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Get There: August 2, 2009 - August 8, 2009

Red Line Fix to Affect Late-Night, Weekend Service

This month's repairs to the track circuits on the Red Line will require late-night single tracking and two weekend closings of rail service between Takoma and Brookland, Metro announced today. The free shuttle buses will again be used to get passengers between Takoma, Fort Totten and Brookland during those closings, on the weekends of Aug. 14-16 and Aug. 21-23. Green Line service at Fort Totten will not be affected by this, but the work means continued delays all along the Red Line. [This announcement adds to a string of advisories from Metro about upcoming track work and delays. See previous posting, Bracing for Metro Delays.] Single Tracking Starting tonight and continuing through August, Red Line trains will share one track after 10 p.m. between Fort Totten and Takoma to get around the track-circuit work zones. Weekend Disruption Because of the break in the Red Line on the two August weekends,...

By Robert Thomson  |  August 7, 2009; 2:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Metro , Weekend Work , transit  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, Metrorail delays, Red line crash  
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Line by Line: Bracing for Metro Delays

* Metro announces new delays between Takoma and Brookland * * Traffic and transit outlook for the weekend and beyond * * Chat with Dr. Gridlock about Metro delays Monday at noon * Metro riders should prepare for continuing delays as long-planned summer maintenance work ramps up across the system this weekend and through the month. The routine work was planned before the June 22 crash that killed nine people and injured 80 and is necessary because there are not enough overnight hours to complete the upkeep. The ensuing delays will further frustrate riders, who are already contending with slow trips resulting from speed restrictions on at least 13 sections of track because of problems with track circuits across the system....

By Mike McPhate  |  August 7, 2009; 10:42 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  Advisories , Metro  
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The Weekend and Beyond

Here are some advisories about your weekend travels and some longer range tips. The traffic highlight of the weekend will likely be congestion around FedEx Field on Sunday afternoon, but note that there are likely to be slowdowns on Metrorail all weekend. Metrorail Weekend Delays You know there are daily delays on the Red Line, because Metrorail sends one train at a time through the June 22 crash zone between Fort Totten and Takoma. There also may be speed restrictions in any part of any line if Metro is checking the track circuit in that area. (You can see a list here.) But in addition to those safety slowdowns, you will encounter delays on the Red and Orange lines this weekend because of track maintenance projects. Trains will share a single track through those work zones, and the delays could add a half hour to your regular travel time, Metro...

By Robert Thomson  |  August 7, 2009; 10:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Advisories  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock  
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Traffic Alert: U.S. 1 Reopened After Fatal Accident

Updated 8:56 a.m.: U.S. 1 has reopened after the earlier accident. U.S. 1 is closed in Woodbridge between Opitz Blvd. and Woodside Dr. as police investigate a fatal accident involving a pedestrian. Northbound traffic is diverted at Opitz onto I-95. Northbound I-95 is slow from the Occoquan to Lorton. Northbound 395 is slow from Edsall Rd. to King St....

By Washington Post Editors  |  August 7, 2009; 7:52 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Advisories  
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Traffic Alert: Delays on River Rd. After Person Struck

Expect significant backups on River Road in Bethesda after a pedestrian was hit at the intersection of River Road and Wilson Lane. Road Essentials:  Incident Map  |  Traffic Cams   |   Key Routes...

By Mike McPhate  |  August 6, 2009; 5:43 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories , Congestion , Driving  
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Mass Communicating With Metro Riders

On a Red Line train during the noon hour, the operator was making the best, clearest, most informative announcements I've ever heard aboard a train in this town. Some longtime riders will respond that in this town, that's faint praise. But the transit authority and its employees are doing some mass communicating that should be encouraged. Today's episode: The operator on this train originating in Silver Spring made announcements about how to figure out where to wait for arriving trains, why the trains are moving slowly and what riders should plan for, details about transfering to other lines, why we were stopping briefly and which line offered the best route to National Airport at that hour. It wasn't just what he said. He said it all in a commanding voice that could be heard clearly throughout the car. He offered friendly greetings to boarding and departing passengers. If every operator...

By Robert Thomson  |  August 6, 2009; 1:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Metro , transit  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, Metrorail delays, Red Line crash  
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Riders' Report on Metro's NextBus System

This week, we've been testing out Metro's NextBus system, which I hope will make Metrobus service predictable enough to get a lot of people to try buses when they might otherwise drive. I'd like to share some of our experiences, both positive and negative. Look for stop and phone number. (Metro) Procedure Post reporters Greg Gaudio and Mark Berman and I, your traffic columnist, spot checked the NextBus system in downtown Washington, Alexandria, Rosslyn, Court House, Silver Spring, Bethesda and Prince George's Plaza. We were looking to learn anything that might be useful to people just starting to use the system designed to let you know when the bus really will be at your stop. We'll have more about this on the Commuter page (page 2 of the Post Metro section) on Sunday, but here's some of what we experienced. Accuracy -- On Wednesday morning, I ended one round of...

By Robert Thomson  |  August 6, 2009; 9:08 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  Commuting , Metro , transit  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, NextBus  
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Traffic Alert: Major Accident on Md. Inner Loop Cleared

Updated: 7:44 a.m.: The accident has been moved to both shoulders of the Inner Loop. Traffic is slow in the area. Police are on the scene. A multiple car accident is affecting all lanes of the Inner Loop of the Beltway between Colesville Rd. and New Hampshire Ave. in Md. Backups are quickly forming in the area....

By Washington Post Editors  |  August 6, 2009; 7:44 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories  
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Lanes Reopened After Crash at Pennsylvania and Alabama

* Read the full story | Video of the scene * Update, 8:22 p.m.: This accident has been cleared. Original post, 5:13 p.m.: Watch out for traffic in the area of Pennsylvania Avenue SE and Alabama Avenue SE after a two-car accident at that intersection. Road Essentials:  Incident Map  |  Traffic Cams   |   Key Routes...

By Mike McPhate  |  August 5, 2009; 5:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories , Congestion , Driving  
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2nd Street NE Reopens After Police Activity

Update, 5:11 p.m.: 2nd Street has reopened. Original post, 4:55 p.m.: 2nd Street NE is closed between D Street NE and Constitution Avenue NE because of police activity. Road Essentials:  Incident Map  |  Traffic Cams   |   Key Routes...

By Mike McPhate  |  August 5, 2009; 4:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories , Congestion , Driving  
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Why Do Road Projects Take So Long?

Among the most frequently asked questions submitted by simmering drivers is, "Why can't they finish this project faster?" These are among the many variations: Why aren't there more people working? Why can't they close the road and just get it over with? Why can't they work day and night, seven days a week? And is there a driver among us who -- either stuck in congestion on a hot day or rattling over a rough road -- hasn't wanted to take charge of a construction project? This summer, the Maryland State Highway Administration began a year-long resurfacing project on the western side of the Beltway, and that provoked this question and comment during my weekly online discussion Monday. Tysons Corner, Va.: I was reading about the Maryland SHA's project to resurface the Beltway between I-270 and the American Legion Bridge. I definitely agree that the stretch of road could use...

By Robert Thomson  |  August 5, 2009; 9:08 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  highways  | Tags: Beltway, Dr. Gridlock, FAQ, Maryland State Highway Administration, paving  
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Traffic Alert: I-95 Ramp Blocked by Overturned Truck Near Columbia

Updated 7:46 a.m.: The accident has been cleared and the ramp has reopened. The ramp to Rt. 32 on I-95 northbound is blocked by an overturned tractor trailer. WTOP is reporting it is a milk truck....

By Washington Post Editors  |  August 5, 2009; 7:46 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Advisories  
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Delays Around Deanwood Metro Station

District officials report that there is a traffic signal out and utlity poles down near Deanwood Metro Station. Travelers should expect delays in the area....

By Michael Bolden  |  August 4, 2009; 2:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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O'Malley Backs Light Rail For Purple Line

Maryland governor said today's announcement is part of a long process. (Thomson) Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley picked light rail over a bus rapid transit system for the 16-mile transitway between New Carrollton and Bethesda. He also endorsed plans to follow the route of the old Georgetown Branch railroad right of way through Bethesda and Chevy Chase, as well as the largely above-ground route through downtown Silver Spring. Maryland is "moving forward with our plan to develop the light rail option," O'Malley said. The next step, he continued, will be to submit a request for federal approval. "It's a process," he noted. "Some would say we've had 50 years of discussions." "Among our citizens, there have been disagreements," he said, stressing that the decisions he has made about the Purple Line follow "the locally preferred alternative" backed by Montgomery and Prince George's county leaders. The governor made the announcement this...

By Robert Thomson  |  August 4, 2009; 9:05 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Tags: Dr. Gridlock, bus rapid transit, light rail  
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Traffic Alert: Delays on Southbound I-295

UPDATE (4:59 p.m.): Crews at the scene quickly cleared the accident, and they have reopened all the lanes on southbound I-295 at East Capitol Street SE, according to D.C. Department of Transportation spokesman John Lisle. ORIGINAL (4:47 p.m.): A three-car accident is creating backups on southbound I-295 at East Capitol Street SE. One lane is getting by. Road Essentials:  Incident Map  |  Traffic Cams   |   Key Routes...

By Mike McPhate  |  August 3, 2009; 4:47 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories , Congestion , Driving  
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O'Malley to Announce Purple Line Decision

And if it's anything other than a call to proceed with a light rail line along the route approved by Montgomery and Prince George's counties, I'll be stunned. Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley is scheduled to make the long-awaited announcement about the Purple Line's future at 8:30 a.m. in New Carrollton, the proposed eastern terminus for the line. He then will go to Baltimore to make a similar announcement about the future of the city's proposed Red Line transit route. The Purple Line, which has been studied for years and reviewed by various government entities, isn't a simple project or a no-brainer of a decision. Whether the governor provides the crucial endorsement for either a light rail system or a bus rapid transit, he will be propelling the region toward a new way of getting around. We haven't seen anything quite like this in our region, and controversies continue over every...

By Robert Thomson  |  August 3, 2009; 2:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Transportation Politics , transit  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, Purple Line  
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Geese Man Gets Probation

One of the hot topics in my regular Monday online chat was the story about the Fairfax man who got a ticket for guiding geese across a road. I ended the chat without being able to tell people about the outcome of the court case today. Use this link and you'll see the update from Post reporter Tom Jackman. Basically, the judge told Jozsef Vamosi that if he stays out of trouble for six months, the jaywalking ticket will be dismissed. My readers had mixed opinions on Vamosi's geese-defending actions and the potential consequences on traffic safety as they were described in Jackman's original story in today's Post. Washington, D.C.: I just read the article about the man who helped the geese. What is wrong with Fairfax County police officers? Anonymous: Canada geese are considered pests by quite a few people. Washington, D.C.: If the court lets the ticket stand,...

By Robert Thomson  |  August 3, 2009; 1:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Safety  
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Traffic Alert: Police Activity Snarls 14th Street NW

The 300 block of 14th St. NW, just north of the Washington Monument, is congested because of police activity. Expect major delays. Road Essentials:  Incident Map  |  Traffic Cams   |   Key Routes...

By Mike McPhate  |  August 3, 2009; 11:16 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories , Congestion , Driving  
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Traffic Alert: I-395 N Closed at Glebe Rd. by Accident

Updated 8:43 a.m.:The accident has been cleared and a brief backup is clearing. I-395 North is closed at Glebe Rd. near Pentagon City by an accident....

By Washington Post Editors  |  August 3, 2009; 8:43 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories  
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Traffic Alert: Water Main Break Closes 7th St. NW

A water main break has closed 7th St. NW at Taylor St....

By Washington Post Editors  |  August 3, 2009; 7:11 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories  
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The Week Ahead in Traffic, Transit

Here are a few things to note as you begin your travels this week. Change in I-95 reversible lanes: Starting today, the I-95 HOV lanes will remain open to all traffic until midnight Mondays through Thursdays. Southbound drivers will get three extra hours to use the lanes, which will re-open to northbound traffic each morning at 2 a.m. Tennis traffic: The annual Legg Mason tennis tournament is underway at the Carter Barron Center on 16th Street NW. Play starts at 4 p.m. today through Thursday. On Friday, the action begins at noon and resumes at 7 p.m. See more details in this entry. Baseball traffic: The Nationals are home at Nationals Park from Tuesday through Sunday. Tuesday through Saturday, the games start at 7:05 p.m. [Except on Thursday, as 1995hoo pointed out in the comments. On Thursday, it's a 12:35 p.m. start.] That usually means extra traffic congestion near South...

By Robert Thomson  |  August 3, 2009; 6:43 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Advisories , Commuting , Driving , Metro , transit  | Tags: Beltway, Dr. Gridlock, Dulles Rail, HOT lanes, Legg Mason tennis, delays  
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