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Get There: April 19, 2009 - April 25, 2009

The Weekend and Beyond

Here are some suggestions about your travels on this warm weekend, and for the upcoming month. Weekend Delays on Metro Add at least half an hour to the normal trip time on the Red Line between the Fort Totten and Silver Spring this weekend, up to the rail system's midnight closing on Sunday. Metro is fixing the drainage problem under the tracks just south of Takoma Station. This work will end the train slowdowns in that area, which Metro ordered as a safety precaution during the past few weeks. Orange and Blue Line riders between Eastern Market and Stadium-Armory should add at least half an hour to their normal trip times from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. During this time, Metro workers will be doing maintenance on the bridge outside Stadium-Armory Station. Foggy Bottom Traffic Disruptions The IMF/World Bank board is meeting this weekend in Washington. There are restrictions...

By Robert Thomson  |  April 24, 2009; 12:32 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Advisories  
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DC to Rebuild 11th Street Bridges over Anacostia

With bridge backdrop, Fenty was joined at Anacostia Park by D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton and DDOT Director Gabe Klein. Chief Engineer Kathleen Penney is at far left. (Thomson) In Virginia, drivers can see new lanes coming on the Beltway. In Maryland, they see signs of the Intercounty Connector. On the banks of the Anacostia River this morning, Mayor Adrian Fenty announced that the District is beginning a massive road project of its own: the reconstruction of the 11th Street Bridges, one of the region's major commuter arteries. Kathleen Penney, the District's chief engineer, said the megaproject has something for everyone. It will create a seamless link for highway commuters, the type of link abandoned when the original Interstate plan for Washington was abandoned decades ago. And local travelers, including bikers and walkers, will have their own span to connect neighborhoods on both sides of the Anacostia River. Work...

By Robert Thomson  |  April 24, 2009; 10:41 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Construction , Driving  
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Commuter Alert: Eastbound 66 backed up in Centreville Because of Wreck

Eastbound 66 is backed up in Centreville because of a wreck at Route 7100. Traffic squeezes by to the right....

By Washington Post Editors  |  April 24, 2009; 9:02 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories  
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Commuter Alert: Southbound Baltimore Washington Parkway Backed Up at Route 198

Southbound Baltimore Washington Parkway is backed up starting at Route 198 because of a wreck on Kenilworth Ave. at Route 50 involving a car and a tanker truck. The wreck has been moved to the side of the road and all lanes are now open. Westbound Route 50 is also delayed near Route 410. ....

By Washington Post Editors  |  April 24, 2009; 8:53 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories  
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Weekend Traffic Disruption for IMF/World Bank

These are the traffic impacts stemming from this weekend's meetings of the IMF/World Bank Board of Governors in Washington. They start Friday evening. Street Closings From 7:30 p.m. Friday to April 24, 2009 until 5 pm on Sunday, April 26, 2009, these streets near the IMF/World Bank will be closed to traffic: * 18th Street NW from G Street to Pennsylvania Avenue * 19th Street NW from G Street to Pennsylvania Avenue * 20th Street NW from G Street to Pennsylvania Avenue * G Street NW from 18th Street to 20th Street * H Street NW (south side) from 18th Street to 20th Street Parking Restrictions Parking will be barred on these streets from 3 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Monday: * 18th Street NW from G Street to Pennsylvania Avenue * 19th Street NW from G Street to Pennsylvania Avenue * 20th Street NW from G Street to Pennsylvania...

By Robert Thomson  |  April 23, 2009; 3:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Advisories , Events  
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Keep HOV Lanes For Carpoolers

So I get up early and wait with a line of sluggers in Prince William County to pile into a car driven by someone I don't know to get a quicker trip north in the HOV lanes. Then you tell me, Oh, sorry, today's not your day. The main line is too crowded because of an accident in DC, so we're letting the solo drivers into your carpool lane. Sure, it will slow you down and negate the incentive to carpool, but what about their needs? We'd have issues. This isn't a lack of sympathy for people stuck in a 23-mile backup on I-95/395 when they needed to get to work this morning. Been there often enough. And it's not a Rules Is Rules thing. In fact, there really isn't a rule on this, says Mike Salmon, a spokesman for the Virginia Department of Transportation. There have been occasions when...

By Robert Thomson  |  April 23, 2009; 2:06 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Congestion , Driving  
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DC Restores Timetable For Benning Road Fix

Mayor Fenty says he shares the pain of drivers slogging along Benning Road. (Thomson) Mayor Adrian Fenty says you don't have to tell him that Benning Road NE is a mess. If he hadn't driven across that moonscape often enough himself, he'd know it from his constituents. They don't care about the problems with utilities, they just want to know when the streetscape will be done and the torn-up lanes will be driveable. Standing in the parking lot of the Hechinger Mall off Benning, he said: "We keep telling them later and later and later to the point where they say 'Mayor, that's not going to work anymore.' " So Fenty announced this morning that he and the District Department of Transportation are putting the project back on its original timetable, for completion of construction between 16th Street and Oklahoma Avenue by mid-December. Fenty and Klein announce timetable. (Thomson)...

By Robert Thomson  |  April 23, 2009; 11:02 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Construction  
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POLL: Should HOV Lanes Have Been Opened Up?

A major accident on eastbound I-395 at the entrance to the 3rd Street tunnel this morning caused lengthy delays for commuters....

By Mike McPhate  |  April 23, 2009; 10:22 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  Commuting , Driving  
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Camden Line to Operate as Usual After Accident

Update, 1:33 p.m.: Officials say the person hit by the train was a boy. Update, 12:30 p.m.: The MARC Camden Line will be operating as scheduled this afternoon. Original post, 8:54 a.m.: MARC Camden Line service is suspended after a CSX train struck a pedestrian on the line, according to MARC. MARC suggests taking Penn line service. MARC will be providing alternate bus service from Dorsey, Savage and Laurel stations to Greenbelt. WMATA Metro Green line is honoring MARC tickets from Greenbelt, then the B-30 bus to BWI and Light Rail to Baltimore. Updates at MARC's Web site....

By Washington Post Editors  |  April 23, 2009; 8:54 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Advisories  
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Commuter Alert: North Bound 395 Backed Up at the 3rd Street Tunnel

Northbound 395 is slow from the Beltway to Seminary Rd. and from Glebe Rd. to the entrance for the 3rd St. Tunnel in D.C. An accident has been cleared in the area....

By Washington Post Editors  |  April 23, 2009; 7:11 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories  
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Avoid Long-Suffering Benning Road on Thursday

Benning Road NE is about as badly torn up as a street can be. It was torn up for utility work and now for a reconstruction project that should leave Benning and H Street looking great when complete, but it's been a long, tough slog for the people driving on Benning for the past couple of years. It looks like it was used for artillery practice. D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty may have some good news on Thursday about an expedited construction timetable, which would be most welcome. According to the contractor's most recent update, the No. 1 project priority is paving two eastbound and two westbound lanes by July 15, so motorists can have a smooth surface to drive on while construction continues in the median. In the meantime, watch out for this on Thursday: The District Department of Transportation is scheduled to do road paving work in the curb...

By Robert Thomson  |  April 22, 2009; 4:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Construction , Driving  
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Changes in Montgomery Bus Plan

After hearing pleas from riders, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett has told the County Council he no longer recommends cutting some Ride On bus service. But he is adding a new budget request to increase certain bus fares. What's off the cut list: * Weekday service on Route 53. * Saturday service on Route 29. * Route 93, but with less frequent service and range, and a higher fare (see below). * Route 7, but part of the route would be eliminated. Higher fares: * Route 70 riders would pay an express fare of $3 with a SmarTrip card and $3.10 if paying cash. * Route 93 riders would pay the regular Ride On fare of $1.25 with SmarTrip and $1.35 in cash. This would eliminate the 35 cent shuttle fare on the route. * Route 96 riders also would go from paying the shuttle fare to paying the regular...

By Robert Thomson  |  April 22, 2009; 11:43 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Transportation Politics , transit  
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Budget Cuts Pit Bus Riders Against Drivers

If you're affluent enough to afford a car, you're affluent enough to afford an extra 50 cents to pay for parking. That was the calculation of Cavan Wilk, a Wheaton resident who spoke to the Montgomery County Council on Tuesday night. Wilk was among those who think the county's parking fees should be raised to cover the cost of maintaining bus service at current levels. To balance the budget for the fiscal year starting in July, Montgomery is considering cutting some bus service and raising some fares. It would, for example, impose new charges on seniors, young people and county employees. (See details here.) The county also is considering a plan to raise parking fees in the Bethesda Parking District and in areas outside of county parking districts. But some transit advocates would see that and raise it, at least enough to eliminate the hits that transit would take in...

By Robert Thomson  |  April 22, 2009; 8:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Transportation Politics  
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Commuter Alert: Service Back to Normal on Metro's Red Line

Service is back to normal in both directions on Metro's red line. An earlier situation with a sick passenger aboard a train at the Gallery Place station has been resolved, but the slow down remains, according to Metro....

By Washington Post Editors  |  April 22, 2009; 6:26 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories  
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Montgomery Considering Bus Fare Increases

And parking fee increases, too. The county council has scheduled a hearing for 7:30 tonight on whether to impose these fares and fees to help balance the budget. The hearing is in the third floor hearing room at the Council Office Building, 100 Maryland Ave., Rockville. This is what the council is considering for Ride On and Metrobus fares. * Suspend free rides for seniors and people with disabilities for one year, starting in July. The half fare rate would be back in effect for the year. * Suspend the Kids Ride Free Program for the fiscal year starting in July. The Youth Cruiser Pass, which allows unlimited trips on Ride On at a monthly cost of $10, would be retained. * Suspend for the C Pass that allows county employees to use Ride On for free for the fiscal year. The Government Employees Transit Incentive (GET-IN) Program, which gives...

By Robert Thomson  |  April 21, 2009; 5:02 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Driving , Transportation Politics , transit  
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Overnight Paving in Front of Fort Belvoir

The Virginia Department of Transportation says it plans to mill and pave Richmond Highway tonight and Wednesday night in front of Fort Belvoir's Tulley Gate. The gate will remain open the entire time. But the inside lane on northbound and southbound Richmond Highway will be closed. Traffic will be diverted to the outside lanes. Flaggers and Fairfax County police will be on the scene. Besides the paving, VDOT crews also will install guardrails in that area. The work is sceduled to start at 9 p.m. and end by 5 a.m. each night. Rain dates are Thursday and Sunday nights....

By Robert Thomson  |  April 21, 2009; 4:47 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories , Construction , Driving  
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Commuter Alert: Malfunction That Caused Delays on Metro's Red Line Resolved

Metro has resolved a a track circuit malfunction outside the Takoma station, according to Metro officials....

By Washington Post Editors  |  April 21, 2009; 9:50 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Advisories  
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Hybrids Can Continue in Virginia HOV Lanes

For some reason, the Virginia General Assembly and the governor are not listening to me. I keep saying that the rule allowing solo drivers in hybrids to use the carpool lanes has outlived its usefulness. But they keep extending the law rather than allowing it to sunset. They've done it again. Hybrids with the proper clean fuel tags can continue to use the HOV lanes in Northern Virginia through June 30, 2010. At that point, I expect, they'll have another of these now-routine extensions. Here's a link to House Bill 2476 sponsored by Del. Tim Hugo and signed by Gov. Tim Kaine. (The only change in the law is striking out "2009" and writing in "2010" in the sunset date on the law.) This link will show you the rules governing use of hybrids in HOV lanes. Road Essentials:  Incident Map  |  Traffic Cams   |   Key Routes...

By Robert Thomson  |  April 21, 2009; 8:19 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Driving , Transportation Politics  
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Overnight Work on Virginia Beltway Postponed

It's a rainout tonight for the contruction at the Telegraph Road interchange that has caused extensive overnight delays on the Capital Beltway. The work has been postponed till Tuesday night. Here's a review of what's involved. On Tuesday, April 21, from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.: Outer loop traffic from east of the Eisenhower Avenue Connector to east of Telegraph Road will be narrowed to one lane. Immediately after work zone, all Thru and Local lanes will be open. Ramps from the directions of Telegraph Road to the outer loop will be closed. Detour: Traffic heading to the outer loop from Telegraph Road will be detoured to Huntington Avenue eastbound and to Route 1 northbound. The ramp from the outer loop to Telegraph Road southbound will be closed. Detour: Drivers on the Eisenhower Avenue Connector will go to Eisenhower Avenue to Mill Road and to Telegraph Road. The ramp bridge...

By Robert Thomson  |  April 20, 2009; 2:07 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories , Construction , Driving  
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How to Navigate a Roundabout? Very Carefully.

Cars looked a bit bigger to me in the real roundabout on Route 50 in Loudoun County. (VDOT) I'm kind of a freak about using turn signals -- I use them when I'm driving up the levels of a parking garage -- but I was willing to cut drivers some slack in the new roundabout on Route 50 in Loudoun County, because the circle is so tight. But this traveler is having none of it. Dear Dr. Gridlock: While you are correct in your reply in Sunday's column to Mr. Drummond regarding roundabouts, saying that they are going to "take some getting used to," I can't agree that the use of turn signals to indicate intention is so difficult that you would attempt to excuse a driver's failure to do so. Your excusing the non-use of signals in this case because the circle is so small that the driver...

By Robert Thomson  |  April 20, 2009; 1:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Construction , Driving  
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Traffic, Transit Discussion at Noon Today

Join me and The Post's transit reporter, Lena H. Sun, for a chat today. Lena, our expert on the Metro system and transit issues generally, has most recently been covering Metro's financial troubles that may lead to cutbacks in bus service at the end of June. She gave us an update in Saturday's Post about Metro's prospects for winning a commitment from the federal and regional governments to provide more money for new trains and buses and for upgrades to the transit system. Lena also wrote a story recently about the delays in getting those D.C. streetcars, now sitting with their manufacturer in the Czech Republic, onto the city streets here. Between the two of us, we can talk about any topic of interest to you concerning local travel. To read the noontime chat, use this link. If you'd like to submit a question or comment in advance, use this...

By Robert Thomson  |  April 20, 2009; 8:51 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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The Week Ahead on Virginia HOT Lanes

Left lanes of Route 123 in this Tysons zone will be closed through November. (Thomson) Each week, the Virginia Megaprojects office, the one that coordinates the work of the half dozen huge public works that could affect your travels, provides a list of what drivers can expect to see. This is the list of daytime work for the HOT lanes (high occupancy/toll) project. * The left lanes in both directions of Route 123 (Chain Bridge Road) will close at the Capital Beltway interchange, between the Westpark Drive Bridge and the Capital One building. This is the biggest impact so far of the project and will continue through November. See Sunday's Commuter page for more details. * Expect single lane closures during the day on the Beltway and on some ramps within the project area. These are not at rush hour. * All Gallows Road traffic has been shifted for...

By Robert Thomson  |  April 20, 2009; 7:35 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Congestion , Construction , Driving  
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District Rebuilding Bridge Over NY Avenue

The District Department of Transportation will reconstruct the 9th Street Bridge over New York Avenue NE, starting this week. The project, which will continue until mid-2011, requires some detours for 9th Street traffic. To start, DDOT will close the two southbound lanes on the bridge. To maintain two-way traffic, the two lanes that now handle northbound traffic will be split into one northbound lane and one southbound lane until the new bridge is done. To accomplish the lane shift, DDOT will close access from Brentwood Parkway northbound to the bridge. The ramp from the southbound 9th Street Bridge to westbound New York Avenue also will be closed. Detours: Southbound traffic on 9th Street can take Brentwood Parkway to Penn Street to reach New York Avenue. Northbound traffic on Brentwood Parkway can take Penn Street to eastbound New York Avenue, and then use the ramp to the northbound bridge. Road...

By Robert Thomson  |  April 20, 2009; 6:13 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Driving  
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Slowdown Continues on Tracks Near Takoma

This is an update on a question I received during last Monday's online discussion. First, the question: Washington, D.C.: Is there some kind of secret track work going on on the Red Line in the Takoma/Fort Totten area? I live in Silver Spring and work near Judiciary Square, so I ride the Metro every day. I would say 90% of the trips consist of the train slowing to a crawl for a good five or more minutes near those stations, with absolutely no explanation. No advisory alerts, no delay announcements, nothing. The train sometimes stops, but mostly just crawls along very, very slowly. Very observant, though my experience was that the slowdown just south of Takoma Station lasts about a minute. Metro workers detected a water drainage problem in that area that has softened the ground underneath the tracks. It's safe to ride, the transit authority says, but the ground...

By Robert Thomson  |  April 20, 2009; 6:06 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Advisories , Metro  
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