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Get There: July 5, 2009 - July 11, 2009

The Weekend and Beyond

Looks like the biggest things to mind this weekend will be the Metrorail disruptions and the first concert at Nationals Park. But watch out for that construction on Kenilworth Avenue (295) in the District. Here's my weekly rundown on what to expect. Metrorail Delays The Red Line is still slowed between Fort Totten and Takoma, which has a ripple effect along the entire line. Update: Takoma Station, which has been closing each night at 10 o'clock so crash investigators can continue their work, will be open tonight, Friday, but will resume the 10 p.m. closings on Saturday. When the station is closed, there will be no train service between Silver Spring and Fort Totten. There will be free shuttle buses to take passengers between Silver Spring, Takoma and Fort Totten. (The Silver Spring shuttle stop is on Dixon Avenue, the others are at the stations.) Keep this in mind if...

By Robert Thomson  |  July 11, 2009; 11:01 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Advisories  | Tags: Billy Joel Elton John concert, Dr. Gridlock, Metrorail delays, Nationals Park  
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Scene of Bethesda Gas Leak Cleared; Delays Continue

Public safety personnel cleared the scene of the possible gas leak in the 7300 block of Waverly Street near the Bethesda-Chevy Chase border about 3:45 p.m., according to Montgomery County fire officials. However, traffic is still delayed in the area. Washington Gas is now on the scene making repairs, officials report....

By Michael Bolden  |  July 10, 2009; 6:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Congestion  | Tags: Bethesda, Congestion, Construction, Gas Leak  
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K Street Repairs to Continue Through July 20

Downtown motorists and pedestrians can expect further nighttime lane closures along K Street NW from 12th to 18th streets because of ongoing road repairs through July 20. At least one lane should remain closed in both directions from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. while District Department of Transportation crews complete repaving, perform spot repairs of sidewalks, medians and wheelchair ramps, and install new bus pads, said DDOT spokesman John Lisle. -- Martin Ricard...

By Michael Bolden  |  July 10, 2009; 5:42 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Congestion , Construction , Weekend Work  | Tags: Closures, K Street, Repaving  
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Possible Gas Leak Causes Delays in Bethesda

Police and fire personnel have shut down a three-block area along Waverly Street near the Bethesda-Chevy Chase border while they investigate a possible gas leak. Officials say drivers should expect major traffic delays for the next few hours near downtown Bethesda. Fire dispatchers received a call about 2:20 p.m. of a strong odor coming from a construction site on the 7300 block of Waverly Street. At the scene, firefighters determined it was a possible gas leak caused when a construction crew excavating soil ruptured a 2-inch gas line, said Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service Capt. Oscar Garcia. No one was injured, Garcia said, but public safety personnel have blocked off the area between Waverly Street, Wisconsin Avenue, Montgomery Avenue and East-West Highway. About 50 people have evacuated some of the high-rises near the construction site, but others have been allowed to stay in their buildings during the investigation. Officials...

By Michael Bolden  |  July 10, 2009; 3:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Congestion , Driving , Safety  | Tags: Bethesda  
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Commuter Alert: Delays on Orange and Blue Lines at Foggy Bottom Cleared

Earlier delays on Metro's Orange and Blue Lines at Foggy Bottom have been cleared....

By Washington Post Editors  |  July 10, 2009; 8:16 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Advisories  
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Advice For Reaching Saturday Concert at Nats Park

For the first time, the baseball stadium will host a concert. The headliners Saturday are Billy Joel and Elton John, and the place will probably be full. That means you're likely to encounter traffic congestion near South Capitol and M streets, crowding on Metro and long lines at the stadium entrances. Besides getting there early (gates open at 6 p.m. for the 7:30 show) and being patient, the advice we're hearing goes like this: For Drivers -- There's no Nats Express. The baseball system that allows fans to park at RFK Stadium and take the free shuttle will not be operating. -- You can buy parking near the stadium in advance. Use this link. -- If you're trying to get directions through an online map program, the stadium's address is 1500 South Capitol Street SE, Washington, DC 20003-1507. -- Don't think about parking on the street near the stadium unless...

By Robert Thomson  |  July 9, 2009; 1:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Events  | Tags: Billy Joel, Dr. Gridlock, Elton John, concert  
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Metro Presents Red Line Makeover Plan

Transit authority managers today presented a plan to address many of the things that most annoy Red Line riders, but it also raised questions about whether the work program itself would annoy the customers. The staff hopes to win approval from the full board for a rehabilitation program from Dupont Circle to Silver Spring. [Staff writer James Hohmann provided this update on the schedule: The whole project will take about 48 months, Metro said. The first phase, from Rhode Island to Judiciary Square, will take about 18 months. The next phase, from Judiciary Square to Dupont Circle, will take about a year. Then the rehab from Rhode Island Avenue will take about 10 months. Fort Totten to Silver Spring will take about eight months.] The rest of the Red Line would be repaired in subsequent stages. Dupont Circle to Grosvenor, then both ends of the line, to Shady Grove and...

By Robert Thomson  |  July 9, 2009; 10:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (38)
Categories:  Metro , transit  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, Metrorail, Red Line  
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Metro Chief Announces Tougher Texting Policy

The transit authority is toughening its policy against train or bus operators texting in the aftermath of a video showing a train operator apparently doing so while his train sped down the tracks. Metro General Manager John B. Catoe Jr. said this morning: "The policy [against texting] will remain. What will change are the consequences. There will be no second chance. ... One strike, you will be out." The use of a cell phone for texting in the operation of a Metro vehicle has always been prohibited, he said. Now, immediate termination will result from a violation. The one-strike policy is scheduled to take effect on Monday. Catoe said he had no data on the number of times Metro employees violate the no-texting rule. He's asked for it, he said, but didn't want to wait for that to announce the change. Under the old disciplinary system, an employee got three...

By Robert Thomson  |  July 9, 2009; 9:08 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (25)
Categories:  Metro  
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Traffic Alert: SB I-395 Lanes Cleared

All lanes of southbound I-395, which had been slowed this afternoon because of an overturned vehicle near Glebe Rd., are now clear. All HOV lanes are also open, according to our traffic service. Check our live traffic map for live updates. This post has been updated since it was first published....

By Mike McPhate  |  July 8, 2009; 4:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories , Congestion , Driving  
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Accident Closes Route 17 in Stafford, Va.

U.S. Route 17 at Olde Forge Drive in south Stafford, Va. is closed in both directions after a vehicle crash. Authorities said traffic should reopen by about 4 p.m. See our live traffic map....

By Mike McPhate  |  July 8, 2009; 3:44 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories , Congestion , Driving  
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Online Discussion at 2 About Traffic Congestion

Tim Lomax, co-author of the Texas Transportation Institute mobility study that puts the Washington area traffic at second worst in the nation, will be online for a discussion at 2 p.m. ET. Here's the link to the discussion....

By Robert Thomson  |  July 8, 2009; 1:43 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Congestion on I-95 in Maryland After Tanker Crash

Police blocked off the two right lanes of southbound I-95 to work on a tanker truck crash before Route 198 (Sandy Spring Road) at the Howard-Prince George's County line. It's causing a big backup southbound on 95 but there also is slow traffic heading north. Alternatives: Use Routes 100, 175 or 32 to the southbound Baltimore-Washington Parkway, Route 1 or Route 29 (Columbia Pike) as alternate routes....

By Robert Thomson  |  July 8, 2009; 1:16 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Red Line Delays For At Least 10 More Days

The slowdowns will continue at least through July 19, Metro said this morning. Keep on adding at least a half an hour to the regular travel times all along the line, even though the problem causing all this is between Fort Totten and Takoma. Because of the reduced speeds in that zone, where the June 22 crash occurred, trains everywhere on the Red Line have to wait. This means that on any Red Line trip, riders are likely to hear the operator say the train is holding for a schedule adjustment. Also, there are somewhat fewer trains than normal operating on the Red Line because of the congestion stemming from the slowdown. If trains get backed up, some may be turned around and sent back to ease congestion on the platforms in the most crowded areas. The normal turnbacks at Grosvenor and Silver Spring are not occurring. Right now, turnbacks...

By Robert Thomson  |  July 8, 2009; 9:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (38)
Categories:  Metro  
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Each Driver Has Personal Misery Index

Drivers, like these in 295 congestion, don't see solutions the same way. (Thomson) [Tim Lomax, co-author of the Texas Transportation Institute mobility study that puts the Washington area traffic at second worst in the nation, will be online for a discussion at 2 p.m. ET. Here's the link to the discussion.] Travelers don't look at our transportation system the way traffic experts do. To the experts, the Washington transportation system is a big unfolded map stretching from the Blue Ridge to the Eastern Shore and from Fredericksburg to Baltimore. Travelers take a GPS view. The transportation system is a line from Point A to Point B. It's the route they travel every day. The mobility study published today by the Texas Transportation Institute is one of those big unfolded maps. It shows that traffic congestion is bad and suggests it's likely to get worse once the recession is done....

By Robert Thomson  |  July 8, 2009; 8:32 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Congestion , Driving , Transportation Politics  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, Texas Transportation Institute, mobility study  
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Avoid Beltway Near Telegraph Road Tonight

The Beltway's outer loop near Telegraph Road will go down to one lane and a highway ramp will be closed tonight, Wednesday and Thursday so the Wilson Bridge project can work on steel for overhead ramps. This is likely to cause overnight traffic delays, and it would be best to avoid the outer loop in that area of Virginia. Details From 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. on these three nights, the outer loop ramp from Telegraph Road North will be closed. Traffic from east of Eisenhower Avenue Connector to east of Telegraph Road will be narrowed to one lane. Thru and Local Lanes will be open immediately after the work zone. Detour: Traffic heading for the outer loop from Telegraph Road North will be detoured to Huntington Avenue eastbound, then to Route 1 northbound. Speed Limit Watch the speed limits on the electronic displays. This is the Variable Speed Limit...

By Robert Thomson  |  July 7, 2009; 6:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Wilson Bridge  
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Accident Jamming Route 50 East in Prince George's

Staff writer Aaron Davis just called to report a potential problem he sees on Route 50 in Prince George's County. He says that eastbound on Route 50, about two miles outside the Beltway, there's an accident in the HOV lane (the left lane) that has caused a backup of over three miles, and it's building....

By Robert Thomson  |  July 7, 2009; 5:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories , Congestion  
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Delays on VRE's Manassas Line

Staff writer Jennifer Buske reports that Virginia Railway Express Train 325, which left the District at 1:15 p.m. is running 80 minutes late on the Manassas line. The train was stopped at Burke Centre because of police activity. Fairfax County Police are searching for a man who had threatened to harm himself. At 3:45 p.m. VRE officials said they were given the go ahead to operate train 325 at a reduced speed of 15 mph-compared to an average of 55 mph. Police, however, have yet to find the allegedly suicidal man. Train 327 was scheduled to leave the District around 3:45 p.m. VRE officials said they are hoping by the time that train arrives at Burke, police will give the commuter-rail service the go ahead to operate back at full speed, minimizing delays for the rest of the day....

By Robert Thomson  |  July 7, 2009; 4:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Commuting , transit  | Tags: VRE, trains  
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No Late Train Service After Wednesday Night Soccer

Mind the clock if you take Metrorail to Wednesday night's soccer doubleheader at RFK Stadium. Metrorail says the train system will shut down at midnight, as usual. The first game, Haiti against Grenada, is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday. The main event for most people, Team USA against Honduras, is scheduled to start at 9 p.m. Because of the cost to us taxpayers, Metro stays open late only if a government or private sponsor steps in to cover the expenses, and that hasn't happened for the Wednesday soccer games. Here's a page with information about driving, biking or taking transit to RFK. The last trains on the Blue and Orange lines from Stadium-Armory Station leave at these times on weeknights: To Franconia-Springfield - 11:50 p.m. To Largo Town Center - 12:20 a.m. To New Carrollton - 12:21 a.m. To Vienna - 11:50 p.m....

By Robert Thomson  |  July 7, 2009; 3:59 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Events  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, Gold Cup, RFK Stadium, soccer  
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Metro Riders Still Dealing With Crash's Aftermath

The operator on my Red Line train did a smart and helpful thing this morning: He could see people waiting too far down the platform as he pulled the train into stations. So he got on the speaker and called out to them to move up, because the six-car train would be stopping at the head of the platform. Also, when I walked into the station, an electronic message board was displaying a systemwide alert: Trains are pulling to the front of the platform. (By the way, a systemwide alert is sure a lot better than those "No Line" messages that go out through Metro's eAlert system. The eAlerts suffer from bureaucratic English.) So I'm optimistic that Metrorail is responding to some of the communications issues that arose after the June 22 train crash. But riders have not been inclined toward optimism when discussing service. A Red LIne rider from...

By Robert Thomson  |  July 7, 2009; 2:56 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Metro  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, Metrorail delays, Red Line crash  
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Was Your Red Line Commute a Bit Easier?

Metro had about 40 trains on the line this morning, transit authority spokesman Steven Taubenkibel said. That's only slightly fewer than normal. "We were doing turnbacks at Grosvenor, and some at Silver Spring," he told me in an e-mail. "However, since we were experiencing backups to Glenmont, we were turning some trains at Rhode Island Avenue and sending them back to Shady Grove. We did lose one train due to a door problem in the 7 a.m. hour." This afternoon, he said, the game plan is basically the same. "We will throw as many trains out there, monitor service, and if we have to, turn some trains back," Taubenkibel said. A Red Line rider submitted this report about the morning commute, heading toward Glenmont at about 8:30: The platform at Gallery Place, which was very crowded yesterday, was empty, and trains seemed to be less than 5 minutes apart instead...

By Robert Thomson  |  July 7, 2009; 10:35 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  Metro  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, Metrorail delays, Red Line crash  
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HOT Lane Construction to Take Tysons Exit Lane

Another impact on Tysons drivers from the High Occupancy/Toll construction project: One of the two ramp lanes on the Beltway's outer loop at Route 7 is scheduled to be closed from Thursday through Labor Day. The right-hand one will be closed but the left one will remain open. The Virginia Department of Transportation does not foresee big delays because of that, even though the two collector/distributor lanes just before Leesburg Pike carry about 1,800 vehicles during the morning rush. The closing coincides with vacation season for many commuters. The construction in that area will involve storm drainage work for the HOT lanes project....

By Robert Thomson  |  July 7, 2009; 10:06 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Commuting , Construction , Driving  
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Commuter Alert: Security Exercises on Metro, MARC Trains

Authorities plan to conduct training exercises on MARC and Metro trains and station platforms in Montgomery County today. From 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., police from several county and state departments will simulate the type of response that could be used to detect and prevent a terrorist attack. Also, the Maryland Department of Transportation plans to inspect trucks at undisclosed locations throughout the county as part of the security training. -- Greg Gaudio...

By Washington Post Editors  |  July 7, 2009; 7:04 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Advisories  | Tags: MARC, Metro  
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Connector Construction Affects Route 29

Construction of the Intercounty Connector along Route 29 in Montgomery County is becoming more visible today. Drivers, bikers and walkers will see changes because of bridge pier construction and roadway widening. In this phase, all the lanes north of East Randolph Road/Cherry Hill Road and south of Briggs Chaney Road are being reduced from 12 feet to 11 feet. They also are being shifted slightly toward the median. The inside shoulder will remain closed behind concrete barriers until grading around the median piers is completed. Once the inside shoulder is re-opened, the outside shoulders will be closed using concrete barriers. The speed limits won't change: 50 mph south of Fairland Road, 55 mph north of Fairland Road. Also starting today, the bicycle-pedestrian path will be re-routed. The old path will re-open once construction along Route 29 is done in late 2011. The biker-walker detour from Route 29 goes to Old...

By Robert Thomson  |  July 7, 2009; 6:36 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Biking , Commuting , Construction , Driving , intercounty connector  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, Intercounty Connector  
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Outage Hits Intersections in Northeast D.C.

Update, 6:24 p.m.: Pepco's Web site shows this outage as largely resolved. Original post: About 1,950 customers are without power in Northeast D.C. after a power outage, Pepco says. The following intersections are said to be affected: 8th Street NE & Florida Avenue NE Florida & West Virginia Avenue NE 13th Street NE & Maryland Avenue NE 14th Street NE & Maryland Avenue NE The agency estimated repairs would take until about 5 p.m. See Pepco's live outage map....

By Mike McPhate  |  July 6, 2009; 3:38 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Advisories , Congestion , Driving  
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Two Weeks After: Red Line Still Slow, Crowded

Metro is going to try to get more trains on the Red Line this afternoon. That's the best news I can give to riders who flooded my weekly online chat this afternoon with complaints about the service, two weeks after the train crash. Some riders said they noticed that the 35 mph speed limit imposed on the entire line had been lifted. But because trains still must slow in the crash zone between Takoma and Fort Totten, service still can be sluggish in many areas. Here are several descriptions that I did not have a chance to post during the chat. Each writer describes a morning experience on the line. Red Line: Got on at Grosvenor today. Room to get on there, but once past Tenleytown it was just a mess. I don't know how anyone who lives in the city could get on as the trains were 9 minutes...

By Robert Thomson  |  July 6, 2009; 1:44 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  Metro , transit  | Tags: Metrorail delays, Red Line crash  
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Takoma station will close again tonight and tomorrow at 10 p.m.

Metro has announced that they will close the Takoma station again tonight and Tuesday at 10 p.m. They kept it open on Saturday night to alleviate delays on July Fourth, but it was closed again Sunday. Riders using the stretch at that hour know the drill by now. When Takoma closes, buses shuttle passengers from there to the stations at Fort Totten and Silver Spring. The train then runs in two segments: from Fort Totten to Shady Grove and Glenmont to Silver Spring. Trains are moving at normal speeds today across the Red Line, but passengers still struggled with congestion during rush hour. The continuation of the nighttime closure at Takoma indicates that investigators are still running tests on the block of track impacted by the June 22 crash that killed nine and injured 80. See the Metro press release here....

By James Hohmann  |  July 6, 2009; 12:48 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Metro  | Tags: Fort Totten, Red Line  
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Metro ridership record for July Fourth

More riders used the Metro Saturday than on any previous July Fourth. The agency announced this morning that ridership was 631,206, surpassing the record set last year for the holiday by 32,308. While customers complained about long waits to get on trains, this was expected and many felt the system handled the surge in traffic remarkably well. Besides a smoke incident on the Green Line late Saturday that forced the use of a single track for 40 minutes, the system moved relatively smoothly. See Metro's announcement here....

By James Hohmann  |  July 6, 2009; 12:38 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Metro , holiday travel  
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Eisenhower Avenue Connector Closures Begin Tomorrow

Most of the Eisenhower Avenue Connector will be closed to traffic, bicycles and pedestrians beginning at noon tomorrow (Monday, July 6) through September. This is part of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Project and will allow deck replacement work on the Capital Beltway I-95/495 Bridge above the Connector. Vehicle traffic from Eisenhower Avenue to the Inner Loop of the Beltway is the only remaining movement allowed. The detailed schedule of activities: Beginning Monday, July 6 (weather permitting): --> At 12 p.m., access from the Eisenhower Avenue Connector to the Outer Loop of the Beltway and the Outer Loop to the Eisenhower Avenue Connector will be closed to vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians. --> Through traffic on the Outer Loop will travel in the three left most lanes over the Connector Bridge. Beginning Friday, July 10 (weather permitting): --> At 10:00 p.m., dependent on traffic volume, the Outer Loop of the Beltway will...

By Mark Berman  |  July 5, 2009; 12:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Advisories , Construction , Wilson Bridge  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   At 12 p.m., access from the Eisenhower Avenue Connector to the Outer Loop of the Beltway and the Outer Loop to the Eisenhower Avenue Connector will be closed to vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians. --> Through traffic on the Outer Loop will travel in the three left most lanes over the Connector Bridge. Beginning Friday, July 10 (weather permitting): --> At 10:00 p.m., dependent on traffic volume, the Outer Loop of the Beltway will..."; --> Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz  

 
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