Metro: Roads and Rails
Monday, June 12, 2006; 11:00 AM
Do you think Metro has grown unreliable and become downright unpleasant? Or are you happy with your commutes on rail and bus? Does the thought of the intercounty connector (ICC) keep you up at night or does it seem like it's long overdue? And what of the moves by Maryland and Virginia to encourage the private sector to build road projects, such as widening the Capital Beltway?
Washington Post staff writer Steven Ginsberg was online Monday, June 12, at 11 a.m. ET to answer your questions, feel your pain and share the drama of getting from Point A to Point B.
Steven Ginsberg's Blog:
The transcript follows.
Steve Ginsberg: Good morning commuters. We had an exciting weekend here in Washington, where the new Wilson Bridge opened to traffic. Anyone been across it yet and want to tell us what it's like? Let's talk about that and whatever else you want as we get rolling with another chat.
Also, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you've got a really bad commute and want to see it profiled in the Post. I'm looking to tag along with people for a series of stories we're doing on commutes.
McLean, Va.: Steven:
Your blog rocks. Best thing on the site.
So here's my question: Which will really happen in my lifetime (I'm in my late 30s)... the ICC or Dulles Rail? Both? Neither?
I'll bet neither.
What about HOT Lanes?
washingtonpost.com: Steven Ginsberg's Blog: Get There
Steve Ginsberg: Wow, we have to start with this one. Thanks for tuning into Get There, which, I promise, will be updated shortly after this chat.
As for your question, I'm putting my money on the ICC happening and happening fairly soon. A lawsuit could maybe stop it and maybe a new governor would halt the process, but I'd put my money on it happening. Dulles rail also seems more likely now that the airport's authority is involved, but that project just seems cursed somehow so it's a little harder to say.
I'd bet pretty strongly on HOT lanes. I think they will happen soon and in a big way.
Arlington, Va.: Well, I've finally done it. After 15 years of commuting by Metro, I've given up and started driving. I feel terribly guilty about this, because I believe in public transportation, but I just couldn't do it any longer.
My drive to my office in Rosslyn is 10-15 minutes, less than I often have to wait for a 16 bus at the Pentagon station in the evenings, even though they're supposed to come every 5 minutes. And let's not even mention the 16F express bus that often just doesn't show up.
Aside from the buses that are never on schedule is the Blue line, with trains that come half as often as Orange or Yellow line trains. During rush hour, they are packed, no matter what Metro claims, and lately I've regularly been on cars that are unventilated, which is bound to be even more unpleasant as the summer finally heats up.
I've put up with discomfort and service inconsistencies for 15 years, because Metro is on the whole convenient and reliable. But when I compare my 10-15 minute drive to my 45-60 minute bus and metro commute, sadly the car wins out.
Steve Ginsberg: A cautionary tale for Metro, especially given the price of gas.
Washington, D.C.: Do you think the new head of Metro plans an overhaul of the customer service (and I use that term lightly) system? I've given up on it. A typical exchange: Me: what happened to the XX bus on Monday night. They were supposed to arrive every 20 mintes and I waited 75 minutes for one. Metro: The XX buses were running on or about schedule Monday night. My thought: obviously I %&--$%& know that's not true since I stood at the bus stop for 75 minutes. I'd rather not having a customer service system than get lies like that.
Steve Ginsberg: I think Dan Tangherlini is committed to changing Metro's image and its customer service. But 10,000 people work in that agency and few fear for their jobs. There is a limited amount that any one person can do. Still, it's a little discouraging to see a continued avalanche of Metro customer service complaints since Tangherlini took over. You'd like to think that the energy and enthusiasm of a new leader would flow through the ranks, but judging on what we see and hear, not much has changed.
Silver Spring, Md.: Steve - Any plans (or ideas, at least) in the works for alleviating congestion between Tyson's Corner and College Park on the Beltway? Last week, I heard reports that 495 was backed up from the Dulles Toll Road all the way to the BW Parkway. This is ridiculous! Can we expect relief or should we just accept that the Beltway is always going to be jammed during rush hour? I've heard the ICC should help with this, but that's more for people going north on 270 and not around through Silver Spring, College Park, and through Prince George's county.
Steve Ginsberg: That stretch of the Beltway was named something like the worst spot of congestion in America last year. I don't remember the exact designation, but it's no surprise that it was backed up like that because it happens all the time. Part of the problem with the Maryland part is that it's very windy and that slows travelers. The state is studying a proposal to widen it with HOT lanes--which are lanes with varying tolls that are designed to manage congestion. For a price, probably a hefty price, you could pay your way around any backup. But there isn't much room to widen it there and there is already organized opposition to this plan, so it remains to be seen if it gets done. The ICC is not likely to hhelp much, if at all, according to studies for that road. Others say increased transit in the area would help, but I'm skeptical that would relieve much of the Beltway traffic either. On the Virginia side, there are plans to build HOT lanes from Tysons to the Maryland line.
Columbia, Md.: Steven,
Do you think now that the inter-county-connector has been approved that the Metro rail to BWI will become the next major project in this part of the Maryland? If so how many YEARS before it would be complete from start to finish?
Steve Ginsberg: Hard to say on that one. Seems like the Purple Line, aka bi-county transitway, has first dibs. HOT lanes on the Beltway are another possibility. It'll also be interesting to see if Maryland has any money left over for new initiatives after sinking so much of its cash into the ICC.
Temperance, Mich.: I moved back to Michigan from DC in 1990, but return every few years to visit friends who live in Silver Spring. On my last visit, last month, I was surprised to find the new to me New York Ave. Metro Station between the Rhode Island Ave. and Union Station stations. While I rode between SS and downtown several times, including during rush hour, I never saw more than a couple people get on or off, and usually no one at all entered and exited at that station.
One of my seatmates explained that this station was built when it was thought that the new DC baseball stadium would be built north of Union Station. Surely that can't be true! (or is it?) Even though I've been away for many years, I personally can come up with a lengthy list of what I believe should be higher priorities, such as repairing the escalators my gimpy knee now has trouble negotiating when they are stopped. Can you explain? Thanks.
Steve Ginsberg: Thanks for writing in from Michigan. We love our out-of-town fans here in the transpo chat. The NY Ave. station was built to support development right around it, but not necessarily the baseball stadium. There's a giant new building going up right next to it that's going to house the ATF department and there is other development going on in the area now that there's a transit link. The baseball stadium could've been part of that, but it was just one of many developments that the station could have served.
Fairfax County, Va.: I hate to seem like a party-pooper but I don't understand why the first six outer-loop cars to cross the new Wilson Bridge got specially prepared coins to mark the occasion, and why it was reported throughout the news media. Anywhere else it would be a wonderful gesture and a way of marking an exciting change.
Here, it's encouraging people to try to be the first inner-loop cars to cross the bridge when that transition comes, so they can get similar coins for going the other way. Why in the world give people this incentive to come to the bridge then, when we are all being asked to stay away as these changes are made?
Steve Ginsberg: Really? You think thousands of people will line up in hours of traffic for the random chance to be one of six to be handed a commemorative coin? And I thought people around here were pressed for time.
Anyway, they may not even be giving them out for the inner loop, given that they won't be the first cars across the new bridge. Any bridge folks out there who could advise?
Alexandria, Va.: I can't seem to submit my thoughts.
Steve Ginsberg: let us know when you can
Silver Spring, Md.: If you live in Silver Spring you never have to take that accursed stretch of the Beltway.
There are several bypasses and backroads, some well known and a few virtually unknown.
Take a close look at the map for twisty little roads off Rockville Pike inside the Beltway.
Steve Ginsberg: I don't suppose you'll give us more of a hint than that?
On the way to RFK: Metro continues to amaze. Although they add extra trains AFTER Nats games on the Blue and Orange Lines, they seem to do nothing before the games. It doesn't take a genius to realize that 15-20K extra riders will be on the system in the 1-2 hours before a game. Yet they still run trains at normal headways. My train yesterday from Metro Center was just as packed as they are at rush hour and I think many people didn't make it on. Except there's no train 3 minutes behind; the wait is more like 8-10 minutes.
Please, please run extra trains before the game and after the game on ALL lines.
Steve Ginsberg: The idea is that everyone leaves the game at the same time, but comes at different times. I've actually been pleasantly surprised by how easy it is to take Metro to the games. I've never been left on the platform waiting. And, personally, I don't have a problem if the trains are as crowded as during rush hour. So what? You don't get a seat just to go to a ballgame. And it's kind of fun to get on there with a bunch of people rooting for the same team as you. It almost makes me feel like I live in a city with common interests. What about the rest of y'all? Have you had trouble taking Metro to games?
Springfield, Va.: We're driving to Chincoteague Friday June 23rd - how early do we need to leave in order to avoid the weekend WW detours?
Steve Ginsberg: Lucky you. I love Chincoteague. The lane closures will start around 8 or 9, so leave before then.
Kingstowne, Va.: I drove across the bridge yesterday and posted a comment in your blog that it seems wrong to call it the "Wilson Bridge" because it is entirely unnatural to have a Wilson Bridge with no potholes and a smooth ride.
I'm curious to hear how the traffic flow over the bridge was this morning. I'm telecommuting today in order to watch the US World Cup game and so did not listen to the traffic reports.
Steve Ginsberg: That's pretty funny. It's kind of amazing how one of the worst stretches of road on the Beltway, or anywhere really, will suddenly become the best.
And thanks for tuning in to the blog.
Alexandria, Va.: The new WWB...
I drove across it yesterday on my way to the Nats game. It was nice, smooth - it should be, it's a new bridge. It matched up well with the north bound Rte. 1 ramp. I don't miss the bumps, potholes, etc., from the old WWB.
Will they be using the old WWB to stage the cranes, etc as the construct the second WWB span, or will they demolish the old WWB and use floating cranes like they did for the first of the new spans?
Steve Ginsberg: The old bridge will come down as soon as cars are taken off it next month. It needs to be removed so that a second new span can be built in its place. That one is supposed to open in summer '08.
Silver Spring, Md.: I'm sure this has been asked once or twice before... but what in the world is the purpose of running 6 car trains at rush hour on the redline, literally every 3 minutes! I mean, yes, I do love the convinience of knowing my wait in Silver Spring is 3 minutes or less in the morning... but man, the money they'd save in salaries if they ran 8 car trains every 4-5 minutes... Even in NYC, which in every other respect is 10 times more convinient for mass transit, you generally wait for 4-5 minutes, even at rush hour... When I did the math, 8 car trains for 2 hours on each end of the day (rush hour both ends) would result in 25% fewer drivers needed to put through the same total number of cars per hour! I'd bet 25% less salaries for 4 hours a day, 5 days a week would pay for a few new railcars so they could run 6 on the green line - which you always here people complaining about! So I guess the short form of my question is - Why aren't there 8 car trains?? At least on the redline.
Steve Ginsberg: They're trying something similar to this on the Orange Line and people are not happy about it at all, so I'm guessing there aren't plans to extend it to the Red Line.
Gaithersburg, Md.: Hey Steve! Love the chats and missed you (after FOUR weeks.)
I wrote on the new blog about the ICC, and how I would use it to visit Baltimore more often. I also think that given the three major gubernatorial players ALL supporting the ICC (Ehrlich, Duncan, O'Malley), there's not a fear administration will stop it like Glendenning tried to.
My question is something else entirely: with the parking situation at Glenmont metro station, what impact do you think the ICC will have on SHADY GROVE station? I am very sure people will pay the toll if they can get a space after 7:45.
Steve Ginsberg: Someone missed me! And, yes, four weeks is way too long between chats. Dang Memorial Day.
As to your question, it seems to me that the ICC would only add Metro users and traffic to the area as it adds more development to the area.
Silver Spring, Md.: For the poster going to Chincoteague the weekend of June 23rd.....there will not be any WW detours that weekend. That won't happen until mid-July.
Steve Ginsberg: There are a couple things going on at the WWB over the next few weeks. For the next few weekends, including June 23, there are detours on both sides of the Beltway on the Maryland shore so work can be done on a new interchange. In addition, a weekend of delays is expected July 14-16 when the inner loop is directed to the new bridge.
Re: RFK: We were headed downtown over Mem. Day weekend (I know.. my first mistake.. we had company in town, what can I say) and our blue line train was JAMMED with people going to a nats game. Downright uncomfortably little standing room. It could have partly been tourists headed to smithsonian, and generally mem-day weekend... but, just a note, that I have seen that problem both before and after the games as well.
Steve Ginsberg: A little Nats feedback...
For the guy who can't submit his thoughts: Make sure you aren't trying to use any emoticons or other uses of parentheses. If you want to number questions, use periods as 1. or 2. Parentheses cause the submission form to fail, although I do not know why. I just had to edit a submission for that reason.
washingtonpost.com: Thanks for your tips. We're passing them along here...
Steve Ginsberg: My wonderful producer, Katie, says this is good advice.
Another tip is to just say what's on your mind in a normal English sentence. For crying out loud.
Arlington, Va.: I had a very frustrating thing happen on my Metro ride this morning (Orange line, Courthouse to Farragut West).
On my crowded train, people near the doors did a great job of getting off the train to let passengers exit. Yet at each stop, the train operator closed the doors very quickly, before passengers who had gotten off temporarily could re-board the train, and before many new passengers could get on. In two cases, he shut the doors ON someone who was waiting to get back on the train (which was not excessively crowded), leaving huge black marks on one woman's dress.
I understand the need to keep the system moving, but this was ridiculous. And in the end, counter productive. You'd better believe that those people will think twice about stepping off and to the side so people can exit next time, which means the train will be tougher to exit.
Why can't Metro get the basics right???
Steve Ginsberg: Can you give any more detail about exact times, train numbers, etc.? I know most riders don't keep track of this that closely, but Metro officials usually tune in to these chats so maybe we can direct them to the offending operator.
Bay Bridge from Clarksburg: Steve, thanks for your help.
Going to the beach in 3 weeks, and I'm wondering what the best way is to get to the Bay Bridge from Clarksburg. Do I go the Beltway to 50 route, or would 70E to 97 be a better bet? What is the best route from Baltimore?
Steve Ginsberg: Can you guys help on this one? I'm inclined to say 70E to I-97, but I've never done the trip and don't want to send someone into awful traffic.
Silver Spring, Md.: Okay, more of a hint. Look for a VERY busy road that links up to Beach Drive, and a left turn from Beach Drive that takes you by the very foot of the Mormon Temple. You can almost wave at the people who fall for the Jones Bridge Road to 410 decoy detour.
Be ready to have your suspension punished a bit.
Steve Ginsberg: Those stupid Jones Bridge Road to 410 idiots.
Rockville, Md.: Steve: in response to your question about problems getting to a Nats game via Metro, we have never had problems. Even leaving, when Stadium-Armory gets backed up, there's still no problem. The real difficulty comes at Metro Center, where we have to wait an incredbily long time for a red line train to take us back home. Seems Metro could do more with regard to this -- also, they better start thinking ahead, because at the moment it looks like Metro access to and from the new stadium is a disaster in the making.
Steve Ginsberg: I've had the same problem transferring at Metro Center and posted something about it here last summer. Clearly, my powers of influence over Metro are not what we hoped they would be. Come on Dan! Give us more transfer trains after Nats games.
Fairfax, Va.: Is there a problem on 66 other than an insane amount of people trying to drive on it? For the past two weeks it seems traffic has been getting worse every day. 40 minutes to drive less than 5 miles is totally ridiculous.
Steve Ginsberg: You're the second person to tell me this in the last few days. It's possible that work on the Roosevelt Bridge is backing up traffic down the line. But it's also possible that there are just too many cars. That road is trouble at all times.
Former Bostonian: Re: Metro to baseball games - I haven't tried it here in DC yet, but you should see how crazy it is trying to get on the T in Boston to Fenway Park (there, it's the Green Line). I usually walked the mile from home rather than try to pack on to one of those crazy cattle cars. Literally train after train will come and you can't get on. AND eventually one that's not crowded will arrive....and then you realize it's the E train, the only Green Line train that does NOT go to Fenway Park. Of course someone always ends up getting on anyway. Then they end up at the Museum of Fine Arts.
And the trains go like .000001 mph.
OMG, I'm getting claustrophobic just thinking about it.
Steve Ginsberg: I'm so sorry Red Sox fans have to suffer. Seems like they'd be plenty used to it though.
Arlington, Va.: So funny to hear Red line riders complaining about trains. When I talked to Red liners, they complain about not getting seats. Us Orange liners are just glad if we can get on the first train that comes to the station, rather than have to wait for a second or third.
Re: the 8 car trains, if only it was that simple. I've found that the pattern along the Orange line is predictable: it runs, 8-car, 6-car, gap (for a Blue train to merge at Rosslyn). That means that you are waiting 4-5 minutes for an 8-car, which is jammed full by the time it arrives at stations like Clarendon. People stand and wait another 2 minutes for the 6 car train, when they crowd onto because they are annoyed they had to wait. Then because the 8-car train has to be manually driven, the 6-car train stops and starts all the way down to Rosslyn and under the river.
The 8-car train experiment is a nightmare for many Orange riders. When I talk with friends from everywhere from Vienna to West Falls Church to Ballston to Clarendon to Courthouse, all of us are frustrated because it has made commutes longer, NOT shorter.
Steve Ginsberg: A comment from the Orange Line...
Arlington, Va.: I'm fascinated by the calls for Metro to BWI. It's not the best use of money, or the easiest path to BWI.
The smartest solution would be to upgrade and extend MARC train service along the line to Baltimore, including - MOST IMPORTANTLY - weekend MARC service.
I loathe flying out of BWI because I come from Arlington, and driving can be a miserable experience (I've had miserable 2.5 hr jaunts to BWI, and also had it take as little as 45 minutes). Because I often fly out on a weeknight and return on a Sunday night, MARC is now good, and leaves you to fend for a spot on an AMTRAK train, not always easy if it is a holiday or busy weekend.
Rather than invest billions in unnecessary Metro tracks, can't Maryland put its money towards better MARC service? The trains are much more comfortable, quicker and Union Station is an ideal departure.
Steve Ginsberg: Improved train service would be nice. I also had a good experience taking Metro to Greenbelt and catching the special bus to BWI. Removed most of the tension of the drive to BWI.
Ashburn, Va.: Hi,
We're traveling out of Reagan National early Friday morning. Do you think we'll be able to find parking? If not, do you have any advice on alternative transportation to the airport?
Steve Ginsberg: Call 703-417-PARK before you go and it'll tell you if there are spots. If there aren't any, Metro stops at the airport, with an easy walk to the terminal.
Maryland: Why do the Metro buses not have GPS locators on them like commerical trucks often do?
I think what happens now is a customer complains, Metro asks the driver "Were you on schedule" andthe driver says yes and the answer to the customer is "we investigated and the buses were on schedule.". End of story.
With a GPS locator, metro would have a real time picture of where the buses are at all times.
Steve Ginsberg: Last I heard, they were in the process of getting GPS for buses. It's expensive so it's not being done all at once.
Baltimore, Md.: Re best route to Bay Bridge from Baltimore: If you mean from the city of Baltimore, I do it by taking the B/W Pkwy South to Route 100/Gibson Island, then getting on 97, which takes you right onto Rte. 50 in Annapolis.
Steve Ginsberg: Here's one suggestion...
re: Silver Spring poster on alternate routes: Good job, Silver Spring, for perpetuating the myth that there are any alternate routes to get cross county. Sure, there are a bunch of twisting and turning 2 lane roads - quite unsafe, not built to carry any sort of capacity of traffic, and neighbors that HATE any sort of pass through traffic. Let's try to jam up all the neighborhood roads too.
Thank goodness there is political willpower in MD to build the ICC - my grandparents (who live in Leisure World right off the route) will have much better, faster and most importantly, safer access to their medical care. A necessary step.
Steve Ginsberg: That's great for your grandparents, but we were trying to get someone from Silver Spring over to the Tysons area. The ICC ain't going to do squat for that.
Reston, Va.: Hi -- Thanks for the chat. 66 -- you can use this to get to Dulles airport even during HOV hours, right? How do they verify this if you are pulled over? I understand if you going out of town you can show your plane ticket but what if you are going to pick someone up? Do you have to give the cop the flight number? I am not trying to cheat or anything (really!) -- I am just curious how the enforcement works.
Steve Ginsberg: I'm curious too. It's legal to use I-66 to get to the airport at any time of day, even during HOV hours, but I've never heard of anyone that's done, gotten pulled over and had a problem. Anyone out there?
National Game: I went once last year and it was easy to get to RFK. Coming back entailed waiting in LONG lines that extended up the escalators and outside the metro station. I was wishing for a bus (hope springs eternal).
Steve Ginsberg: More Nats experiences.
Petworth, D.C.: I hope that DDOT/WMATA, other entities, will take a look, while on foot, at the neighborhood surrounding the NY Ave Metro stop, the Greyhound bus terminal and Union Station. For lots of people, this is the first look at the city. Lots of residents connect to intercity travel there, not at the Virginia airports.
That little stretch could be made much more pedestrian friendly with lighting, signs, and a good power wash.
Steve Ginsberg: Amen. If it even appeared a little safer, I bet more people would be inclined to consider those options.
For Bay Bridge:: 70E would be better, but it doesn't connect directly to I-97. You'd have to get on the Baltimore Beltway (I-695), then get on 97 south. They're doing construction between 70 and I-95, so the better way may be to take the Route 29 exit off 70, then get on 100 east. From there you can get on 97 and then onto 50.
Steve Ginsberg: Another suggestion...
Alexandria, Va.: Trying again, the 10A to the Pentagon is always 15 to 25 min. late. I have reported it without results. Waited 20 min. in pouring rain and no shelter today. Any thoughts as to what else I can try?
Steve Ginsberg: You got your thoughts out!! Congratulations. We have made real progress today in the Transportation/Therapy chat.
And I'll post your comment so Metro can see it. It's unbelievably frustrating when you report something repeatedly and nothing ever changes.
Fort Washington, Md.: For a cheap thrill and a memory of the last day at school, I took teenagers across the northbound lane at WWB for the last time. They took pictures, looked for potholes, laughed a lot and waved goodbye to old northbound.
Steve Ginsberg: Cool. They'll remember that for a long time, I'm sure.
Washington, D.C.: A week ago I had to go to metro center to conduct some rather routine business at the Metro Sales Office. My work hours overlap with their hours but I was able to leave work early to make sure I could get things done. After waiting for 15 mintues, I get to the counter and I tell the man behind the desk that I had two quick transactions to make. He informed me that two transactions required me to leave after the first transaction and go back in line to complete the second transaction. I was floored. Has this policy been in effect for awhile? I cannot imagine that the majority of metro riders have that amount of time to devote to standing in line.
Steve Ginsberg: Oh my God. I'm not aware of this as a policy and can't imagine that it is one. You'd think that it would be quicker and easier to just do the transactions rather than fight with everyone who was, rightfully, floored by this. I'll ask Metro about this and report back.
Silver Spring, Md.: I don't usually take the Beltway past the split. If it's really bad, I'll get off at River Road and wind through Potomac, but I can usually make it to Democracy Road off 270 and sometimes I'll take 495 to Old Georgetown and take that through Rockville and Kensington to get back to Silver Spring.
I wasn't saying I sat through that terrible traffic, I was merely looking for a solution, if there is one in the works. Can you imagine sitting in rush-hour traffic from the Dulles Toll Road to the BW Parkway? I think most of the people who travel the beltway are familiar with the shortcuts.
Steve Ginsberg: Thanks for following up.
Arlington, Va.: I'm the Orange rider on the train withthe doors closing too quickly.
You know, I stood on the train and thought to myself, where is that train number displayed? Because I knew that I'd write in to y'all and complain about it this morning. And standing near the center doors (but having moved towards the center of the train as much as possible), I couldn't find it anywhere - on the glass, on the safety poster, etc. If it was up to me, the darn thing would be displayed in HUGE numbers right near the display ads, so customers could point out these problems more easily.
The best I can tell you was that it was around 845am this morning when it arrived at Courthouse, and was an 8 car train. And that the driver was barely making audible announcements, too.
Steve Ginsberg: Thanks for the info and your diligence. I'll let y'all know if Metro has any response.
congestion between tyson's and Montgomery: I don't know if the purple line would be enough to relieve Beltway traffic or not, but I can't imagine that a significant number of folks wouldn't at least consider that option, when the alternative is sitting in 1-2 hours of traffic at rush hour. Right now, I don't even consider leaving for Tyson's Corner until after 7-7:30 PM on a weeknight (I live in Silver Spring) - would love to go shopping at the tyson's corner malls more often or meet up with my fairfax friends for supper on a weeknight, but it's just not worth it to sit in that backup.
Steve Ginsberg: I'm sure loads of people would consider the Purple Line as an option. But I'm also guessing that a nice new transit line would encourage more people to live in the area and they would also use the Beltway and other roads. Transit lines beget growth, just as highways do, and it's a misconception that people who live next to Metro lines will never drive.
Adams Morgan, Washington, D.C.: Hello everyone - I took the 96 bus from Adams Morgan down to RFK stadium yesterday and it was heavenly. We all had a seat, the weather was pleasant, and we got dropped off kitty corner to the stadium. Of course, the 96 runs every 30 minutes on Sundays, which is a bummer. And we saw the 96 on our way out of the stadium heading northbound but were completely unsuccessful in catching it. -sigh... busses are great too but only if they run frequently!
Steve Ginsberg: Wow, we so rarely get a compliment about bus service that I have to post this. Even if the compliment also points out all the limitations of bus service.
Re: Metro to RFK: I went over Memorial Day weekend. No problem whatsoever. The trains going to the stadium seemed to have the usual rush hour crush. Coming back I walked to the other entrance of the station and was immediately able to board. Honestly, it was better and less packed than when I went to concerts at RFK while in high school years ago. (Oh, for HFStival to return to its old glory and RFK!) I think people just somehow think that whenever there's any sort of event, Metro should throw the extra cars onto the system evne though those cars have to come from somewhere and often just aren't there. You're not entitled to a seat, just a place. Listen to the announcements when they say to move down, the train isn't leaving and there's plenty of room in the front. And take a deep breath. You'll get home eventually.
Steve Ginsberg: As somebody said on my blog last week, it's PUBLIC transit and that requires a few compromises.
Washington, D.C.: We're headed out of town Thursday after work. How long does rush hour last on 66 -- how late should we wait to leave if we don't want to sit in traffic? Thanks.
Steve Ginsberg: Rush hour last all day and all night on I-66. You have no hope whatsoever. Cancel your plans. Stay in the city and save yourself the pain and suffering.
Alright, maybe it's not quite that bad, but I won't be the one predicting when rush hour ends because it is bad so many hours of the day. My best guess is that you'll be okay inside the Beltway after 8. I suspect you'll still hit backups around Manassas at that hour.
Washington, D.C.: I am a colleague of Emily Fenichel, who was struck and killed by a Metrobus last week. All of us who worked with her are devastated. I was especially concerned to learn that six pedestrians had been killed by Metrobuses over the past 18 months. Will the accident be investigated further, and will Metro be reviewing safety procedures?
washingtonpost.com: Editor Fatally Struck By Bus Loved Stage (Post, June 10)
Steve Ginsberg: My colleague Lena Sun will be certain to write about any developments in this case.
Arlington, Va.: On transferring at metro center after Nats games: I have the same program leaving the Verizon Center (formerly MCI) after events. If you get lucky, you can do a transfer at Gallery Place to the Red line at Metro Center; if unlucky, you wait forever. I solve it by hoofing it to Metro Center and getting on one train. Of course, I live in Rosslyn where one train is all that is needed.
Steve Ginsberg: More post-game transfer blues.
washingtonpost.com: Steven Ginsberg's Blog: Get There
Steve Ginsberg: Okay, everyone, thanks for another great chat. There were loads of questions I couldn't get to, and I'll try to follow up on a couple of them on my blog, which is linked to here. Check in there every day for your daily dose of transpo talk.
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