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Get There: June 1, 2008 - June 7, 2008

The Weekend and Beyond

The center of attention this weekend is the annual Race For The Cure in Washington, combined with the delays that will result from Metro's track work. Metrorail Delays This is the last scheduled weekend for the track switch replacement project at Mount Vernon Square that has been disrupting service on the Green and Yellow lines. But until Sunday night, riders should add at least a half hour to their usual travel times on those lines. More details here. Race For The Cure Metrorail will open at 5 a.m.Saturday to help out people involved in the race, which starts at 8 a.m. in downtown Washington. Trains will operate every 12 to 15 minutes on the Red, Blue and Orange lines, but watch out for the Yellow and Green lines. Add at least 30 minutes to normal travel times on those two because of the switch replacement project at Mount Vernon Square....

By Robert Thomson  |  June 6, 2008; 4:33 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories  
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MD Closing Route 50 Ramp

The Maryland State Highway Administration says it must close the ramp from eastbound Route 50 to northbound Route 202 for emergency repairs beginning at 5 p.m. The repairs, which are needed because of slope erosion caused by the storms, could take four weeks. Detour: Eastbound drivers wanting northbound Route 202 will go to Route 410 (East-West Highway). At the top of the ramp, they'll turn left onto Route 410 northbound, then cross over Route 50 and turn left to reach the ramp to westbound Route 50, then back to northbound Route 202. It's bound to be sluggish, so an alternate route is likely to be better than using the detour....

By Robert Thomson  |  June 6, 2008; 4:15 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories  
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DMV Launches Online Scheduling of Vehicle Inspections

The District's Department of Motor Vehicles is now offering the ability to set up appointments for vehicle inspections on its Web site, www.dmv.dc.gov. The system is expected to cut down on customer wait times for the inspections, which are normally conducted on a first-come, first-served basis. Inspections of vehicle safety and emissions are required of all District drivers. Residents can visit the DMV Web site or call 311 for more information....

By Mike McPhate  |  June 6, 2008; 12:26 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Driving  
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Metro Response Angers Orange Line Riders

Metro commuters are complaining about the transit authority's response to the service disruption yesterday afternoon on the Orange Line. They express concerns that are common -- too common -- when there is an emergency in the rail system: Metro's reaction, they say, is too slow, and when it comes, it's disorganized. The problem began at about 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, when the storm brought down a power line on the tracks between East Falls Church and West Falls Church and service between stations had to be suspended. Metro set up a bus bridge, providing free shuttles service to get homebound riders to West Falls Church, Dunn Loring and Vienna. Regular service wasn't restored until 6:12 p.m. Here's a letter that captures the anger that other riders also expressed. Dear Dr. Gridlock: I am so surprised that the WP only has 1 sentence in their story about yesterday's storm about metro's incompetence....

By Robert Thomson  |  June 5, 2008; 2:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
Categories:  Metro  
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Storm's Impact on Traffic and Transit

These are some of the lingering effects of Wednesday's storms. -- MARC's Brunswick Line is knocked out all day because of the trees on the tracks, but MARC hopes to restore service on Friday, Maryland Transportation Secretary John Porcari said this morning. He noted that getting things back on schedule is difficult because CSX freight traffic is backed up and has to be cleared. And much of the MARC equipment is still at Union Station and must be sent back out west once the line is clear.(Metro is honoring MARC tickets today.) -- Maryland is adding some commuter buses from Shady Grove Metro station this afternoon to compensate for the lack of service on the Brunswick Line: 6:05 - Shady Grove to Urbana & Frederick at 6:05 p.m.; Shady Grove to Urbana, Frederick and Hagerstown at 6:30 p.m. and Shady Grove to Urbana, Frederick and Hagerstown at 6:50 p.m. --...

By Robert Thomson  |  June 5, 2008; 12:17 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Weather  
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More Work on GW Parkway

A new construction project is scheduled to start today on the George Washington Parkway. This work will stabilize the bank along Pimmit Run to protect the bridge pier from erosion. Watch for lane closures during off peak hours along the bridge, which is about a mile south of Route 123 in McLean. One lane in each direction will always be open. Closures of the right lane on the parkway's southbound side can occur between 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. But traffic delays also will result when trucks enter and leave the parkway. The project is scheduled to be done in December. Meanwhile, work continues farther south on rebuilding the parkway's Humpback Bridge, just west of I-395. You can read the latest about that project here. So far, that doesn't seem to be causing commuters nearly as much grief as the year-old Rock Creek Parkway reconstruction has....

By Robert Thomson  |  June 4, 2008; 7:37 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories  
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MARC Apologizes to Riders

The MARC train service just sent out an apology about Monday afternoon's messy ride home from Washington on the Penn Line. This was the sequence of events, according to the MARC statement: -- Train 450, heading north from Union Station at 5:10 p.m., was delayed when it had to work around a disabled Amtrak train. -- The engine on Train 450 failed north of Odenton, and restart attempts were unsuccessful. -- Amtrak decided to push Train 450 into BWI Marshall Station with Train 534. But they had to operate at a reduced speed of 20 mph, delaying other northbound trains. -- At BWI Station, passengers heading north of Baltimore transferred to Train 440, which extended its run to Perryville for them. -- Amtrak decided that Train 538, which left Union Station at 6:05, should bypass the West Baltimore and Halethorpe stations and that passengers should return to those stations on...

By Robert Thomson  |  June 3, 2008; 2:01 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  transit  
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Getting Tix on I-66

Dear Dr. Gridlock: Is it legal for the police to impede traffic or bring it to a stop on an interstate highway merely to check for HOV compliance? That is basically what happened 29 May on westbound I-66 just inside the Beltway. Traffic was backed up for almost a mile with a helicopter hovering overhead. All indications were that a serious accident had happened up ahead. Instead, the delay was merely because approximately a dozen police officers in cars and motorcycles were on both sides of the highway enforcing the HOV restrictions! Bob Reinhardt Centreville It is legal for police to enforce the HOV rules and ticket violators on the spot. Virginia State Police don't use a helicopter. That probably was a news crew checking out the scene. HOV enforcement accounts for a big chunk of my mailbag, but I'd say most of the letters come from commuters who are...

By Robert Thomson  |  June 3, 2008; 9:08 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  highways  
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Purple Line Prospects

The Purple Line transitway proposed for Montgomery and Prince George's counties almost certainly will be light rail rather than a rapid bus route, but what else will it be? Del. Ana Sol Gutierrez speaks at Purple Line rally. (Thomson) Advocates for the project held a rally at Silver Spring Station on Thursday to highlight new ridership projections showing that the top end service, a light rail line costing between $1.5 billion and $1.75 billion to build, would provide 68,000 trips a day for its riders. It would cost $22.8 million a year to operate and maintain such a system. The low end of investment, a very basic bus rapid transit system, would provide 40,000 trips a day, according to Maryland Transit Administration estimates, and cost between $420 million and $460 million to set up. Operating costs were estimated at $17.3 million a year. Look here to see the range of...

By Robert Thomson  |  June 2, 2008; 8:44 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  transit  
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Wilson Bridge Open

The second span of the new Woodrow Wilson Bridge has opened. The project's managers, hedging against weather delays, had said the weekend work to open the span could take until early Monday morning, but the first cars started across the new span Saturday night. Following completion of this weekend's work, the Capital Beltway's inner loop moves across the new span along three lanes. The span just to the south of it, which opened in 2006, now carries the outer loop only. You can see the results by going to our traffic page and clicking on the camera image on the east side of the bridge. What drivers see when they look left on the bridge are the now-closed lanes in the middle that by the end of the year will become the bridge's express lanes. Commuters on Monday should find they have a better ride, because some of the old...

By Robert Thomson  |  June 1, 2008; 6:47 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Wilson Bridge  
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Smithsonian Metro Station Reopened

UPDATE 2: The station has reopened, according to Metro, though travelers should stlill expect delays. The unidentified woman jumped onto the tracks, according to a Post article by Jacqueline L. Salmon. UPDATE: The NBC4 Web site, citing unnamed officials, says a woman fell onto the tracks as a train was coming by but is uninjured. ORIGINAL POST: The Smithsonian Metro station has been closed due to a report of a person being struck by a train, according to the Metro Web site. Shuttle bus service is being established, Metro says, and travelers should expect delays traveling through the station, which serves the Blue and Orange lines, in either direction....

By Washington Post Editors  |  June 1, 2008; 3:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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