The Inner Scoop
Find out the story behind the back-up on the WTOP Traffic Blog. The WTOP traffic team will have the lastest on road closures, construction projects and other useful information relating to your commute.
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Posted on: Wednesday 10/9/2013 12:23pm
WASHINGTON - Two separate accidents caused major delays for drivers in Maryland Wednesday morning.
A fatal crash and investigation caused major delays for commuters on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway Wednesday morning.
Both northbound and southbound lanes of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway closed to traffic in Jessup, Md., after a vehicle struck a man on the roadway at about 5 a.m.
The man, whose name has not yet been released, was hit by a vehicle that was traveling south on the parkway, according to Park Police spokesperson Sgt. Paul Brooks.
The driver of the vehicle stayed at the scene, Brooks says.
The northbound lanes closed to traffic at Route 32 and the southbound lanes closed at Route 175. The northbound lanes reopened at about 8 a.m. and the southbound lanes reopened by 10 a.m.
Another nearby crash Wednesday morning caused delays on the Outer Loop of the Capital Beltway.
Trash littered part of the Outer Loop in Prince George's County after a tractor trailer carrying garbage overturned just past the exit for the northbound Baltimore-Washington Parkway at about 7 a.m. The crash initially shut down all lanes, but officials later reopened lanes as they cleared the trash. The highway fully reopened just before 1 p.m.
Also, officials closed the Baltimore-Washington Parkway's northbound ramp to the Outer Loop.
It is not clear what led to the accident or if anyone sustained injuries in the crash.
Hazmat crews responded because of a fuel spill.
Posted on: Tuesday 10/8/2013 4:42pm
WASHINGTON - Drivers in the D.C. metropolitan area could be in for a chaotic commute during the Friday morning rush hour this week.
Media reports have stated that truckers have promised to clog the Inner Loop of the Capital Beltway in a protest affiliated with "Truckers Ride for the Constitution," although conflicting statements about the purpose of the rally have since surfaced.
A Facebook page for the umbrella trucker group had more than 63,000 followers as of Tuesday afternoon. It reads in part, "The American people are sick and tired of the corruption that is destroying America! We therefore declare a GENERAL STRIKE on the weekend of October 11-13, 2013!"
Earl Conlon, who U.S. News & World Report identified as a coordinator of truckers coming to the D.C. area, told the site that scores of semi-trucks would cause gridlock on the Beltway if police tried to interfere.
"If cops decide to give us a hard time, we're going to lock the brakes up, we're going to stop right there, we're going to be a three-lane roadblock," Conlon said.
However, a posting on the "Truckers" Facebook page said Conlon is not a spokesman and that U.S. News has been called on to retract the story because the campaign does not wish to be tied to "anything that is unlawful."
Peter Santilli, an online radio host who is acting as a spokesman for the umbrella group and is holding a rally in California, told U.S. News it would not be safe for truckers to stop and jam the Beltway.
But Conlon reportedly responded in part by saying, "You're having your rally, I'm having mine."
This story has been updated to reflect that there is conflicting information about the truckers' plans.
Posted on: Monday 10/7/2013 8:05am
WASHINGTON - One person is dead after a two-vehicle crash on the Beltway's Inner Loop that closed the roadway in College Park, Md., Monday morning.
A Chrysler and a Mercedes collided and closed all lanes of the Inner Loop between I-95 and New Hampshire Avenue/Exit 28 at about 2:45 a.m., Maryland State Police say. The driver of the Chrysler died after the crash.
The driver of the Mercedes sustained injuries considered not life-threatening.
Officials have not yet released the victims' names or information about what led to the collision.
Authorities are investigating the crash.
Posted on: Friday 10/4/2013 8:25pm
WASHINGTON - Getting around downtown Annapolis will be very difficult this weekend, especially on Saturday. All routes into and through the city will likely be congested by mid-morning. Parking will be nearly impossible.
The United States Powerboat Show is expected to attract more than 40,000 spectators. Additionally, the sold-out Navy-Air Force showdown will take place at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. The football game begins at 11:30 a.m.
Those headed to the power boat show will not be allowed to park at the stadium on Saturday because of the game. The parking lots will be open to boat show attendees on Sunday however.
VIP boat show parking is available at 2 Compromise Street, directly east of the Annapolis Marriott Waterfront Hotel.
The boat show's hosts have consigned with Annapolis High School to allow attendees to park in the school's lots for $10. Annapolis High School is located at 2700 Riva Road. Free shuttle buses will ferry people to and from the boat show. If the parking areas at the high school fill up, a few businesses along Riva Road have also opened up their parking lots to event-goers.
Other options for getting around include the Water Taxi and the City of Annapolis' Circulator Trolley.
The Redskins have a bye week so Beltway traffic should be held in check through Prince George's County. Guardrail repair work has caused delays during the past few weekends near Largo and crews may return again this weekend.
The Maryland Renaissance Festival continues into October. The event has caused delays on Interstate 97 near Exit 5 and on Route 450 and Route 178 in Crownsville.
The Children's National Medical Center Race for Every Child 5K is from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. The race course begins at Freedom Plaza and goes east on Pennsylvania Avenue to 3rd Street NW, onto D Street SW toward Independence Avenue, then back to 3rd Street and Pennsylvania Avenue toward Freedom Plaza.
In Northwest Washington, the Adams Morgan Porch Festival Saturday afternoon features musical performances throughout the neighborhood. Columbia Heights Day at Harriet Tubman Elementary, located at 11th Street NW and Kenyon Street NW, will draw crowds as well. Saturday drivers should keep an eye on the crosswalks.
Other events that could tie up traffic on local streets include:
- The Takoma Park Street Festival from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday in Old Takoma on Carroll Avenue.
- The Annual Fall for Fairfax Festival in front of the Fairfax County Government Center is this weekend from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Art on the Avenue is 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday along Mt. Vernon Avenue in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria.
- Manassas Fall Jubilee from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday in historic Manassas. Booths will stretch from East Street to Grant Avenue and from Church Street to Prince William Street.
Metro Track Work
The Orange and Green lines will operate at regular weekend intervals (every 12 minutes) except out of the Greenbelt station where trains will arrive and depart every 20 to 25 minutes. On the Blue and Yellow lines, trains will run every 16 minutes. The Red line stations will be closed between Dupont Circle and and NoMa-Gallaudet with buses replacing trains. Daytime trains will run every 10 minutes outside of the work zone.
Posted on: Friday 10/4/2013 8:11am
MANASSAS, Va. - The latest wrinkle in the new "Battle of Manassas" is coming from Washington, D.C., not Virginia.
A meeting between the Virginia Department of Transportation and the other four organizations that will sign off on the Bi-County Parkway project was scheduled for Tuesday, but was canceled because of the government shutdown.
"It won't be rescheduled until the federal workforce is back. So that in effect has delayed the process of nailing down the final programmatic agreement," says VDOT Project Manager Tom Fahrney.
Specifically, employees at the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation were furloughed. That group, along with the Federal Highway Administration, National Parks Service, VDOT and Virginia's historic preservation office must all sign a Section 106 Programmatic Agreement because the Bi-County Parkway runs on the edge of the historic Manassas Battlefield.
The 10-mile parkway would be a four-lane road connecting Va. 234 Business near Interstate 66 to U.S. 50 near Va. 877 west of Dulles International Airport.
Once an agreement is signed off between the five agencies, the Federal Highway Administration could issue a Record of Decision this winter that would allow VDOT to move toward design.
But Delegates Tim Hugo, Bob Marshall and 12 other lawmakers sent a letter to Gov. Bob McDonnell in September to request that he waits until his successor is sworn into office in January and the new General Assembly meets before moving forward on any agreement.
"I'm glad that Attorney General Cuccinelli is coming out and making a very clear statement that he doesn't think this decision should be made right now in the last hours of this waning administration. It needs to be looked at anew by someone who has to live with it for four years, not by people who can wash their hands and walk away," says Marshall.
He says he's disappointed at McDonnell's position on the Bi-County Parkway, but he's hopeful that the government shutdown means the issue will not be resolved before January.
While Cuccinelli will hold an event on Saturday with the Pageland Lane residents to oppose the project, Democrat Terry McAuliffe has not taken a concrete position. In a recent gubernatorial debate, McAuliffe said he would sit down with experts once he was elected and study the issue. Pageland Lane residents like Mary Ann Ghadban have started a grassroots effort to stop the project.
As far as the agreement, Fahrney wouldn't speculate on when the meeting will be rescheduled or whether the Section 106 Programmatic Agreement will be signed before January.
"Our goal is as soon as the federal government is back, to reschedule the meeting, to work out the remaining issue in the agreement, and then hopefully the five signatories will be in a position where they will sign it. But I can't say when that will happen since the process has been delayed," he says.
Fahrney adds that he isn't certain how long it would take after the meeting occurs before the deal is signed. He says it could be weeks, or it could still be months. But he adds that politics will not play any role in when the agreement is signed.
While these decisions are key to the future of the project, it will still be years before it opens. VDOT only has money for design, not for construction, meaning the project would not be complete for probably at least another 10-15 years.
Posted on: Friday 10/4/2013 7:30am
WASHINGTON (AP) -- District of Columbia officials say roads closed after a police chase and fatal shooting by the Capitol have reopened.
Police closed several streets Thursday after they say a woman led officers on a high-speed chase between the White House and Capitol and was shot dead by officers. The roads reopened before the morning rush on Friday.
A portion of the left lane of eastbound Constitution Avenue northeast remains closed while a security barrier is repaired. Officials say that it's not clear how long that closure will remain in effect.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Posted on: Wednesday 10/2/2013 11:38am
WASHINGTON - A crash caused delays for commuters on I-495 Capital Beltway Inner Loop after the Springfield Interchange in Virginia Wednesday morning.
The crash happened in the center lanes of I-495 Beltway Inner Loop after the Springfield Interchange, just past Robinson Terminal at about 8:30 a.m. Emergency crews were on scene and blocked the roadway and expressway lanes.
All lanes later reopened to traffic.
UPDATE_ VA Beltway Inner Loop after Springfield Interchange: After Robison Terminal, Crash - ONLY RIGHT gets by. Express Blocked #vatraffic— WTOP Traffic (@WTOPtraffic) October 2, 2013
Posted on: Wednesday 10/2/2013 7:40am
WASHINGTON - They're younger than 30 and they're thumbing their noses at owning cars. Instead, millennials are getting around with their smartphones.
Millennials, especially in the D.C. area, are using their phones to catch a ride on the next bus or to locate a nearby Zipcar, according to a new study from the U.S. Public Interest Research Group.
"They aren't even feeling the need to purchase a car anymore. Five percent of people who have been using the Capital Bikeshare program have actually sold a vehicle since joining the service," says Jaimie Woo with the U.S. Public Interest Research Group.
Smartphone apps make it easy to snub car ownership, Woo says.
"Being able to track where the Metro is going, or where the bus is coming from using just their iPhones or their smartphones," is easy, she says.
The shift represents a change in culture and debt, Phineas Baxandall at U.S. PIRG says.
"For Baby Boomers, driving one's car represented freedom and spontaneity. Today -- especially for younger people -- owning a car is likely to represent big expenses and parking hassles. Meanwhile, technology and vehicle-sharing are making it easier not to own a car or for households to drive less," Baxandall said in a news release.
Many can't afford a car until their student debts are paid and they land full-time jobs. Car- and ride-sharing apps help fill the gap in the meantime.
"People are really taking advantage of them and using personal vehicles a lot less," Woo says.
Although biking and ride-sharing might not be very useful for anyone commuting to the District from far-off counties, they work great for people living near colleges and universities.
"That's kind of where a lot of new ideas start. As these new technologies and these new ideas are expanding, we do think that people will keep continuing to take advantage of that."
In the District, drivers have reduced their driving miles by more than 21 percent per person since 2003, according to PIRG.
- DC commuter develops bus app to fill recent void
- New app speeds valet parking in DC
- ParkMe app offers parking locations and availability
Posted on: Friday 9/27/2013 1:24pm
WASHINGTON -- As fall kicks into gear in the District, the weekend's road closures are mostly due to festivals, 5Ks and celebrations. Luckily, no major construction projects are scheduled, so highways should be mostly clear.
It looks like the biggest travel headache could be at the Bay Bridge. A NASCAR race in Dover and a wine festival in Ocean City could cause delays.
If you need to cross the bridge this weekend, the MTA suggests you do so after 10 p.m. on Friday and before 7 a.m. on Saturday, and between 10 p.m. and 10 a.m. on Sunday.
Bay Bridge congestion
Due to a NASCAR race in Dover and a wine festival in Ocean City, Maryland Transportation Authority officials say traffic on the Bay Bridge could be congested.
If you need to cross the bridge this weekend, the MTA suggests you do so after 10 p.m. on Friday and before 7 a.m. on Saturday, and between 10 p.m. and 10 a.m. on Sunday.
No station closures this weekend on the Red, Yellow and Green lines with trains will operating at regular intervals. Blue and Orange line trains will be slightly less frequent to allow for rebuilding between Smithsonian and McPherson Square stations.
New York Avenue Bridge Project
The work continues on the New York Avenue NE bridge east of 4th Street and west of 9th Street with milling and paving from Friday at 10 p.m. until Monday at 5 a.m. Only one lane will get by in each direction.
Street car construction
The continuing work will have 2nd Street NE closed on Saturday between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. between G and I streets NE.
Light the Way 5k Run/Walk
Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind presents its 3rd annual 5K Run/Walk on Saturday at Nationals Park from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. During that time, expect road closures around the perimeter of the ballpark. The sidewalks on South Capitol Street will be used for the event but South Capitol Street will remain open to vehicular traffic.
Jammin DC-Caribbean Music and Arts Festival
Celebrating the culture of 28 Caribbean nations and territories takes place Saturday. From 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., Pennsylvania Avenue NW will be closed west of 12th Street and east of 14th Street. Also, 13th Street NW will be closed south of E Street.
Barrack Row Fall Festival
This annual festival celebrates the revitalization of 8th Street SE and takes place Saturday. 8th Street SE will be closed south of E Street and north of I Street. G Street SEwill be closed east of 7th Street and west of 9th Street between 6:30 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Clarendon Day Festival
The annual celebration will shut down the following streets from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 28:
- Wilson Boulevard between Washington Boulevard and N. Garfield Street.
- Clarendon Boulevard between Washington Boulevard and No. Garfield Street.
- No. Highland Street between N. 11th Street and N. Hartford Street
In addition to road closures, street parking will be restricted. Drivers should look out for temporary 'No Parking' signs. Cars will be ticketed and towed.
The annual festival will shut down Wilson Boulevard between and N. Garfield Street between Washington
Ocean City Wine Festival
This weekend on the Bay Bridge, anticipate more volume than you might expect this time of year as the wine festival can draw a crowd.
Posted on: Thursday 9/26/2013 4:25am
SILVER SPRING, Md. - Capital Bikeshare's sturdy red bikes roll into Montgomery County on Friday.
Their arrival signals not only a new transportation option for local neighborhoods, but also a glimpse of changes still to come for drivers and pedestrians in the area.
The popular bike sharing program, already well established in the District and Arlington County, launches in Maryland with three locations: Silver Spring, Bethesda and downtown Rockville.
"We get it now," says Councilmember Valerie Ervin, who started working toward the bike sharing program in 2007. "We have trails that were never completed, and so we have lots of very frustrated residents."
Now, the influx of new bikes adds some urgency to shore up the county's infrastructure to match the new demands for safe places to cycle.
"Our streets are not striped everywhere like they are in D.C., our motorists and our pedestrians are not used to sharing the roadways and the sidewalks yet and we have some very interesting laws that allow bicyclists to be on sidewalks with pedestrians," Ervin says.
Also, she said she hopes for some uniform policies across the county that address issues like riding a bike on the sidewalk.
"Montgomery County is not as biker-friendly as Washington, D.C., and Arlington are, but we're getting there quickly," she says.
One significant change could affect those who prefer to get around on four wheels.
"For safety purposes we want to look at preventing right turns on red [lights] just in the most densely populated areas of the county," Ervin says.
"We know that there are going to be a lot of unhappy people, but Montgomery County is growing up," she says.