Traffic & Transit
The car taxi service Uber is pushing further into the suburbs.
An Uber driver set up shop under a tent at a Silver Diner restaurant on Smoketown Road in Woodbridge on Tuesday to recruit new drivers. In exchange for signing up to drive for Uber, the company agreed to give new recruits a $50 gas card.
The taxi service relies on the Uber smartphone app that allows users to see which Uber drivers are close by, hail them for a ride, and then use the app to conduct a cashless transaction to pay their fare. The company charges about a dollar per mile, so a fare from Woodbridge to the Franconia-Springfield Metro Station costs about $20.
Uber is popular in more urban areas such as Washington, D.C. and Arlington. The company wants more people in Woodbridge and other exurbs of Washington to drive for the service in hopes more customers will choose to use Uber.
The company actively recruits drivers by allowing them to drive on their own time, set their own hours, advertising the job as a great way to make extra income outside their regular job.
Cab companies have argued Uber drivers aren’t regulated like their drivers, and that the company has an unfair advantage. New legislation signed by Gov. Terry McAuliffe now requires Uber drivers, and drivers at its counterpart Lyft, to be at least 21 years old, undergo a background check, and have up to $1 million in insurance in order to drive.
Heads up if you travel Wellington Road in Manassas. A portion of the thorughfare will close to traffic today June 16 and tomorrow June 17.
— Manassas City Police (@ManassasCityPD) June 15, 2015
There will be detours in place to route you around the closure. Manassas city officials said plan ahead before you begin your trip.
Starting June 22, a portion of Brentsville Road will be closed for six months.
According to the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), the road will be closed in order to complete a $2.8 million project to replace the bridge over Broad Run.
Mehrdad Naderi, the area construction engineer, said that the road will be closed off for 100-feet on either side of the bridge area, but that drivers will be able to access other parts of the road.
The current bridge was built in 1957. After assessing the bridge, VDOT declared that it was in poor to fair condition. VDOT will be replacing the superstructure of the bridge and repairing the substructure, according to a release.
During the six month period, drivers will be detoured using Lucasville Road, Godwin Drive, Clover Hill Road, Dumfries Road (Rt. 234) and Prince William Parkway.
The project is set to be completed in December.
VDOT will be hosting a public meeting on the project on June 17 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Brentsville District High School in Nokesville.
The Manassas Regional Airport will become a regular stop for charter service – bringing international tourists to the region.
According to a city release, Air Charter Express (ACE) will begin using the airport as a stop for their passenger division of Freight Runners Express, Inc.
The Manassas airport is actually the busiest municipal airport in Virginia, with more than 415 aircraft. It brings in around $235 million a year.
“Manassas Regional Airport serves a vital role in promoting economic development and tourism for the Greater Manassas region as well as the City of Manassas. We welcome Air Charter Express to the community of businesses that are utilizing the Manassas Regional Airport as a cost effective way into the Capital region,” said City Manager W. Patrick Pate.
Courthouse Road in Stafford has been reduced to one-lane in both directions, in the area near I-95 at Exit 140, because of an overturned truck.
According to the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) traffic is getting through, but there will be heavy delays through the afternoon rush hour.
The ramp for Exit 140 is still open.
The Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation (PRTC) will be changing their bus service and increasing fares, starting July 6.
According to a release, PRTC will be making some large changes that will be reflected in their rider guide including new routes for buses in Crystal City because of the new Crystal City Transitway.
There will also be new routes for the Dale City – Washington OmniRide bus route. PRTC stated that the route will now begin and end at the Dale City Commuter Lot, eliminating service to the Lindendale Commuter lot and all stops between the two lots.
Additionally, PRTC will be eliminating the Route 1 OmniRide route.
Along with the change to PRTC bus service, there will be new fare prices.
According to PRTC, new one-way fares are:
OmniRide commuter bus – $8.30 cash or $6.20 with a SmarTrip card
Metro Direct – $3.85 cash or $3.10 with a SmarTrip card
OmniLink and Cross County Connector local bus services – $1.40 cash and SmarTrip, Day Pass – $3.25, Weekly Pass – $13.00.
Reduced fares continue to be half the regular fare for customers traveling during eligible times who are 60 or older, have a disability, and/or have a valid Medicare card.
New bus service schedules will be available on June 29.
The MyLink Teen Summer Pass is on sale. The pass allows teenagers unlimited rides on OmniLink buses in Prince William County, Manassas, and Manassas Park between now and Sept. 1, 2015.
The pass costs $30 and is on sale at the following locations:
Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission Transit Center, located at 14700 Potomac Mills Road in Woodbridge, Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Chinn Aquatics and Fitness Center, located at 13025 Chinn Park Drive in Woodbridge, Monday through Thursday 5 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sharron Baucom — Dale City Recreation Center, located at 14300 Minnieville Road in Dale City, Monday through Friday 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Cash or credit only.
Ben Lomond Community Center, located at 10501 Copeland Drive in Manassas, Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Cash or credit only.
Manassas City Hall Treasurer’s Office, located at 9027 Center Street in Manassas, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Cash only.
OmniLink provides bus service along major routes in the area, including Route 1 in Woodbridge, Dale Boulevard in Dale City, as well as major routes in Lake Ridge, Manassas, and Manassas Park.
Those who purchase a My Link Teen Bus Pass will also receive discounts good for $1 off general admission to Potomac Nationals games, $2 off public skating at the Prince William Ice Center in Dale City, up to five free games per day at Bowl America, located at 13409 Occoquan Road in Woodbridge, and $1 off general admission to Stonewall Pool in Manassas.
Riders must be between the ages of 13 and 19 years old to use the pass. Teenagers use the pass to get rides to summer jobs, shopping centers, recreation centers, and libraries, according to a Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission press release.
Yellow Cab Prince William has partnered with Gata Labs and have a released a free phone app that allows residents to book cab rides with one click.
The app became live this May, and was done in response to the huge success of other ride sharing platforms like Uber and Lyft, which were taking a huge chunk of cab companies business.
“We partnered with Yellow Cab Prince William County because they’re the premier service provider in the area. We already have partners in over 100 different cities around North America. What we’re doing is trying to provide the technology and work with [cab] fleets, instead of against fleets – like Uber does. We’re trying to help these companies combat these new mobile focused competitors like Uber and Lyft,” said Gata Labs President Simon Bourgeois.
According to Bourgeois, using the app can be done with one touch of a button. The app uses GPS tracking to find a customer’s location, and it will give the customer a time estimate for their cab’s arrival, said Bourgeois.
Additionally, the app comes with a fare estimate feature, so that users can plan ahead for their travel costs.
Tammy Beard, a spokeswoman for Yellow Cab Prince William, stated it was important for the company to offer an app in order to help their customers easily secure a safe ride.
“Our commitment to keeping our company outfitted with all the latest technology has never been stronger. With competitors that are more loosely licensed or not licensed at all, technology that enables our customers to place an order for service with ease is a must. Although we have our own app (PWC Booking) and will soon begin participating in a third, we feel that the more we get our company out there the better we will be able to serve the citizens and visitors of Prince William County,” stated Beard.
The app is currently available in the iTunes App store and the Google Play store.
The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is proposing that new signs and a pickup area for HOV carpooling be added to the Staffordboro commuter lot in Stafford.
According to VDOT, the lot was observed and there was a survey given to users of the lot that slug using the HOV lanes that helped them to determine that changes needed to be made.
Here are the improvements proposed by VDOT:
Destination signs for the Pentagon, Crystal City, and Rosslyn lines
New, separate HOV carpooling pickup area for Rosslyn sluggers
Crosswalks spanning the lot’s central access road
“We received more than 60 responses to our online survey about slugging and congestion near the HOV carpooling area. Many commuters requested better signage to identify HOV carpooling destinations, and suggested space for an additional HOV carpooling pickup area in the Staffordboro lot. We have proposed these changes to provide better direction in the lot, and to reduce minor congestion in the HOV carpooling pickup line,” said Sean Nelson, VDOT Fredericksburg Residency Administrator, in a release.
Traffic exiting Interstate 66 west for Route 29, and drivers traveling Route 29 south woke up to a new traffic pattern this morning.
A newly opened bridge now carries drivers exiting the Interstate highway and Route 29 over a railroad. Drivers exiting Route 66 head to Route 29 south toward Warrenton and Charlottesville are urged to keep left on the new ramp and bridge.
The new bridge also carries drivers headed for Haymarket via Route 55, and drivers headed for Linton Hall Road. Drivers headed in that direction are urged to keep right on the ramp and bridge.
The work is part of a $230 million project that puts new infrastructure in place in the busy section of Gainesville. It eliminated the need for drivers to drive over a set of train tracks that crossed Routes 29 and 55.
As you get ready to celebrate the long-weekend and Memorial Day, here is the latest from Potomac Local on what you need to know about closings, events and traffic & transit news. Keep Reading…
Expect to see some changes on the roadways in Gainesville over the next few weeks.
As part of a $230 million project, starting overnight on May 26, traffic traveling on the southbound lanes on Route 29 between I-66 and Linton Hall Road will now be moved on to the newly built bridge, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT). The new bridge crosses over the railroad track.
According to VDOT, the ramp that goes from eastbound I-66 to southbound Route 29 will also be reopened.
Additionally, VDOT is working to remove the traffic signal at Route 29 and Linton Hall Road, with all of the traffic on the Linton Hall/Route 55 section being moved to the new overpass.
After the shifts in traffic have been completed, crews will complete the ramps from Route 55 over to the southbound lanes of Route 29, as well as from northbound lanes on Route 29 to Linton Hall Road, said VDOT.
The ramp completion will cause some detours for drivers in the area.
According to a release from VDOT, drivers heading northbound on Route 29 to eastbound Linton Hall Road, and eastbound from Route 55 to southbound on Route 29 will all use temporary detour ramps.
Also, drivers going westbound on Linton Hall Road, headed to southbound Route 29 will be detoured to Wellington Road and University Boulevard, said VDOT.
The project is expected to be completed this summer.
On May 16, the Virginia Railway Express (VRE) honored several board members at the Broad Run Station in Bristow.
Here’s more information from the VRE on the honorees:
- Edwin King – Prince William County (Original Member)
- James Hugh Payne Sr. – City of Manassas (First Elected City of Manassas Member)
- Bernard Cohen – VA House of Delegates (Original Member)
- Bob Gibbons – Stafford County (First Elected Stafford Member)
- Sally H. Cooper – VDOT (Original Member)
- Sharon Bulova – Fairfax County (Original and Continuously Serving Member)
- John Jenkins – Prince William County (Long Serving Member)
- Hilda Barg – Prince William County (Long Serving Member)
- Elaine McConnell – Fairfax County (Long Serving Member)
“Honoring these Operations Board Members is a gesture of the appreciation we have for the leadership and public service they provided in creating and shaping VRE,” said John C. Cook, Operations Board Chairman of VRE and Fairfax County Supervisor.
The VRE Operations Board will consider additional honorees on an annual basis.
Four people were injured this morning in a crash involving two dump trucks and an SUV in North Stafford.
Four people who were traveling in two dump trucks were taken to a hospital suffering injuries that didn’t appear to be life threatening. The female driver of the SUV also involved in the crash refused to be taken to a hospital, said Stafford fire and rescue spokesman Mark Doyle.
A fuel tank on one of the dump trucks ruptured. A nearby sand a gravel business provided free sand to emergency crews tasked with cleaning up the fuel spill.
A portion of Shelton Shop Road was closed to traffic due to the crash. Traffic was redirected onto Oakwood Drive, as well as back to Garrisonville Road so drivers could find another way around the crash.
Virginia State Police are investigating the crash. We’re still waiting to find out if charges will be filed in this case.
Wondering what the schedule for the Express Lanes will be like for Memorial Day weekend?
Here’s the schedule from Transurban:
Friday, May 22: 95 Express Lanes reversible lanes will be southbound starting at noon
Saturday, May 23: 95 Express Lanes remain southbound until 2 p.m. and open northbound by about 4 p.m.
Sunday, May 24: 95 Express Lanes will be closed from 7 a.m. to approximately 11 a.m. for the Rolling Thunder motorcycle ride. When the lanes re-open, they will remain northbound for the remainder of the day
Monday, May 25: 95 Express Lanes remain northbound all day
The Virginia Railway Express (VRE) will launch their new VRE Mobile ticketing application tomorrow.
VRE is the first transportation system to offer an app in the area. Riders will be able to use the app to pay for their fares, but paper tickets will still be sold, said a release.
“VRE Mobile is part of our ongoing effort to make the commuting experience more convenient and today we take a significant leap forward for our passengers. We are excited to get VRE Mobile into the hands of our passengers, adding a new easy-to-use option to buy and use fares,” said VRE Chief Executive Officer Doug Allen in a release. Keep Reading…
Repairs to a broken water main on Dale Boulevard were wrapping up Friday morning.
The broken main is located at the intersection of Dale Boulevard and Gideon Drive.
Crews worked overnight to repair a break in a 24-inch water main that was punctured midday Thursday by a construction crew, according to Virginia American Water.
A foreman on the scene said the construction just barely hit the water main.
“Just two more inches and they would have missed it altogether,” he said.
Traffic on westbound Dale Boulevard was most affected by the repair work. Construction crews set up shop in the right lane of Dale Boulevard, which meant drivers had to stay in the left lane to get by the work.
From May 11 to May 29, CSX Transportation will be performing railroad track and switch upgrade on Virginia Railway Express’ (VRE) Fredericksburg Line.
The work will be completed just south of the Fredericksburg station, said a release.
According to a release, the project is being done to improve the speed and reliability of the trains, as well as decreasing current delays when trains are switching between the VRE’s four tracks.
This project is part of a larger initiative to create a new third track that runs from Washington, D.C. to Richmond.
VRE riders could see delays between 10 to 45 minutes during the construction, and it will impact both northbound and southbound trains.
The man taken to an area hospital suffering burns was a stowaway inside the baggage compartment of the bus that caught fire.
Here’s more from Virginia State Police:
A 2014 Greyhound bus was traveling south on I-95 south when the driver started to see and smell smoke coming into the cabin of the bus. The driver safely pulled to the right shoulder where all 28 passengers exited without incident. Stafford County Fire and Virginia State Police discovered the fire coming from the baggage compartment below the passenger compartment.
Inside the luggage compartment was a male subject. He was flown from the scene to INOVA Fairfax Hospital for treatment of life-threatening injuries.
Details released by the Virginia State Police reveal that, as the 2014 Greyhound bus was traveling south on I-95, the driver started to see and smell smoke coming into the cabin. The driver then pulled over onto the right shoulder, where all 28 passengers exited without further incident, say police.
Stafford County fire fighters and Virginia State Police noticed that the fire was coming from the baggage compartment below the passenger compartment. A man was found inside the luggage compartment. He was flown from the scene to the hospital for treatment of life-threatening injuries. Initial reports say he had burns.
The Virginia State Police report that a male was inside the luggage compartment of the Greyhound bus that caught fire on Interstate 95 southbound this afternoon. He was flown from the scene to INOVA Fairfax Hospital for the treatment of life-threatening injuries.
There were 28 passengers on the bus at the time, according to the Virginia State Police. The passengers were transported elsewhere via a local school bus.
No further details are available. State police are investigating the incident.
A Greyhound bus caught fire this afternoon while traveling on Interstate 95 south.
The bus caught fire near mile post 144, near Route 610 at Garrisonville. At least one person was injured, according to initial reports.
A helicopter was called to take at least one injured person to a hospital. Initial reports indicate the patient suffered burns.
The police temporarily closed all lanes of of I-95 near the crash scene around 3:30 p.m., so the MedStar helicopter could land.
Traffic on I-95 south is backed up to Quantico Marine Corps Base. Traffic congestion is also building along Route 1, which runs parallel to I-95.
School buses were called to carry passengers from the burned bus, according to initial reports.
We’ll have more on this as it develops.
Three new stations part of VRE extension plan
More than five years ago, many on the Haymarket Town Council wanted nothing to do with a planned westward expansion of Virginia Railway Express.
Then town leaders feared the traffic congestion a new VRE station could bring to the town.
Now, the town council appears to be on board with the idea of commuter rail to the tiny town.
“We’re excited about a study that will tell us more about the prospect of VRE coming out to Haymarket. We’ve had councils, in the past, that weren’t too excited, but this new council is looking forward to having VRE come here,” said Haymarket Mayor David Leake.
The process of getting VRE to Haymarket and Gainesville, both in the western portion of Prince William County, took a big step forward. The commuter railroad approved $4 million to pay AECOM Technical Services, Inc. to conduct a planning and engineering study of the planned project.
At least three new stations would be added as part of the extension — at Sudley Manor Drive, Gainesville, and in Haymarket. A fourth station at Prince William Innovation Park — home to the George Mason University Science and Technology Campus — has also been discussed.
If service is extended, the new rail line would be an extension of VRE’s Manassas line. It would run on Norfolk Southern railroad’s “B” line, which branches off from its main line at Wellington Road in Manassas. The “B” line runs parallel to Wellington Road, crosses underneath Sudley Manor Drive and then continues west underneath Prince William Parkway into Gainesville and Haymarket.
Trains headed west from Washington to Haymarket would service the train station in Downtown Manassas but not the Broad Run station at Manassas Regional Airport, as Manassas line trains do today.
Today, the “B” line is used by freight trains. Those trains would continue to use the line alongside VRE trains. A new bridge that carries cars on Route 28 over Wellington Road in Manassas was built wide enough to accommodate a second set of railroad tracks that could be built as part of VRE’s westward expansion.
Prince William County taxpayers continue to be one of the transit system largest funding sources. Officials like the idea of expanding a popular commuter rail system with a major presence in their backyard.
“I think this would be a great step forward for the Brenstville District,” said district supervisor Jeanine Lawson. “It’s the ideal transportation solution to the traffic congestion we have on I-66.”
Gainesville District Supervisor Peter Candland said riders that have embraced using VRE had helped to decrease the number of cars on I-66. He vows to work with other local officials, as well as residents, to gather input on the project.
“Tere are obviously a myriad of challenges that exist with such projects, including traversing wetland areas, impacts on existing communities, traffic and parking issues at a station, and the disruption on the quality of life for homeowners that would potentially be negatively impacted by the construction of a VRE extension in their community,” said Candland.
The planning and engineering phases of the project are slated to last through the end of 2017. Final design of the new phase is expected two years later. If construction were to begin in 2021, the expansion could open the following year, according to VRE spokesman Bryan Jungwirth.
Founded in 1992, VRE is Virginia’s only commuter rail system. It carries nearly 20,000 average daily riders on its two lines – Manassas to Washington and Fredericksburg to Washington.
Motorists traveling through the intersection of Route 1, Carter Street and Route 218 (Butler Road) in Stafford County can expect some delays this week due to ongoing construction work to improve the Falmouth intersection. Flaggers and/or electronic signs will direct motorists through the work zone.
Route 1 southbound will be reduced to a single lane at the Falmouth intersection so crews can place traffic signal poles at the intersection corners, today and tomorrow, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Overnight, from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m., traffic will be periodically shifted to the northbound or southbound side of the road for waterline installation. During the traffic shift there will be one lane open in each direction on either the northbound or southbound side of Route 1.
Carter Street will closed to traffic overnight, 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., today and tomorrow between Butler Road and Gordon Street. Residents will be provided access to their homes during the closure.
Motorists will be restricted to one lane on the westbound side of Butler Road at Carter Street now through Thursday from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.
For real-time updates on lane closures and work zones, please visit VDOT’s 24-hour traffic information website, www.511virginia.org or download VDOT’s 511Virginia free mobile app. Motorists can also access 511Virginia by calling 511 from any telephone in Virginia.