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Get There: August 9, 2009 - August 15, 2009

Lane Closures Tonight on I-295 Kenilworth Avenue

Starting at 9 p.m., District road crews will lay new asphalt on southbound I-295 (Kenilworth Ave.) in the area where it intersects with Burroughs Ave in Northeast. District Department of Transportation officials expect the work to be done by 6 a.m. Saturday. For those nine hours, the left and center lanes of the road will be closed. During the closure, the transportation department suggests a few good alternatives to get onto the Beltway. 1) I-395 to 50 East (New York Avenue) 2) Whitney Young Memorial Bridge/East Capitol Street/Central Avenue 3) Sousa Bridge/Pennsylvania Avenue, Southeast...

By James Hohmann  |  August 14, 2009; 6:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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D.C. Tries Out New Traffic Signal

Launching the Georgia Avenue signal became a party for pedestrians. (Thomson) It's been a long time coming, the neighbors said, as they watched the District Department of Transportation ready a new type of crosswalk signal on Georgia Avenue a few blocks north of Walter Reed Medical Center. The original crosswalk is bold enough, but you'd have to be a pretty bold person to step out into four lanes of fast-moving Georgia Avenue traffic. Once the signal was activated, one person after another tested it out, hesitating as though Georgia were a river of cold water and they were dipping in toes to check the temperature. Finally, Council Member Muriel Bowser and George Branyan, the District's pedestrian safety program manager, pushed the button to engage the red light for traffic and the walk sign for pedestrians, then led a large group of the neighbors out into the stopped traffic. What...

By Robert Thomson  |  August 14, 2009; 10:59 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Safety  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, George Branyan, Muriel Bowser, pedestrian safety, traffic signal  
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Traffic Alert: All Lanes on New York Ave. in NE D.C. Reopened

All lanes on New York Ave. in Northeast D.C. have been reopened after a fire in the area....

By Washington Post Editors  |  August 13, 2009; 8:07 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Traffic Changes Made on Route 7 in Tysons Corner

Permanent changes to traffic patterns have been made on Route 7 in Tysons Corner to allow for construction of a Tysons Central Metrorail station that will serve the Dulles Metrorail Project. The changes are at the intersection of Route 7, Marshalls Drive (the road leading to the Marshalls store) and the frontage road. Traffic from Marshalls Drive and the frontage road onto Route 7 is now only allowed to turn right. Drivers may not turn from Marshalls Drive to westbound Route 7, nor from the frontage road to eastbound Route 7. Additionally, drivers on Marshalls Drive or the frontage road may not cross Route 7. Tysons Central station construction is scheduled to end in 2013. -- Ashley Halsey III...

By Mike McPhate  |  August 12, 2009; 2:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Advisories , Driving  
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Riding on Red: A Metro Update

While riding all the Metro lines over the past two days to get those station temperature readings, I had a chance to make these general observations about the state of rail service: -- While you may have a slow trip on any line, the Red Line is still the most consistently troubled. Riders on the Orange Line today have been caught up in a slowdown because a train struck and killed a man late this morning at West Falls Church. (See story by James Hohmann.) Or the trains might be slowed as Metro checks the condition of a track circuit. (See the current list here.) But Red Line trips are consistently problematic because the trains go one at a time through the June 22 crash zone between Takoma and Fort Totten. That disrupts the entire line. -- More and more people are getting the idea that the trains stop at...

By Robert Thomson  |  August 12, 2009; 1:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Metro , transit  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, Metrorail delays, Red Line crash  
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Orange Line Service Resumes After Person Struck

Update, 2:49 p.m.: Regular Orange Line service resumed at about 2 p.m., Metro says. Original post: A man was struck and killed Wednesday morning by a train entering the West Falls Church-VT/UVA station, Metro said Wednesday. According to a Metro statement, the man "was on the tracks intentionally as the train pulled into the station" at 11:18 a.m. The six-car train was headed in the direction of New Carrollton, the statement said. Read more about the Metro fatality. Metro Resources:  Riding the System  |  Trip Planner   |   Map  |  Post Coverage...

By Mike McPhate  |  August 12, 2009; 1:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  Advisories , Metro  
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Traffic Alert: Outer Loop of Beltway Reopened at U.S. 50

Updated 10:09 a.m.: The accident has been moved to the shoulder and all lanes are reopen. The Outer Loop of the Beltway is blocked by an accident before U.S. 50, the John Hanson Hwy., in Landover. WTOP is reporting the backup currently extends about four miles to Rt. 214....

By Washington Post Editors  |  August 12, 2009; 9:47 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
 
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The Search For Hottest Metro Stations, Day 2

I thought it would be impossible to dislodge Union Station from its top spot on the Hot List. After all, Union Station has a heat pump. Stand on the side where the Red Line trains come in from above ground, and you can feel the blast of warm air ahead of them. On Monday afternoon, my digital thermometer read 89.6 degrees there at 2:33 p.m. Metro Center, the most complained about station of the summer, could muster only an 84.4 at 3 p.m. (The transit authority has been working on Metro Center.) Early Tuesday afternoon, when I began to really focus on the Orange and Blue lines, the outdoor temperature was a couple of degrees cooler. Or rather, less hot. So I wasn't expecting to top Monday's Union Station reading. Indeed, at Stadium-Armory -- which is something of a transition station to the outside, though not as dramatic as Union...

By Robert Thomson  |  August 12, 2009; 9:28 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (20)
Categories:  Metro  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, Metrorail, hot stations  
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Traffic Alert: Rt. 28 South Reopened Near S. Sterling Blvd.

A serious accident that blocked all lanes on Rt. 28 South in Sterling for about an hour has been cleared. Two of three lanes have been reopened on Rt. 28, but traffic remains heavy in the area....

By Washington Post Editors  |  August 12, 2009; 6:33 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories  
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Who's Got The Hottest Metro Station

The station I get the most heat complaints about is Metro Center. In Monday's comments in Summer of Discontent on Metro, it popped up again. HistoryAnn wrote: "One factor in my decision to drive to work is the temperature at Metro Center. Whether I'm commuting to Archives or Virginia Square I need to change trains at Metro Center (unless I walk the greater distance to Judiciary Square to catch the red line). For health reasons, I can't take the heat." So Monday afternoon, as the temperature rose to 94 degrees outside, I carried a digital air thermometer into some of the underground stations and took some readings. Look for the full results of this informal survey on the Sunday, Aug. 16, Commuter page in The Post, but here's what I found Monday in spot checking stations, mostly on the Red and Green, and Yellow lines and at the transfer stations....

By Robert Thomson  |  August 11, 2009; 8:29 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
Categories:  Metro  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, Metrorail, hot stations  
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Traffic Alert: Rt. 197 Closed in Bowie

Rt. 197 (Bowie Rd.) is closed near Westwind Dr. in Bowie after a car plowed into a pole, which has fallen on some wires. Traffic is detouring through a residential neighborhood to get around the accident....

By Washington Post Editors  |  August 11, 2009; 8:10 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Track Maintenance Suspended After Accident

Metro says it's suspending some track maintenance after a track repairman was struck and killed by a piece of equipment while he was replacing cross-ties on a rail line. Metro officials say they will delay some tie-replacement work, conduct increased inspections at work sites, review work rules and procedures across the system and take other steps in response to the accident. Metro officials say 63-year-old Michael Nash of Silver Spring, Md., was hit Sunday night by a ballast regulator along the orange line in Virginia. The large piece of equipment spreads gravel and stone that keeps the track stable. Metro says Nash was a 21-year employee. Metro says it's doing an internal review, and has notified federal transportation agencies about the incident. -- Associated Press...

By Mike McPhate  |  August 10, 2009; 5:04 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Advisories , Metro  
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NextBus System Well Worth a Try

One thing my colleagues Mark Berman and Greg Gaudio noticed at Metrobus stops last week as we were spot checking the performance of Metro's new real-time arrival predictor: There appeared to be no one else using the service. At least, we couldn't spot anyone holding up a cellphone and saying, "NextBus" into it, or doing anything with a mobile device other than listening to music or tapping out messages. Our spot check of the NextBus system's performance showed us some of the problems you need to be aware of -- buses arriving earlier than predicted, for example -- but it also showed how useful it can be. I found that the more I used either the phone-in service (202-637-7000) or the mobile Web site, the easier it got, and I expect to be using it a lot to plan transit trips. Look here to see our Commuter page review of...

By Robert Thomson  |  August 10, 2009; 1:12 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Metro , transit  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, Metrobus, NextBus  
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MTA: Heat Slows MARC Traffic

Transportation officials say MARC passengers can expect delays on the Camden and Brunswick lines due to the hot weather. Maryland Transit Administration officials say CSX has issued heat orders for Monday afternoon's rush hour, which could mean delays of 5 minutes to 15 minutes. -- Associated Press...

By Mike McPhate  |  August 10, 2009; 12:55 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories  
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Summer of Discontent on Metro

Do you remember a time when we had so many disruptions in our transit system? I think this letter-writer has captured the feelings of many commuters. Dear Dr. Gridlock: I've been a big fan of Metro since I came to D.C. for college in 1983. Watched the system grow, cheered it on. Love the architecture, the cleanliness and the (usual) efficiency. Two jobs ago, I used Metro every day from Glenmont to downtown, and it was a great commute. Back downtown again now, and I read your Aug. 6 column on my ride from Farragut North to Glenmont. Crowded train, post-accident slowdowns, hot car, lurching stops, inch forward, lurch some more. Desk to my house, door to door (including time lost at the never-ending Glenmont parking construction) took 75 minutes. Cost: $12.75. This morning, I drove. Door to door: 45 minutes, including the walk from bargain price self-park to my...

By Robert Thomson  |  August 10, 2009; 9:56 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
Categories:  Commuting , Metro  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, Metrorail delays, Red Line crash  
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The Week Ahead in Traffic, Transit

The week is getting off to an extremely hot start. Don't let it affect your temperature as you deal with these delays. Metrorail You may experience a slowdown on trains in any part of the Metro system this week. It may occur during a check of a track circuit for safety. You can see Metro's status report on those circuits here. Travelers noted last week that there seem to be a lot on the Red Line right now. I asked Metro General Manager John B. Catoe Jr. about that last week, and he said there's no particular issue with circuits on the Red Line. In fact, if you look at the complete list of all circuits that Metro has reviewed, you see a much more balanced picture across the lines. In other cases, you'll experience a slowdown because of a scheduled maintenance project. Red Line This month's repairs to the...

By Robert Thomson  |  August 10, 2009; 7:35 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Commuting , Construction , Metro , transit  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock  
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Expect Heavy Traffic Around FedEx Field Today

The soccer game between D.C. United and Real Madrid is scheduled to start at 3 p.m., and that's likely to crowd the Capital Beltway, Central Avenue, Arena Drive and Landover Road in Landover. Plan to get there early, and bring some water. It's going to be very hot and humid. The Arena Drive/Capital Beltway interchange, which has been closed for construction, will open temporarily at 11 a.m. to handle traffic to and from the game. The Landover Road and Central Avenue interchanges are the other main highway access points, but of the two, the Maryland State Highway Administration recommends the Central Avenue connection to minimize delays. Though the stadium gates won't open till 1 p.m., the parking lots at FedEx open at 10 a.m. They're free today. One quirk: The road that circles FedEx won't be open. So target your parking lot using the roads on this map. Once you...

By Robert Thomson  |  August 9, 2009; 7:04 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Congestion , Driving , Events , highways  
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