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Dr. Gridlock
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Posted at 10:25 AM ET, 03/02/2012

The weekend and beyond: Metro delays, new parking meters, road work

A cold front will bring clouds and showers to the D.C. region this weekend, but temperatures still will be on the mild side, the Capital Weather Gang says. Weekend drivers should start to watch out for extra traffic around gardening centers as people prepare for spring.

Metro is promising a spring break in its maintenance program when the Cherry Blossom Festival begins later this month, but there’s still a lot of work scheduled for this weekend. Meanwhile, the mild winter weather has allowed many highway projects to continue a higher than normal level of activity.

Metro weekend delays

Metro’s Red, Orange and Blue lines will be disrupted by track work this weekend, with the most extensive delays occurring on the Red Line. All the work is scheduled to start at 10 p.m. Friday and continue through the rail system’s midnight closing on Sunday.

People take hundreds of thousands of trips on Metro each weekend, and they find these weekend delays very disruptive. But I often hear from train riders who attend events at Verizon Center in downtown D.C. They should take special note of the station closings and single tracking listed below, since the Capitals play at 7 p.m. Friday and Sunday, and the Wizards play at 7 p.m. Saturday.

The track work schedule can be particularly disruptive for the Friday night fans, because when they go to the event, Metrorail is operating normally. But when the game ends, and they pour into the Gallery Place station, they may encounter major disruptions in the service.

Red Line: Free shuttle buses will replace trains between Shady Grove and White Flint. The Shady Grove, Rockville and Twinbrook stations will be closed. Trains are scheduled to operate about every 10 minutes between White Flint and Glenmont.

Travelers who use their cars to reach the Red Line may want to drive farther down Route 355 to Grosvenor or Bethesda and park at the lots and garages around those stations.

Some drivers might find it more convenient to drive east and use stations along the other side of the line, such as Glenmont or Silver Spring.Weekend parking is free at the facilities operated by Metro or Montgomery County.

Riders who use the shuttle buses on the western portion of the line should add about 20 minutes to their normal travel times.

On Friday night, the last trains through the work zone before those three stations close is scheduled to leave Shady Grove at 9:44 p.m. and Glenmont at 8:53 p.m.

Orange Line: Trains will share tracks between Eastern Market and Stadium-Armory and between East Falls Church and West Falls Church. They will leave the ends of the line at Vienna and New Carrollton about every 20 minutes. Add about 15 minutes to normal travel times.

Blue Line: Trains will share a track between Eastern Market and Stadium-Armory around the same work zone that will disrupt the Orange Line trains.

Blue Line trains will leave Franconia-Springfield and Largo Town Center about every 20 minutes. Add about 15 minutes to normal travel times.

Red top meters

Since the start of the year, the District Department of Transportation has installed 400 red top meters in the city’s central business district and streets around federal buildings in Southwest Washington. These are reserved for motorists with valid disability placards and plates. This week, the District began enforcing the parking rules through ticketing and towing.

The red top spaces, which are accessible for people with disabilities, allow them to park for twice the normally allowed time in that area. But they do have to pay at the red tops, or anywhere else there’s a metered space in the city.

There are still about 3,300 of the old blue top meters, marking spaces that are accessible for disabled people but not reserved for them.

DDOT has said it will evaluate requests for red tops on any block with metered parking and cites possibilities that include streets around government buildings and blocks that generate especially heavy traffic, such as around the convention center, recreational and entertainment centers or medical facilities.

Over time, the District plans to convert about a third of the blue top meters to the reserved red tops.

Beltway/Northwest Branch bridge

The mild winter weather has allowed the Maryland State Highway Administration to continue the bridge renovation on both sides of the Capital Beltway between University Boulevard and New Hampshire Avenue.

All lanes are open during peak periods, but watch for single lane and double lane closings between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. Sunday through Thursday nights. Drivers may find three lanes closed from midnight to 5 a.m. weeknights.

Beltway/Landover Road

The Landover Road (Route 202) bridge over the Beltway also is under repair by the Maryland State Highway Administration. Watch for single lane closings from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays.

Bike sharing discussion in Tysons

A discussion about the potential for a bike sharing program in Tysons Corner is scheduled for noon Tuesday at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), 1800 Tysons Blvd. The forum is open to all, but the seating is limited, so the sponsors ask that you contact Bruce Wright at chairman@fabb-bikes.org for more information and to RSVP by noon today (Friday).

During the session, Charlie Denney of Alta Planning and Design will answer questions about bike sharing. Alta Bicycle Share, an affiliate of Alta Planning, runs Capital Bikeshare. He will discuss how the system works and how bike sharing could work in Tysons.

Arlington Memorial Bridge

The center lanes in both directions on the Memorial Bridge will be closed from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday. For this period between rush hours, drivers will need to use the two right lanes.

Workers will be installing metal plates in the center lanes as part of a rehabilitation project.

Beltway/Telegraph Road

The Wilson Bridge project continues to work on the Capital Beltway lanes and the Telegraph Road interchange west of the bridge. From 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, the outer loop exit ramp to northbound Telegraph Road will be closed. Drivers should follow the detour from the Eisenhower Avenue ramp to northbound Stovall Avenue to westbound Pershing Avenue.

Metrobus changes

Metro is changing the start times for some of its morning bus trips starting Monday. The transit authority says the adjustments respond to requests from school officials, and also reflect the realities of traffic congestion. These buses are used by many students attending Deal Junior High School and Wilson High School in Northwest Washington.

As of Monday, Metrobus routes D31, D32, D33, D34 and W45 will leave their starting points 10 minutes earlier for morning trips.

Metro fare increase hearings

The last three of the Metro board’s six hearings on the proposed fare increases will be held this coming week. Each will begin at 7 p.m., but will be preceded by an hour-long open forum at which people can talk about any topic related to Metro operations. Here are the dates and locations of the upcoming sessions.

Monday: Washington Lee High School Cafeteria, 1301 N. Stafford St., Arlington

Tuesday: St. Columba’s Episcopal Church, 4201 Albemarle St. NW, the District

Wednesday: First United Methodist Church, 6201 Belcrest Rd., Hyattsville

Rock Creek Park

From 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday, maintenance crews are scheduled to work on trees and the roadway along Beach Drive in Rock Creek Park. During those hours, Beach Drive will be closed between Sherrill Drive and Wise Road.

Baltimore-Washington Parkway

Some drivers have been complaining to me recently about road conditions on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, so this National Park Service road work may be some good news for them.

On Wednesday, the park service plans to close the northbound left lane of the parkway near the Capital Beltway interchange from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. while crews block off the left shoulder with jersey barriers.

Workers then will begin repairing a sinkhole on the left shoulder, a project that will take about two weeks.

By  |  10:25 AM ET, 03/02/2012

Categories:  Weekend Work, Capital Beltway, Metro, Driving | Tags:  DC transportation, Metro, WMATA, Virginia Department of Transportation, Maryland State Highway Administration

 
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