Dr. Gridlock traffic, transit tips

Saturday, December 18, 2010; 5:02 PM

Ride sober for holiday

The SoberRide program, which has done so much over the years to keep our roads safe during celebration times, will operate through Jan. 1.

During the evening hours, area residents who are 21 or older and have over-celebrated may call SoberRide toll-free, 800-200-TAXI, and get a no-cost taxi ride home. (That's up to a $30 fare.)

SoberRide is offered in the District and Alexandria, in Montgomery and Prince George's counties, and in Arlington, Fairfax, eastern Loudoun and Prince William counties.

Metrobus changes coming

Many Metrobus schedules are changing for the better this week, but riders in Maryland are telling me they sure wish they had seen those schedules at their bus stops and on their buses, so they'd know exactly what's coming. The complete schedules are available on Metro's Web site, at www.wmata.com. These are some highlights of the changes.

Virginia-D.C.: The new 7Y will provide service through the Pentagon and across Memorial Bridge to Federal Triangle Metro station. An extended 16F, originating in Culmore, will travel along Columbia Pike to the Pentagon and across the 14th Street Bridge to Federal Triangle.

D.C.: The X9 will provide peak-period, limited-stop service between the Capitol Heights Metro station and 13th and H streets NW. Also planned for this Benning Road corridor is an extension of the X1 to Foggy Bottom Metro station.

Maryland: Service will be added on the popular but slow J2 route between Silver Spring and Bethesda. Metro also will split the R12 between New Carrollton and Deanwood Metro stations into two routes, the R12 and G12. A midday service will be added to the T17 and that service will be relabeled as the G14.

Metro's holiday schedule

Metrorail will be open from 7 a.m. to 3 a.m. Friday, Christmas Eve. On a normal weekday, the train system opens at 5 a.m., but Christmas Eve will be a holiday for many people in the D.C. area. The same schedule will apply on Christmas Day, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.

Metrobus will operate on a Sunday schedule from Christmas Eve through Sunday, Dec. 26, as well as from New Year's Eve through Jan. 2. A modified weekday schedule will be in effect from Dec. 27 to 30.

MetroAccess will cancel all subscription trips on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. All trips during those time periods must be reserved separately.

Shopper traffic tips

During the last days before Christmas, when so many drivers will head for Tysons Corner, be extra careful on the new, temporary ramp from southbound Route 123 to westbound Route 7.

Also, drivers who leave Tysons on northbound Route 123 and hope to reach the Capital Beltway's inner loop must resist the reflex to stay right. That ramp is gone. Stay in the left lane, then move into the two left-turn lanes at the traffic signal.

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