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The Weekend and Beyond

These are some suggestions and tips for your travels this weekend and the rest of the month.

Metrorail Weekend Delays
Track work will cause some delays of as long as 25 minutes this weekend for riders on the Blue, Orange and Red lines. To see the full details, use this link. And remember that Metro now puts out a monthly list of upcoming weekend projects. You'll find the November list here.

Checkpoint on Baltimore Bridge
The Maryland Transportation Authority police plan to set up a sobriety checkpoint Saturday night on the toll plaza at the Key Bridge (the I-695 bridge). The police will distribute information about drunk-driving laws, and they'll arrest anyone they catch driving while impaired.

Douglass Bridge on Sunday
The Frederick Douglass Bridge, which takes South Capitol Street over the Anacostia River, will be closed from 5 a.m. to about 10 a.m. Sunday so workers can test the swing span.

Traffic and Transition
The District is imposing traffic restrictions around the Obama transition office in downtown Washington.

D Street NW between 5th and 6th streets is closed to traffic and parking is restricted.
Northbound 6th Street Street NW between Indiana Avenue and E Street is reduced to one lane. The other 2 northbound lanes are blocked off. Indiana Avenue NW between 5th and 6th streets has been temporarily converted to accommodate two-way traffic until the traffic restrictions are lifted on D Street.

No parking: on the west side of 5th Street NW between Indiana Avenue and E Street or in the curb lane on the south side of E Street NW between 5th and 6th Streets.

The east side of 6th Street is closed to pedestrians.

Metro on Vets Day
On Tuesday, Veterans Day, Metrorail will operate on a modified Saturday schedule, opening at 5 a.m. and closing at midnight. Metrobus and MetroAccess will operate on regular weekday schedules. Parking at Metro stations will be free.

Metrochek Changes
Metrocheks won't be issued to employers after next week. Starting Dec. 1, commuters who don't have their transit benefits sent electronically to SmarTrip cards will move to a new system called SmartBenefit vouchers.

These will be available in $1, $10 and $30 denominations. Transit providers, such as the Maryland commuter buses, will accept them as they did the Metrocheks.
Metrocheks already distributed to employees can be used until the end of the day on March 6.

Move Over Law
An online warning in which a motorist describes getting a ticket for violating Virginia's Move Over law seems to have gone viral. So readers have been asking me what that law says.

In Virginia and most other states, if a driver sees an emergency vehicle stopped on the shoulder of a highway, the driver must change lanes away from the emergency vehicle. If changing lanes isn't possible or safe, the driver must slow down and pass with caution. Maryland is one of the remaining states without a Move Over law.

Fare of the Future
Metro is planning to stop issuing paper transfers in January as it moves riders toward the SmarTrip electronic fare cards. But the real way of the future, Metro board member Peter Benjamin says, is to arm riders with a regular credit card that also functions as a Metro fare card.

It would have the same type of electronic chip as a SmarTrip card, and a rider would hold it to the card reader at the fare gate to enter the transit system. But the money would be deducted from the rider's personal debit or credit account.
That would let everyone do what they do best, Benjamin says: The banks would move the money and Metro would move the people.

Md. Intersection Project Begins
Maryland's State Highway Administration is going to widen the intersection of Piney Branch Road and University Boulevard in Silver Spring. The safety project, which starts next week, is scheduled to be done in late summer.

This fall, crews will relocate utilities and remove the concrete islands. In the spring, work will start on widening and resurfacing the roadway.

Watch for right-lane closures in both directions of Piney Branch Road and University between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. weekdays and double lane closures between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. Saturdays through Thursdays.

Columbia Heights Street Work
Work is scheduled to begin MondayNov. 10 on Park Road NW between Mount Pleasant and 14th streets NW. At any given time, the District says, work will occur only within a span of two blocks to maintain access for residents, businesses and travelers.

This first phase of the Columbia Heights Streetscape Project will last about six months, and includes construction of a public plaza and fountain at the intersection of 14th Street and Park Road NW.

The second phase, scheduled to begin in August, involves reconstruction of 14th Street between Newton Street and Columbia Road and of Irving Street NW between 14th and 16th streets. That will take about eight months.

The Department of Transportation plans to discuss all this with the public from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Nov. 20 at Tubman Elementary School, 2301 13th St. NW.

New on Metro Board
Neil O. Albert, the District's newest representative on the Metro Board of Directors, took his seat on Thursday. Albert, the city's deputy mayor for planning and economic development, fills the vacancy left when Emeka Moneme resigned as the District's transportation director this summer to become Metro's chief administrative officer.

By Robert Thomson  |  November 7, 2008; 11:07 AM ET
Categories:  Advisories  
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