The Washington Post

The week ahead: Many commuters take a holiday, but rail, road projects continue

Workers this week are preparing the 495 Express Lanes to open early Saturday. Northbound drivers will see this view in Tysons. (Robert Thomson – The Washington Post)

[This post has been updated.]

Traffic should be back to normal for the rest of the week, after commuters return from Monday’s Veterans Day holiday observance. The Capital Weather Gang forecasts a partly sunny week for commuters. Monday is the warmest day of the week.

Travel on Monday

Because of the Monday holiday observance, the District has suspended rush hour parking restrictions and will not impose the reversible lane patterns.

Metrorail will close at midnight, the normal hours for a weekday, but the trains will run less frequently. Off-peak fares will be in effect all day, and parking will be free at the lots and garages operated by Metro.

Red and Orange Line riders complained that the reduced service on Monday morning created extensive crowding. What Metro considers a holiday isn’t always what employers consider a holiday. While many federal employees have Monday off, many private employees still have to show up. These commuters are likely to face a similar bad experience on their way home Monday afternoon.

Metrobus is operating on what the transit authority calls a Saturday supplemental schedule, meaning that some routes on the weekday timetable will not run. MetroAccess will offer regular service, but subscription trips are canceled.

MARC and VRE are not operating.

Parking fees will be enforced in Anne Arundel and Howard counties, but not in Montgomery and Prince George’s, with these exceptions: the New Carrollton garage and National Harbor. In Virginia, the HOV restrictions will be lifted and holiday parking rules will be in effect for Arlington County and Alexandria.

Mark Berman posted a full list for Monday’s transit services on the blog. Also see The Post’s list of Monday closings.

Metro delays

Metro’s weekend maintenance program continues through the rail system’s midnight closing Monday.

Red Line: Trains are sharing a track between Grosvenor and Friendship Heights. They will operate about every 20 minutes between the ends of the line at Shady Grove and Glenmont.  Between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m., additional trains will operate in the middle of the line between Friendship Heights and Glenmont. In that zone, trains should reach platforms about every 10 minutes. If you’re traveling through the work zone, add about 10 minutes to normal travel time.

Orange Line: Free shuttle buses replace trains between East Falls Church and Clarendon. In addition, trains will share a track between Vienna and East Falls Church. If traveling through the shuttle bus zone, add about a half hour to normal travel time. If going through the single-track zone, add about 15 minutes to normal travel time.

Green Line: Trains are sharing a track between Greenbelt and College Park. Every other train will begin or end its route at College Park, rather than Greenbelt. Between College Park and Branch Avenue, trains will operate on a normal weekend schedule. Between Greenbelt and College Park, add about 10 minutes to normal travel time.

495 Express Lanes

Watch for workers around the new Beltway lanes and the interchanges that will connect with them. They are getting ready for the scheduled opening of the 495 Express Lanes on Saturday morning, so they will be working on signs, removing barriers and activating signals all week long. See more details in my Dr. Gridlock column.

Beltway Northwest Branch bridge

The Maryland State Highway Administration is continuing work on the last major phase of the two-year bridge rehabilitation on the Capital Beltway’s Northwest Branch bridge in Silver Spring. On Monday night, the left lane of the outer loop will be blocked at 9 p.m. The two left lanes will be closed starting at 10 p.m., and then three lanes will be closed at midnight. All will be open by 5 a.m.

George Washington Parkway

The National Park Service says the rock stabilization program on the northbound lanes of the George Washington Parkway in Rosslyn will keep the left lane closed for several months between the Key Bridge and Spout Run.

At off-peak times, including overnights this week, drivers may find just one lane open northbound.

Arlington Memorial Bridge

The National Park Service and the Federal Highway Administration are repairing sections of the Arlington Memorial Bridge, a major commuter route. Watch for lane closings on both sides. At off-peak times, drivers may find just one lane open in each direction. The project is scheduled to continue into late December.

Rock Creek Parkway

The southbound left curb lane of Rock Creek Parkway is closed approaching Waterside Drive. Drivers are allowed to use one northbound lane to go south during the morning rush. There may be some temporary closings of Waterside Drive at off-peak times to allow for construction deliveries.

As part of the rehabilitation project, the contractor is working on the electrical lines for lighting along the parkway. The lighting north of P Street will be out for several months.

All the work is scheduled to be done in January.

Dulles Metrorail project

The Dulles Metrorail project, building Metro’s new Silver Line, plans to close the eastbound Dulles Airport Access Highway between the exit for the Beltway and the Dulles Connector Road from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Monday through Thursday nights and from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. Friday night.

Drivers will be detoured onto the eastbound Dulles Connector Road (Route 267) via a slip ramp. Watch the signs for this.

L Street bike lane

Some drivers are unsure how they should relate to the new bike lane that the District Department of Transportation has been installing on the north side of L Street NW downtown.

Not all elements — like the signs — were installed at the same time. Maybe that’s why some drivers were parking in the lanes or getting confused about how to make left turns on this one-way street.

There’s no parking any time in the new bike lane. Anticipating turns, drivers should look for black and white signs that say, “Begin Left Turn Lane — Yield to Bikes.” An arrow points to a gap in the white bollards. That’s where drivers should cross over the bike lane and get to the curb, so they can make the left turn.

Be extra cautious. Before crossing over the bike lane, make sure no cyclists are approaching. And be wary about following drivers, since you will have to slow way down to get through the gap.

 See a story on the new lane by Ashley Halsey III.

 No Monday chat

I’m here, but we’re having some technical difficulties with our live discussions. Let me know in the comments field what’s on your mind, and I’ll have some more blog postings today. If you’re plotting your Thanksgiving getaway, see my annual getaway guide from Sunday’s Post.


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.



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