Traffic Alert: Disruptions in 14th Street Area
Update, 7:57 p.m.: 14th Street has reopened at Constitution Avenue but remains blocked at Independence Avenue. Traffic has eased on Constitution but still is heavy on Independence.
Outbound traffic is reaching 14th St Bridge southbound via Wallenberg Place.
Original post, 2:12 p.m.: This is a major disruption in traffic, as a consequence of police action following the shootings at the Holocaust Museum. Avoid the 14th Street area around the Mall, whether you're leaving the District or heading toward it. There's a lot of police activity, and streets are likely to be closed through the afternoon rush.
Use either the 9th Street or -- better -- the Third Street tunnel under the Mall to reach the Southeast-Southwest Freeway (I-395) and then either I-295 or the 14th Street Bridge, or take the Roosevelt Bridge to I-66 and the northbound George Washington Parkway. [5:45 p.m. update: U.S. Park Police say GW Parkway is closed between Route 123 and Spout Run.] Drivers might also take South Capitol Street to the Douglass Bridge over the Anacostia River to reach I-295.
But don't expect an easy trip anywhere downtown. It appears that many people are leaving their offices early and contributing to the traffic congestion.
"Our traffic operations folks report New York Avenue and most major arterials are backed up and congested," John Lisle, spokesman for the District Department of Transportation, said at 3 p.m. "We are seeing a tremendous traffic surge on all corridors. We have gone to rush hour timing plans on all major corridors and we have 12 TCOs [traffic control officers] deployed around the closures to help detour traffic."
The 14th Street Bridge northbound, which had been closed, has reopened, but traffic cannot use the exit for 14th Street. Vehicles can go to the Southeast-Southwest Freeway and reach downtown Washington that way. Also, 14th Street downtown is closed between Constitution Avenue and D Street. Traffic on Constitution is jammed heading west toward the Roosevelt Bridge, as well as east toward 14th Street.
Other streets to avoid:
-- Independence Avenue from 15th to 12th Streets SW
-- 15th Street from Maine Avenue to Independence Ave SW
Maryland Commuter Bus riders: Delays are expected on many Commuter Bus routes this afternoon. The Maryland Transit Administration recommends bus numbers 907, 909, and 922. Riders who use Independence at 14th, 12th, and LEnfant should move to the stop on Independence between 7th & 6th until the roadways reopen.
OmniRide: Buses will operate on the Emergency Service Plan this afternoon. Passengers returning to the eastern side of Prince William County should ride Metro to the Franconia-Springfield Metro station, where OmniRide buses will be waiting to pick them up. Those traveling to the Manassas area should ride Metro to the West Falls Church Metro station and meet the PRTC buses there. All OmniRide and Metro Direct fares this afternoon will be free. (Metro fares are in effect.)
These Metrobus lines are being detoured: 30's, 50's and the V7.
The shootings also prompted Metro to deploy transit police to Smithsonian Station, the closest Metrorail station to the Holocaust Museum, to "secure it" and help with any panicked tourists, a Metro transit police source said. The station remains open.
Here's a map of the area.
June 10, 2009; 2:12 PM ET
Categories: Commuting , Congestion | Tags: Holocaust Museum shootings, traffic congestion
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