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Get There: May 25, 2008 - May 31, 2008

The Weekend and Beyond

Wilson Bridge Avoid it this weekend. The inner loop will be shifted over to the new span, which should be in use by midday Sunda. But during the weekend work, expect long delays heading toward Virginia. Starting at 9 p.m. Friday, the inner loop will be squeezed down to a single lane. Drivers may recall a similar weekend back in 2006, when the bridge's first new span opened. Project managers remind us that the delays that weekend were up to 90 minutes, even though the total traffic volume was reduced by more than 80 percent because drivers heard the congestion warnings. Metrorail Track maintenance on the Green, Yellow, Orange, Blue and Red lines will cause delays Friday night through Sunday as trains share a single track around the work zones. Look here for details. The switch replacement at Mount Vernon Square, continuing to cause delays on the Green and Yellow...

By Robert Thomson  |  May 30, 2008; 12:19 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories  
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DC Ending Mandatory Bike Registration

As of next week, the District government will no longer require people to register their bikes, and the police won't be authorized to stop a bicyclist for the sole purpose of checking the registration. But police and the District Department of Transportation are encouraging riders to voluntarily sign up with the National Bike Registry as an anti-theft measure. The end of mandatory registration follows amendments to the city's bicycle law. (This was the old law: "No person shall operate a bicycle in the District unless the bicycle has been validly registered as provided ... and bears a serial number, a valid registration tag, and valid registration plate ...; or unless it is validly registered in another jurisdiction, when required by applicable law of such jurisdiction, and bears readily visible evidence of being registered.") If your bike is registered by serial number in the national database, the police can check a...

By Robert Thomson  |  May 29, 2008; 11:58 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
Categories:  Biking  
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Distracted Driving on Metrorail

Talk about an accident waiting to happen: Metro trains continue to open doors on the rear cars while they're stopped in the tunnels. Ann White of Washington was among the passengers in the last car of a Red Line train heading for Glenmont and approaching Dupont Circle on Tuesday morning. While still outside the station, the train doors opened. "Fortunately, no one was standing by the car doors," she said. "There was no announcement by the train operator that anything was wrong. After the doors stood open for a little while, they closed again and the train moved forward a bit. "The doors then reopened inside the Dupont Circle Station. That was the first I realized that the rest of the train had already been inside the station. (The train had already stopped several times in the tunnel and we had heard announcements about trouble with a train ahead of...

By Robert Thomson  |  May 29, 2008; 10:13 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  Metro  
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Are We Dumb Drivers?

Dear Dr. Gridlock: You are certainly aware of the recent report ranking D.C, Virginia and Maryland drivers among the dumbest in the nation. The same report also noted that a substantial number of current drivers would not be able to pass the written test for new drivers. I'd like to suggest that you consider regularly including in your column a Q and A or two from the test for one or more of the three jurisdictions. You would be rendering a genuine service to the region. It might not get you a Pulitzer (OK, it definitely won't), but I'll bet you'll gain the gratitude of lots of folks, drivers and pedestrians alike. Myron L. Hoffmann Rockville Here are a couple from the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration driver test tutorial: 1) When passing another vehicle, you may legally exceed the posted speed limit: a) Never. b) For one-quarter mile. c) As...

By Robert Thomson  |  May 28, 2008; 6:25 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Driving  
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Dale Boulevard Reopening

The Virginia Department of Transportation announced this afternoon that it is reopening Dale Boulevard tonight. Crews worked 12 hour shifts through the holiday weekend to fix the damage done to this four-lane commuter route in Prince William County during the May 12 storms. Watch for occasional lane closures this week and next as crews restripe the lanes and install guardrails....

By Robert Thomson  |  May 27, 2008; 4:23 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories  
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Easing Switch to Carpools and Transit

Transportation planners and transit advocates talk about several impediments facing people who want to make the switch from driving alone to transit or carpooling. Among them: Inertia. Even many people with long drives that keep them from family time, or even seeing their homes in daylight, fall into patterns that are hard to break. Doing something different requires some planning, and people who endure long drives and get limited sleep are often just too tired to change habits. The unknown. Stepping into a carpool or boarding a bus means learning a lot of new stuff. Carpoolers have their own etiquette. Bus riders know the fare, how to pay it, where to sit, where the route will take them and how to request a stop. Good example of problem-solving: Arlington County developed an innovative program to encourage young people to ride transit. The idea was to get teenagers used to riding...

By Robert Thomson  |  May 27, 2008; 12:14 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  transit  
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Va. Commuter Route Under Repair

After such a beautiful holiday weekend, it's difficult to recall those torrential rains from earlier in the month, but commuters who use Dale Boulevard in Prince William County still are dealing with the consequences. The Virginia Department of Transportation says it expects that the four-lane boulevard, used by commuters getting to and from I-95, will be back in business by late this week. During the weekend, crews continued to repair the flood-damaged roadway, which suffered a 20 foot deep by 25 foot wide breach just west of Mapledale Avenue. Detours: Heading west, use Ridgefield Road to Prince William Parkway to Hoadly Road back to Dale Boulevard. Heading east, use Hoadly Road to Prince William Parkway to Ridgefield Road back to Dale....

By Robert Thomson  |  May 27, 2008; 6:04 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories  
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