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Dr. Gridlock
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Posted at 09:24 AM ET, 08/22/2011

The week ahead in traffic and transit


The statue at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial by the Tidal Basin. (Marvin Joseph)
[This post has been updated]

It’s back to school today for students in Prince George’s County and the District. Drivers who have gotten used to traveling through school zones at regular speeds over the summer should be on the lookout for reductions and for children trying to cross the street.

Weather Editor Jason Samenow of the Post’s Capital Weather Gang says the week will get off “to an absolutely fantastic start,” before trouble possibly arises later in the week as Hurricane Irene or its remnants makes its way up the East Coast.

The Washington Nationals are in town through Thursday, which means you can expect congestion on South Capitol Street and adjacent roads for the evening games, which begin at 7:05 p.m. Keep in mind that Navy Yard isn’t always the best station to use. You can also take the Orange Line to Capitol South and walk south to the stadium. With the weather forecast, it should be a pleasant stroll (and it allows you to avoid the crowds at Navy Yard.

What else is in store this week? Let’s take a look.

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial

The official dedication of the newest addition to the National Mall will be Sunday, but the tribute to Dr. King opens today to visitors.

Many visitors will choose to walk from Metro stations to the site on the western side of the Mall (and it will be the most hassle-free option).

The closest stations are Smithsonian and Foggy Bottom on the Blue and Orange lines and Arlington Cemetery on the Blue Line. Smithsonian is eight-tenths of a mile from the memorial grounds, Foggy Bottom 1.4 miles and Arlington Cemetery 1.2 miles. Dr. Gridlock says walking from the Arlington stop would be his preference. Here’s his take on getting to the site.

Metro work and delays

Metro doesn’t have plans for what the transit authority calls “major” track work this weekend, as the system anticipates crowds headed to the King memorial.

Metro plans to open at 5 a.m. on Sunday for the dedication and add capacity on all of its lines. Officials said trains will run every eight minutes on all lines, with more frequent service on parts of the Red and Orange lines. Free parking will also be available at all Metro stations, although bikes won’t be allowed on trains due to the expected crowds.

Metro also plans to deploy more than 60 “customer service ambassadors” at stations within walking distance of the memorial to answer questions and distribute maps with directions.

Metro warns that their may be detours for some buses due to closures around the Mall.

The transit authority already has plans for detours on some routes in Northern Virginia due to underground utility work, beginning today. Routes 10B, 22A, 23A, 23C will detour from 7 p.m. Monday to 6 a.m. Thursday on North Stuart Street between Wilson Boulevard and Ninth Street North.

Next up on the Metro schedule for major track work is Labor Day weekend, when buses are scheduled to replace the trains between East Falls Church and West Falls Church stations and between King Street and Van Dorn Street stations.

Speed cameras

Prince George’s is debuting new speed cameras near Isaac J. Gourdine Middle School and Tayac Elementary School in Fort Washington today.

The schools are located in the 8600 and 8700 blocks of Allentown Road. Police said the cameras will operate from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday in both directions.

Drivers will receive warnings until Sept. 21, when the $40 fines will kick in.

New travel time signs

Starting Monday, drivers on Interstate 66 will see travel times displayed on electronic message boards between Gainesville and the Capital Beltway, the Virginia Department of Transportation said.

These signs will be similar to the ones that Maryland drivers see on highways. The signs name a destination, then display the mileage and the estimated travel time. The information is easy to take in at a glance and is one of the best uses for the message boards.

VDOT is starting with three signs on I-66 as a two-month pilot project, testing both the system and drivers’ responses. Look for the signs next week at these locations:

• Eastbound I-66, just east of Route 28, showing the time to the Beltway.

• Westbound I-66, just west of Route 50, showing the time to Gainesville.

• Westbound I-66, just west of Route 7100, showing the time to Gainesville.

The signs will operate from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekends.

I-70/South Street

The Maryland State Highway Administration plans to shift traffic on eastbound Interstate 70 at South Street in Frederick beginning Wednesday. The following week, the traffic on westbound I-70 will be shifted.

Workers will use barrier walls and new pavement markings to help create the shift onto the shoulders. The highway administration said the shift will provide room for equipment and workers as they build a new through lane adjacent to the right lanes along both eastbound and westbound I-70.

George Washington University Move-In Day

Saturday is the official move-in day for students, so expect Foggy Bottom to be inundated with young people and their parents. If you don't have to travel on the streets around the campus, the best plan is to just avoid the area.

If you do travel through the area, be alert for cars being unloaded and people slowly cruising the streets looking for buildings and parking spaces.

What else is going on in traffic and transit? Post a comment below or send a message to transportation@washpost.com.

By Washington Post Staff  |  09:24 AM ET, 08/22/2011

Categories:  Events, Metro, Metrobus

 
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