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Get There: July 6, 2008 - July 12, 2008

The Weekend and Beyond

Some tips for getting around this weekend, and next week: Metrorail Delays Track maintenance on the Blue and Yellow lines will cause lengthy delays on Saturday and Sunday, because trains be sharing a single track to get around the work zones. See the full description here. DC United/Nationals on Saturday They're both playing at home. The Nats game starts at 7:10 p.m. D.C. United starts at 8 p.m. That means the shift is on for parking at RFK Stadium. Nats fans, who normally park for free at Lot 8 and take the free Nats Express to Nationals Park, should park in Lot 7 and catch the shuttle there. Lot 7 is on the north side of RFK, and can be reached via the Whitney Young Bridge on East Capitol Street or Oklahoma Avenue NE. Traffic Delays in D.C. Several events are likely to cause some traffic congestion in Washington on...

By Robert Thomson  |  July 11, 2008; 11:26 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (128)
Categories:  Advisories  
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Seniors Concerned About Rider ID

Many people wrote in this month about Metro's decision to stop issuing senior ID cards and create an easily identifiable Senior SmarTrip card to pay their discounted fares. Background: Seniors had often expressed frustration with Metro's former requirement that they apply for the ID card, wait weeks for it, and then go get a discount SmarTrip card at a separate location. So I liked the idea of eliminating the cumbersome two-step process. Don't bother with the senior ID anymore. Just get the Senior SmarTrip card. New Concerns: Many people 65 and older don't take the train. They ride either Metrobuses or their suburban bus systems. Downtown Washington isn't a hub for them. These two letters, from readers in Fairfax County, express some seniors' worries about the new system: What about seniors who ride the bus and have no SmarTrip card? Now, they pay cash and show their senior ID card....

By Robert Thomson  |  July 11, 2008; 8:08 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  transit  
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P.M. Delays on Columbia Pike

5 p.m. update: The gas leak has been repaired and Columbia Pike has reopened. Columbia Pike was shut in both directions this afternoon between Frederick and Jefferson streets in Arlington. An 8-inch utility line broke underneath the pike and Washington Gas workers were sent to fix it. The Arlington fire department also was at the scene....

By Robert Thomson  |  July 10, 2008; 3:23 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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P.M. Delays Likely in Fairfax

Traffic congestion is likely to occur this afternoon around the site of the rally for Barack Obama at a public school in Fairfax County just south of George Mason University. Obama, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, plans to hold a town hall meeting at Robinson Secondary School starting at 1:15 p.m and continuing till about 2:30 p.m. The Robinson Secondary School is at 5035 Sideburn Rd., south of Braddock Road. Watch for county police directing traffic in the area....

By Robert Thomson  |  July 10, 2008; 10:37 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories  
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Traffic Death a Public Loss

At the dawn of the automobile age, traffic deaths were considered public, rather than private, losses, says Peter D. Norton, author of "Fighting Traffic: The Dawn of the Motor Age in the American City." He says accident deaths were memorialized as were the casualties of World War I or the victims of a flood. Alice Swanson (Courtesy of Middle East Institute) That changed during the 1920s, as the automobile industry encouraged the notion that pedestrian and biker deaths were bound to occur when those unfortunates entered space the nation had assigned to automobiles. Last night's public memorial for Alice Swanson, 22, who was killed while riding her bicycle to work in Washington on Tuesday morning, countered that thinking. The fatal accident became a public loss in a shared space. There has been no finding of fault in this accident, which police said occurred north of Dupont Circle at the intersection...

By Robert Thomson  |  July 10, 2008; 8:08 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (112)
Categories:  Safety  
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Attention VRE Riders at Burke Centre

VRE says that Fairfax County is making some temporary changes in the traffic and parking pattern at the Burke Centre garage starting Thursday. Half of the parking spaces on the ground floor will be closed for some minor work. The rest of the garage will be open. VRE says there should be plenty of parking for everyone, despite the closure. Also, the construction fence will be moved, blocking the garage entrance. That area will be closed off for a few weeks so the road in front of the garage can be repaved. Cars will need to use what is normally the exit to get in as well as out. VRE says the exit was designed to accommodate two-way traffic, so there's enough space for this....

By Robert Thomson  |  July 9, 2008; 2:16 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  transit  
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Commuter Graphic: Maintaining Metro

Ever wonder why Metro track work seems to take forever? This week's Commuter graphic outlines the steps involved in performing the switch replacement last month at Mount Vernon Square, for which workers put in a string of 12-hour shifts....

By Mike McPhate  |  July 8, 2008; 2:16 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Metro  
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Metro Posting Bus Alerts

At the top of Metro's home page, you will now find alerts about disruptions in bus service, as well as rail service. That's good. But even better would be the ability to receive text alerts on handheld devices. That eAlert system is available now for the rail disruptions, but it's still unclear when the service will be available for Metrobus routes. The bus program still is under development. (Lena Sun story in today's Post.) When the Metrobus disruption information is available, said Metro spokesman Steven Taubenkibel, "it'll be tailored to riders' specific route preferences, just as rail disruption information is today." Best of all will be the day when the transit authority can get all the glitches out of its NextBus information system and restore that program, which was suspended in October 2007. That will allow cellphone callers to get updates on arrival times at their bus stops. NextBus should...

By Robert Thomson  |  July 8, 2008; 9:49 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  Metro  
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Final Sessions on D.C. Pedestrian Plan

The District government this week is holding the last two public meetings on its pedestrian safety plan, which will help restore some of the lost balance between the needs of walkers and drivers in the city. New crosswalk safety system on Brentwood Road NE. (Thomson) Post writer Eric Weiss noted in his Sunday story (Drivers Feeling Shunned by D.C.) that many suburban drivers interpret such plans as a city attack on them. Here are some of your views on the various efforts to create a more walkable city. These are drawn from comments that I was not able to post Monday while we were having computer trouble with the online discussion. Capitol Hill: There's a lot of anger out there over the commuter thing. I would like to point out though that a lot of these [traffic] calming measures are in residential streets. The average speed on Constitution Ave in...

By Robert Thomson  |  July 8, 2008; 7:31 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Safety  
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Walking, Driving and Vacationing ...

Those were among the topics we were into during an online discussion today that got cut short by some problems with our technology. I promised to switch over to the blog and address some of your questions and comments here. Long-Distance Travel Alexandria, Va.: Dr. Gridlock, do you have any sense for whether the I-95 Express Toll Lane project north of Baltimore is making a big mess of the traffic? I'm driving to Maine next week and am debating whether to go the I-95/N.J. Turnpike route or whether to go up to Harrisburg and then take I-81 to either I-78 or I-84. I don't much care about the tolls, I'm just wondering about the traffic. Dr. Gridlock: I've had no troubles getting through that express lanes zone north of Baltimore and have received no complaints about it from readers. The spot where readers and I do share a bad experience...

By Robert Thomson  |  July 7, 2008; 2:31 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Commuting  
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Who Will Rule the Streets?

In 21st century Washington, transit users, walkers and bikers will have the right of way in transportation planning. A tilt away from drivers that began with the highway battles of the 1960s and 70s in the District will become more pronounced. It has to. Even if we turn out to be in the midst of a temporary spike in oil prices, the longterm trend is upward. (See Annys Shin story: "Some Unload Vehicles for Less Than They Owe.") The fate of the gas guzzler is sealed. More people will do what's in their financial interest and turn to buses and trains, and sidewalks. Many will decide to live closer to where they work and the real estate market will try to accommodate them. Post staff writer Eric M. Weiss wrote Sunday about some of the District's actions and proposals. Almost any step the District takes, such as the decision last...

By Robert Thomson  |  July 7, 2008; 7:59 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Transportation Politics  
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Bridge Repairs Underway in DC

The District Department of Transportation is fixing a couple of bridges, and there will be lane closures this week. Everything will be open during the rush periods. H Street Bridge over Amtrak tracks: Crews will work from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. 14th Street Bridge: Overnight maintenance and emergency repairs on the northbound side through Thursday from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m....

By Robert Thomson  |  July 7, 2008; 7:44 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Construction  
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