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Dr. Gridlock’s traffic, transit tips

Dulles Toll Road/Beltway

Drivers continue to write in with complaints about the congestion in the high-occupancy toll lanes work zone where the eastbound Dulles Toll Road meets the Capital Beltway.

The best news I could think of was that the scheduled lane shifts that have annoyed drivers since the start of summer are done. The last one occurred several weeks ago when the lane to the northbound Beltway was shifted.

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. View Archive

But there’s no plan for any major changes in the work zone that would ease traffic flow over the next few months. In the spring, project managers say, these things will happen:

The extra lane to the inner loop will be restored. New connections from the Dulles Airport Access Highway to the Beltway will eliminate the need for that traffic to weave its way across several lanes. There will be a new ramp alignment for regular traffic from the eastbound toll road to the southbound Beltway.

‘Road diet’ in Reston

In October, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), Soapstone Drive in Reston will become the second route in Northern Virginia to go on what traffic engineers call a “road diet.” Workers will re-stripe a mile and a half of the drive to reduce through lanes and add turn lanes and bike lanes.

VDOT hopes the new configuration will improve safety and ­mobility for cyclists and pedes­trians, decrease speeds, and reduce crashes. Randy Dittberner, VDOT’s regional traffic engineer, said VDOT is taking advantage of   a regularly scheduled repaving project to make the changes.

D.C. Metrobus changes

The transit authority, starting Sunday, is altering some bus routes in the District and Northern Virginia.

These are a few highlights for the District:

Route 70 (Georgia Avenue-Seventh Street Line) will operate between the Silver Spring and Archives Metro stations. At weekday peak periods, buses will operate about every 10 minutes, instead of every 12, as previously scheduled. Route 71 will be discontinued.

A new route, 74, will operate between the Washington Convention Center and the Southwest Waterfront, replacing the southern portion of routes 70 and 71. On Friday, the District will eliminate the Circulator bus that operates on a similar route.

Metro will introduce a new schedule for routes 90, 92 and 93 (U Street-Garfield Line) on weekdays between 6 a.m. and 7 p.m. Buses will operate every 15 minutes on Route 90 between Anacostia Station and Duke Ellington Bridge, and every 15 minutes on Route 92 between the Congress Heights station and 14th and U streets NW.

Virginia route changes

These are the Metrobus changes for Virginia:

Route 3Y (Lee Highway-Farragut Square) will be extended westward from Lee Highway and Woodrow/Albemarle streets to Lee Highway and George Mason Drive/Harrison Street, offering more riders a direct trip to Farragut Square.

Route 7A (Lincolnia-North Fairlington Line) via Landmark Center will be discontinued after 11 p.m. on weekends. Several late-night adjustments will be made to trips leaving Lincolnia Road/Quantrell Avenue.

Metro schedules hearings

The Metro board last week scheduled five public hearings on other bus route changes across the D.C. region that would take effect by mid-2012. All the hearings will begin at 6:30 p.m, preceded by open houses at 6 p.m.

Oct. 11: Department of Housing and Community Development, 1800 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. SE, the District; Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School, 7130 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church.

Oct. 12: First United Methodist Church, 6201 Belcrest Rd., Hyattsville.

Oct. 13: St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church, 1830 Connecticut Ave. NW, the District; Fairlington Recreation Center, Room 134, 3308 S. Stafford St., Arlington.

For more transportation news, visit



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