Dr. Gridlock’s traffic, transit tips for Memorial Day and beyond

Robert Thomson
Columnist May 25, 2012
Rolling Thunder

Today is the big day for the Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally’s annual tribute to veterans in D.C. Participants plan to gather at the North Pentagon Parking Lot from 7 a.m. to noon. Then they leave for the District. The I-95/395 HOV lanes will be closed to regular traffic from 7:30 to 11 a.m. during the gathering. Washington Boulevard will be closed between I-395 and the Arlington Memorial Bridge from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The riders cross Memorial Bridge to 23rd Street NW, go north to Constitution Avenue NW, then to Pennsylvania Avenue NW and onto Third Street NW. They go south on Third Street to Independence Avenue NW, west to West Basin Drive NW and southwest to Ohio Drive and Roosevelt Park, where they will park in the fields.

Robert Thomson is The Washington Post’s “Dr. Gridlock.” He answers travelers’ questions, listens to their complaints and shares their pain on the roads, trains and buses in the Washington region. View Archive

A program of speakers and musical entertainment begins at 1:30 p.m. on the south side of the Reflecting Pool near the Korean War Memorial. The events will end about 5 p.m.

National parade

The National Memorial Day Parade, with a special tribute to veterans of the war in Iraq, is scheduled for 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Monday. The Constitution Avenue NW parade route will be closed from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The parade starts at Seventh Street and Madison Drive NW and ends at 17th Street and Constitution Avenue. Also closed will be Seventh Street from Constitution Avenue to Independence Avenue NW.

The closest Metrorail stations are Archives on the Yellow and Green lines and Smithsonian and Federal Triangle on the Blue and Orange lines.

Metro on Monday

On the Monday holiday, Metrorail will open at 7 a.m. and close at midnight. Trains will operate on a Sunday schedule, and off-peak fares will be in effect. Parking is free at Metro lots and garages.

Metrobuses will operate on a Sunday schedule. MetroAccess subscription trips are not in effect Monday. People who qualify for the paratransit service and want to make trips need to make separate reservations.

Virginia HOV lanes

The high-occupancy vehicle restrictions on interstates 66 and 95/395 will be lifted on the Monday holiday. The I-95/395 lanes are open northbound from 4 p.m. Saturday through the rest of the holiday weekend, with the exception of the restriction this morning for Rolling Thunder.

The 511

Both Maryland and Virginia use 511 communications systems to provide information about routes and traffic conditions. You can dial 511 from inside either state to get information.

Maryland information is available online at www.md511.org. The state has a Twitter feed at www.md511.org/TwitterRegions
.aspx
.

To check out Virginia information on the Web, go to www.511Virginia.org. The Virginia Twitter is https://
twitter.com/#!/va511travel
.

Virginia just upgraded its 511 to improve the phone system, provide live video of traffic conditions, and make available free apps for Androids and iPhones. “Reach the Beach” information shows the fastest routes to Virginia Beach and the Outer Banks Expressway.

These are very useful services. Sometimes I worry they can be so useful they lead to distracted driving. Have your passengers check the information, or pull over in a safe place.

Silver Line work

Next weekend will be the first of three in June during which the Orange Line will be disrupted for work on the connection to the Silver Line, scheduled to open in late 2013 or 2014.

The other weekends are June 9-10 and June 23-24. Free shuttle buses will replace trains between East Falls Church and West Falls Church from 10 on the Friday nights through the rail system’s midnight closing on Sundays.

For more transportation news, visit washingtonpost.com/transportation.

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