Dr. G's tips
adjusting to time change
The return to Eastern Standard Time means that many people will need to adjust their driving habits. In the morning, motorists will have some extra light for their commutes. But on the way home, some early drivers will find the sun shining more directly through their windshields, while others will have to pick out cars and pedestrians in twilight. Get into the habit of turning your car lights on earlier so you can see and be seen.
I-95 lane opens
The fourth lane on southbound Interstate 95 is open from the Fairfax County Parkway to Route 1. There will still be overnight lane closings in that area for milling and paving as part of the I-95 widening project, says Mike Salmon, a spokesman for the Virginia Department of Transportation's Megaprojects office. The extra lane on the northbound side opened in December. The final piece of the widening project, a fourth lane to the Occoquan River bridge, is scheduled to be done by late summer 2011.
Reversible lane schedule
VDOT has made these changes to the schedule for the I-95/395 reversible lanes:
Southbound lanes open until midnight: The reversible lanes will remain open to all southbound traffic until midnight Mondays through Thursdays. This pattern, put in place in July to ease delays from summer traffic and construction, is now permanent. VDOT says its traffic engineers determined that this schedule will continue to benefit motorists. The reversible lanes will reopen for northbound traffic at 2 a.m.
Northbound lanes open until 11 a.m: The reversible lanes will close at 11 a.m., instead of 10 a.m., Mondays through Fridays and will reopen to southbound traffic at 1 p.m., rather than noon. The schedule had been altered over the summer, because of the I-95 widening project.
There is no change to the HOV-3 schedule, which remains in effect from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., Mondays through Fridays.
new d.c. parking meters
The District Department of Transportation is adding 1,150 solar-powered, single-space meters that accept credit cards. The department has been testing several types of parking payment systems at locations across the city. The solar-powered machines were the first of these pilots programs, and drivers say they like having this alternative to hauling around quarters.
The single-space meters are going to be installed in various parts of Northwest and Southwest Washington. The transportation department says the areas were selected based on the parking demand, the presence of the $2 per hour rate on those streets and the old age of the meters there now.
prince william signals
VDOT says motorists should notice smoother traffic flow on several major roads in eastern Prince William County where 75 signals have been adjusted to minimize delays. The signal network is updated every two years to keep pace with changing traffic patterns and demand.
The 75 signals are along Prince William Parkway, Minnieville Road, Dale Boulevard and Smoketown Road, which provide access to Interstate 95, Potomac Mills and other retail, residential and office developments. Signals have four timing plans for weekdays - morning rush, midday, afternoon rush and off-peak - and four for weekends. Signal times for Saturdays are different than those on Sundays.
In addition to the traffic signals, engineers also rechecked and updated pedestrian timings at each intersection, VDOT says.
Maryland Lane closings
The Maryland State Highway Administration is continuing a program of routine bridge inspections in the D.C. suburbs. On Sunday morning, watch for double lane closings on both sides of the Capital Beltway at Seminary Road in Montgomery County from 4:30 to 11:30 a.m. Also scheduled are double lane closings on westbound Route 50 in Prince George's County at Whitfield Chapel Road, which will occur between 5 a.m. and noon Sunday.