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The day ahead on roads and rails

Airports | Amtrak | Buses | Capital Weather Gang | D.C. snow emergency | Plowing plans | Rails | Snow removal | Live traffic

For the second time in less than a week, we face a day in which the morning commute is quite likely to be very different from the evening commute.

Fortunately, the federal government threw in the towel and said it would remain shut on Tuesday. I say fortunately, because as happydad3 put it in a comment on a previous posting: "If Metro can't run, the city can't run." And Metro can't run, at least not the way we need it to.

Keys to commuting
If there's any way you can swing it, take the day off or telecommute. The roads won't be great Tuesday morning, and they'll be a lot worse Tuesday afternoon. See Capital Weather Gang. But the Metro system we go in with -- limited as it is -- may not be the Metro system we go home with.

If you can't stay home, try to plan an early departure from work.

We had a somewhat similar experience on Friday. The big snow didn't start falling till the afternoon, and commuters needed to go in with an escape plan in mind. This time, we've already got a difficult situation on the ground. And it's just going to get worse.

The highway departments say their goal is to have the neighborhood streets at least passable by the time people try to reach work Tuesday. Definitions of passable may vary.

If you can drive out of your neighborhood Tuesday morning, don't expect a smooth trip on the highways and other main roads. You will find them icy in patches. And you will encounter areas where lanes suddenly disappear or become undriveable because of frozen slush.

Use extra caution around interchanges. That's where the plows had the most trouble, and that's where you are most likely to find slippery or partially blocked ramps. You may encounter knots of traffic in such areas because the highway departments are using heavy equipment to break up the hardened snow and ice before the next storm arrives.

Suburbanites should not count on Metro to be able to get them home. As the day starts, Metro already is in a pickle, dealing with the lingering effects of the weekend storm. Service is likely to deteriorate as more snow and higher winds arrive.

Transit summary
Metro will operate full service on the Red, Green, Orange and Yellow lines, but above-ground service on the Blue Line will be limited.
See details on Metro service.
Ride On buses will operate on an "S" schedule on Tuesday.
DC Circulator bus service will resume Tuesday at 6 or 7 a.m., depending on the line, with the regular $1 fares.
VRE will not operate on Tuesday.
MARC will operate a limited service, the "S" schedule, on all three lines.
MTA commuter bus Routes 410, 411, and 420 will operate regular service Tuesday. Midday trip 'A' on Route 420 will also run. Routes 310, 320, 915, 929, and 995 are all canceled for Tuesday. Park & Ride lots have not been cleared. All other MTA commuter bus routes will operate on the "S" or "L/S" schedule. Only Trips with an "S" or "L/S" above the trip number will operate. See details on MTA site.
Arlington Transit's ART buses will provide Saturday-level service on the 41, 42, 51, & 87 and weekday service on the 77. Buses are scheduled to operate between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m.
Alexandria's DASH buses will operate on a Saturday schedule beginning at 9 a.m. Tuesday on the following modified routes using only primary streets: AT1, AT2, AT5, AT8 and AT10. There will be no service on the AT3, AT4, or AT7 routes. See details.
Fairfax Connector will be operating Limited Service from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday.

Driving details
The District lifted its snow emergency route restrictions on Monday, but watch for updates about Tuesday's plan. You may have to move your cars again.
D.C. drivers who took advantage of the free parking at the DC USA retail center on 14th Street NW have till noon Wednesday to move their cars from there.
Parking enforcement in Montgomery County garages and parking lots will remain suspended through Thursday.
Fairfax County is asking drivers to avoid the park and ride lots because of the snow emergency. Snow removal work continues, but it's likely to slow as this next storm moves in on Tuesday. Many spaces in the lots are taken up by mounds of snow, and any additional parking may delay the snow removal efforts

By Robert Thomson  |  February 9, 2010; 5:34 AM ET
Categories:  Driving , Metro , Weather , transit  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, snowstorm, tips for travelers  
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Next: Red Line restored; Blue Line limited

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