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The week ahead for traffic and transit

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

Traffic should be light Monday morning because many school systems and many governments, including the feds, are shut down. No transportation agency is saying that travel is a good idea today.

Across much of the D.C. region, neighborhood roads are still covered with snow or ice. Even highways remain slushy or icy. Ramps, overpasses and turn lanes are particular problems. Transit service is extremely limited. Here's a look at some of the travel issues for Monday and the rest of the week.

The temperature on Monday will be around freezing. Dress warmly for taking transit, especially since you're likely to be waiting a long time for the limited services. Drivers, use caution because of the likelihood of encountering frozen patches of pavement.
Mid to late Tuesday afternoon through Wednesday afternoon: More snow, maybe five inches. There may be sleet as well. The forecast still is developing. See Capital Weather Gang.

If your home is in the suburbs, there's almost no way you're going to get to work on transit this morning.

Metrorail: The system will open two hours late at 7 a.m. and run underground only at 30-minute intervals. These are the underground portions:
Yellow Line. Pentagon to Crystal City
Red Line. Medical Center to Union Station and Glenmont to Forest Glen
Orange Line. Ballston to Stadium-Armory
Blue Line. Ballston to Stadium-Armory (Yes, the Blue Line is detoured Monday, because it can't run above ground.)
Green Line. Fort Totten to Congress Heights

Metrobus: Buses will operate from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday on 18 lines that use snow emergency routes. Be careful around the bus stops and shelters. Pedestrians will have to navigate through snow and ice at many of them.
These are the operating routes, but they are subject to change:
U8 line (Minn. Ave - Capitol Heights)
64 line (Georgia Ave-Petworth- Fort Totten)
50 line (14th and Colorado Ave)
70 line (Silver Spring - Archives)
S4 line (Silver Spring - Federal Triangle)
30 line (Friendship Heights - Potomac Ave)
A line (Southern Ave to Anacostia)
16 line (Pentagon - Baileys Crossroads)
1C line (Dunn Loring)
2C line (Dunn Loring)
17 line (Braddock Road)
28 line (Alexandria - Tysons Corner)
Z2 and Z8 line (Silver Spring)
Q line (Silver Spring-Shady Grove)
Y line (Silver Spring -Norbeck Road)
F1 and F2 line (Takoma - Cheverly)
J2 line (Bethesda - Silver Spring)
J7/J9 line (Bethesda - Lake Forest Mall)
P12 line (Eastover - Addison Road)

MetroAccess: The paratransit service will not operate Monday.

See all current rail and bus alerts.

Ride On: Montgomery County's buses will operate under the 'S' Service Plan for Monday. That's the snow plan, meaning that Ride On will operate at least some service on all its weekday routes. See full details of the S Service Plan.
Fairfax Connector: Limited service. See the service's Web site for updates.
Alexandria DASH: Buses will not operate on Monday.
Arlington's ART: Routes 41, 42, 51 and 87, will operate on a Saturday schedule, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. only. Expect delays and some detours.
The Bus: In Prince George's County, the local routes operating on Monday morning are 11, 15, 15 Express, 17, 21, 21 Express and 28.
Circulator: The District's Circulator will operate on all routes Monday, but don't expect the buses every 10 minutes. All rides are free Monday. [Update: The Circulator is not running up Wisconsin Avenue this morning. The buses are turning back at M Street]
Georgetown Metro Connection (Blue Bus): Normal service Monday, free of charge.
MARC: MARC trains will operate an "S' schedule on the Penn Line only. No service on the Camden or Brunswick lines. [Update: The Penn Line trains that are running are about 10 to 15 minutes late.]
MTA commuter buses: No service Monday.
VRE: No service Monday.
Amtrak: These Amtrak cancellations may also be of interest to VRE riders. The canceled trains are:
Trains 95, 93, 85, 67 will not operate south of Washington.
Trains 171 and 176 are canceled between Washington and Lynchburg.
Trains 84 and 86 are canceled between Washington and Richmond.
Trains 66 and 94 are canceled between Newport News and Washington.
Trains 79 and 80 are also canceled in the VRE service area.

What to expect in the neighborhoods where the Virginia Department of Transportation plows:

Residents should see at least one pass from a snowplow before Tuesday evening (when that next weather problem is expected). VDOT says that if you have not seen plows in your subdivision by Wednesday, call 703-383-VDOT or send an e-mail to with your location.

Here's the problem, VDOT says: The hundreds of pickup trucks VDOT uses in Northern Virginia subdivisions for a typical storm are inadequate to handle the frozen and compacted, deep snow covering most neighborhoods. Interstate trucks are too large to fit through neighborhoods, so crews are using special equipment such as graders, bucket loaders, tandems and backhoes. Extra crews are on their way up from southern Virginia.

The plow pattern: VDOT says the main roads in a subdivision will be plowed first. Plows will make one or two trips to provide a path through neighborhood streets, but they will not clear to bare pavement or from curb to curb. Chemicals are not used in subdivisions. Roads will remain snow-packed and rutted after the plow has passed. Crews do sand hills, curves and intersections to provide traction.

Some highways also have been giving VDOT problems: Along some stretches, such as the Capital Beltway and I-95/395's HOV lanes, there was no place to push the snow, because of the concrete barriers. Trucks have been brought in to haul out the snow, but use extra caution in these areas. Check 511 Virginia for road updates.

It will take highway crews days to get travel lanes, ramps, shoulders and turn lanes clear along interstates and other main roads, the State Highway Administration says. The fall in temperature overnight made travel even trickier.

Gov. Martin O'Malley noted on Sunday that this weekend's snowfall was heavier, colder and higher accumulation than the one we got in December.

Crews have managed to get some lanes open, but many roads, including sections of interstates, such I-95 and I-495, are still snow packed, the SHA said.

Motorists need to remain on alert for varying conditions , the SHA said. Travel lanes -- even those on highways -- may be narrowed or completed eliminated by snow, slush or ice. Acceleration and deceleration lanes can abruptly end with snow piled up to eight feet.

Not all lanes on secondary roads will be open. And you will find turn lanes restricted or piled with snow. On Sunday, highway crews focused on removing the packed, a difficult and time-consuming task, as anyone who dug out a car knows.

The District
Getting out: The District doesn't plow alleys. It's well past time for property owners to clear the sidewalks. Residents also can help by clearing snow around fire hydrants and catch basins. Call the Mayor's Call Center at 311 for non life-threatening situations and service requests. (You can also use 311 Online.( Clear around drains on private property to allow proper drainage. Don't toss the snow onto the street. Put it in tree boxes on the sidewalks or back onto properties.

On the road: You'll find piles of snow and slush on many routes Monday morning. Be extra careful about pedestrians. In many spots, they'll be walking in the street, because the sidewalk is unavailable. They won't be able to move quickly.

Canal Road between Arizona Avenue and Foxhall Road NW has reopened. The District Department of Transportation's Urban Forestry crews removed fallen trees and branches, and Pepco repaired downed wires.

Parking: The snow emergency is still in effect. Parked cars on marked routes can get a $250 ticket. The free parking that the District arranged for at the DC USA retail center garage at 14th Street and Park Road NW has been extended to noon Wednesday.

DC Circulator: The routes should start operating between 6 and 7 a.m., depending on the line. The service is free today, because the District wants to get its employees and others to work without driving.

BWI: Delays and cancellations will likely continue into Monday morning. Check with airlines to confirm flights before leaving for the airport.

Reagan National: No early morning flights on Monday. They are likely to resume later in the day. Don't go to the airport unless you have confirmed your flight.

Dulles: The airport resumed limited operations on Sunday, but don't go out there Monday morning unless you've confirmed your flight with the airline.

By Robert Thomson  |  February 8, 2010; 4:00 AM ET
Categories:  Advisories , Driving , Metro , Weather , transit  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, The week ahead  
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Next: Fairfax Connector running limited service


Were all those hundreds of pick-ups out plowing snow on side streets before it got so deep and frozen that they can't plow through it? That's what I have been wondering lately. It seems like they are not utilizing the resources when they are ready to go but saying, let's just let it blow over and then send them out. Then only the main roads get plowed but no one can make it out to the main roads. The SUVs have to be the ones to get out there and make tracks.

Posted by: SusanMarie2 | February 8, 2010 6:34 AM | Report abuse

Hello. Ballston is not a blue line station. Could someone perhaps update this?

Posted by: linznicole | February 8, 2010 8:17 AM | Report abuse

Ballston isn't normally a Blue Line Station, but since Arlington Cemetery is an above-ground station, the blue lines can't turn at Rosslyn like they normally do. So they are doing double-duty on the Orange Line for now.

Posted by: Magnesium | February 8, 2010 8:27 AM | Report abuse

Really though, they might as well just say the Blue line is closed. All of the trains between Stadium-Armory and Ballston are being called Orange Line trains.

Posted by: thetan | February 8, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Why bother having a "Blue Line"? Is this some kind of statistical lie so Metro can say "all lines" are operating?

Posted by: member8 | February 8, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

All the news shows and the Post just parrot what Metro says .. can any of them report on when Metro plans to open above ground stations?

It's been 48 hours now since it stopped snowing. Nation's capital?

Posted by: tslats | February 8, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

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