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Get There: November 9, 2008 - November 15, 2008

The Weekend and Beyond

Here are some tips and suggestions about your upcoming travels. There's a lot to talk about this week. Work on Kenilworth Avenue Watch for lane closures and congestion. The District is resurfacing I-295 at Burroughs Avenue NE from 8 p.m. Friday to midnight Sunday. The two right-hand lanes of southbound I-295 will be closed just south of the bridge over Burroughs Avenue. All southbound traffic will be shifted into a single lane and motorists will need to stay to the left to get though the work zone. Two northbound lanes will remain open, as will all the ramps. A southbound alternative: Route 50 East (New York Avenue) to I-395 Northbound alternatives: -- I-395 to Route 50 East (New York Avenue) -- Whitney Young Memorial Bridge, East Capitol Street, Central Avenue -- Sousa Bridge, Pennsylvania Avenue SE Rockville Pike On Saturday, northbound traffic on Rockville Pike will be shifted to the...

By Robert Thomson  |  November 14, 2008; 11:44 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories  
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Watch for D.C. Street Closings Friday and Saturday

We've told you in an earlier posting about all the parking restrictions and street closures that are going into effect around the National Building Museum, because of the Saturday summit of the world's financial leaders. But the District Department of Transportation also is warning that you may encounter temporary street closings and detours throughout the city on Friday and Saturday. All those people attending the G20 gathering have to stay somewhere other than the Building Museum, so there likely will be a lot of motorcades moving around....

By Robert Thomson  |  November 13, 2008; 3:51 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories , Congestion  
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Safety Advocates Launch Fall Campaign

Pedestrian safety advocates pointed out the fence in front of B-CC High School that funnels students toward safer East-West Highway crossings. (Thomson) Ike Leggett has to stop going to these pedestrian safety events. At the launch this morning of the Washington region's fall Street Smart safety campaign, the Montgomery County executive noted that while on his way to one of the county's own safety events in September, he came upon the scene of a pedestrian accident. Today, as people were setting up equipment for a press conference in front of Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, a car stopped for a pedestrian entering a crosswalk, then another vehicle ran into the car that had just done the right thing by stopping. These all too frequent occurances underscored the message that the safety advocates wanted to deliver today: We live in an increasingly congested region with way too many opportunities for us...

By Robert Thomson  |  November 13, 2008; 11:55 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Safety  
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Maryland Working on Interstate Junction

Out in western Maryland, the State Highway Administration has begun a reconstruction project at the interchange linking Interstates 70 and 81. That's a real heavy area for truck traffic. While the weather is getting colder, there are still plenty of highway crews working across the region, so be on the look out for them. (And remember that work zones are at least as dangerous for drivers as they are for the workers.) In this new $3.4 million project, the highway administration says it will build acceleration and deceleration lanes to create a safer transition within the interchange. The plan also calls for resurfacing of the existing ramps and some repairs to the interchange lighting. The job should be done next summer. There will be some closures to watch for during the project. For about a month next spring, the ramp from southbound I-81 to eastbound I-70 will be closed to...

By Robert Thomson  |  November 13, 2008; 7:09 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Construction  
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Delays on Outer Loop After Van Dorn Street

Delays begin on the outer loop of the Capital Beltway for drivers going northbound after Van Dorn Street because of a serious accident that happened around 3 a.m. While lanes are opening, commuters should still expect delays for the next hour. For live traffic updates check the traffic page. Update: 9:05 a.m. The incident is no longer causing backups and traffic is back to its usual pattern, according to WTOP....

By Washington Post Editors  |  November 13, 2008; 6:37 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Traffic Crunch in Baltimore on Saturday

While the economic summit has the potential to disrupt travel in downtown Washington on Saturday, Baltimore will have its own traffic snarling event that day: the Navy-Notre Dame football game at M&T Bank Stadium. That should mess up I-95 in both directions as well as the Inner Harbor as 72,000 fans head to and from the game. Stadium parking lots open at 7 a.m. Pre-game ceremonies begin at 11:26 a.m., and the kickoff is scheduled for 12:11 p.m. The heaviest Interstate traffic is likely to be on I-95 at Exit 52 for Russell Street and at Exit 53 for I-395. That should start building about three hours before game time. Police and traffic agencies offer these travel suggestions: -- If your destination is north or south of Baltimore, consider I-895 or I-695 east. Both routes reconnect to I-95 north and south of the city. -- If you're going to the...

By Robert Thomson  |  November 12, 2008; 3:08 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories , Congestion , Events  
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Financial Summit to Affect Travel This Week

The international summit on the world's financial crisis will take place at the National Building Museum in downtown Washington on Saturday. That will affect the nearby streets and the subway. Here's what to watch out for. Parking Restrictions Today through 7 p.m. Thursday: 4th Street NW between F Street and G Street NW on the east side. 8 p.m. Thursday through 7 p.m. Saturday: -- 4th Street NW between F Street and G Street NW -- 5th Street NW between F Street and G Street NW -- F Street NW between 4 th Street and 5 th Street NW -- G Street NW between 4 th Street and 5 th Street NW 2:30 p.m. Friday through 7 p.m. Saturday: 4th Street from D Street to F Street NW on the east side 10 p.m. Friday through 7 p.m. Saturday: -- Indiana Avenue NW from 6th Street to D Street NW...

By Robert Thomson  |  November 12, 2008; 10:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Advisories , Events  
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Md. Planners Study Route 28/198 Corridor

Maryland is deciding what transportation improvements to make along Norbeck Road and Spencerville Road between Georgia Avenue and Interstate 95 in Prince George's and Montgomery counties. The State Highway Administration says it wants to hear from neighbors, motorists and business and civic leaders at workshop on Nov. 18. There will be some displays set up to explain the issues under review and the potential impact of the project. Highway administration representatives will be there to discuss those issues, answer questions and take comments. (The project manager for this corridor study is Shawn Burnett, who can be reached at 410-545-8531 or 800-548-5026.) The Nov. 18 workshop will be held from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the James H. Blake High School Cafeteria, 300 Norwood Rd., Silver Spring....

By Robert Thomson  |  November 12, 2008; 8:11 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Construction  
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Purple Line Hearings Beginning

People can comment on Maryland's plan for the Purple Line transitway starting on Saturday. Here's the full schedule of the four hearings. Saturday New Carrollton Municipal Center, 6016 Princess Garden Parkway Open House: 10:30 a.m. Public Hearing: 11 a.m. - 3 pm Tuesday, Nov. 18 National 4-H Youth Conference Center, 7100 Connecticut Ave., Chevy Chase Open House: 4:30 p.m. Public Hearing: 5 - 9 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 19 Ritchie Coliseum, University of Maryland, Route 1 (across from Rossborough Inn) Open House: 4:30 p.m. Public Hearing: 5 - 9 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 22 Montgomery College, Takoma Park/Silver Spring Campus, Falcon Hall, 7600 Takoma Ave., Takoma Park Open House: 12:30 p.m. Public Hearing: 1 - 5 p.m. This page on Maryland's Purple Line Web site explains the procedures for speaking at the hearings. We did a Commuter page laying out some of the elements in the Alternatives Analysis/Draft Environmental Impact Statement that...

By Robert Thomson  |  November 12, 2008; 7:25 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Transportation Politics , transit  
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A Reader's Suggestion for the Holidays

Dear Dr. Gridlock: In many previous years, on Thanksgiving, the Dr. Gridlock column has run letters from readers about kindnesses given to them when they have car trouble. Thanksgiving is the best time for that, I think. Or maybe Christmas? Thanks, Dr. Gridlock. I read your column even though I walk to the subway and take Metro to work. I try and stay the heck off the Beltway if at all possible. Kay Habeger Falls Church We don't need to limit the Thank You's to roadside assistance. There are good Samaritans on our trains, buses, trails and sidewalks as well. Let me know if you've benefitted from a traveler's kindness. Write to me at drgridlock@washpost.com....

By Robert Thomson  |  November 11, 2008; 9:20 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Safety  
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Northbound Beltway Lanes Blocked at Chain Bridge Road

Commuters are experiencing delays on I-495 prior to Chain Bridge Road because of a reported accident on the inner loop of the beltway. Only the left lane gets by before route 123, according to the latest traffic update. Delays are expected for the next 30 minutes, according to a Fairfax County alert....

By Washington Post Editors  |  November 11, 2008; 8:54 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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End of Metrocheks

This question came in during today's online discussion about traffic and transit issues: Washington, D.C.: Now that they have stopped issuing Metrocheks, can I cash in SmartBenefits vouchers toward weekly rail passes? Until Metro has the capability of adding the passes to Smartrip cards, I will have to pay $50 more per month if my only option is to download the $115 subsidy to my card. I said I knew the Metrochek program would end on Dec. 1, but wasn't sure about using the new SmartBenefits vouchers to purchase Metro passes. Steven Taubenkibel, a spokesman for the transit authority, checked on that and said, Yes, you will be able to exchange SmartBenefits vouchers for Metro passes. Also, here's a list of the places where you can exchange Metrocheks....

By Robert Thomson  |  November 10, 2008; 4:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Metro , transit  
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Lane Closings on Virginia's Route 50

The left lane in each direction on Route 50 (Arlington Boulevard) will be closed until the end of February so workers can build two new bridge piers to support new Capital Beltway lanes. This is part of the HOT lanes (high occupancy or toll) project: Route 50's two right through-lanes will remain open in each direction. After this phase of construction is complete, the left lanes will reopen. But nighttime lane closures under the bridge will begin again as work continues on new lanes connecting the Beltway and Route 50. These nighttime closures will probably last through the end of 2011. Here's a link to text and a map that will show you the different phases of construction at the Route 50/Beltway interchange. The basic idea: The outer lanes now under construction will become regular travel lanes. Once they're done, it's the inner lanes that will be converted into the...

By Robert Thomson  |  November 10, 2008; 4:21 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories , Construction  
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Plan Now for Holidays

Dear Dr. Gridlock: Here's a tip for travelers planning their Turkey Day trip: Either leave two days before the holiday, or leave on the holiday itself. Take the train on either side of the busiest holiday travel days of the year: the Wednesday before Turkey Day and the Sundays/Mondays following that weekend. Shep C. Willner Arlington That sound advice is also my reminder to remind you that if you are planning to take the train during the upcoming holidays, Amtrak fills up pretty quickly and it's best to go for reservations now. Here's the reservations page on Amtrak's Web site. That page contains other useful information for planning, but here's a couple of things I'd like to highlight: -- Sold out trains may become available if there are cancellations, so if you don't get the train you want, keep checking back to see if seats become available. -- Even during...

By Robert Thomson  |  November 10, 2008; 2:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Getaway  
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Veterans Day Schedules

The transit authority always posts a very helpful list of the region's holiday transit plans. You'll find that listing not only for Metro but also for the suburban bus and trains systems by using this link....

By Robert Thomson  |  November 10, 2008; 2:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Advisories  
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Join Me for Online Discussion Today

Join me at 1 p.m. today for an online discussion of all our local traffic and transit issues. Here's a link to the conversation. If you'd like to submit a question or comment in advance, use this link. There's been lots of news lately on all our local fronts. -- In today's Post, Eric Weiss wrote about the concerns that the sluggers have about the Virginia HOT lanes proposal for I-95/395. -- Last Friday, Lena Sun wrote about Metro's plans to eliminate the paper transfers in January and create a "balanced transfer" system in which you'll be able to switch from a train to a bus or a bus to a train and get a 50 cent discount. -- Also Friday, Metro General Manager John B. Catoe Jr. was doing his own chat on Metro's Web site in which he explained his thinking on why police will be searching your...

By Robert Thomson  |  November 10, 2008; 10:04 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories  
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Gasing Up for the Holidays?

Each week, AAA sends out a survey of gasoline prices and anticipates what's coming. Here's the trend: "AAA believes that lower gas prices are still in the offing and $2 a gallon as a national average is still possible before the end of the year," said Lon Anderson, director of public and government affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. The last time gas averaged under $2 a gallon was in 2005. Around the world, demand for oil is falling as economies weaken, but in the United States, demand for gas is inching higher, AAA says. As the holidays approach, will people make up for mileage lost when gas was at $4 and drive prices back up? "Much will depend on whether motorists remain conservative and drive less than they did last year and also whether oil and gas producers try to balance supply and demand by cutting production," Anderson said. It's hard...

By Robert Thomson  |  November 10, 2008; 8:44 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Driving , Getaway  
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