Dr. G's Tips

Dr. G's Tips for Sunday, July 4

Sunday, July 4, 2010

SoberRide on July 4

The anti-drunk driving program SoberRide will offer free cab rides to people who have over-celebrated Independence Day. The program will operate from 10 p.m. Sunday until 6 a.m. Monday. To get a free ride home in the D.C. area (up to a $50 fare), call the SoberRide program toll free at 1-800-200-TAXI.

I-95/395 HOV lanes

Directions for the reversible lanes are a bit more complicated than usual this holiday weekend. The lanes are open to northbound traffic from 4 p.m. Saturday through 7:30 p.m. Sunday. They will be open to southbound traffic from 9 p.m. Sunday through 1 a.m. Monday. (This should help traffic leaving the District after the fireworks.)

The lanes reopen for northbound traffic at 3 a.m. Monday and will stay open northbound until 10 a.m. Tuesday. The HOV-3 restrictions will not be in effect Monday, the federal holiday, but will return at 6 a.m. Tuesday.

Metro vending machines

You might notice, as you download your SmartBenefits to SmarTrip cards or add value to cover your July 4 round-trip fare, that Metro has put $3.5 million in federal stimulus money to good use.

A hundred vending machines have been upgraded to handle Metrorail passes, add value to SmarTrip cards and download SmartBenefits. Now, 446 of the system's 677 fare vending machines can accept cash and credit or debit cards. This should decrease the lines that build up at busy stations at the start of the month and when special events occur.

Springfield Park & Ride

Fairfax County is building a Park & Ride lot on Old Keene Mill Road by Springfield Boulevard, starting with the demolition of the former Circuit City building.

The construction site is fenced off, but it's near the area known as Bob's Slug Line, which the county says will remain open from 5:45 to 9:15 a.m.

Humpback Bridge shift

A new phase of construction has begun on the George Washington Parkway's Humpback Bridge. The old northbound lanes of the bridge will be demolished, then rebuilt. Northbound traffic is shifted temporarily to the center of the bridge.

The too-short ramp from the southbound 14th Street bridge to the northbound parkway also will be rebuilt. During this phase of construction, the old ramp will be closed and drivers will be on a new temporary ramp.

New D.C. meter rules

The rules for using D.C. parking meters were a bit confusing before the city changed the rules again recently, so let's review how this affects parking in the most congested parts of the District. What has changed is this: In these areas, called premium parking zones and covering much of central Washington, motorists no longer face a time limit after 6:30 p.m. What didn't change is this: They still must pay to park in these premium parking zones.

Motorists who chafed at the two-hour parking limits can now park for as many hours as they want after 6:30 p.m., but parking payments are required till 10 p.m.

There's an exception to the new rule. In two high-demand areas, the Ward 6 and Columbia Heights Performance Based Parking Pilot zones, there is no change in the evening parking time limits. The Ward 6 zone includes the neighborhoods near Nationals Park.

GEORGE bus fares

Falls Church City's GEORGE bus service has increased its fare. The regular fare is now $1.50, and the senior and students fares are 75 cents.

Route 123/Beltway

The left lanes in each direction of Route 123 (Chain Bridge Road) at the Capital Beltway in Tysons Corner will remain closed for 18 months to two years while a new inner loop bridge is built as part of the HOT lanes construction project.

During peak hours, drivers should anticipate delays of up to 15 minutes in that busy area.

For more traffic information, go to http://www.washingtonpost.com/traffic.

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