Dr. Gridlock’s traffic, transit tips: Metro crowding concerns, new traffic patterns

Robert Thomson
Columnist April 20, 2013
Silver Line anxieties

Commuters are anxious about the potential impact of the Silver Line on their Metro trips. During my online discussion Monday, one commenter asked what effect the new line will have on the Rosslyn station, adding, “There are mornings where I have to let four or five trains pass before I make myself squeeze in.”

When the Silver Line begins service around the end of this year, Metro plans to operate the same number of trains through Rosslyn as riders see today. They will just be distributed among three lines — Orange, Blue, Silver — instead of two. The Orange Line trains will go to New Carrollton. The Silver and Blue Line trains will go to Largo.

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

So it’s unlikely the crowding at Rosslyn will be any worse than it is now. It’s possible that those Silver Line trains will be less crowded than the Orange and Blue Line trains, at least until riders adjust their habits. The Silver Line trains should arrive at Rosslyn every six minutes at peak.

Connector buses

Managers of the Fairfax Connector bus system plan to hold three more meetings this coming week on the revised routes that will take travelers to the new Silver Line stations. These sessions are all 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.:

■Monday, Westbriar Elementary School, 1741 Pine Valley Dr., Vienna.

■Tuesday, McLean High School, 1633 Davidson Rd., McLean.

■Wednesday, Tysons-Pimmit Regional Library, 7584 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church.

Wisconsin Ave. changes

The District Department of Transportation has made some changes in the traffic pattern on Wisconsin Avenue NW in Glover Park to deal with safety concerns.

Parking is now restricted on the northbound side between Calvert Street and Massachusetts Avenue NW from 7 to 9:30 a.m. and from 4 to 7:30 p.m. Only the D.C. Circulator buses are allowed to make left turns from the northbound side of Wisconsin Avenue at 35th Street. There’s now a deceleration lane for drivers entering the Whole Foods parking garage at 2323 Wisconsin Ave., just south of Calvert Street.

Be street smart

This spring’s Street Smart law enforcement campaign continues through May 13. Across the D.C. region, officers will be paying special attention to traffic law violations. They pay special attention to crosswalk violations by motorists and cyclists, as well as to jaywalking pedestrians. Fines range from $40 to $500, depending on the type of the violation, and drivers can lose points.

Purple Line meetings

The managers of the Maryland Transit Administration’s Purple Line light rail project are planning five open houses in May to discuss progress. Here’s the schedule:

■May 7, 5 to 8 p.m., Silver Spring Civic Center, 1 Veterans Pl., Silver Spring.

■May 9, 5 to 8 p.m., Riverdale Elementary School, 5006 Riverdale Rd., Riverdale.

■May 11, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Langley Park Community Center, 1500 Merrimac Dr., Hyattsville.

■May 14, 5 to 8 p.m., Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, 4301 East-West Highway, Bethesda.

■May 15, 5 to 8 p.m., Woodridge Elementary School, 5001 Flintridge Dr., Hyattsville.

Road diet

The Virginia Department of Transportation is putting part of Oak Street in the Dunn Loring area on a diet. Traffic engineers sometimes redesign roads to attack speeding and improve safety. Drivers who use Lawyers Road or Soapstone Road in Reston will recognize this treatment.

Oak Street this month is losing two of its four through lanes. “By taking away the second travel lane in each direction, we make room for left-turn lanes, dedicated bike lanes, and on-street parking,” VDOT traffic engineer Randy Dittberner said in a statement. “All these features will help eliminate the most extreme speeders and improve safety for drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians.”

For more transportation news, go to washingtonpost.com/transportation.

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