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The Week Ahead in Traffic, Transit

It's a short week, because so many people get Friday off for the Fourth of July, but there are many changes across the transportation system to be aware of.

[Updated at 8 a.m.] The Red Line once again goes between Shady Grove and Glenmont on two tracks. However, trains on this line have a 35 mph speed limit as a safety precaution following last Monday's train wreck. They are traveling even more slowly this morning between Fort Totten and Rhode Island Avenue, because of the continuing investigation into last Monday's train wreck.

Metro says that to minimize delays, it has ordered some trains to offload their passengers at Rhode Island Avenue, Brookland and Fort Totten. Shuttle buses are available. The delays are adding about half an hour to travel times, Metro says.

On all lines, the trains are under the control of the operators, rather than the automated train control system, and that may slow down speeds somewhat. Also, remember that all the trains are pulling to the front of the platforms.

Bus Schedules, Fares
Commuters who use Metrobus and several of the suburban bus system are dealing with changes today. You can find them through this blog entry.

This is a good one: Starting Wednesday, Metrobus riders will be able to figure out how close the next bus is to about 12,000 bus stops in the Metro service area. To use the service, you'll need to know the identifying number of the bus stop. Then call the phone number on the bus shield, the one with the identifying number, or go to Metro's Web site. See this page for details.

Route 50 Detour
The next phase of the roundabout construction along Route 50 near Aldie in Loudoun County is scheduled to start Wednesday. That stretch of two-lane highway through rolling farmland has become a fairly heavy commuter route, so the detour will have some impact on travel time.

Drivers on Route 50 will be detoured around the intersection at Route 15. The detour, which will be in place about three months, probably will add about five minutes to off-peak trips through the area and up to 15 minutes during rush hours. I'll show you more about this, and include a map, in an upcoming post.

The July 4 weekend is not one of our huge getaway weekends, certainly nothing like Thanksgiving or Christmas. It's summer, and many people already have gotten to their getaways. Many others will stay in town for Independence Day celebrations. Watch for more postings with some travel tips, whether you're preparing a long-distance drive or just hanging around Washington.

By Robert Thomson  |  June 29, 2009; 5:16 AM ET
Categories:  Advisories , Commuting , Driving , Getaway , Metro , holiday travel , transit  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, Independence Day, July 4, detour, summer, vacation travel  
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Has anyone at METRO explained why it makes sense to impose a 35 mph speed limit on the red line outside the accident area but not on the other lines? Presumably the same automated equipment and software is used on all the lines to keep trains a minimum distance apart, so if there are now concerns about the reliability of that equipment and software, it seems odd to impose different speed limits on different lines.

Posted by: joelkaufman | June 29, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Any guesses when Metro will restart turning some trains around at Grosvenor during rush hour?

Posted by: grosver | June 29, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

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