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Get There: April 12, 2009 - April 18, 2009

The Weekend and Beyond

Here are some happenings that may affect your upcoming travels. Metrorail Weekend Delays Add at least half an hour to your regular travel time between Judiciary Square and Rhode Island Avenue on the Red Line because of switch replacement work in the Brentwood rail yard. That's from 10 o'clock Friday through midnight Sunday, April 19. Every other train in the direction of the Glenmont will end its run at Judiciary Square and turn back toward Shady Grove between 7 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. Games On Sunday, the Nations game starts at 1:05 p.m. Fans should make sure they look at the previous item if their planning to take Metrorail. The turnbacks should help some riders, because they will put more trains in the area most likely to be congested. Red Line riders from north of Rhode Island Avenue could transfer to the Green or Yellow Line at Fort Totten to...

By Robert Thomson  |  April 17, 2009; 10:17 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Advisories  
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Avoid Outer Loop Congestion Overnight

From 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., traffic on the Capital Beltway's outer loop in Virginia from east of the Eisenhower Avenue Connector to east of Telegraph Road will be down to one lane. After work zone, all the Thru and Local lanes will be open. Ramps from Telegraph Road to the outer loop and from the outer loop to Telegraph Road southbound will be closed. When the same pattern was in effect Tuesday night, backups sometimes extended as far back as the Springfield Interchange. (The rain prevented work last night.) Detours: Traffic from Telegraph Road heading for the outer loop will be detoured to Huntington Avenue eastbound, then to Route 1 northbound. Traffic from the outer loop heading for Telegraph Road will be detoured from the Eisenhower Avenue Connector along Eisenhower Avenue to Mill Road and Telegraph Road. Road Essentials:  Incident Map  |  Traffic Cams   |   Key Routes...

By Robert Thomson  |  April 16, 2009; 4:22 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories , Driving , Wilson Bridge  
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VDOT Tries Paint to Promote Road Safety

Workers installed zigzag paint to slow drivers before this trail crossing. (Mike Salmon, VDOT) Traffic engineers are always trying to get drivers to pay attention to the road. Virginia is experimenting with one of those methods on two roads in Loudoun County where the Washington & Old Dominion Trail crosses. This week, Virginia Department of Transportation workers painted zigzag white lines along Belmont Ridge Road where it approaches the trail crossing. They will do the same on Sterling Boulevard next week, then study the results to see if the paint should be applied elsewhere as well. The zigzag lines, painted right down the middle of each lane, will certainly cause drivers to focus on the road and probably cause them to slow down. These are good things, as they approach the crossings, which are marked by white stripes and yellow signs on poles, but not by signal lights. Cars...

By Robert Thomson  |  April 16, 2009; 6:38 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Driving , Safety  
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Lanes Reopened on Interstate 395 Southbound

Update, 3:47 p.m.: All lanes are now open after an accident that occurred just before 2 p.m., VDOT officials say. Original post, 2:45 p.m.: All southbound lanes on Interstate 395 are blocked at Washington Blvd., VDOT officials say. Motorists are advised to use HOV lanes. Road Essentials: Incident Map | Traffic Cams | Key Routes...

By Mike McPhate  |  April 15, 2009; 2:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Advisories , Driving  
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Caps Open Playoffs Tonight at Verizon

The Nationals first scheduled night game has been rained out, but the Capitals are starting their Stanley Cup playoff run against the New York Rangers at 7 p.m. in the Verizon Center. That's likely to mean crowding before and after the game at Gallery Place Station on the Red, Green and Yellow lines. This link on the Caps Web site lists the parking lots and garages around Verizon Center, at 6th and F streets NW. Metro always has extra trains on standby for crowding after Caps and Nats games. The Nationals are scheduled to play at 7:05 p.m. Thursday, when the weather should be much better. For Nationals Park, most fans use the west side exit at Navy Yard Station, because it can handle more people. But there are bus options listed on Metro's Nationals page. The Circulator bus is scheduled to arrive every 10 minutes on game nights at...

By Robert Thomson  |  April 15, 2009; 11:43 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Events  
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Alert: Outage Knocks Out D.C. Traffic Signals

Update, 1:12 p.m.: The northeast outage has been resolved, but new outages in Northwest and Southeast have caused signals to go dark at the following intersections: Western Avenue and River Road, NW Western Avenue and Jennifer Street, NW Western Avenue and the Geico entrance, NW Original post, 9:16 a.m.: Power outages in Northeast Washington and Suitland, Md. this morning have disrupted service to about 3,500 customers. Traffic signals are dark at several intersections in Northeast. Workers are setting up temporary stop signs. Signals are out at the following intersections: 6th Street, C Street and Maryland Avenue, NE 11th Street and Maryland Avenue, NE 12th Street and Maryland Avenue, NE East Capitol Street, 11th Street and Massachusetts Avenue, NE 8th Street and Massachusetts Avenue, NE...

By Washington Post Editors  |  April 15, 2009; 9:16 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories  
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Commuter Alert: Accident Cleared on George Washington Parkway South of 123

A multiple car accident that was blocking lanes and causing delays in both directions on the George Washington Parkway south of 123 in Virginia has been cleared....

By Washington Post Editors  |  April 15, 2009; 8:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Speed Camera Rules Vary, And Are Changing

I promised readers during Monday's online discussion that I would publish some of their questions and comments that I couldn't get to during the chat. One of our topics was the speed camera bill that cleared the Maryland General Assembly, and it drew this comment: Speed enforcement camera eyes Wayne Avenue in Montgomery County. (Thomson) "I never liked Speed Cameras: Mostly because of my aversion to Big-Brotherism. But I do think they're unfair to a degree. First, they are obviously a sea change in driving and traffic enforcement which to me means that the rules of the game should be defined. I think that it should be publicly available knowledge as to what speed triggers the camera. And I don't mean 'Oh, everyone knows it's 10 mph or more.' And ultimately I see no reason why it shouldn't be the posted speed limit. Back to me: The programs work differently...

By Robert Thomson  |  April 15, 2009; 6:54 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Driving  
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DC Zaps More than 6,000 Potholes Across City

DC pothole crews get new pairs of boots every year. They need it for this work. (Thomson) The District Department of Transportation announced that workers fixed 6,084 potholes during the month-long Potholepalooza that ended Saturday. Some of those fixes were relatively easy if they were small enough to be attacked by the Pothole Killer, a truck with a long snout that looks to me like a big metal mosquito. (See Commuter page.) But the bigger fixes, like the one pictured above at Second and Orange streets SE, require an asphalt dump, followed by a lot of shoveling, raking and rolling before the hot mix has a chance to cool off. That's hard on the feet, as you can see in the photo above. This particular fix occurred at a bus stop, where the weight of the buses coming to a halt had combined with normal weathering to bust the...

By Robert Thomson  |  April 14, 2009; 10:54 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Driving  
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HOT Lanes Work to Narrow Route 123 in Tysons

The Beltway in Tysons and Route 123 are being reshaped by the project. (Thomson) Gazing into the crystal ball of congestion, we see clouds forming over Tysons Corner. It's the focal point of the most mega of the Northern Virginia megaprojects: the Beltway HOT lanes and the Metrorail extension. But for now, the vision is focusing on the HOT lanes work. Starting next week and continuing through November, the left lane in each direction on Route 123 will be closed around the Beltway interchange so workers can build two new bridge piers to connect with the highway. There will be two through lanes and one merge lane in each direction on Route 123. And there will very likely be delays during the morning and evening rushes. Watch for the lane closures to start about 500 feet to the east and west of the Beltway. The lanes will reopen for...

By Robert Thomson  |  April 14, 2009; 9:05 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Driving  
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Big Turnout For Hearing on Metro Budget Cuts

Hyattsville -- John Catoe is a brave guy. The Metro general manager could have picked the transit authority's Vienna hearing tonight. Fairfax County has come up with enough money to avoid Metrobus cuts in that jurisdiction. No, tonight, Catoe is at the hearing in Hyattsville in Prince George's County, which is ground zero for the numerous cutbacks that Metro still needs to balance it's budget. Maryland has not come up with the money it would take to avoid the cuts here. "We will not condone any profanity ... not that we're expecting it," says Metro Board member Elizabeth Hewlitt, who is chairing the meeting. Catoe walks the crowd through the numbers, focusing on how the transit authority get its projected deficit of $154 million down to the $29 million figure from which it could reduce no more without more subsidies from the local jurisdictions, or service cuts. That's when the...

By Robert Thomson  |  April 13, 2009; 6:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Metro  
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Easy Trip to Nationals Park For Opener

The only real backup was at the centerfield entrance, near Navy Yard Station. (Thomson) The rails and streets, perhaps lightened Easter Week vacations, easily handled the crowds heading to Nationals Park for the team's home opener this afternoon. Another getaway option is the Circulator bus, which fans will find just outside the east side entrance to Navy Yard Metro station, at the corner of M Street SE. That goes up 8th Street SE, left on Pennsylvania Avenue passing Eastern Market Station on its way to Union Station. Metro started rush hour service at 1 p.m., and ran many eight car trains. I boarded a Red Line train at Silver Spring at 2:05 p.m., transferred to the Green Line at Fort Totten and reached Navy Yard Station in plenty of time for the 3:05 p.m. start -- not that I was going in. This was much more subdued than last...

By Robert Thomson  |  April 13, 2009; 4:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Events  
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Metro Will Get Earful Tonight on Bus Cuts

The 79 bus is the good trend. Riders will hear about the bad tonight. (Thomson) This spring and summer, bus riders in the Washington area are likely to see the biggest cuts back in service in many years. Metro and many of the suburban lines say they don't have to revenue to sustain all the services, despite their growing popularity. So while we've seen some great new additions, such as the Metro Extra pictured above, or the new S9 on 16th Street NW, many lines are about to take hits. For Metrobus, the proposed cuts are concentrated in Maryland. Many other jurisdictions that make up the Metro service area came up with more subsidy money to either eliminate or reduce the cuts in their areas. Tonight, the transit authority begins its public hearings on the cuts with sessions in Vienna and Hyattsville. The location in Prince George's means the...

By Robert Thomson  |  April 13, 2009; 10:31 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Metro  
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Join Me at Noon for Online Discussion

The travails of getting around during Cherry Blossom Festival may be over, but there's a lot happening this week to talk about: Extensive overnight work at the Beltway's Telegraph Road interchange, upcoming lane closures for the Virginia HOT lanes, the start of 2009 baseball at Nationals Park this afternoon and a string of Metro hearings on bus service cuts starting tonight -- among other things. We can talk about your concerns for the future or your travel problems of today during the online discussion starting at noon. Here's a link to the chat. And here's one if you'd like to submit a question or comment in advance....

By Robert Thomson  |  April 13, 2009; 9:10 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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Nationals Game Starts to Start at 3:05 Today

Navy Yard Station handled large crowd for last year's papal visit. (Thomson) Metro trains are likely to be crowded this afternoon. Navy Yard Station on the Green Line, the stop nearest to Nationals Park on the Anacostia waterfront, handled game days well last year. If Metro officials think the platform is getting too crowded, they can either delay the arrival of a train or have the operator keep the doors closed to prevent a crush. (When you get off the train at Navy Yard, turn left for the exit closest to the stadium.) I found the crowding at the main transfer stations of L'Enfant Plaza and Gallery Place to be a bit trickier, but in my experience, Metro had enough personnel on those platforms to direct people and keep them from hurting themselves in the crush. Metro carries as many as 20,000 fans to the game and puts on...

By Robert Thomson  |  April 13, 2009; 7:58 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Events  
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Gain and Pain Today in Wilson Bridge Work Zone

Workers will place steel beams for ramp over Capital Beltway starting tonight. (Thomson) A new ramp from Route 1 southbound to the Thru Lanes on the Capital Beltway's outer loop is scheduled to open today. But there's also a lot of overnight work starting on another ramp over the Beltway at the Telegraph Road interchange, and traffic congestion is very likely near the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. Beginning tonight, there will be a series of lane and ramp closures as workers place steel beams for the new bridge ramp. You can see the piers for it in the photo. One loop or the other will squeeze down significantly on the work nights from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. This work is scheduled to end April 26. Here's more information about the work areas and some suggestions on alternative routes. Tonight to Friday, 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Traffic on the...

By Robert Thomson  |  April 13, 2009; 6:28 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Driving  
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