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Get There: March 7, 2010 - March 13, 2010

Bethesda station has reopened

UPDATE, 8:03 p.m.: The station has reopened, according to wmata.com. A electrical insulator overheated and produced smoke Friday night on the Red Line track, forcing officials to close the Bethesda Metrorail station. No injuries were reported. The smoke happened on the outbound track between Bethesda and Medical Center, Metro officials said. Montgomery County firefighters asked that trains be shut down in both directions, while firefighters worked to ventilate the station from smoky conditions, said Asst. Chief Scott Graham, a spokesman. Montgomery County fire officials respond to the station and asked Metro to close it. Expect delays in both directions. --Clarence Williams...

By Terri Rupar  |  March 12, 2010; 7:39 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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The weekend and beyond

Here are some issues you need to know about as you travel in the D.C. area this weekend and next week.

By Robert Thomson  |  March 12, 2010; 6:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Advisories  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, The weekend and beyond  
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Remember time change if taking Metro

If you're out late Saturday night, remember how Metrorail handles the start of Daylight Saving Time, when 2 a.m. Sunday becomes 3 a.m. Sunday. Metrorail moves all its clocks forward to 3 a.m. and shuts down, since that hour marks the weekend closing time. Night owls who forget to move their own clocks forward could be left without a ride.

By Washington Post Editors  |  March 12, 2010; 5:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Metro , transit  
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Metro fires train operator

Metro has fired the train operator who was involved in the February derailment at Farragut North.

By Michael Bolden  |  March 12, 2010; 2:28 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Safety  | Tags: Metro  
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Vehicle fire affects Mass. Ave. NW

According to D.C. Fire/EMS, a vehicle fire in the 400 block of Massachusetts Avenue NW may cause traffic delays in the region. The agency said that the vehicle was fully enguled in flames.

By Michael Bolden  |  March 12, 2010; 12:44 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories , Commuting  
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Flooding closes Frederick roads

Frederick County officials say small stream flooding has forced the closure of two county roads near Thurmont and Emmitsburg. Emergency managers across the Washington region prepared Friday for more problems from storms that were expected to produce heavy rain Friday night and Saturday.

By Michael Bolden  |  March 12, 2010; 12:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Advisories , Commuting , Weather  
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Commuting program expanded

Washington commuters can now make a couple bucks carpooling to work, no matter what route they use. For a limited time, Commuter Connections is expanding its Pool Rewards program and awarding $1 each way for commuters who carpool to or from any location in the region. People interested in participating must register to join or form a carpool by March 31. To earn money, participants need to regularly report travel time online. When the program was launched in October, incentives were restricted to drivers who used the Capital Beltway from Bethesda to Tysons Corner, the Beltway from the Baltimore-Washington Parkway to Interstate 270 and Interstate 395 from the District across the 14th Street bridge into Northern Virginia. -- Nicole Norfleet...

By Washington Post Editors  |  March 12, 2010; 11:02 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Commuting  
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14th Street lanes reopen

A roundup of the morning traffic issues

By Mark Berman  |  March 12, 2010; 5:50 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Commuting , Congestion  
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Helicopter makes emergency landing

A Prince George's County police helicopter has made an emergency landing near a District of Columbia school. D.C. fire department spokesman Pete Piringer says Davis Elementary in Southeast Washington was evacuated shortly before the landing Thursday. The school is located in the 4400 block of H Street SE.

By Michael Bolden  |  March 11, 2010; 6:04 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories , Dulles , Safety  
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Metro train derailed Wednesday

A four-car Metro train derailed in the Brentwood rail yard on Wednesday. Transit agency officials said there was no disruption of service, and two operators on board the train were not injured.

By Michael Bolden  |  March 11, 2010; 5:08 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Advisories  
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Md. bill bans reading text messages

A bill that would prohibit drivers from reading text messages is advancing through the Maryland legislature. The legislation, approved Thursday by a 135 to 2 vote in the House of Delegates, expands a law which bars drivers from writing and sending text messages while their vehicle is in motion or stopped in a traffic lane. The bill was sent to the state Senate. Sending and receiving text messages is prohibited for drivers in the District and 20 other states, including Virginia. Enforcement of the bans, which have been championed by U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, has been challenging because violators are hard to spot, and because they can contend they were dialing a cellphone call rather than texting. -- Ashley Halsey III...

By Washington Post Editors  |  March 11, 2010; 4:09 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
Categories:  Driving , Safety , highways  
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New work at Beltway/Telegraph Road

Drivers who travel the Capital Beltway near Telegraph Road are in for some significant delays as the interchange reconstruction enters a new phase this month.

By Robert Thomson  |  March 11, 2010; 2:32 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Congestion , Construction , Wilson Bridge  | Tags: Capital Beltway, Dr. Gridlock  
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Slow year ahead on Metrorail

Metrorail will continue to perform at a sub-par level for the rest of this year. That's the way Metro board member Chris Zimmerman assessed this afternoon's report to the board from Metro's chief of rail operations.

By Robert Thomson  |  March 11, 2010; 1:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Metro  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, Metrorail, Red Line crash  
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Traffic fatalities fall in 2009

According to a release from the U.S. Department of Transportation, traffic fatalities nationally reached the lowest level since 1954. Projections from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration places the number of traffic deaths in 2009 at 33,963, a drop of almost 9 percent compared to the 2008 total of 37,261.

By Michael Bolden  |  March 11, 2010; 12:05 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Advisories , Safety , highways  
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Navigation data: Md. 1st in GPS use

A study by one of the largest navigation services provider says Maryland ranks first in the nation for GPS navigation usage. The state uses the technology twice as much as the national average. The District ranked second and Virginia seventh.

By Michael Bolden  |  March 11, 2010; 9:48 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Advisories  
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Metro report endorses widespread change

Metro's board of directors is expected to receive an oral report assessing the state of the transit system from former general manager David Gunn during a meeting Thursday. According to the agenda, Gunn's comments are scheduled to be delivered during an executive session of the board that will be closed to the public.

By Michael Bolden  |  March 11, 2010; 6:18 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (15)
Categories:  Advisories , Metro  | Tags: Metro  
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Red line delays [UPDATED]

A roundup of the morning's commuting issues.

By Mark Berman  |  March 11, 2010; 5:38 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories , Commuting , Congestion  
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Engine problems cause VRE delays

VRE train No. 337 (which departs Union Station at 6:50 p.m.) is experiencing engine trouble and is stopped north of Crystal City. VRE officials are attempting to bring in a rescue engine from Union Station, but say passengers can expect delays of 40 to 45 minutes.

By Michael Bolden  |  March 10, 2010; 7:29 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories , Commuting , Virginia Railway Express  | Tags: VRE, commute  
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8-car trains an endangered species?

We need to have a serious debate about many cost-cutting measures and many ways of increasing Metro's revenue, almost all of which will be bad news for riders. The Metro board asked the staff to list every option that was legal and technically feasible. But I think elimination of eight-car trains should be off the table.

By Robert Thomson  |  March 10, 2010; 12:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (13)
Categories:  Metro , Transportation Politics  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, Metrorail  
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I-270 bridge update

Here's an update on the I-270 bridge construction over Dr. Perry Road in Frederick County.

By Robert Thomson  |  March 10, 2010; 11:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Construction , Driving , highways  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, Maryland State Highway Administration, Maryland highways  
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HOT lanes projects resuming

A couple of projects along the Capital Beltway in Virginia that were postponed for weeks because of the heavy snows now have new schedules.

By Robert Thomson  |  March 10, 2010; 8:35 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories , Commuting , Congestion , Construction , Driving  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, HOT lanes  
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MARC Brunswick Line delays

A roundup of the morning traffic woes

By Mark Berman  |  March 10, 2010; 5:35 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories , Commuting , Congestion  
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Headaches on the horizon

Here are some lane and ramp closings that could slow your overnight travels.

By Robert Thomson  |  March 9, 2010; 7:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Advisories  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, Headaches on the horizon  
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VRE chief to host chat

Virginia Railway Express Chief Executive Officer Dale Zehner will field questions from riders Wednesday at noon during an online chat. To participate, visit www.vre.org/chatterbox and submit questions by clicking on the ASK button.

By Michael Bolden  |  March 9, 2010; 6:27 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories , Commuting , Virginia Railway Express  | Tags: VRE  
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New York Avenue reopens

New York Ave. NE is closed eastbound at Montana Ave. because of a bus accident. According to DDOTDC's latest tweets, a school bus was involved, but no students were aboard the bus.

By Michael Bolden  |  March 9, 2010; 2:36 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Advisories , Commuting  
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Petition seeks more money for Metro

A coalition of activists this week launched a petition to press governments in Virginia, Maryland and the District to increase funding for Metro and stave off service hikes and fare cuts. The petition, organized by Transit First! -- a coalition of transit advocates, Metro riders, and environmental groups -- calls on signers to urge their local representatives to urgently bolster funding to help fill a projected $189 million gap in Metro's budget for fiscal 2011, which begins in July. "Despite getting billions in economic benefit from Metro, our region's governments leave the system chronically under funded," said an online introduction to the petition, titled: Fair Share for Metro. -- Ann Scott Tyson...

By Washington Post editors  |  March 9, 2010; 11:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (10)
Categories:  Metro  
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Metrorail's on-time decline

Metrorail's on-time performance plunged after the trains went on manual control following the June 22 Red Line crash, according to a Metro staff report.

By Robert Thomson  |  March 9, 2010; 8:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (30)
Categories:  Metro  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, Metrorail, Red Line crash  
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Foggy Bottom escalators out

The escalators of the week are at Foggy Bottom Station on the Blue and Orange lines. All three are out of service on Tuesday morning, and that's likely to mean long lines of people on the mezzanine waiting to get out.

By Robert Thomson  |  March 9, 2010; 7:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Metro  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, Metro escalators  
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I-95 North backed up

Here's a roundup of issues facing commuters this morning... 9 A.M. UPDATE: -- The 2100 block of O Street in Northwest has fire and emergency activity, so it might be blocked up for a while. -- There's a disabled car in the road on I-270 South at I-370. -- Traffic is still backed up at I-95 North before the Springfield Interchange, though it's not as bad as it was before. -- A water main break at South Capitol Street southbound at Martin Luther King Avenue has closed the second lane from the left. 8:45 A.M. UPDATE: -- An accident on I-270 North before MD 28 has closed two northbound lanes and one of the shoulders. -- I-395 North -- still pretty bad. -- On I-95 North/the Beltway at Telegraph Road, a disabled car is on the shoulder but could cause some delays. 8:25 A.M. UPDATE: -- All lanes have reopened...

By Mark Berman  |  March 9, 2010; 5:40 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories , Commuting , Congestion  
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Headaches on the horizon

Construction of the Metrorail extension through Tysons Corner is closing the on‐ramp from southbound Dolley Madison Boulevard (Route 123) to the eastbound Dulles Connector Road (Route 267) toward I‐66 for about three months as of Monday night.

By Robert Thomson  |  March 8, 2010; 7:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Advisories , Commuting , Congestion , Construction , Driving  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, Dulles Metrorail  
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Maryland upgrading highway signs

The Maryland State Highway Administration has launched the second phase of its program to add travel time information to its overhead message boards.

By Robert Thomson  |  March 8, 2010; 4:42 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Commuting , Driving , highways  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, Maryland State Highway Administration  
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Va. police crackdown nets 7,000 tickets

Plans for police crackdowns often are announced with great fanfare. On Monday, Virginia State Police followed up by revealing the results: More than 7,000 tickets issued over the weekend on Interstates 95 and 81. Called "Operation Air, Land and Speed," the intensified effort netted 3,536 speeders, 717 reckless drivers and 20 drunk drivers. There also were 310 people cited for driving without a seatbelt and 35 drug or felony arrests. There were more speeders on I-81 than I-95 (2,061 compared with 1,475) and more reckless drivers on I-95 (505 in contrast to 212). The enforcement targeted all 177 miles of I-95 and all 325 miles of I-81 in Virginia. -- Ashley Halsey III...

By Washington Post Editors  |  March 8, 2010; 4:20 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Safety , highways  
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Penn Line faces disruption

An Amtrak maintenance project between New Carrollton and Baltimore will disrupt the schedule for riders on MARC's Penn Line for the next six months, the Maryland Transit Administration says.

By Robert Thomson  |  March 8, 2010; 4:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  transit  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, MARC  
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Job fair causes traffic jam

A federal job fair at the Stafford campus of the University of Mary Washington has backed up traffic as thousands of jobseekers flocked to the event. Sponsored by U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, the job fair had attracted nearly 4,000 people by noon Monday and job seekers who were not already at the site were advised to turn back. A spokesman for Warner said the event had reached capacity and people already there were facing long waits.

By Michael Bolden  |  March 8, 2010; 3:45 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Advisories , Commuting , Construction  
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Traffic, transit chat at noon

Join me at noon for our weekly discussion of the Washington area's traffic and transit concerns.

By Robert Thomson  |  March 8, 2010; 11:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Advisories  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock  
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Metro's NextBus operational again

According to Metro's Web site, the Next Bus prediction technology. which alerts riders when the next bus will arrive at a stop is currently not working.

By Michael Bolden  |  March 8, 2010; 9:34 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories , Commuting , Metro  | Tags: NextBus, metro  
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D.C. Potholepalooza returns

Turn in a pothole. The District Department of Transportation has launched its second Potholepalooza campaign to attack the ruts created by the harsh winter.

By Robert Thomson  |  March 8, 2010; 9:25 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Construction  | Tags: District Department of Transportation, Dr. Gridlock  
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The week ahead for traffic, transit

Temperatures in the 60s should finish the work the snow plows didn't get to, but road work is resuming and could slow your travels this week.

By Robert Thomson  |  March 8, 2010; 8:35 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories , Commuting , Congestion , Construction  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, The week ahead  
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I-95 North slow at Interchange

A roundup of traffic issues during the morning rush hour

By Mark Berman  |  March 8, 2010; 5:49 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories , Commuting , Congestion  
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