The Inner Scoop

Roads reopen around Capitol after chase, shooting

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Crash causes delays on I-495 Beltway Inner Loop

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.

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Some millennials choose apps over car ownership

Posted on: Wednesday 10/2/2013 7:40am

Many millennials are ditching cars and turning to their smartphones to hitch rides. (Thinkstock)

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.

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Weekend Wakeup: Bay Bridge could prove biggest traffic headache

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.

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Bikeshare rolls into Montgomery County, could bring changes for motorists

Posted on: Thursday 9/26/2013 4:25am

This Capital Bikeshare station on Cordell Street is one of two along Norfolk Street in the Woodmont Triangle section of Bethesda, Md. (WTOP/Ari Ashe)

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.

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Overturned truck, fuel spill close NB I-95 in Howard County

Posted on: Tuesday 9/24/2013 8:40am

traffic cam (traffic land)
The crash caused fuel to spill onto the roadway. (Courtesy of TrafficLand)

WASHINGTON - An overturned truck caused delays for commuters on northbound Interstate 95 Tuesday morning.

A box truck overturned on northbound I-95 before 7 a.m., causing all lanes to close to traffic after Route 100 in Howard County. All lanes reopened to traffic about two hours later.

The crash caused fuel to spill onto the roadway. Crews cleaned up the spill and reopened all of the lanes.

It is not yet clear if anyone sustained injuries in the crash.

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Delays expected on blue and orange lines

Posted on: Tuesday 9/24/2013 6:10am

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Metro riders traveling on the orange and blue lines this weekend can expect longer wait times because of improvement work being done on the system.

Metro says beginning at 10 p.m. Friday night and continuing through closing on Sunday, orange line and blue line trains will operate every 16 minutes. That's as opposed to every 12 minutes when no work is being done on the weekend. Metro says that it's doing work on both lines to upgrade track infrastructure, make structural repairs, plug leaks and install new ceiling tiles.

Riders can expect regular service on the red, yellow and green lines.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Tractor trailer crash causes NB I-95 delays

Posted on: Monday 9/23/2013 11:14am

95 (Courtesy of VDOT)
The crash is blocking the right lane of I-95 before Route 619/Triangle exit out of Quantico in addition to the exit ramp for Triangle/Quantico at about 6:45 a.m. (Courtesy of VDOT)

WASHINGTON - A crash involving two tractor trailers caused delays on northbound Interstate 95 before Route 619 Monday morning.

The crash, which happened at about 6:45 a.m., blocked the right lane of I-95 before Route 619/Triangle exit out of Quantico.

Emergency crews responded to the scene, although it is not yet clear if there are injuries.

At 7 a.m., the crash caused a 10-mile delay from Stafford to Triangle. The crash was later cleared and the lanes reopened.

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Tags: i-95

Tractor trailer fire causes delays on Beltway's Inner Loop in Maryland

Posted on: Friday 9/20/2013 6:56am

WASHINGTON - A tractor trailer fire caused delays on the Beltway in Maryland Friday morning.

A tractor trailer crashed into an abandoned vehicle on the Inner Loop of the Beltway in College Park, Md., at about 5 a.m. The collision caused the tractor trailer to catch fire.

No one sustained injuries in the crash, according to Maryland State Police. Fire crews responded to the scene and worked through the morning to extinguish the blaze.

The accident caused lane and ramp closures in the area. By 7 a.m., the through lanes had reopened, but the ramp to Route 1 remained closed.

It is not yet clear what caused the tractor trailer to hit the abandoned vehicle.

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Chips and dings: Filing complaints for damage due to road work

Posted on: Friday 9/20/2013 5:23am

''2 cracks in the windshield, one just a month ago. I commute from Arlington to Alexandria, 395 has lots of trucks not covered properly,'' Duke Myers says in a post on WTOP's Facebook page. (Facebook/Duke Myers)

WASHINGTON - Driving through the multiple repaving projects across the region is not for those who kiss their cars goodnight. Chances are, the windshield and the hood have a few dings, cracks or chips.

Some drivers who commute through road construction daily have damage to their car and have been unsure of where to go to file a complaint.

Adrian Kessler, of Lorton, Va., has been trying to figure out what construction company to contact as his Subaru is riddled with dings and dents.

"You can't fault the driver in front of you for kicking up the stuff that's on the ground. I'm just annoyed by the lack of clean-up every night," Kessler says.

He takes issue with the repaving project on Interstate 495 by FedEx Field between Landover, Md., and Joint Base Andrews.

While the Maryland Highway Administration says the shoulder and ramps of that project should be completed by late October, Kessler is not alone. Drivers' vehicles take little hits traveling through construction all around the area.

On WTOP's Facebook page, Richard Freeman says he has two recent nicks to his windshield from work between Route 50 and Route 4.

"It appears they are not been doing as good of a job 'sweeping' after tearing up the pavement and cleaning the debris left over. Is there a way to get the state to repair the nicks," Freeman says.

While the state doesn't promise any compensation, the Maryland State Highway Administration allows drivers to file complaints, where they can list the damage done to their car and the specific area where it occurred.

On each contracted job, an MTA engineer is on the site, responsible for managing the timeline of work and things like clean-up.

"The inspector will generally ride through the area afterwards. We do have a little precaution there built-in to do the right thing, for best practices," says state highway spokesman Charlie Gischlar.

Clean-up is part of the job, Gischlar says, but there is the chance of some debris left on the roadway.

"Whenever you have a job, there is a possibility of having a minor pebbles stuff like that. We advise our contractor, they have to run a street sweeper through there. And then after that, it's the brand new pavement," Gischlar says.

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