vernon Square on the Green and Yellow lines will take the Memorial Day weekend off, so riders won't have to worry about delays of more than half an hour next weekend. The work, which got started last weekend, resumes tonight and continues through Sunday night. Then it will begin again on May 30-June 1 and conclude on June 6-8. Andrews Air Show The annual air show at Andrews Air Force Base in Prince George's County is this weekend. Visitors can park at FedEx Field and take shuttle buses into Andrews. Shuttles also will run from the Branch Avenue Metro station at the end of the Green Line. Here's a description of Metro's services to get you there and back. 11th Street SW Bridge The District on Mondayplans to start an 18-month rehabilitation project on part of the 11th Street SW...

By Robert Thomson  |  May 16, 2008; 12:21 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (33)
Categories:  Advisories  
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Another Weekend of Track Work

Metrorail once again this weekend will be working on the switch replacement at Mount Vernon Square, creating delays for many passengers on the Yellow and Green lines. The project, which began last weekend is a four-weekend job all together. (It will skip over Memorial Day weekend.) Papal mass at Nationals Park on April 17 tested Navy Yard Station and Green Line. (Thomson) Here's a detailed description from the transit authority of what to expect. This weekend, the Nationals are away, so there won't be the problem of extra crowding on the Green Line to reach Navy Yard Station. But even last weekend, when the team was here, there was some praise for Metro's performance. See some of the comments during Monday's online discussion with Post reporters Lena H. Sun and Eric M. Weiss. Here's a snippet: "I just wanted to say that even with the track work on the Yellow/Green...

By Robert Thomson  |  May 16, 2008; 9:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Metro  
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This Is Bike to Work Day

Convoys of bicyclists from across the region will be heading into downtown Washington early this morning for the annual Bike to Work Day. Some of them will be doing this for the first time, because the event is designed in part to get drivers to cross the threshold and become bikers. If you're not joining them, watch out for them. There will be thousands, and some may be a little wobbly. If you are riding with them, you'll be heading to one of many pitstops, or rallying points, for the convoys. The convoys follow certain corridors, mostly from the Virginia and Maryland suburbs, to Freedom Plaza on Pennsylvania Avenue between 13th and 14th streets NW in downtown Washington. Some may be interested in signing up for classes in Confident City Cycling....

By Robert Thomson  |  May 16, 2008; 4:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Biking  
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Ceremony Ends at Wilson Bridge

The ceremony dedicating the second new span of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge has ended, after engaging more of the region's attention than planners intended. The traffic jams on the bridge's Beltway approaches, which stretched for miles this morning, have eased. (Get updates and camera views on our traffic page.) During the ceremony, Sen. John W. Warner (R-Va.) had the honor of turning the final bolt into place. Other federal and local officials who helped get us this far look on. Some of the construction workers who built the two new spans also attended the ceremony marking this landmark in the region's history. Looking at some of our current problems -- the Dulles rail financing, or Virginia's struggle to finance road and transit programs -- with the perspective of the bridge project's history gives some reasons for hope about the future. Here's a chronology of the bridge's difficult birth, as it...

By Robert Thomson  |  May 15, 2008; 1:22 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Wilson Bridge  
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Watch for Wilson Bridge Traffic

Avoid the Wilson Bridge this morning. All the lanes are open, but lots of drivers are gawking at the setup for today's dedication ceremony on the new span. Camera views show very heavy traffic on both sides of the Beltway leading up to the bridge. Once drivers get past the bridge, traffic is fine. (Our traffic page includes camera views and incident reports.) The ceremony, dedicating the second span of the bridge, is scheduled for late this morning. Drivers on the already-opened span, which right now carries all of the Beltway traffic, won't be able to see the ceremony. They're looking at a bunch of tents, chairs and TV trucks. While the dedication ceremony is today, the new span won't open till the end of the month. There are no changes in traffic patterns today, just rubbernecking congestion. The dedication ceremony for the first new span also occured on a...

By Robert Thomson  |  May 15, 2008; 9:06 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories  
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Northern Virginians Hear Kaine Plan

Looking out into the audience at the Prince William County government center last night, Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine said he thought he saw some of the same people who attended his town hall meeting on transportation shortly after he was elected. Back then, with four sessions of the General Assembly ahead of him, he was seeking ideas on how to bust some of the worst traffic congestion in the nation. After several rushes at that goal, he was back last night for what has become the political equivalent of a Hail Mary pass late in the game. Comments from the crowd of about 200 in Woodbridge illustrated his problem: Many people struggle with traffic congestion so bad it diminishes their enjoyment of what otherwise would be a pretty good life in Northern Virginia. And many people wouldn't pay to make it better. In explaining his plan to restore money...

By Robert Thomson  |  May 14, 2008; 2:54 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Transportation Politics  
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More Road Work Under Way

After months of relatively light activity because of cool temperatures, we're beginning to see roadway paving pick up. Here's one such sign of the season: The Maryland State Highway Administration plans to begin a $1.3 million paving project tonight along Route 32 in the Clarksville area of Howard County. The work, scheduled to be completed by the end of June, will be done along two and a half miles of Route 32 between West Linden Church Road and Clarksville Pike. Watch for single-lane closures between 7 p.m. and 5 a.m., Sunday through Thursday nights. Watch for the construction workers, too. Route 32 in this area is used by more than 29,000 vehicles a day, the SHA says, and it points out that headlight use is mandatory in this area. If you have any questions about traffic operations along Route 32 or other state routes in Howard County, you can call...

By Robert Thomson  |  May 14, 2008; 10:46 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Construction  
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Far Pavilion Roils Radiohead Fans

The anguished cries of Radiohead fans bounced around the Internet yesterday as many bemoaned the difficulties of reaching and leaving remote Nissan Pavilion in Bristow for the band's Sunday night concert. The severe rainstorm had a lot to do with it, but Mother Nature did not place an ampitheater for 25,000 people in the outer suburbs of Washington where the road network was inadequate and public transportation non-existent. Here's how one concert-goer described the Sunday night scene to Post reporters Lena Sun and Eric Weiss during their online discussion Monday: Fairfax, Va.: Wow, I will NEVER complain about Metro after an event again, compared to my Nissan Pavilion experience last night. We were in our car at 11 p.m. and did not get on the interstate until 1 a.m. It seemed like they routed everyone in circles getting out of there. Now I was planning for at least an hour...

By Robert Thomson  |  May 13, 2008; 6:31 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (68)
Categories:  Events  
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Is Jaywalking Safer?

The final letter in my May 4 column was from a driver worried about jaywalkers, and it proved to be a hot topic among drivers and pedestrians. Included in the many responses was this defense of jaywalking, and I wanted to know what you thought. Dear Dr. Gridlock: Philip Lalka of Wheaton suggested in his letter that police should step up efforts to ticket pedestrians who fail to use crosswalks. As someone who routinely jaywalks, I feel I have to respond. I think the public would be better served if police increased efforts to ticket the drivers who force me and others to cross streets illegally. I have never come close to being hit by a vehicle while jaywalking. I have however, had several close calls while using properly designated cross walks. Drivers often run red lights, turn right on red without stopping, even at intersections where it clearly says...

By Robert Thomson  |  May 13, 2008; 6:28 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (38)
Categories:  Safety  
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Plan Would Restore Transportation Authority

Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine today called for a special session of the General Assembly on June 23 to consider his plan to restore the revenue taken away by a court decision earlier this year. It also would restore the spending power of the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority. The authority's sources of revenue -- money that was going to be spent on road and transit projects across the region -- vanished with the court decision. Kaine says his fix would raise over $1 billion annually throughout Virginia by fiscal year 2012 without increasing the gas tax. You can read the details of Kaine's plan in this statement from the governor's office. Kaine's plan not only raises money statewide but also includes taxes specific to the most congested areas, Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads. The most prominent feature for Northern Virginians is a one percent increase in the sales tax, except...

By Robert Thomson  |  May 12, 2008; 1:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
Categories:  Transportation Politics  
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Lingering Weather Problems

Many of the weather-related problems on the roads are spotted on our traffic map. But drivers in Prince William County will have to deal with one such problem for days to come: All four lanes of Dale Boulevard west of Mapledale Avenue are closed because the roadway has washed, the Virginia Department of Transportation reports. The is about four miles from the Dale Boulevard/I-95 interchange. The washout, at about 4 o'clock this morning, left a 20-foot deep by 25-foot wide hole. Police blocked the boulevard at Mapledale Avenue and Nassau Drive. The road is likely to remain closed for at least a week to let the area dry, figure out the cause of the problem and fix it. Detour: Heading west on Dale, take Ridgefield Road to the Prince William Parkway to Hoadly Road back to Dale. Heading east on Dale, take Hoadly Road to Prince William Parkway to Ridgefield...

By Robert Thomson  |  May 12, 2008; 12:52 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Weather  
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Purple Line Planning Continues

While the Dulles rail project has gained the most attention lately, one of the region's other transit projects, the Purple Line in Montgomery and Prince George's counties, keeps chugging through its study phase. The Maryland Transit Administration, also in charge of MARC, Baltimore's light rail and the commuter buses among other things, is holding another series of open houses to discuss the Purple Line. Three of the sessions are this week. The schedule: -- Today at West Lanham Hills Recreation Center, 7700 Decatur Road, Landover Hills; -- Wednesday at East Silver Spring Elementary School, 631 Silver Spring Ave., Silver Spring; -- Thursday at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School cafeteria, 4301 East-West Highway, Bethesda. All are from 5 to 8 p.m. You'll see some new, bigger numbers on potential ridership and some new estimates on travel times along the line, which still could be either a light rail or a rapid bus...

By Robert Thomson  |  May 12, 2008; 12:23 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  transit  
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New York Avenue Lanes Open

All the lanes on New York Avenue NE have reopened, the District Department of Transportation announced late this afternoon. Crews have completed repairs to the slope failure that began on Friday and the three lanes in the 1100 and 1200 blocks of the avenue are back in business....

By Robert Thomson  |  May 11, 2008; 6:51 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Advisories  
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