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Get There: June 14, 2009 - June 20, 2009

Crackdown on Aggressive Drivers Coming

This week, we talked about a survey concluding that drivers in Washington and Baltimore had become much more courteous during the past year. In our own un-scientific poll, readers begged to differ. The Smooth Operator campaign, the annual police enforcement wave that targets aggressive drivers, notes the consequences of our bad behavior. In Virginia, 183 lives were lost in speed-related crashes during 2007, the latest year with complete statistics. That was a 9 percent increase from 2006. The Maryland numbers show that from 2005 to 2007, aggressive driving killed an average of 75 people per year. That was an increase from the previous three years, during which an average of 64 people died in aggressive driving crashes. "One of the simplest ways to reduce aggressive driving is to reduce your speed," said United States Park Police Chief Sal Lauro, who participated in a law enforcement gathering Wednesday at the Lincoln...

By Robert Thomson  |  June 20, 2009; 8:08 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Driving , Safety  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, Smooth Operator  
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Weekend Update: Saturday Closures in Northeast

Here's an item to add to our previously posted Weekend and Beyond entry: A parade will close Nannie Helen Burroughs Ave. NE between 49th St. and Division Ave. from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m....

By Washington Post Editors  |  June 19, 2009; 3:46 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Traffic Alert: Water Main Break Closes Stanton Rd. in SE

A water main break has closed Stanton Rd. SE between Alabama Ave. and Bruce Pl. The D.C. Water and Sewer Authority reports it could be evening before repairs on the main are fixed....

By Washington Post Editors  |  June 19, 2009; 11:35 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories  
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Northern Virginia Getting 'Road Diet'

You've heard that "road diet" expression before here, most recently in reference to Arcola Avenue in Silver Spring. But this will be the first time that Northern Virginia sees a transportation department slim down a roadway to make travel safer. In the image at left from the Virginia Department of Transportation you can see the plan to reconfigure Lawyers Road in Reston. In August, a scheduled repaving of the roadway will be done, but in the process, the road will be reduced from four travel lanes to two. A central turning lane will be added, and so will bike paths on bothsides of the road. To what end? VDOT says Lawyers Road handles about 10,000 vehicles a day between Reston Parkway and Myrtle Lane. Over the past three years, there were 56 crashes on this two-mile section. VDOT engineers estimate that 15 of those could have been avoided. Several vehicles...

By Robert Thomson  |  June 19, 2009; 10:29 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Construction , Driving , Safety  | Tags: Lawyers Road, Northern Virginia, VDOT, road diet  
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The Weekend and Beyond

The traffic highlight of the weekend is likely to be the first item, but note also the delays on three Metrorail lines. Triathlon Sunday in DC The Dextro Energy Triathlon on Sunday will close many streets to traffic and parking around the National Mall from as early as 8 o'clock tonight (Friday) to as late as 3 a.m. Monday. Traffic delays are likely. And be sure to watch out for "Emergency No Parking" signs if you're heading to the Mall area this weekend. Events start at 9:10 a.m. Sunday. See a map of the route here. Look here for DC list of street closings. Metrorail Weekend Delays These are the delays caused by track maintenance this weekend. Orange Line: Between East Falls Church and West Falls Church, add at least 20 minutes to normal travel times from 10 o'clock tonight (Friday) through the midnight closing on Sunday. Blue and Yellow...

By Robert Thomson  |  June 19, 2009; 9:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories  | Tags: Arena Drive, Beltway, Dr. Gridlock, Intercounty Connector, Metrorail, Triathlon closures, delays  
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Streets Reopened After Columbia Heights Shooting

Streets closed by police during this afternoon's shooting in Columbia Heights in Northwest D.C. have reopened, restoring normal bus service. This post has been updated since it was first published....

By Washington Post Editors  |  June 18, 2009; 5:18 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Boyds Man Dead in Clarksburg Crash

A Boyds man was killed in an early morning crash in Clarksburg today, according to the Montgomery County Police. Police say Daehyung Chong, 18, of Boyds, was driving south on Frederick Rd. when his car crossed into the northbound lanes near Running Brook Dr., hitting a power pole around 3:12 a.m., according to police. Passenger Tae Kyo Seo, 18, also of Boyds, was pronounced dead at the scene; Chong was taken to an area hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Both were wearing seatbelts, police said. Police continue to investigate; the reason why Chong's car crossed into the northbound lanes is not currently known. -- David P. Marino-Nachison...

By Washington Post Editors  |  June 18, 2009; 1:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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Adams Morgan Road Closures, Bus Rerouting Scheduled for Today

Film production work is scheduled to close Adams Mill Rd. NW between Calvert St. and Columbia Rd. between 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. today, according to DDOT. Intermittent short closures of Columbia Rd. at Adams Mill Rd. and 18th St. are also scheduled. And Metro and Circulator buses will be temporarily rerouted. Police will be on hand to assist with detours....

By Washington Post Editors  |  June 18, 2009; 8:57 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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Commuter Alert: Earlier delays on Blue/Yellow Lines Cleared

The communications problems that were causing delays on Metro's Yellow and Blue lines have been fixed. Here's the earlier report: The delays that plagued Blue and Yellow Metro line riders in Virginia yesterday continue today. Metro officials reported this morning delays of 20 to 30 minutes on commutes between the Braddock Road station and National Airport because of problems with a communications line that sends signals between train, track and Operations Control Center. Trains are forced to use a single track in that area. Metro officials said the delays will last through the morning. Here's a description of the problem posted yesterday: It's bad enough that Metro says some of you might be better off taking the bus today. The trains have slowed significantly around the Reagan National Airport and Braddock Road stations on the Blue and Yellow lines. It's a problem with train communication lines that Metro says could...

By Robert Thomson  |  June 18, 2009; 7:17 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
Categories:  Metro  | Tags: Blue, Dr. Gridlock, Franconia-Springfield, Metro delays, Orange, Reagan National Airport, Yellow  
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Purple Line Passes Important Test

The Washington region's Transportation Planning Board, which has to pass on any big project that wants to compete for federal funds, signed off on the Purple Line transitway this afternoon. The resolution to add the entire Purple Line project to the region's Constrained Long Range Plan passed unanimously. This is a major and necessary step for the project, which would provide an important new east-west transit connection for tens of thousands of people. But there are many steps to come before the Purple Line could start running late in the next decade, and many of those steps will rank as "major." Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley still needs to approve the proposal, which almost certainly will call for a light rail line rather than a bus rapid transit system, then the state must apply to the federal government for New Start money. The federal standards for approving transit projects are much...

By Robert Thomson  |  June 17, 2009; 1:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (23)
Categories:  Transportation Politics , transit  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, Purple Line  
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Survey: Washingtonians Raging Less on Roads

National surveys of driver behavior have severe limits, but they're always fun to look at. The latest is the fourth annual survey of road rageousness by the AutoVantage auto club. The findings: Washington drives are the sixth most courteous in the nation. Is there anything else you need to know about how accurate these surveys are? That's compared to 24 other cities. In last year's survey, we ranked as the fifth least courteous. Talk about mood swings. Now we're tied with San Francisco on the laid-back scale. Here's the most-courteous list. The telephone study of 2,518 people in 25 urban areas was conducted between Jan. 8 and March 24, 2009 by Prince Market Research, which gives it a margin of error of 2 percentage points. (What do you give it?) Now, you do want to know who bumped us out of the top five for least courteous, right? The top...

By Robert Thomson  |  June 17, 2009; 9:47 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Driving  | Tags: national survey, rankings, road rage  
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New Phase of Beltway Paving to Start at Arena Drive

Capital Beltway drivers have seen a lot of work lately on the $26.5 million project to open up the Arena Drive interchange, and there will be more starting tonight. The State Highway Administration is going to resurface two miles of the inner loop between Landover Road and Arena Drive. The job should take about three weeks. If you're traveling overnight, watch for single lane and double lane closings on the inner loop between 9 p.m. and midnight and triple lane closings between midnight and 5 a.m. Sundays through Fridays. Since that leaves just one lane open for drivers in the very early morning, they might consider using Routes 193 or 301 to the east of the Beltway or Interstate 295 to the west to work their way around the bottleneck. When I saw this notice come out from the State Highway Administration, it reminded me that during my weekly online...

By Robert Thomson  |  June 17, 2009; 9:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Construction , Driving  | Tags: Arena Drive, Capital Beltway, Dr. Gridlock, Maryland SHA  
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Virginia Needs More Than Stimulus Can Provide

I think the slow start Virginia has made on its transportation stimulus projects is worth watching for potential consequences (see Post story today by Anita Kumar) but it pales by comparison to the underlying problem that the state doesn't have enough money to create the transportation network that travelers are seeking. Virginia's most serious problem in getting federal money for transportation projects is the lack of state money to match all sorts of federal largesse as it becomes available.That was a huge concern outlined by Virginia Transportation Secretary Pierce Homer when he spoke to the Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance this month. The commonwealth has gone into a protective mode, concentrating its spending on protecting the road and rail network it has, rather than upgrading or expanding it. That same tone was struck by Gov. Timothy M. Kaine in a Post op-ed essay that sounded a bit like a farewell address...

By Robert Thomson  |  June 17, 2009; 9:04 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Construction , Transportation Politics  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, Gov. Kaine, Secretary Homer, federal stimulus  
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Traffic Alert: One Lane Blocked on I-495 NB After I-395

The Inner Loop of the Beltway is backed up after I-395 in Va. because of an earlier vehicle fire. All lanes are open, but delays remain....

By Washington Post Editors  |  June 17, 2009; 8:23 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories  
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Commuter Alert: Delays on Metro's Yellow, Blue Lines Cleared

Earlier Yellow and Blue line delays toward Mount Vernon and Largo Town Center have been cleared....

By Washington Post Editors  |  June 17, 2009; 7:14 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories  
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Commuter Alert: Delays on Metro's Blue, Yellow and Red Lines

Metro is experiencing multiple delays this morning. Yellow and Blue line trains toward Mount Vernon Sq. and Largo Town Center are delayed by a track problem at the Braddock Rd. station. The Red Line is delayed in both directions at Brookland-CUA because of a track problem outside that station....

By Washington Post Editors  |  June 17, 2009; 6:29 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories  
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Commuter Alert Update: Water Main Break in Alexandria

UPDATE: Parts of North Quaker Lane in Alexandria remain closed to traffic this afternoon because of a 12-inch water main break that left approximately 200 customers without water this morning, a utilities spokesman said. --------------------- Quaker Lane is closed between Duke Street and the Janneys Lane/Seminary Road intersection because of a water main break in the 200 block of North Quaker Lane between Duke Street and Trinity Drive. Police are diverting traffic onto Fort Williams Parkway. Work to fix the main break is likely to go on all morning and may continue this afternoon. Here's a map of the area. View Larger Map Road Essentials:  Incident Map  |  Traffic Cams   |   Key Routes...

By Robert Thomson  |  June 17, 2009; 3:48 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories , Commuting , Driving  | Tags: Commuter Alert, Dr. Gridlock, water main break  
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Reload SmarTrip Cards at Stores Regionwide

I think many transit users in the Washington region will see this as a breakthrough: More and more local pharmacy and food stores are allowing you to add value to your SmarTrip cards without going to a Metrorail station or commuter store, or standing by the fare box machine on a bus. In months past -- especially since the paper transfers were eliminated in January and bus riders really needed to get SmarTrip cards -- transit users have complained to me that there aren't enough places to reload value onto the cards. It was either a Metrorail station or a bus. (Ever watch someone do that on a bus?) It's a big region. Lots of Metrobus passengers who use SmarTrip don't find themselves anywhere near a Metrorail station. And lots of bus riders use the suburban lines, such as Fairfax Connector and Ride On, which followed Metro's lead in January...

By Robert Thomson  |  June 16, 2009; 3:02 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Metro  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, SmarTrip, WMATA, bus, subway, train  
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Who Owns the Streets?

Who gets to decide the proper width of a road, or whether turns are blocked at certain hours, or whether traffic calming devices are installed? Is it the people who live along the roadway, the people who travel on it, or the people who paid for it? The number of people involved gets larger as you go up that scale, but transportation planners and public officials don't necessarily decide the issues that way. Post reporter Ann E. Marrimow writes today about one such debate, in a Bethesda neighborhood considering whether to install speed humps to slow down drivers. Cromwell Drive is a shortcut between River Road and Massachusetts Avenue, and too many drivers are going too fast through the residential neighborhood. Now, their are arguments among traffic engineers and travelers about whether speed humps are effective. Some drivers get used to them and wind up taking them at speed, some...

By Robert Thomson  |  June 16, 2009; 9:50 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (17)
Categories:  Driving , Transportation Politics  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, Interstate 66, Montgomery County, neighborhood speed humps, traffic calming  
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Traffic Alert: Accident Gone at I-95 N at U.S. 1, but Delays Remain

I-95 northbound remains backed up at U.S. 1 in Virginia because of an earlier accident involving a police crusier. The wreck is now gone. Traffic slows from Dale City and in the back up a stalled vehicle blocks the left lane at the Prince William Pkwy. Northbound 395 is slow from Edsall Rd. to Seminary Rd. and from Boundary Channel Dr. to the 14th St. Bridge. There was a separate accident on northbound U.S. 1 at Telgraph Rd, which has also been removed....

By Washington Post Editors  |  June 16, 2009; 8:34 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories  
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Getting to BWI, Stick to the Interstates

That advice comes from Dave Buck, spokesman for the Maryland State Highway Administration, which has offices quite close to Baltimore Washington Marshall Airport. He noticed the discussion we had during today's online chat about traveling from the Washington area to BWI at rush hour. I said that my airport van driver had noted that his company recommends the drivers go north on I-95, then cut east on Route 100, then go up the BW Parkway to connect with I-195 into the airport. Don't do that, says Buck. Route 100 is far more congested and that section of I-95 between 100 and I-195, he says. So don't get fancy: The straight shot, I-95 north to I-195 east, is the fastest. The original question had to do with how much time to leave when driving from Takoma Park to meet an incoming flight at 6 p.m. I said I'd leave home at...

By Robert Thomson  |  June 15, 2009; 4:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Driving  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, Getting to BWI Airport  
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Emergency Service for OmniRide Customers

The Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission's OmniRide buses will operate emergency service today after a double shooting outside the PRTC's Woodbridge facility shut the bus lot down, according to a news release. The PRTC details its emergency service on its web site. Since the organization is borrowing buses from other transit agencies, rides from Metro stations may be longer than usual and buses will likely not say "OmniRide" on them. As to routes: Passengers heading to eastern Prince William are instructed to ride the Metro to the Franconia-Springfield station. Those heading to the Manassas area are instructed to ride to the West Falls Church station. Vehicles parked at the OmniRide commuter lot in Woodbridge must remain there until a search of the facility is complete. OmniRide buses will not charge fares this afternoon. This post has been updated since it was first published. -- David P. Marino-Nachison...

By Christopher Dean Hopkins  |  June 15, 2009; 3:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  transit  
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Join Me at Noon for Online Discussion

We'll talk about your local travel concerns, whether you drive, ride transit, bike or walk. To view the conversation, use this link. If you'd like to submit a question or comment before we get started at noon today, use this link....

By Robert Thomson  |  June 15, 2009; 10:07 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Traffic Alert: SB B.W Pkwy. Reopened After Major Crash

All lanes are now open on southbound Baltimore-Washington Pkwy after an earlier accident near BWI Airport closed all lanes for about an hour....

By Washington Post Editors  |  June 15, 2009; 7:14 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories  
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New Beltway Ramps Should Ease Traffic

For the second time in a month, some significant things are happening to ease traffic congestion on the southern part of the Capital Beltway in Virginia. New ramps opening after 9:30 this morning are designed to allow direct access between the Beltway's Thru Lanes and Alexandria's Eisenhower Valley. One ramp is for drivers coming from the Inner Loop Thru Lanes to Mill Road/Eisenhower Avenue. Another ramp will take traffic the opposite way, from Mill Road/Eisenhower Avenue to the Outer Loop Thru Lanes. The ramps are about halfway between the Route 1 and Telegraph Road interchanges. So it should provide relief for drivers who had been using those two interchanges to connect with Eisenhower Valley, now a busy area, thanks to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, a U.S. District Court and new housing and commercial development. Two weeks ago, several new ramps opened at the Telegraph Road interchange. Some drivers...

By Robert Thomson  |  June 15, 2009; 5:24 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Commuting , Driving , Wilson Bridge  
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