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Dr. Gridlock
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Posted at 09:33 AM ET, 07/23/2012

Hot cars, missing buses, road work delays: the week ahead for traffic, transit

The heat is back on for this week, the Capital Weather Gang says. Travelers in the D.C. area also should watch for thunderstorms to develop most weekdays.

While traffic is somewhat diminished because of summer vacations, morning drivers continue to have trouble with the Capital Beltway east and west of Springfield and in the Silver Spring area. I-295 and the Suitland Parkway also have been difficult.


In this photograph taken by AP Images for AIDS Healthcare Foundation, HIV/AIDS advocates arrive for the Keep the Promise on HIV/AIDS March on Washington, Saturday, July 21, 2012, in Washington. (Larry French - AP Imagesfor AIDS Healthcare Foundation)
Metro riders continue to figure out the new Rush Plus service, but the weather will add to their concerns, because air conditioners will break down, and rail cars will get hot. Suburban bus drivers have their own issues. See the note about Montgomery County’s Ride On bus service.

The International AIDS Conference at the Washington Convention Center draws more than 21,000 people to D.C. this week, and is likely to create extra traffic and street congestion in the Mount Vernon Square neighborhood.

Join me at noon EDT for a discussion of all our local traffic and transit concerns.

Ride On buses

The service reductions on Montgomery County’s Ride On bus system will continue on Monday and Tuesday, but the system should be back to normal on Wednesday, the county announced.

A bus fire last week led County Executive Isiah Leggett to pull 26 buses from service because of safety concerns, and that led to what the county called a “modified holiday service” for the bus system on Thursday and Friday. The routes were operating at about 80 percent of their normal service levels.

Despite the resumption of normal schedules Wednesday, riders may experience some minor delays for the remainder of the week.

Metro’s hot cars

When the outside temperature is above 90 degrees, you’ll know right away if you’ve stepped aboard a Metrorail car without working air conditioning. Turn around, and try the next car.

But on the hottest days last week, I found that the rail cars in the 5000 series often had busted AC units. Each car has a number, and you can see it near the front and rear of the car as you wait on the platform. Be suspicious of a car with a four-digit number that starts with “5.”

Metro’s statistics on hot cars reported in June confirm the difficulties with the 5000 series.

The total number of reports about hot cars was 371. Here’s the breakdown by rail car series. 1000 series: 93 incidents; 2000 and 3000 series: 54 incidents; 4000 series: 37 incidents; 5000 series: 146 incidents; 6000 series: 41 incidents.

See my report on Sunday’s Commuter page about the hot cars.

Leesburg road work

Watch for night construction on South King Street (Route 15) in Leesburg, near the intersection of Governors Drive from Monday through Aug. 3. A new storm sewer will be installed across South King Street as part of the Route 15 widening project. Work is scheduled for 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. each night. During construction, South King Street will be reduced to two lanes, one in each direction.

Maryland license renewal

Many Maryland residents under 40 now can renew their driver’s licenses online or at a state Motor Vehicle Administration self-service kiosk. Those under 40 are exempt from the vision screening requirement under the current rules.

To take advantage of the new program, you must have an as-yet-unexpired driver’s license, a verifiable Social Security number and a verifiable Maryland address. You must be at least 21.

The service is available at www.mva.maryland.gov or at any MVA self-service kiosk in branch offices across the state.

Bethesda road work meeting

The Maryland State Highway Administration has scheduled an informational meeting this week on its plans for improvements at the intersection of Route 355 and Cedar Lane in Bethesda. This is part of the state program to ease traffic flow along the roads near the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

Traffic flow has been a major concern in this part of Bethesda following the federal base consolidation that added many military staffers and patients to the medical center.

The meeting is scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at North Bethesda Middle School, 8935 Bradmoor Dr.

Pennsylvania Avenue/D.C. 295

The District Department of Transportation plans to close the ramp from eastbound Pennsylvania Avenue ramp to southbound D.C. 295 (Anacostia Freeway) for several nights this week for drainage work.

The ramp is scheduled to be closed from 10 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. Monday, Tuesday and Thursday nights. Detour: Drivers will be directed to Minnesota Avenue SE, then onto westbound Pennsylvania Avenue SE and back to southbound D.C. 295.

Coming this weekend

The Legg Mason tennis tournament is scheduled to start this weekend and continue for a week at the FitzGerald Tennis Stadium, located at 16th and Kennedy streets NW.

That always means increased traffic congestion on upper 16th Street and parking restrictions on neighborhood streets.

Metro will split the Red Line just as it did this past weekend. Free shuttle buses will replace trains between Grosvenor and Friendship Heights. On the Blue Line, buses replace trains between Franconia-Springfield and King Street.

The paving work that is part of the Wilson Bridge project will again affect the Beltway/Telegraph Road interchange and traffic between Springfield and the bridge.

By  |  09:33 AM ET, 07/23/2012

Categories:  Commuting, Metro, Construction | Tags:  DC transportation, Metro, WMATA, Hot cars, District Department of Transportation, Maryland Department of Transportation, Virginia Department of Transportation, AIDS conference

 
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