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Author Topic: Virginia  (Read 756528 times)

1995hoo

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #450 on: August 01, 2012, 09:18:12 AM »

No, HOT lanes allow HOV users for free. They allow SOVs to pay a toll and enjoy the same privileges. The toll varies to keep the lane busy but moving at speed.

Right now the lanes are free for SOVs to use during off peak hours and weekends. I take advantage of them when I'm driving through the area because they are quite a bit less congested than the standard lanes and the speed limit is 65mph their entire length.

After they are converted to HOT, will they still be free for SOVs to use during off peak hours and weekends?

Myself, for occasional usage, I will gladly spend a few dollars to bypass congestion in the general purpose lanes.

....

No. The new project will operate as HO/T on a 24-7 basis. The project's northern end is to be the "Turkeycock" ramp on I-395 between Edsall Road and Duke Street; north of there, the center carriageway will operate the same way it does today under the same two-lane configuration. A new northbound exit ramp is to be constructed at Turkeycock to allow toll-paying traffic that doesn't satisfy the HOV-3 restriction to exit into the general-purpose lanes to the right. I saw a diagram of this plan and it led me to expect some level of congestion because traffic using that ramp will have to weave and criss-cross with traffic exiting from I-395 to Duke Street towards Landmark Mall.

In general I'm not sure what I think of this project and the reason is similar to what "NJRoadfan" says. I have no problem with the 495 Express Lanes that are soon to be completed on the Beltway because that project is creating four entirely new lanes while maintaining all the existing lanes (and improving the design of the I-66 interchange). It's fine to restrict brand-new lanes if what already existed is still available. The I-95 project doesn't do that. The I-95 HOV facility is currently open to all traffic except during rush hours and the period while the lanes are reversed, although trucks are prohibited at the southern end due to the requirement that they use the weigh station down there. Converting the existing facility to HO/T means it will be HO/T on a 24-7 basis (again, except for the time when the lanes are being reversed). I don't see the Beltway project increasing congestion at all, but I could definitely see the I-95 project increasing congestion in the mainline as drivers who now use the HOV facility to avoid the traffic in the mainline instead use the mainline to avoid the toll. For example, last Saturday I was driving back from Woodbridge and I saw from Route 123 that the mainline was slow, so I took the HOV lanes to the Franconia-Springfield Parkway exit, which is about a nine-mile drive. If I had to pay a toll, I doubt I'd do that unless the toll rate happened to be set on the low end, maybe something like 25¢ per mile. A dollar a mile, no thanks. I know enough other bypass routes to get me home in a reasonable amount of time, although I think traffic on the parallel roads like US-1 that are currently bail-out routes might increase as well.
 
I know they plan to restripe the center carriageway from Dumfries to Edsall Road to make it three lanes, but that's a relatively minor "improvement," if indeed it's an improvement at all. It means narrowing the shoulders and that's never a great thing. It seems to me that what's happening here is that roughly 20 miles of existing HOV carriageway that's open to everyone on a regular basis will now be taken away and turned into a privately-operated restricted roadway. I'm not sure I think that's appropriate.
 
(BTW, I should mention that I have no problem with the idea of the southern extension of the reversible lanes being operated on an HO/T basis. Like the Beltway lanes, that portion would represent new capacity that doesn't currently exist and I have no problem with restrictions being imposed on brand-new lanes. I certainly understand why Fluor and Transurban wouldn't want to operate an HO/T facility running just from Aquia to Dumfries, too. Not profitable enough since drivers could just stick it out in the local lanes as they do now and then enter the "free" HOV north of there. But I'm not sure that's a sufficient rationale to give them the existing HOV lanes.)

Regarding NJRoadfan's other point—the 65-mph speed limit in the center carriageway is an incentive to use those lanes in my view because it means you're not likely to get pulled over for doing 70 and if you do it's a minor offense with a lower fine compared to going 70 mph in a 55 zone.
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Re: Virginia
« Reply #451 on: August 02, 2012, 03:55:30 PM »

While driving to Chester today, I saw some newly-posted white rectangles on secondary routes. Hopefully Chesterfield County will start widespread use of them again, or even shields.
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Re: Virginia
« Reply #452 on: August 02, 2012, 09:25:27 PM »

While driving to Chester today, I saw some newly-posted white rectangles on secondary routes. Hopefully Chesterfield County will start widespread use of them again, or even shields.

That would be nice. There's errors everywhere (Robious Rd posted as VA 147 and not SR 711, Courthouse Rd south of Qualla Rd posted as SR 653 instead of SR 604 even near the courthouse).
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Re: Virginia
« Reply #453 on: August 05, 2012, 10:40:04 AM »

WTOP Radio: VDOT making changes to I-66 lanes

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Work crews have been have been putting double white stripes on the High Occupancy Vehicle lanes on I-66 at the Route 123 and Nutley Street interchanges.

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Those double white lines mean motorists will have limited access into those lanes. The Virginia Department of Transportation says a recent study indicates weaving back and forth between the HOV lanes slows down traffic. Now drivers will only be able to move into the HOV lanes where there's a break in the white lines -- even when HOV restrictions are not applicable.

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There's also work being done on the shoulders of the highway between the Beltway and Route 50. A new high-friction surface coating is being laid down on the shoulders so they can be used as a traffic lane during rush hours.
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Re: Virginia
« Reply #454 on: August 05, 2012, 07:25:11 PM »

Governor McDonnell was on WTOP this morning and said that construction on the I-95 HO/T lane project is to begin next month (August 2012) with the lanes opening in 2014. The reason for the shorter timetable compared to the Beltway project is that they don't have to rebuild every interchange along the way since the existing center carriageway is to be converted to become the new HO/T lanes. Construction at the southern end will add about 8 miles of reversible center carriageway from the current end of the HOV system down to Garrisonville Road (Exit 143—Route 610, the Aquia Harbour exit).

Just wish those lanes would be extended south much further, say, to someplace near Massaponax (Exit 126). When I-395 up to the Potomac River was included, I believe the plans were to extend to Va. 630 (Courthouse Road) at Exit 140 (Stafford), but Arlington County's opposition to HOV/Toll lanes in their jurisdiction killed that.

I was going to post the same thing. Unfortunately, insufficient right of way exists to extend them that far south; just south of VA 3 (exit 130) would probably have been better.

Yeah, it is pretty narrow down there, isn't it?

Still, I think VDOT and its partners will be in for a tremendous bashing when the "express lane merge" (as the WTOP Radio traffic reporters say) backups are just moved south from Dumfries to Garrisonville.
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Re: Virginia
« Reply #455 on: August 05, 2012, 09:08:57 PM »


I was going to post the same thing. Unfortunately, insufficient right of way exists to extend them that far south; just south of VA 3 (exit 130) would probably have been better.

Not true, there is plenty of right-of-way all the way, just a narrow median section where one of the general purpose roadways would have to be relocated.  Preliminary designs have already been completed for the extension to south of Massaponax.

Quote
Yeah, it is pretty narrow down there, isn't it?

Still, I think VDOT and its partners will be in for a tremendous bashing when the "express lane merge" (as the WTOP Radio traffic reporters say) backups are just moved south from Dumfries to Garrisonville.

I would say otherwise, that 8 more miles of reversible roadway will be a major benefit, bypassing 3 more interchanges (VA-619, Quantico, and Garrisonville).  Plus, northbound that southbound merge is not an issue.
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Re: Virginia
« Reply #456 on: August 05, 2012, 09:27:29 PM »

Quote
Still, I think VDOT and its partners will be in for a tremendous bashing when the "express lane merge" (as the WTOP Radio traffic reporters say) backups are just moved south from Dumfries to Garrisonville.

What's odd about that term? Those lanes have been called the express lanes since the 1970s and a number of signs retain that term. I know a lot of people newer to the area call them "the HOV lanes," but that's a newer term for it.
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Re: Virginia
« Reply #457 on: August 09, 2012, 12:17:45 PM »

Washington Post: I-95 Express Lanes construction begins this week

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A groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday morning marked the beginning of the end for the I-95 HOV lanes, long a mainstay of the D.C. region’s commuting system.

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But scores of local government and state officials, including Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) who attended the ceremony at the Dale City rest area off the southbound lanes cheered the upcoming conversion to high-occupancy toll lanes as the way of the future for commuters.

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The 29 miles of HOT lanes on I-95 will connect to the 14 miles of HOT lanes on the Capital Beltway, scheduled to open late this year, creating a major new element in the regional highway system.

WTOP Radio: I-95 Express Lanes Project may have environmental impact

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Better transportation projects meant to keep areas moving may not be worth it if they come with a high environmental price tag. Some see flaws with the planning.

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As work on the newly announced Interstate 95 Express Lanes Project begins, crews are removing about 100 acres of trees and shrubs to make room.

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Most of the trees and shrubs will be torn away from the median of I-95 at the southern edge of the project, between Dumfries Road in Prince William County and Garrisonville Road in Stafford County. It's an area that runs about 9 miles long.

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"We found that the studies really didn't look at community and environmental impacts very much, or alternatives for the corridor," says Stewart Schwartz, head of the region's Coalition for Smarter Growth.

TOLLROADSnews: VA/I-95 Express Lanes toll concession signed + financial close = start next week

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2012-08-01: Virginia DOT and 95 Express Lanes LLC (90% Transurban, 10% Fluor) signed a 'comprehensive agreement' and went to financial close July 31 on a $925m project to widen and lengthen central reversible lanes and manage traffic with dynamic tolling. There's a groundbreaking in a few days - August 7.

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The project in which the investors carry most of the traffic and revenue risk will upgrade the capacity and management of the major southwestern radial out of the Washington DC/Northern Virginia metro area.

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It was originally planned to start at the Potomac River bridges from DC near the Pentagon on the Shirley Highway (I-395) in Arlington County 10 miles southwest to the Springfield Interchange with the Capital Beltway (I-495). And then it would continue on I-95 29 miles to Stafford.

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After several years of litigation against the project by Arlington County VDOT in 2007 cancelled it - a serious blow to mobility inside the Beltway. The project was restarted with only the I-95 portion outside the Beltway.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2012, 01:01:07 PM by cpzilliacus »
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Re: Virginia
« Reply #458 on: August 09, 2012, 12:20:30 PM »

TOLLROADSnews: Pocahontas official write-off makes news downunner - Transurban shakeup PERSONNEL

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2012-08-08: Transurban's A$138m, $130m write-down of the feeble Pochahontas Parkway project made the national news in Australia with the government-owned Australian Broadcasting Commission television managing to show I-95 traffic as being on the Transurban pike - which is located on the other side of the James River east of Richmond

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If only!!!!

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Traffic at hardly 15,000 a day on the Pocahontas Parkway is a tiny fraction of I-95 traffic. More to the point it is some 65% below forecast traffic as projected by Wilbur Smith.

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The project was a folly of the boom mentality of ten years ago and planned development projects on the east bank and around Richmond's small airport that failed to happen. The Parkway serves mainly cornfields and grass supporting the odd grazing horse.
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Re: Virginia
« Reply #459 on: August 09, 2012, 12:23:25 PM »

Richmond Times-Dispatch: Opposition to I-95 toll plan continues to rise

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The Ashland Town Council and the Richmond Area Metropolitan Planning Organization have joined the growing chorus of opposition to tolls on Interstate 95.

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The Virginia Department of Transportation has proposed putting a toll plaza just north of Emporia, a little more than 20 miles from the North Carolina line. Passenger vehicles would pay $4 and large trucks $12 in each direction at the proposed plaza.

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The planning organization includes Chesterfield, Henrico, Hanover, Goochland, Charles City, New Kent and Powhatan counties, and Ashland and Richmond. It sent a letter, dated July 17, to Virginia Secretary of Transportation Sean T. Connaughton.
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Re: Virginia
« Reply #460 on: August 09, 2012, 01:05:40 PM »

Quote
Still, I think VDOT and its partners will be in for a tremendous bashing when the "express lane merge" (as the WTOP Radio traffic reporters say) backups are just moved south from Dumfries to Garrisonville.

What's odd about that term? Those lanes have been called the express lanes since the 1970s and a number of signs retain that term. I know a lot of people newer to the area call them "the HOV lanes," but that's a newer term for it.

It was once the "I-95 Busway" (between the 14th  Street Bridge and Springfield), when I-395 was still signed as I-95. 

I recall signs put up by the Virginia Department of Highways (VDH - VDOT today) that made reference to "Pool Cars" instead of HOV-4 (later HOV-3).

Many of the signs today read "Restricted Lanes," and have for many years.
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Re: Virginia
« Reply #461 on: August 09, 2012, 02:03:43 PM »

Quote
Still, I think VDOT and its partners will be in for a tremendous bashing when the "express lane merge" (as the WTOP Radio traffic reporters say) backups are just moved south from Dumfries to Garrisonville.

What's odd about that term? Those lanes have been called the express lanes since the 1970s and a number of signs retain that term. I know a lot of people newer to the area call them "the HOV lanes," but that's a newer term for it.

It was once the "I-95 Busway" (between the 14th  Street Bridge and Springfield), when I-395 was still signed as I-95. 

I recall signs put up by the Virginia Department of Highways (VDH - VDOT today) that made reference to "Pool Cars" instead of HOV-4 (later HOV-3).

Many of the signs today read "Restricted Lanes," and have for many years.

Yeah, I remember those old "Pool Cars" signs. Here's a picture of one. Note the spiffy separator line too. Everyone I've ever known has called it either the "express lanes" or the "HOV lanes." Don't know anyone who says "Restricted Lanes" regardless of the signs. The southbound ramp at Turkeycock was once marked "Express Lanes South" prior to the installation of the "Restricted Lanes" VMS units. There are still a number of signs that say "Express Lanes"—several of the southbound BGSs between Shirlington and Turkeycock have auxiliary signs reading "Express Lanes Only" and two small signs just after Turkeycock that tell Route 644 traffic to keep left and I-95 traffic to keep right have an "Express Lanes" banner on top.

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"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #462 on: August 09, 2012, 02:11:29 PM »

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #463 on: August 09, 2012, 02:31:59 PM »

Turkeycock



Pretty much. The ramps have that name because Turkeycock Run passes under I-395 there.
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
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"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #464 on: August 09, 2012, 02:37:46 PM »

Yeah, I remember those old "Pool Cars" signs. Here's a picture of one. Note the spiffy separator line too.

That was sometimes used in other signs (having nothing to do with HOV/Carpooling/transit lanes) in various places across Virginia.  A classy design touch.  Great image.

It includes a shot of one of bus 1006, one of the "Shirley Express" GMC "New Look" buses after they were re-painted in WMATA's 1970's Metrobus colors.  Unlike most of the other GMC buses in the WMATA fleet, these vehicles had some sort of Diesel engine emission controls (and a tailpipe on the left side of the bus next to the rear window).  Here's an image of one of those buses when it was brand-new in the original Shirley Express/AB&W livery:



Everyone I've ever known has called it either the "express lanes" or the "HOV lanes." Don't know anyone who says "Restricted Lanes" regardless of the signs. The southbound ramp at Turkeycock was once marked "Express Lanes South" prior to the installation of the "Restricted Lanes" VMS units.

I remember that.

For those scoring at home, Turkeycock Run is a small stream that runs under I-395 (Shirley Highway) between Va. 648 (Edsall Road) and Va. 236 (Duke Street) at the point where VDH built ramps from the northbound conventional lanes (non-HOV) to the reversible HOV roadway (when operating  northbound) and ramps in both directions between the reversible HOV lanes (when operating southbound) to and from the conventional lanes.  To insider types and roadgeek types, this place is called "Turkeycock," even though there are no signs anywhere with that name.

There are still a number of signs that say "Express Lanes"—several of the southbound BGSs between Shirlington and Turkeycock have auxiliary signs reading "Express Lanes Only" and two small signs just after Turkeycock that tell Route 644 traffic to keep left and I-95 traffic to keep right have an "Express Lanes" banner on top.

Yes, though in recent times, VDOT seems to prefer "RESTRICTED LANES," at least along the I-95/I-395 corridor.
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Re: Virginia
« Reply #465 on: August 09, 2012, 02:47:35 PM »

I vaguely recall reading somewhere that back when they ran those "Shirley Express" buses, they used buses that had more powerful engines than most of their fleet, thus making them better-equipped to deal with the hills between Duke Street and Seminary Road and the much-less-steep southbound grade between Shirlington and Seminary Road. I don't recall the actual buses because at the time we lived near Fairfax Hospital and when we took the bus it was the line that went to the Ballston Metro stop (at that time the end of the Orange Line). But I rather like the idea of using more powerful buses on I-395. It is DAMN ANNOYING when you get stuck behind a bus driver who's doing 45 mph in the left lane of a road posted at 65 mph because his bus can't go any faster up the hill.


Quote
Yes, though in recent times, VDOT seems to prefer "RESTRICTED LANES," at least along the I-95/I-395 corridor.

Of course. Can't disagree with that. But it doesn't mean that "Restricted Lanes" either is, or has to be, the "official" or "popular" name used by the public. Kind of reminds me of the time when one of my college roommates in Charlottesville was looking at the TV listings in the Washington Post and asked, "Do we get WRC here?" The rest of us were from the DC area, but it didn't occur to us that he meant the DC-area NBC affiliate because we all knew it as "Channel 4" (still do, for that matter).
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #466 on: August 09, 2012, 03:15:14 PM »

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #467 on: August 09, 2012, 03:26:31 PM »

For those scoring at home


He said "for those scoring at home." Those guys will never score. Unless you meant with their right hands, of course, although Beavis's looks occupied with that soda.
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #468 on: August 09, 2012, 05:50:28 PM »

I vaguely recall reading somewhere that back when they ran those "Shirley Express" buses, they used buses that had more powerful engines than most of their fleet, thus making them better-equipped to deal with the hills between Duke Street and Seminary Road and the much-less-steep southbound grade between Shirlington and Seminary Road. I don't recall the actual buses because at the time we lived near Fairfax Hospital and when we took the bus it was the line that went to the Ballston Metro stop (at that time the end of the Orange Line). But I rather like the idea of using more powerful buses on I-395. It is DAMN ANNOYING when you get stuck behind a bus driver who's doing 45 mph in the left lane of a road posted at 65 mph because his bus can't go any faster up the hill.

Transit buses in those days (manufactured before 1980) were built for city traffic, generally not for use on high-speed highways; and were underpowered for high-speed traffic.  Much less power than that of an intercity bus of the era, such as those utilized by Greyhound and Trailways.

As express bus service proliferated in many places, the buses were powered to higher standards for decent highway performance.  I ride an express transit bus to and from work, and it performs fine on the freeway.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2012, 06:02:56 PM by Beltway »
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Re: Virginia
« Reply #469 on: August 09, 2012, 05:56:53 PM »

I vaguely recall reading somewhere that back when they ran those "Shirley Express" buses, they used buses that had more powerful engines than most of their fleet, thus making them better-equipped to deal with the hills between Duke Street and Seminary Road and the much-less-steep southbound grade between Shirlington and Seminary Road. I don't recall the actual buses because at the time we lived near Fairfax Hospital and when we took the bus it was the line that went to the Ballston Metro stop (at that time the end of the Orange Line). But I rather like the idea of using more powerful buses on I-395. It is DAMN ANNOYING when you get stuck behind a bus driver who's doing 45 mph in the left lane of a road posted at 65 mph because his bus can't go any faster up the hill.

Transit buses in those days (manufactured before 1980) were built for city traffic, generally not for use on high-speed highways; and were underpowered for high-speed traffic.

As express bus service proliferated in many places, the buses were powered to higher standards for decent highway performance.  I ride an express transit bus to and from work, and it performs fine on the freeway.

Well, that's kind of my point—it sure seems as though the Metrobuses that run on I-395 are not well-powered for highway performance. They crawl. Might just be the drivers, of course. The commuter buses that come from Prince William County don't seem to have the same problem going up the hills. That's why I phrased my prior comment about "it is DAMN ANNOYING when you get stuck" in the present tense!
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cpzilliacus

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #470 on: August 09, 2012, 07:30:01 PM »

I vaguely recall reading somewhere that back when they ran those "Shirley Express" buses, they used buses that had more powerful engines than most of their fleet, thus making them better-equipped to deal with the hills between Duke Street and Seminary Road and the much-less-steep southbound grade between Shirlington and Seminary Road. I don't recall the actual buses because at the time we lived near Fairfax Hospital and when we took the bus it was the line that went to the Ballston Metro stop (at that time the end of the Orange Line). But I rather like the idea of using more powerful buses on I-395. It is DAMN ANNOYING when you get stuck behind a bus driver who's doing 45 mph in the left lane of a road posted at 65 mph because his bus can't go any faster up the hill.

All of the Shirley Express buses were geared for freeway operation, and were generally capable of 70 MPH.  The "1000" series buses (like the one in your image above) had the same six cylinder engine that "regular" transit buses had, but were usually capable of keeping up with traffic because of the gearing (most transit buses had two-speed automatics, the Shirley Express buses had three or four forward speeds). The "1100" series buses were slightly newer, and had V8 Detroit Diesel engines, and were able to gobble up hills with great ease.  Probably the best buses ever to operate on the streets of metropolitan Washington.

After WMATA took over the four private D.C.-area transit bus companies in 1972 (including AB&W, which ran Shirley Express), they realized that the 1100's were great buses, and when they decided to make a huge bus procurement in 1973 or 1974, they wrote the specs to be essentially identical to the 1100-series buses (including the V8 engines in the 40-foot buses).  Unfortunately, that procurement was an unmitigated disaster, because the winning bidder was AM General, a subsidiary of American Motors Corporation (same people that built the Pacer and the Gremlin), and had never built a transit bus before winning the WMATA contract.  The interiors of the AMC buses were outfitted like the 1100's (and even had Detroit Diesel/GM engines and transmissions), but the buses had a tendency to catch fire, bodies leaked rainwater (might have been useful for extinguishing fires), the frames were weak (at least one bent in half after loading a "crush" load of passengers at the Pentagon bus station), the air conditioning usually was inoperable and the steering and front end were poorly designed, so the wheel did not "snap" back after a turn when the bus was rolling forward.

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Yes, though in recent times, VDOT seems to prefer "RESTRICTED LANES," at least along the I-95/I-395 corridor.

Of course. Can't disagree with that. But it doesn't mean that "Restricted Lanes" either is, or has to be, the "official" or "popular" name used by the public. Kind of reminds me of the time when one of my college roommates in Charlottesville was looking at the TV listings in the Washington Post and asked, "Do we get WRC here?" The rest of us were from the DC area, but it didn't occur to us that he meant the DC-area NBC affiliate because we all knew it as "Channel 4" (still do, for that matter).

Agreed.  Going to the University of Maryland at College Park (but never living on-campus), that was never an issue for me.

Getting back to "Restricted Lanes," I believe that is how VDOT signs the barrier-separated (and maybe concurrent-flow) HOV lanes along I-64 in Hampton Roads.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #471 on: August 09, 2012, 07:37:10 PM »

I vaguely recall reading somewhere that back when they ran those "Shirley Express" buses, they used buses that had more powerful engines than most of their fleet, thus making them better-equipped to deal with the hills between Duke Street and Seminary Road and the much-less-steep southbound grade between Shirlington and Seminary Road. I don't recall the actual buses because at the time we lived near Fairfax Hospital and when we took the bus it was the line that went to the Ballston Metro stop (at that time the end of the Orange Line). But I rather like the idea of using more powerful buses on I-395. It is DAMN ANNOYING when you get stuck behind a bus driver who's doing 45 mph in the left lane of a road posted at 65 mph because his bus can't go any faster up the hill.

Transit buses in those days (manufactured before 1980) were built for city traffic, generally not for use on high-speed highways; and were underpowered for high-speed traffic.  Much less power than that of an intercity bus of the era, such as those utilized by Greyhound and Trailways.

Your description does not apply to the Shirley Express buses (built in the late 1960's or early 1970's), especially the 1100-series buses.  Even some of the poor-quality AMC buses purchased by WMATA in the 1973-1975 timeframe were capable of 65 or 70 MPH (if they didn't shake apart first).

As express bus service proliferated in many places, the buses were powered to higher standards for decent highway performance.  I ride an express transit bus to and from work, and it performs fine on the freeway.

Most of WMATA's bus fleet seems to be able to maintain 65 MPH today on freeway HOV lanes along I-95/I-395, Va. 267, I-270 and U.S. 50.

The over-the-road coaches used by PRTC (Prince William County, Va.) and the Maryland Transit Administration for express service are capable of 80 MPH (supposedly), but I understand that they have governors installed to prevent such speed.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #472 on: August 09, 2012, 07:40:51 PM »

Well, that's kind of my point—it sure seems as though the Metrobuses that run on I-395 are not well-powered for highway performance. They crawl. Might just be the drivers, of course. The commuter buses that come from Prince William County don't seem to have the same problem going up the hills. That's why I phrased my prior comment about "it is DAMN ANNOYING when you get stuck" in the present tense!

I have driven those lanes a fair amount, and I have not observed (speaking in general terms) that the buses had trouble maintaining the posted 65 MPH.  At least not the buses in WMATA's fleet now.

Some of the pre-WMATA GMC New Looks (especially the ones inherited from the old D.C. Transit System, Inc.), which were in revenue service until after 2000, when some were over 40 years old, could not maintain more than about 45 or 50 MPH. 
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Beltway

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #473 on: August 09, 2012, 09:26:47 PM »


Transit buses in those days (manufactured before 1980) were built for city traffic, generally not for use on high-speed highways; and were underpowered for high-speed traffic.  Much less power than that of an intercity bus of the era, such as those utilized by Greyhound and Trailways.

Your description does not apply to the Shirley Express buses (built in the late 1960's or early 1970's), especially the 1100-series buses.  Even some of the poor-quality AMC buses purchased by WMATA in the 1973-1975 timeframe were capable of 65 or 70 MPH (if they didn't shake apart first).

I wasn't disputing that there were higher-powered buses utilized on Shirley Highway after the busway opened in 1969.
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Re: Virginia
« Reply #474 on: August 09, 2012, 09:41:54 PM »

Tree clearing has begun in a couple spots north of Exit 150 for the HOV/Express Lane extension.

WTOP reported yesterday it amounted to 100 acres of clearing necessary.  They did not say if all trees in the entire median are coming down (in some spots it wouldn't be absolutely neccessary IMO). Additionally, most of the terrain is not anywhere near the same plane as either carraigeway of 95.

Depending on how they leave it at SR 610 when finished (looks like flyover to the right side of 95 SB), the bottleneck may be moving south 9 miles (which some days is less than a mile backup), but it will be better because more cars will have exited the mainline before then.

Additionally, the backups at Exit 150 and 148 may subside substantially because all the HOV traffic won't have just joined the mainline.

Mapmikey
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