Talkin' Transit

Talkin’ Transit: Parking Edition

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘Danilo.Lewis|Fotography’

I hate parking meters. I think they’re an awful concept. Not because they make you pay for what you use, but rather how they make you pay for it: with change.  As rates have increased in the downtown core to $2/hr, it means that you need to carry with you rolls and rolls of quarters if you’re going to do any parking in the core that isn’t in a garage.

We started to see pay-by-phone metering last year, with a number of trials in Dupont Circle and in Foggy Bottom with a pair of services that work on a zone-based system.  Call a number, enter a credit card (the first time) and then enter the zone where you’re parked.  Bam, you’re good for as long as you’re within the limit for the zone.  If you only intend to stay for 50 minutes, that’s all you pay for, instead of the potential for overpaying at a traditional coin meter.  It’s a revolution.

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The Features

New York Avenue’s Everchanging Face

Photo courtesy of
‘Dave Thomas Circle 2010’
courtesy of ‘tbridge’

New York Avenue is a juggernaut of a thoroughfare.  At its western end, the Treasury Department and just beyond, the White House.  At its eastern end, US-50 and the road to Annapolis and points east.  In between, it is an unmatched artery for vehicle transportation throughout the city. Over the last year, it’s undergone some serious construction projects, and things are about to get a whole lot more complicated for the road, and those who commute along it.

This summer, Dave Thomas Circle (pictured above) underwent a traffic reshaping project, wherein the frustrating intersection at New York Ave and Florida Ave near the ATF building was reshaped to allow for better traffic flow, a project that DDOT considers a significant success. They’re about to do something, though, that will lead to a lot of commuter frustration.

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All Politics is Local, News, The Daily Feed

Committee of 100 to Gray: Fire Gabe Klein and Harriet Tregoning

Photo courtesy of

courtesy of ‘erin m’

Lydia DePillis from Washington City Paper this morning published a letter (and some very astute analysis) from the Committee of 100 to Mayor-Elect Gray asking him to please fire Gabe Klein and Harriet Tregoning and appoint new (and more friendly to them) leadership at DDOT and the District Office of Planning. Specifically, the C100 cite the loss of a Streetcar Grant (which wasn’t Klein’s fault) and Tregoning’s choice of input tolerance (which DePillis correctly identifies as meaning disregard for their input) and send the whole thing to Gray.

Now, here’s my two cents. It may be early in the transition, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Gray make a clean sweep of Fenty appointees, rockstars like Gabe Klein included.  Klein’s Circulator buses are popular in the downtown-going crowd, but not across any of the bridges except those to Virginia, and his Streetcar program has raised the ire of one of Gray’s biggest allies, Marion Barry.  Gray can certainly use this letter like an excuse, and part ways with Klein and Tregoning, lose little political capital, and come away with a stronger ally in the Committee of 100, for what good that would be worth.

Personally? Klein has made DDOT a lot more visible to its residents, increased popular services, and added a bike-share program that has taken off.  While that means public transit has been the focus of DDOT instead of cars, it’s provided the opportunity to strengthen a part of DC that has been suffering for a long time, and in light of Metro’s recent suffering, that’s a necessary part.

The Daily Feed

Making It Easier to Get There

Photo courtesy of
‘new DDOT bike racks’
courtesy of ‘talkingdc’

The District Department of Transportation recently launched a new and improved to make it easier than ever to get around the District.  There are lots of cool features to check out, like a carbon calculator and an interactive map, as well as good resources on how to walk, bike, and take transit around DC.  And of course the Service Alerts page is a good one to have bookmarked, as it includes transportation disruptions from all over the DC area.

Adventures, Life in the Capital, The Daily Feed, The District

30th Street Bridge Finished, TJ Street Bridge Construction Begins

Photo courtesy of
‘blurry reflection’
courtesy of ‘ekelly80’

Time moves at the speed of light when you’re busy living life, so it will surprise you all that’s in been almost a year since the DDOT embarked on Operation: Remove, Restore and Replace Georgetown’s C&O Canal Bridges.

Since I last reported on the epic project from the construction companies dublin, the 30th Street Bridge had been closed to traffic, but as of the last few days the new bridge has reopened in spectacular form and on schedule to boot! Not word on budget status. A bridge is a structure built to span a physical obstacle, such as a body of water, valley, or road, without closing the way underneath. It is constructed for the purpose of providing passage over the obstacle, usually something that is otherwise difficult or impossible to cross.

Suspension bridges are strong because the force on the bridge gets spread out. The weight of the cars or trains or horses, whatever’s traveling across it, pulls on the cables, creating tension, to hire the best contractors to make a quality job, visit and hire them now. Those cables then pull down on the towers and also pull on the anchors on either end of the bridge, to hold up the deck.

When bridges requiring piers are built over a body of water, foundations are made by sinking caissons into the riverbed and filling them with concrete. In the case of suspension bridges, towers are built atop the caissons. The first suspension-bridge towers were stone, but now they are either steel or concrete. If you need some materials for your project you might want to buy from skirting boards Perth.

Next up is the renovation of the much beloved Thomas Jefferson Street Bridge scheduled to kick off on July 28th and last approximately one year. While two-way traffic will still be permitted between M Street and Thomas Jefferson Street Bridge and between K Street and Thomas Jefferson Bridge, what about crossing the canal to get coffee and cupcakes at Baked & Wired?!!!  I’m very concerned that my afternoon sugar rush will be sorely impeded and inconvenienced. On the up side, some extra walking will help make up for these sweet indiscretions.

Adventures, All Politics is Local, Downtown, Dupont Circle, Essential DC, History, Life in the Capital, The Daily Feed, The District, The Hill, The Mall

DDOT Unveils Historic DC Photos

Photo courtesy of
‘MacArthur Marquee’
courtesy of ‘kimberlyfaye’

After years of scouring, the DDOT historians have posted some fantastic photos of our beloved city from the 1940s thru the 1960s to their Flickr account. The set features cityscapes from all over the district, including an awesome shot from an open air parking lot on H Street NE, a Harlem-esque looking F & 13th Street, and Tenley Circle with streetcar tracks.

My favorite pic is the shot of Rosslyn looking over the Key Bridge to DC taken in 1945.  It’s amazing to think of the now skyscraper filled neighborhood as only having two and three storied buildings. Some may remember one of last remaining relics of that era, Tom Sarris Orleans House, which tragically closed in 2008. That place was definitely a DC insiders go to.

Adventures, All Politics is Local, Life in the Capital, News, The Daily Feed

DDOT To Implement New Safety Rules For Pedicabs

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘bhrome’

Under new rules proposed today by the DDOT, D.C. pedicabs will have to meet additional safety standards.  The new rules include requiring seatbelt usage for every passenger, establishing pedicab equipment requirements, mandating that pedicabs only operated  on public streets and in accordance with the “safe operation of bicycle regulations,” and prohibiting pedicab operators from parking or riding on a sidewalk, from riding while intoxicated, from parking in a restricted zone identified for other vehicles and from riding on any D.C. street with a posted speed limit of more than 30 mph.

Across the U.S. pedicabs are growing in popularity as are the number of accidents involving pedicabs.  It’s quite possible that these new rules may open the door for further regulations, such as pedicab licensing and mandatory insurance for all operators. The new rules are currently under public commentary and will likely be adopted in 30 days.

The Daily Feed

Chain Bridge To Close Friday Evening Until Monday Morning

Photo courtesy of
‘Chain Bridge’
courtesy of ‘NCinDC’

Starting Friday, March 26 at 8pm and weather permitting, Chain Bridge will be closed to all traffic (this includes pedestrians and bikes, and traffic from both the DC and Arlington side) until Monday, March 29 at 5am.  The weekend work hopes to continue the reconstruction work already begun on the bridge deck, approaches and structural steel beams. Crews will be pouring new approach slabs, replacing expansion joints, installing a catcher beam system and upgrading streetlights on the bridge.

Canal Road traffic will not be affected, but motorists will not be able to turn onto Chain Bridge. DDOT advises motorists to use alternate routes and river crossings including the American Legion, Key, Roosevelt , Memorial and 14th Street Bridges.

The proposed 8 month long repair work started in June 2009 and was supposed to be completed this past January.  Unfortunately, the Snowpocalypse, SnOMG, Snoverkill, etc. are to blame for a derailed schedule and, therefore, the weekend work. DDOT now anticipates all of the lanes on the bridge will reopen by May 31.  Additional work beneath the bridge is scheduled to continue through August 2010.

News, The Daily Feed

Potholepalooza Part Two

Photo courtesy of
‘Fix it’
courtesy of ‘Deborah Fitchett’

Potholepalooza is back for round two. Go and honor thy neighbor (and your car) by turning those puppies into DDOT.

Last year, the District mended over 6,000 potholes in the area. This year, they’re hoping to do accomplish the same, if not more. But the end result is up to you.

The goal is simple — fix the potholes within 48 hours of being notified. You can report all potholes via phone (via the Mayor’s Call Center at 311), online report, Twitter, or e-mail.

DDOT requests that all pothole reports require location (including the quadrant in which it lies) and as much detail as possible (size/depth).

Remember: Potholepalooza is a one-month program. So if you see a pothole that needs fixing, don’t wait to make your call.

Adventures, The Daily Feed

Key Bridge Snow Removal

Photo courtesy of
‘M Street from Roof’
courtesy of ‘Julie Fraker’

If you’re wondering why there’s a ridiculous amount of traffic along M Street, it’s because the DCPD and DDOT are bulldozing the snow build up on Key Bridge.  When I passed about 10 minutes ago, the removal was only affecting the traffic heading towards Virginia, but I’m assuming they’ll tackle the east bound side later. No westbound traffic was being allowed to cross the bridge and all traffic was being directed towards Canal Road.

If you have an alternative route, I suggest you take it because the traffic looked horrendous.

<a href=’′ title=’M Street from Roof’><img src=’’ alt=’Photo courtesy of ‘Julie Fraker’/></a><br/><small><a href=’′>’M Street from Roof'</a></small><br/><small>courtesy of <a href=’’>’Julie Fraker'</a></small>
The Daily Feed

Southeast Freeway Ramp Closures This Weekend

Photo courtesy of
‘SR 520 Traffic’
courtesy of ‘Oran Viriyincy’

Attention all drivers – if you plan on heading anywhere near the Southeast Freeway this weekend, you might have a few detours in your future. Part of the freeway will be off-limits to cars and trucks, according to WTOP.

DDOT is in the process of demolishing a couple ramps leading to RFK stadium, so look out for ramp closures after the I-295 exit.

“What that means for motorists is that they will have to stay to the right and take the I-295 exit for the 11th Street Bridges, or exit earlier,” says.

DDOT spokesperson John Lisle says that a good alternate route to get across the Anacostia River would be the South Capitol Street Bridge. The goal of this entire project is to tear down concrete while making sure there aren’t any cars under the bridge, hence the closures. They’re a precautionary measure. Good call, DDOT, good call.

All scheduled work is between 5 a.m. and 10 p.m. on Saturday, but if the work isn’t done by then, it will continue on into Sunday.

Need alternate routes to get around? DDOT has posed the following:

To reach Pennsylvania Avenue:

  • Take the Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue exit
  • Turn left on Good Hope Road, SE
  • Turn left on Minnesota Avenue, SE
  • Detour Ends – Turn either right or left on Pennsylvania Avenue, SE

DDOT has also suggested that drives avoid any detours by taking these following alternate routes:

  • From the SW Freeway, take the South Capitol Street exit
  • Cross the South Capitol Street (Frederick Douglas) Bridge
  • Take the Suitland Parkway Exit
  • Take the ramp for I-295 North

News, The Daily Feed

Say Goodbye To Free Street Parking On Saturdays

Photo courtesy of

courtesy of ‘Chris Rief aka Spodie Odie’

There once was a time when parking was free on the street — even if it was metered. That time comes to a close as the new year approaches. You can thank DDOT for that one.

Drivers are required to feed their Saturday parking meters starting Jan. 2 despite any disdain they might feel toward the subject.

WaPo says that this isn’t the only change facing DC drivers when it comes to street parking in 2010. DC is planning to finalize a premium parking program that would hike meter costs to $2 an hour while a couple thousand meters will charge 75 cents per hour.

Is there any positive here? Sunday parking is still free. I’d have to say that in this case — something is better than nothing.

The Daily Feed

New Bike Lanes on 15th Street!

Photo courtesy of
‘Future Contraflow lane’
courtesy of ‘volcrano’

If you’ve been on 15th Street NW this past week, you’ve probably noticed the construction of a new contraflow bike lane. This lane will be open early next week, allowing bicyclists to travel south on northbound 15th Street NW.  This improvement project also includes ‘sharrows’, or painted arrows reminding motorists to share the road, for northbound bicyclists.

As a major commuting artery in the city, 15th Street is notorious for being car-dominated– the four lanes of one-way traffic seem to really encourage drivers to speed.  I live a block off 15th Street and feel like I’m taking my life in my hands every time I have to cross at my unsignalized intersection.  So here’s hoping the new bike lane will lead to a more balanced mix of transportation that is pleasant and safe for pedestrians, bikes, and cars.

All Politics is Local, Downtown, The Daily Feed, The District, The Mall, WMATA

Wisconsin Avenue Circulator Route Is No More

Photo courtesy of

courtesy of ‘Chris Rief aka Spodie Odie’

As reported earlier this month, the in peril Wisconsin Avenue section of the Georgetown-Union Station Circulator route has officially been cut.  According to the DDOT, the  new Georgetown routing will be Washington Circle to K Street (under the Whitehurst Freeway), right on Wisconsin Avenue, right on M Street, right on Pennsylvania Avenue, returning to Washington Circle and on to Union station.  The rerouting will also cut all the Circulator stops on the north side of M Street, as the new route will only operate eastbound on M Street.

Other Circulator service changes involve discontinuing the Smithsonian-National Mall from October 4, 2009 until April 3, 2010.  As well as added stops to the Union Station-Navy Yard and Woodley Park/Adams Morgan-McPherson Square Metro routes.

Life in the Capital, The Daily Feed, The District

The Bridges Over The Canal C&O

Photo courtesy of
‘New Year’s Day Sunshine’
courtesy of ‘Karon’
This past Monday, August 24, marked the beginning of Operation: Remove, Restore and Replace Georgetown’s C&O Canal Bridges.  The project’s three targets, the 29th Street, 30th Street and Thomas Jefferson Street development bridges will be undergoing some serious work over the next 36 months.  Yup. That’s right. According to the DDOT, each bridge will take one full year to complete and DDOT is conducting the work on one bridge at a time.

The first on the docket is the 30th Street bridge, which as of Monday, will be closed to both vehicular and pedestrian traffic until July 2010.  Thomas Jefferson Street and 29th Street are the designated detour routes, the “open” part of 30th Street has two-way traffic, and the closure does not limit access to the business and residences located along 30th Street. Continue reading

Downtown, The Daily Feed, The District

Meters Up! (No Joke)

Photo courtesy of
‘Renovated Museum of American History in DC’
courtesy of ‘EvinDC’

Reminder to everyone that DC parking meter rates are increasing this month, starting today. If the meter was a $1/hr, it’s going to $2/hr. All other meters are going up .25, so .50/hr meters are going to .75/hr and so on.

DDOT said they are in the process of updated all the 15,453 meters in the District to reflect the rate increases, and are expected to be updated by April 30.

Foggy Bottom, Life in the Capital, The Daily Feed

Goodbye to the Rock Creek Parkway Pedestrian Crossing Button Moat

Button Moat IMG_0185

Much gratitude to DC DDOT for paving over what I affectionately call “The Button Moat” around the pedestrian crossing button at Rock Creek Parkway and Virginia Ave NW in Foggy Bottom. (Bigger before-and-after-pictures after the jump.) Continue reading

Talkin' Transit, The Daily Feed, The District

DC Pedestrian Master Plan Meeting

The DC Pedestrian Master Plan is a long-term project to study and actively improve Washington’s state of walkability and pedestrian safety. The final draft of the plan report is up for review, and Ward 6 Councilor Tommy Wells is holding an open meeting with DC DDOT to invite public comment on Tuesday, July 8th, 6:30PM at St. Peter’s Church.

More info: Tommy Wells – Ward 6 Meeting on DC Pedestrian Master Plan.