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Public hearings on proposed VRE fare increases

From Virginia Railway Express:

Virginia Railway Express (VRE) is holding a series of public hearings throughout the next two weeks to solicit comments on a proposed increase to its fares. A three percent fare increase is being proposed in order to pay for increased operations costs and the Amtrak Step-up tickets would increase from $5 to $7.

If adopted, this change would become effective the first week of July 2017, to coincide with the start of the FY 2018 budget year. The proposed fare charts can be found on our website here. (more…)

Traffic
Virginia ranked 7th for low DUI arrests

According to Prince William County Police, 1,033 people were arrested for driving under the influence in Prince William county in 2015. While this number might seem high, Virginia is one of the 10 states in the nation with the lowest number of DUI’s. 

From BackGroundChecks.org Spokesperson Jason Quimby:

In an effort to keep Americans safer on the roads this year, BackgroundChecks.org researched state DUI rankings. The report was released on March 9, 2017. BackgroundChecks.org used a combination of CDC, Department of Transportation data, and local state data, to create a comprehensive score for each state. (more…)

Traffic
PRTC selects Schneider to oversee bus system

Robert “Bob” Schneider is the new executive director at the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission (PRTC). 

Schneider will oversee the operation of PRTC’s commuter and local buses. He replaces interim executive director Eric Marx who told Potomac Local he didn’t apply to be the permanent director. 

Schneider comes to the area from Columbia, S.C. 

From his LinkedIn page: 

“Executive Director, The COMET
Company NameThe COMET–Central Midlands Transit
Dates EmployedNov 2011 – Present Employment Duration5 yrs 5 mos Location Columbia, South Carolina Area
After more than 18 months as the Executive Director and General Manager for the Columbia, South Carolina property, I have been selected by the Board of Directors to exclusively serve as the Executive Director of Central Midlands Transit, known as The COMET.

With the focus on the creation of The COMET, Columbia’s unique and innovative brand for transit services, I will focus my energy of build the system of the future and giving life to the Vision: 2020 established by The COMET’s Board of Directors.

We are proud to have won FTA Region IVs “Rising Star” award for the system’s accomplishments over the past two years.”

Prior to Marx, Al Harf was PRTC’s Executive Director for 16 years before retiring in July 2015.

Marx worked as PRTC’s Director of Planning and Operations for 22 years before temporarily succeeding Harf. He told Potomac Local he may choose to go back to a lower-level position at PRTC, or he may choose retirement. 

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Updated: I-95 E-ZPass Express Lanes extension meetings canceled

Photo from VDOT Flickr

From VDOT: 

The public is invited to attend two upcoming meetings to learn more about a study of the Interstate 95 Express Lanes Fredericksburg Extension project.

The project would extend I-95 Express Lanes approximately 10 miles south of Route 610 (Garrisonville Road) in Stafford County to the vicinity of Route 17. The facility is proposed to connect to the I-95 Southbound Rappahannock River Crossing project.

Additional access and operational improvements along the I-95 Express Lanes facility in Prince William County are also being reviewed.

Public information meetings will be held: (more…)

Traffic
McAuliffe suggests lowering fine for left-lane dawdlers

RICHMOND – Gov. Terry McAuliffe wants the General Assembly to reduce from $250 to $100 the fine in legislation that would punish motorists for driving too slowly in the left lane on Virginia highways.

Under current Virginia law, driving in the left lane at less than the normal speed of traffic is illegal except when passing or when it is deemed “otherwise impractical,” but there is no fine for failing to obey the law. House Bill 2201, sponsored by a bipartisan team of legislators including Del. Israel O’Quinn, R-Bristol, Del. Kaye Kory, D-Falls Church, and Sen. Scott Surovell, D-Fairfax, would change that. (more…)

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Old Bridge Road such a hot topic, we need a drink

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Residents, experts to talk transportation fixes at Waters End Brewery on Wednesday, March 8

LAKE RIDGE, Va. — For Lake Ridge residents, it’s no secret that a quick jaunt down Old Bridge Road to Interstate 95 is a thing of the past. There’s only so much room on the four-lane road, and couple that with a growing population, and rush hours seem to go on longer than expected.

Folks at the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and Prince William County hear the complaints about the traffic and are looking for solutions, even if it means extending a turn lane or adjusting the timing on a particular traffic signal. These are low-cost fixes that benefit the motorists to some extent but are not the magic pill that everyone is looking for.

“It’s a congested corridor,” said Richard Burke, VDOT Transportation and Land Use Director. “There’s only so much we can do. “The suggestions help red flag certain parts of the problem, but any action needs “a little more analysis.”

Diverting the traffic to a lesser used route is one fix that VDOT has utilized in the past, and they are now looking at it for the Old Bridge Road corridor as well. For Prince William Parkway traffic coming in from the northwest, a sign was erected near the intersection of Prince William Parkway and Old Bridge Road in February to entice motorists bound for I-95 to stay on Prince William Parkway and not use Old Bridge Road. (more…)

Traffic
Pedestrian bridge being built on east side of Route 1 crossing over Powell’s Creek

Submitted by Lynda Silverstrand, of the Woodbridge Potomac Communities Civic Association: 

A safer way to walk on Route 1 at Powell’s Creek is coming soon.

A new pedestrian bridge is currently being constructed on the east side of Route 1 crossing over Powell’s Creek. They are currently installing a larger water pipe as they wanted to do an upgrade while construction was being done in the area.

They will test the pipes after installation for leaks, pressure, and bacteria before the footbridge construction. We will be able to use the bridge by the end of the summer.” 

Traffic
I-95 Overnight lane closures in Prince William County

DALE CITY – The two right lanes of northbound and southbound I-95 between Cardinal Drive and the Dale City cars-only rest area will be closed the night of Tuesday, Feb. 28 between 10 p.m. and 4:30 a.m. for inspection of the bridges over Neabsco Creek, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Crews will first close the two right lanes and shoulder of northbound I-95 between 10 p.m. and 1:30 a.m., then close the two right lanes and shoulder of southbound I-95 between 1:30 and 4:30 a.m.

Drivers should expect delays and are advised to use alternate routes. The I-95 Express Lanes will not be impacted by this work.

Follow VDOT Northern Virginia on Twitter: @vadotnova

Traffic
Updated: Stafford County car crash victim was a 23-year-old man

From the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office: 

On February 23, 2017, at approximately [2:40 a.m.], a single vehicle accident occurred on Poplar Road between Mount Olive Road and Stefaniga Road.  When Stafford County Deputies and Fire and Rescue personnel arrived on scene, they found the lone occupant deceased.  The vehicle involved, a Hyundai, had stuck two trees and the driver was partially ejected.  The vehicle was traveling northbound.      

The cause of the one-car accident has not yet been determined as the investigation is ongoing.  It appears from the large debris field that excessive speed was a factor as the engine of the vehicle was located almost two hundred feet from the point of impact.  It also is likely the driver was unrestrained.

The Stafford County Sheriff’s Office is not releasing the name of the victim until the next of kin is notified of the incident.  

Update 3 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24, 2017

From the Stafford Couty Sheriff’s Office: 

The investigation revealed a 2015 Hyundai sedan was traveling north on Poplar Rd at a high rate of speed when the driver lost control of the vehicle. The Hyundai crossed the double yellow lines and struck several trees as well as a stone wall on the opposite side of the road before eventually coming to rest.

The operator, 23-year-old Raymond Marqus Miner Reynolds, who was the only occupant of the vehicle was pronounced deceased at the scene.  Mr. Reynolds was unrestrained at the time of the accident.  

The Stafford County Sheriff’s Office Accident Reconstruction Team is continuing the investigation.  

 

Traffic
PRTC submits proposed FY18 budget

From the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission:

The Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission (PRTC) Board of Commissioners voted February 9 to submit the agency’s proposed FY18 budget to its six member jurisdictions for their consideration. The member jurisdictions are Prince William, Stafford and Spotsylvania Counties and the Cities of Manassas, Manassas Park and Fredericksburg.

PRTC provides commuter and local buses and ridesharing services in Prince William, Manassas and Manassas Park. PRTC also operates the Virginia Railway Express (VRE) in partnership with the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission (NVTC), serving all six member jurisdictions. (more…)

Traffic
Old Centreville Road down to one lane over Bull Run

From VDOT: 

Old Centreville Road has been reduced to one lane on the bridge over Bull Run to allow for rehabilitation work behind a concrete barrier, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Bridge traffic is now alternating each way via temporary signals. Drivers should expect delays and are advised to use alternate routes.

The traffic pattern will be in place for the duration of the project, which is scheduled for completion in fall 2017.

Traffic
PRTC service for Presidents’ Day

From PRTC: 

In observance of Presidents’ Day, PRTC bus service will operate as follows on Monday, February 20:
OMNIRIDE COMMUTER BUS – NO SERVICE
METRO DIRECT – Regular service
OMNILINK LOCAL BUS AND CROSS COUNTY CONNECTOR – Regular service

No counter transactions will be processed at the PRTC Transit Center on Monday, February 20.
In preparation for the three-day weekend, PRTC will have a few extra PM OmniRide buses available for potential overflow on Friday, February 17.

Because PRTC experiences a significant increase in mid-day and early afternoon OmniRide passengers on the day before a three-day weekend, to avoid overcrowding you may want to consider taking Metrorail or other regional bus services and transferring to a Metro Direct bus to complete your commute.

For more information, call our Customer Service office at 703-730-6664 or send an email to Omni@OmniRide.com. Schedule information is available at www.PRTCtransit.org.

Traffic
‘Pile driving will occur along Route 1’ in Woodbridge

Photo by Prince William County

From VDOT: 

image004Beginning Friday, Feb. 10, pile driving will occur along Route 1 for construction of the new bridge over Marumsco Creek just north of Marys Way for approximately two weeks, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

The pile driving will occur between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. each day. All work is weather permitting.

Crews will be monitoring noise levels associated with the pile driving in order to minimize disruption to nearby businesses and residences.

The work is part of the Route 1 widening project, which will add a third lane in each direction between Marys Way and Annapolis Way. The project is scheduled for completion in fall 2019.

Traffic
Woodbridge motorcyclist killed on I-95

According to Virginia State Police Sgt. Les Tyler, a Woodbridge man died yesterday on Interstate 95 when he lost control of his Harley-Davidson motorcycle and struck a guardrail in Stafford. 

Allen Lee Franklin, 26 of Woodbridge, was traveling Northbound Wednesday February 8, 2017 at approximately 2:28 a.m. when he ran off the road, struck a guard rail and was ejected from his motorcycle. Despite wearing a helmet Franklin was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police believe that excessive speed was the cause, and do not believe that alcohol was a factor in the accident.

Traffic
School closings and delays for Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017

Here’s today’s OPM status. 

 

The Twitter list below will show closings, delays, and updates from Prince William County Public Schools, Stafford County Public Schools, Manassas City Public Schools, Manassas Park City Public Schools, Northern Virginia Community College, Germanna Community College, George Mason University, Mary Washington University. 

This Twitter list below will show closings, delays, and updates posted by local governments in Prince William County, Stafford County, Manassas City, Manassas Park, Dumfries Town, Haymarket Town, Quantico Marine Corps Base, Fort Belvoir. 

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VRE wants to hike Amtrak step-up fares

From VRE: 

The VRE Operations Board considers fare increases every two years to offset expected increases in operating costs.   This year, we are proposing a three percent fare increase to help pay for increased costs associated with rising track access fees, labor and maintenance costs, and other contractual obligations.

 Any new fare increase would become effective July 2017 and must receive approval by the VRE Operations Board, the Northern Virginia and Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commissions, and individual jurisdiction members of VRE.  (more…)

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Updated: Train collides with car in Nokesville

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Photos by Tim at Nokesville Tire

NOKESVILLE, Va. — A train collided with a car on railroad tracks today in Nokesville at 10:56 a.m. 

One person was said to be inside the car and suffered serious injuries. Rescue crews said the victim would be flown to a local hospital.

It appears the train collided with the vehicle and pushed it east down the track toward Manassas. 

Train traffic was stopped along the rail line owned by Norfolk-Southern.  The crash should not impact Virginia Railway Express service. 

More as we have it. 

Update from Prince William police: 

An elderly female appeared to be suffering from a medical emergency when she strayed onto the tracks where they cross Fitzwater Dr in Nokesville around 11AM. A freight train traveling north struck the vehicle in the rear pushing it north a short distance along the tracks.

The driver was subsequently flown to an area hospital as a precaution. No serious injuries were reported. The train suffering little to no damage and continued on its journey a short time later. The vehicle was totaled. The train crossing at Fitzwater Dr was not impacted as the trained cleared the crossing before it was able to come to a stop.

 

Traffic
McPike drops bill that would require HOT lanes to post estimated travel time with toll price; State says it’ll address later

Submitted by Virginia State Senator Jeremy McPike’s office: 

Senator McPike asked me to share a few pieces of information as it relates to his efforts to improve commuter fairness in Northern Virginia.

He introduced Senate Bill 1536, a bill to require operators of dynamic tolling facilities in Northern Virginia to included the estimated travel time, along with the price, for each posted destination. Consumers need all the information to make an informed choice about whether a high fare is worth it for them. Nothing is worse than paying the high toll and then getting trapped in gridlock in the facility.

After introducing and presenting the bill to the Senate Transportation Committee this week, Senator McPike struck the legislation with the guarantee from Secretary Layne that VDOT would work to address this issue in the coming year.  If it is not addressed, Senator McPike intends to introduce this legislation again next year.
From the letter: 
“…I have directed the Virginia Department of Transportation to evaluate and experiment with implementing portions of your proposal in a manner that would not create a compensation event with our private partners on I-95, I-495, and I-66.

VDOT will provide the public with information regarding travel times in the general purpose lanes compared to the travel times in the parallel express lanes to similar destinations. “

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