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The weekend and beyond

Happy Halloween. Here are some suggestions for a safe weekend and some advisories about what to expect afterward on the roads and rails.

Halloween Rides
Adults who have enjoyed Halloween a little too much should keep themselves off the roads, and the much-admired SoberRide program will help. From 10 p.m. Saturday to 6 a.m. Sunday, adults who have had too much to drink and shouldn't be driving can call 1-800-200-TAXI and get a free ride home, up to a $50 fare.

Georgetown and Halloween
There will be big crowds tonight (Friday) and Saturday nights. It will be difficult to drive around and to park. The buses, including the Circulator, are a good bet.

The District Department of Transportation says it does not plan to close major roads, like M Street or Wisconsin Avenue, but many side streets will be restricted. In fact, there's a big list of them you can see here.

These are the key transit options:
-- The Circulator is scheduled to run every 10 minutes between Union Station and Georgetown. But it won't run on M Street in Georgetown or on Wisconsin Avenue south of Q Street for these two nights. Instead, the Circulators will run east-west on Q Street and north-south on 22nd and 23rd streets to connect Washington Circle and Wisconsin Avenue.
-- The Metrobus routes serving Georgetown are the 31, 32, 36, 38B, D1, D2, D3, D5, D6, and G2. The 31, 32 and 36 buses will be detoured between Wisconsin Avenue and Washington Circle via Q, 22nd and 23rd streets. The 38B buses will be detoured to K Street via the Whitehurst Freeway.
-- The Georgetown Metro Connection bus runs to and from the Rosslyn Metro station and Dupont Circle Station.
-- It's not a bad walk to Georgetown from Foggy Bottom Station. From the station exit, go north on 23rd Street to Washington Circle, then left on Pennsylvania Avenue to M Street.

Metro Schedule
There won't be a last-minute trick because of the time change this weekend. (Daylight Saving Time ends at 2 a.m. Sunday.) Metro will operate on its normal weekend schedule until 3 a.m, even as the clocks get turned back an hour. If you're out late, it's always a good idea to check the posted schedule in your station to see when the last train will be leaving.

Metro Track Work
Red Line riders between Friendship Heights and Van Ness should add at least half an hour to their normal travel time from 9:30 tonight (Friday) to the system's midnight closing on Sunday. Orange Line riders between Cheverly and Stadium-Armory should add half an hour to their travel times during those same hours this weekend.

MARC Stop at Jessup
Starting Monday, MARC riders using the Camden Line's Jessup stop for trains 847 and 850 will have to look sharp. It becomes a flag stop. Passengers must be on the platform and visible to the approaching train's engineer. Those on board the trains who want to get off at Jessup must notify the conductor when their ticket is collected. Otherwise, the train won't stop.

Beltway Night Closings
I don't want to be out on the western side of the Beltway in Virginia late at night this coming week.

VDOT will close the Capital Beltway's outer loop at I-66 from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. Monday through Thursday nights so workers can install steel beams for a new bridge at I-66 East over the Beltway. This is part of the HOT Lanes project.

One lane will close at 9:30 p.m. By 11 p.m., traffic will be detoured onto I-66 West, then to Exit 62 (Nutley Street), then turned around to I-66 East and back toward the Beltway. VDOT says the detour may add 15 to 20 minutes to a trip during the peak overnight hour, between 11 p.m. and midnight.

To continue preparations, the two left lanes of the outer loop and the ramp from I-66 West to the outer loop are scheduled to close tonight (Friday) from 9:30 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Also next week: From Sunday night through Friday night the Beltway at Gallows Road could have three right or left lanes closed on either loop for bridge reconstruction. The exit ramp from northbound Gallows Road to I-495 south will also be closed overnights and detours will be used. All lane closings will start at 9:30 p.m. and there may be intermittent closings of the entire roadway of up to half an hour after midnight. All lanes will reopen by 5 a.m.

Redesign at Beltway/Route 267
Here's a most welcome fix in the works as part of the HOT lanes project: The ramps at the Capital Beltway interchange with the Dulles Toll Road and Dulles Airport Access Road are going to be modified to give drivers heading to or from Dulles a direct connection. Right now, traffic to or from the airport has to merge across several lanes of the Dulles Toll Road to enter or exit the Dulles Access Road.

The Virginia Department of Transportation plans to hold an informational meeting in this modification from 7 to 9 p.m. Nov. 10 at George Marshall High School, 7731 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church.

New Tysons Buses
Virginia's effort to get commuters into and out of Tysons Corner during construction of the HOT lanes and the Metrorail line will include a new express bus service from Prince William County. Starting Nov. 9, the buses will travel between the VRE station at Woodbridge and the Route 123/Interstate 95 commuter lot and 15 stops in Tysons.

There are low introductory rates. In fact, for the first week, the service will be free. Then the service, operated by the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission, will be about half what the normal fares are for its OmniRide buses for six months. So Tysons riders will pay a one-way fare of $2.40 for SmarTrip and $3 for cash. Monthly VRE pass holders can ride free to Tysons, but have to pay for the return trip.

Also helpful during the construction disruptions will be a new midday shuttle bus to circulate people within Tysons. On Nov. 23, this free service will begin operating every 10 minutes from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The shuttle will be operated by the Fairfax Connector, and it's possible that the route could be modified based on ridership. If it's low along some parts of the route, it could be shifted to where the demand is greater.

Nice Bridge Congestion
If you take Route 301 across the Potomac, remember that the single lane closings for the toll plaza work on the Nice Bridge will continue through Nov. 13. These closings and flagging operations can occur from 12:01 a.m. Tuesday to noon Friday each week.

Maryland Beltway Paving
The paving project between the American Legion Bridge and Interstate 270 will be concentrating on the Capital Beltway ramps this coming week. There will be ramp closings from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday.

Veirs Mill Road Paving
That's still very rough in patches where the road has been milled but not yet paved. This coming week, look for single lane closings between Norbeck Road and Rock Creek Bridge from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays.

By Robert Thomson  |  October 30, 2009; 9:50 AM ET
Categories:  Advisories  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, The Weekend and Beyond  
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Next: Vehicle inspections help motorists prepare for winter


So wait a sec. In the spring, Metro said "we have to close an hour early", because at 2 AM the clocks jump to 3 AM, so Metro closes then. But traditionally, we have always gotten that extra hour of service back in the fall. At 2 AM, the clocks jump to 1 AM, and Metro would stay open till 3 AM the new time, which is 4 AM the old time. So they are not doing that this year? Why not?

Posted by: thetan | October 30, 2009 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Wait, we're not? I misread that, then. I thought Metro was doing their normal service pattern when the clocks changed back.

Posted by: pikamander007 | October 30, 2009 12:33 PM | Report abuse

I understand it to be saying that Metro will close at 3.00 and will not operate as though 3.00 came an hour sooner due to the time change--in other words, they stay open an extra hour because 3.00 is 3.00.

Posted by: 1995hoo | October 30, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

From Dr. Gridlock: 1995hoo stated it best. On Metro this Sunday morning, 3 o'clock is 3 o'clock.

Posted by: rtthomson1 | October 31, 2009 11:28 AM | Report abuse

What about buses? Does it work the same way there?

Posted by: pikamander007 | October 31, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

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