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Author Topic: District of Columbia  (Read 218634 times)

1995hoo

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #225 on: February 25, 2014, 10:34:03 AM »

....

Of course, for those who don't know their way around, they may just follow the signs to I-95 and go the long way by way of National Harbor.

I still see (what I believe to be) a fair number of drivers with out-dated GPS units on eastbound I-695 who probably intended to follow the I-95 routing northbound around the south and east parts of the Capital Beltway but ended up on I-395 in Springfield instead of I-95. Those people are definitely better-off heading south on I-295, even though it adds more miles to their journey. 

I think part of what we see is a combination of drivers with outdated sat-navs and drivers who don't pay attention to road signs. As you know I live not far from the Springfield Interchange, and pretty much every time I'm waiting at the light to turn left from northbound Van Dorn onto the Beltway there will be multiple drivers coming off the Beltway and making U-turns to get back on. I presume, although I do not know for sure, that most of these are people who messed up and took the wrong lane somewhere in Springfield and wound up going in a direction other than they intended. I remember back in 1999 shortly before the reconstruction began, a Washington Post article talked about how the rebuilt interchange would be "unforgiving" in that it offers no real opportunity to correct your mistake if you find yourself going the wrong way—you have to continue on past it to the next interchange and then work your way back for another shot. It's an apt description. So many people ignore highway signs that tell you which lane to use that it's no surprise, when you consider both the volume of traffic and DC-area drivers' general reluctance to let anyone over at the last minute, that people wind up going the wrong way. But I do not understand why, faced with multiple BGSs telling you to keep left for Interstate 95, some people persist in ignoring the signs because a sat-nav is saying to keep right.

Of course, why you'd end up going all the way into DC instead of turning around sooner is unclear to me!

I remember when I was a kid my parents used to get AAA Triptiks for some of our family vacations. The map of the Beltway had an arrow pointing at the Springfield Interchange with an admonition in all capital letters that read, "Heed signing for proper lanes to make change of direction at this interchange." I'd suggest that admonition is all the more compelling now than it was back then.
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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.

cpzilliacus

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #226 on: February 25, 2014, 02:11:46 PM »

....

Of course, for those who don't know their way around, they may just follow the signs to I-95 and go the long way by way of National Harbor.

I still see (what I believe to be) a fair number of drivers with out-dated GPS units on eastbound I-695 who probably intended to follow the I-95 routing northbound around the south and east parts of the Capital Beltway but ended up on I-395 in Springfield instead of I-95. Those people are definitely better-off heading south on I-295, even though it adds more miles to their journey. 

I think part of what we see is a combination of drivers with outdated sat-navs and drivers who don't pay attention to road signs. As you know I live not far from the Springfield Interchange, and pretty much every time I'm waiting at the light to turn left from northbound Van Dorn onto the Beltway there will be multiple drivers coming off the Beltway and making U-turns to get back on. I presume, although I do not know for sure, that most of these are people who messed up and took the wrong lane somewhere in Springfield and wound up going in a direction other than they intended.

I have seen it there, and at the Eisenhower Avenue Connector as well. Not that the confusion is always related to the Springfield Interchange, either.  We were once putting out road tubes (a nasty and sometimes dangerous job) on the Eisenhower Avenue Connector itself when some ladies in a car with Pennsylvania or New Jersey tags stopped and wanted to know how much further they had to go to get to the Johns Hopkins Medical Campus (I don't recall if it was the "main" Hopkins hospital complex on North Wolfe Street or Hopkins Bayview next to I-895). 

I politely explained that they had passed the Hopkins hospitals in Baltimore City by about 45 miles and that they were in Virginia (they were somewhat taken aback to be in Virginia).  I patiently explained how to get them back to Baltimore, even telling them how to get to the Hopkins complex (must have been the main one, since it's more difficult to reach that one from I-95 than Bayview).

I remember back in 1999 shortly before the reconstruction began, a Washington Post article talked about how the rebuilt interchange would be "unforgiving" in that it offers no real opportunity to correct your mistake if you find yourself going the wrong way—you have to continue on past it to the next interchange and then work your way back for another shot. It's an apt description. So many people ignore highway signs that tell you which lane to use that it's no surprise, when you consider both the volume of traffic and DC-area drivers' general reluctance to let anyone over at the last minute, that people wind up going the wrong way. But I do not understand why, faced with multiple BGSs telling you to keep left for Interstate 95, some people persist in ignoring the signs because a sat-nav is saying to keep right.

I think the signs for I-95 are much improved in and through Springfield from what they were before the reconstruction.  And in both directions, the "natural" path on I-95 is now "straight" (or actually left), as it should be - not a TOTSO. 

[rant]

Even though GPS is getting more common, I think the driving tests need to prove to the satisfaction of the examiner that a prospective driver knows how to read highway signs - and the on-road test should include a drive on a real freeway, with the new driver being required to correctly read the signs and navigate somewhere. 

[/rant]


Of course, why you'd end up going all the way into DC instead of turning around sooner is unclear to me!

I remember when I was a kid my parents used to get AAA Triptiks for some of our family vacations. The map of the Beltway had an arrow pointing at the Springfield Interchange with an admonition in all capital letters that read, "Heed signing for proper lanes to make change of direction at this interchange." I'd suggest that admonition is all the more compelling now than it was back then.

Northbound drivers (mistakenly) on I-395 observe that they are still on a nice big freeway, and assume that the freeway will take them where they need to go.  They find out differently when they get to the north end of I-395, at 3rd Street and New York Avenue, N.W. (I've seen more than a few very confused drivers there as well).
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cpzilliacus

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #227 on: March 04, 2014, 09:59:10 AM »

Washington Post: Washington region’s fabled traffic jams eased a little last year

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Washington, a city that has found no glory in its sports teams of late and has been tarnished by lawmakers seen as incapable of making laws, now faces another ignominy. No longer can it claim to be the most traffic-congested place in the nation.

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Not even close. And you can blame it on Congress.

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With the nation’s economy on the rise, traffic congestion picked up last year in all but one of the 10 most congested metropolitan regions: Washington.
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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #228 on: March 05, 2014, 09:23:48 AM »

Washington Post: D.C.mayor says Secret Service street closures paralyzing downtown traffic

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D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray is demanding that the Secret Service change protocols for visiting dignitaries to alleviate what he says led to “significant portions of downtown Washington being paralyzed by traffic” in the past five days.

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From the mayor of a city accustomed to sharing living space with the president and maneuvering around frequent motorcades, the letter on Tuesday was stern in tone, calling prolonged road closures near the White House and the Walter E. Washington Convention Center a show of disrespect to D.C. residents. Police said motorists were stuck in traffic jams of up to two hours as they tried to traverse downtown streets.
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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #229 on: March 06, 2014, 04:03:21 PM »

Washington Post: A month later, no clues in Ronald Kirby’s murder

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Anne Haynes has been thinking about going solo on the trip she and her husband planned to take to Antarctica in January. The books she’s been reading on grief say it’s good to get away.

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She’s been reading poetry, too, a reminder of the love poems she and Ronald Kirby read to each other early in their romance. She wants to hold on to everything about him — she even hopes police eventually will be able to return the clothes, glasses and shoes he wore the day he was killed.

Could the City of Alexandria police be on to something regarding the murder of Ron Kirby?

Washington Post: Same gun may have been used in three Alexandria slayings, police say
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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #230 on: March 06, 2014, 11:40:17 PM »

WTOP Radio: New flyover ramp connects 11th Street Bridge and SE-SW Freeway

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After enduring years of painful morning delays along D.C. 295 and Interstate 295, a new connection for inbound drivers is expected to open at the 11th Street Bridge.

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The District Department of Transportation says that construction crews will open a high-capacity flyover ramp that will connect the 11th Street Bridge to the westbound Southeast-Southwest Freeway early Friday.

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On Thursday night, all access to the inbound main span of the 11th Street Bridge will be blocked to tie the new ramp into the westbound Southeast-Southwest Freeway. All lanes are expected to be open in their final configuration in time for the Friday morning rush hours.
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1995hoo

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #231 on: March 07, 2014, 07:54:06 AM »

I assume what they're doing is re-routing inbound traffic onto the ramp that outbound traffic had used for a year or so until a month ago. Big improvement, if so. I may take a detour to check it out today depending on the weather.
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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #232 on: March 07, 2014, 08:17:48 AM »

I assume what they're doing is re-routing inbound traffic onto the ramp that outbound traffic had used for a year or so until a month ago. Big improvement, if so. I may take a detour to check it out today depending on the weather.

Yes, I am about 99% certain that they are moving traffic off of that old and beaten-up flyover ramp.
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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #233 on: March 07, 2014, 12:30:51 PM »

I assume what they're doing is re-routing inbound traffic onto the ramp that outbound traffic had used for a year or so until a month ago. Big improvement, if so. I may take a detour to check it out today depending on the weather.

Drove it earlier today.  Three lanes instead of two. The deck of the flyover is a big improvement over the old one (and I have driven it many times in the opposite direction).

But between the end of the "main" 11th Street Bridge and the beginning of the flyover, there are one or two "humps" that seemed to take some drivers by surprise.  And the signage on the bridge approaching the flyover needs to be updated.
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1995hoo

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #234 on: March 07, 2014, 01:24:58 PM »

I assume what they're doing is re-routing inbound traffic onto the ramp that outbound traffic had used for a year or so until a month ago. Big improvement, if so. I may take a detour to check it out today depending on the weather.

Drove it earlier today.  Three lanes instead of two. The deck of the flyover is a big improvement over the old one (and I have driven it many times in the opposite direction).

But between the end of the "main" 11th Street Bridge and the beginning of the flyover, there are one or two "humps" that seemed to take some drivers by surprise.  And the signage on the bridge approaching the flyover needs to be updated.

Thanks. I'm not going to make it over there today after all due to other things that came up. I was going to go there on the way to Alexandria this morning but didn't have time. I assume the "humps" you describe may be similar to a couple of annoying dips and bumps in the pavement that we kept encountering when the stretch in question was being used as the outbound lanes. It was rather annoying to go from the nice new ramp to a ratty old segment back to a nice new bridge.

Have you used the "local bridge" recently? I have not, and what I'm curious about is whether the street pattern on the north end of that bridge has been finished yet. The last time I used it going north (towards downtown), at the end of the bridge you had to make a right turn and then two left turns, which put you onto M Street, before making a right to go on up 11th. It made more sense simply to use the right-side ramp from the "highway bridge" because you encountered fewer lights. I'm interested in seeing whether, once 11th Street is finished, it would be easier and faster to exit I- or DC-295 onto the "local bridge" and go straight through on there. If so, and if people can be convinced to go that way, it would eliminate some of the weaving that goes on over the inbound "highway bridge," although of course I recognize some people will be loath to break their long-entrenched habits (similar to how some people STILL aren't using the ramps from southbound Telegraph Road to Kings Highway and Huntington Avenue just south of Alexandria, even though they've been open for several years now—these people go up to the light at the Bestway Latin American supermarket and hang a U-turn to reach Kings or Huntington).
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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.

cpzilliacus

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #235 on: March 10, 2014, 12:34:45 AM »

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #236 on: March 10, 2014, 09:17:48 PM »

I assume what they're doing is re-routing inbound traffic onto the ramp that outbound traffic had used for a year or so until a month ago. Big improvement, if so. I may take a detour to check it out today depending on the weather.

Drove it earlier today.  Three lanes instead of two. The deck of the flyover is a big improvement over the old one (and I have driven it many times in the opposite direction).

But between the end of the "main" 11th Street Bridge and the beginning of the flyover, there are one or two "humps" that seemed to take some drivers by surprise.  And the signage on the bridge approaching the flyover needs to be updated.

The humps. Quite the ride when done in the back of a fire engine.
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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #237 on: March 11, 2014, 11:18:54 AM »

The humps. Quite the ride when done in the back of a fire engine.

Never had the pleasure - but I presume that DCFD engines ride pretty hard?

At least it is not like the "good old days" (IMO not so good) when firefighters rode on the back step of engines. 
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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #238 on: March 11, 2014, 11:35:33 AM »

The humps. Quite the ride when done in the back of a fire engine.

Never had the pleasure - but I presume that DCFD engines ride pretty hard?

At least it is not like the "good old days" (IMO not so good) when firefighters rode on the back step of engines. 

Most engines do ride hard, some more so than others.
There's a dip in the pavement on Constitution Ave. NW between 6th and 7th St. NW, that when we respond westbound we have to slow up as we drive over it. All companies in the vicinity know about it, and many firefighters have been thrown upwards or even hit their heads on the cab roof when the apparatus driver forgets to slow up and hits the dip at fire response speed.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #239 on: March 13, 2014, 10:48:03 AM »

The humps. Quite the ride when done in the back of a fire engine.

Never had the pleasure - but I presume that DCFD engines ride pretty hard?

At least it is not like the "good old days" (IMO not so good) when firefighters rode on the back step of engines. 

Most engines do ride hard, some more so than others.
There's a dip in the pavement on Constitution Ave. NW between 6th and 7th St. NW, that when we respond westbound we have to slow up as we drive over it. All companies in the vicinity know about it, and many firefighters have been thrown upwards or even hit their heads on the cab roof when the apparatus driver forgets to slow up and hits the dip at fire response speed.

I know exactly where you are talking about.  Always take it rather slow past there.  But I could see that being a problem for the Fire Department if the firefighter behind the wheel happens to be on temporary duty at your fire house and not familiar with some of the humps and dips in the surrounding streets.
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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #240 on: March 18, 2014, 11:55:59 AM »

Putting a Price on D.C.'s Worst Commute:  See the Atlantic Cities article that I posted to the Virginia forum.
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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #241 on: April 08, 2014, 05:50:07 PM »

Ramp E-2 at the 11th Street Bridge project was to open this afternoon (I didn't have time to go check it out). This is the ramp leading from 8th Street SE onto outbound I-695 over the "highway bridge."
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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #242 on: April 09, 2014, 09:11:15 PM »

Ramp E-2 at the 11th Street Bridge project was to open this afternoon (I didn't have time to go check it out). This is the ramp leading from 8th Street SE onto outbound I-695 over the "highway bridge."

Will be driving by there in a little while tonight.  Report back later.
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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #243 on: April 10, 2014, 04:32:51 PM »

I take it that the current SE Freeway will definitely be a thing of the past, now that I-695 has been rerouted over the 11th Street Bridge?
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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #244 on: April 10, 2014, 05:02:00 PM »

I take it that the current SE Freeway will definitely be a thing of the past, now that I-695 has been rerouted over the 11th Street Bridge?

East of the 11th Street Bridge, yes. Between there and Barney Circle (Pennsylvania Avenue on the northwest side of the river) it's to be converted into "Southeast Boulevard" (I wish they'd come up with a better name, but whatever). Don't know the timetable for that to open. It involves filling the area and raising the road at least partially out of the trench-like cut it used before.

West of the bridge, it remains essentially as it was other than some changes related to the new ramps associated with the bridge project.

The big thing is that before, the ramps to the bridge straddled the highway because of how the road plunged down towards Barney Circle and the tunnel to RFK. Going to or from the bridge was like using an exit or entrance ramp. Now the ramps to and from the bridge are the thru movement in the middle and the ramps that will connect to Southeast Boulevard (at 11th Street SE) will be off to either side ("will" because they aren't open yet).
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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: District of Columbia
« Reply #245 on: April 11, 2014, 09:25:28 AM »

I take it that the current SE Freeway will definitely be a thing of the past, now that I-695 has been rerouted over the 11th Street Bridge?

East of the 11th Street Bridge, yes. Between there and Barney Circle (Pennsylvania Avenue on the northwest side of the river) it's to be converted into "Southeast Boulevard" (I wish they'd come up with a better name, but whatever). Don't know the timetable for that to open. It involves filling the area and raising the road at least partially out of the trench-like cut it used before.

Problem is that none of that will really lead to much change - and in particular access to the Anacostia River riverfront - because of the presence of a CSX Transportation freight line, which carries plenty of railroad traffic 24/7.

West of the bridge, it remains essentially as it was other than some changes related to the new ramps associated with the bridge project.

The big thing is that before, the ramps to the bridge straddled the highway because of how the road plunged down towards Barney Circle and the tunnel to RFK. Going to or from the bridge was like using an exit or entrance ramp. Now the ramps to and from the bridge are the thru movement in the middle and the ramps that will connect to Southeast Boulevard (at 11th Street SE) will be off to either side ("will" because they aren't open yet).

Still not really clear what is going to happen there.  They are not getting rid of the railroad line (and indeed, it is likely to see even more train traffic when the Virginia Avenue Tunnel is rebuilt in the coming years from a single-track bottleneck to a wider and taller crossing, able to handle double-stack container trains).
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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #247 on: April 17, 2014, 01:20:52 PM »

D.C. considers adding carpool, toll lanes to part of the 14th Street bridge

Good news? 

Maybe - if the I-395 HOV/Toll lanes ran all the way up to the Virginia shoreline of the 14th Street Bridge. But for now, they do not.
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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #248 on: April 17, 2014, 05:58:52 PM »

D.C. considers adding carpool, toll lanes to part of the 14th Street bridge

Good news? 

Maybe - if the I-395 HOV/Toll lanes ran all the way up to the Virginia shoreline of the 14th Street Bridge. But for now, they do not.

Well, the HOV lanes do, or would if VDOT would restore the HOV restrictions on the slip ramp near the Pentagon from the I-395 main lanes to the northbound HOV restriction.  Making that ramp available to all traffic helps mask the inadequacies of the northbound main lanes on the 14th Street, but those issues could be fixed, especially if D.C. would use toll revenue to help pay for the upgrades (ha ha).

If D.C. wants to put the squeeze on Arlington County to drop its opposition to a continuous HOT facility in the I-395 median, fine with me.

Even if not, Transurban might be a logical candidate to manage D.C.'s facility, using some of its infrastructure for and experience with the 495 express lanes.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: District of Columbia
« Reply #249 on: April 18, 2014, 11:06:39 AM »

Well, the HOV lanes do, or would if VDOT would restore the HOV restrictions on the slip ramp near the Pentagon from the I-395 main lanes to the northbound HOV restriction.  Making that ramp available to all traffic helps mask the inadequacies of the northbound main lanes on the 14th Street, but those issues could be fixed, especially if D.C. would use toll revenue to help pay for the upgrades (ha ha).

Agreed.  And returning it to a restricted lane (HOV-3 or pay a toll) would probably increase vehicle throughput!

If D.C. wants to put the squeeze on Arlington County to drop its opposition to a continuous HOT facility in the I-395 median, fine with me.

The opposition in Arlington was mostly ginned-up by one member of the Arlington County Board, who has now resigned from that body.

If D.C. were to formally and on-the-record say to Arlington's elected officials that D.C. wants the HOV/toll facility to extend through Alexandria and Arlington County up to the Potomac River, then I think Arlington would have to give it some very serious consideration.

Even if not, Transurban might be a logical candidate to manage D.C.'s facility, using some of its infrastructure for and experience with the 495 express lanes.

I can think of two entities that could do it - Transurban being (probably) the most-logical, or if D.C. wanted to look the other way (and if it were legal - not sure if it is), MdTA.
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