Traffic & Transit
PRTC will implement some temporary changes for the next phases of Metro SafeTrack work to impact Virginia commuters.
Potomac Mills mall announced it would add some additional temporary commuter parking during the work. We asked Potomac Mills how many more spaces drivers could expect, but they didn’t respond. A PRTC spokeswoman also didn’t have the information.
From a PRTC email:
The third and fourth phases of WMATA’s SafeTrack work are scheduled to shut down a segment of the Blue and Yellow lines in Arlington and Alexandria. Visit Metro’s SafeTrack webpage for details about train frequency and shuttle buses.
–From July 5 through July 11, there will be no rail service between Braddock Road and National Airport.
–From July 12 through July 18, there will be no rail service between National Airport and Pentagon City.
PRTC will implement a few minor changes (detailed below) to help PRTC and Metro passengers.
Also to assist during SafeTrack, Potomac Mills Mall will temporarily increase the number of spaces set aside for commuter parking starting on June 29.
–Several evening trips on the Prince William Metro Direct route will leave later than scheduled, enabling more passengers to make connections. These accommodations will be in place only during these phases of SafeTrack.
The 7:45 p.m. weekday trip will depart the Franconia-Springfield Metro Station at 7:55 p.m.
The 10:40 p.m. weekday trip – the last trip of the night – will depart the Metro station at 10:55 p.m.
The 10:35 p.m. Saturday trip – the last trip of the night – will depart the Metro station at 10:50 p.m.
–Eastern Prince William County residents may want to ride one of the many PRTC OmniRide buses to the Pentagon, Crystal City orRosslyn-Ballston and transfer to Metrobus, Arlington Transit bus or Alexandria DASH bus.
–Those who travel mid-day should consider PRTC’s Dale City – Washington OmniRide MX-1 trip, which leaves PRTC at 11:05 a.m. and picks up passengers at the Route 123/ I-95 Commuter Lot before traveling straight to multiple destinations in downtown D.C.
Potomac Local Poll
Has your commute gotten worse because of Metro's SafeTrack repair program?
Submitted by @Surveillance911:
@PotomacLocal Requesting Medivac Helo to Gordon Plaza for accident (overturned?) at 1615 Hylton Avenue Woodbridge. Pole down? PowerCo on way
— ?=????-??=? (@Surveillance911) June 22, 2016
— ?=????-??=? (@Surveillance911) June 22, 2016
— ?=????-??=? (@Surveillance911) June 22, 2016
— ?=????-??=? (@Surveillance911) June 22, 2016
PRTC sent us a list of upcoming changes to its commuter and local bus systems starting July 5:
PRTC’s Service Change and fare increase will take place Tuesday, July 5. This Service Change includes the service reductions that were publicized earlier in the year during the FY 2017 budget public hearing process. New timetables are now available atwww.PRTCtransit.org. New schedule brochures will be available from operators upon request beginning Tuesday, June 28.
A comprehensive list of all the changes is available on our website.
OmniRide: **Service for most OmniRide routes will be reduced on Fridays. Modified Holiday service becomes no service for OmniRide buses.** There will be significant changes to most OmniRide routes.
Cross County Connector – Timetable changes; some service reductions.
The new fare structure will be:
-Reduced Fare $4.35*
-Reduced Fare $2.00
OmniLink & Cross County Connector:
-Reduced Fare $0.75*
-OmniLink Off-Route Trip Surcharge $1.50
-10-pack of Tokens $15.00
-Reduced Fare 10-pack of Tokens $7.50*
Day Pass – Valid for travel within the local service area (SmarTrip only):
-Reduced Fare $1.70*
Weekly Pass – Valid for travel within the local service area (SmarTrip only):
-Reduced Fare $6.80*
*Reduced fares are available to adults 60 years and older, persons with a disability, or persons presenting a valid Medicare card. Additional information about PRTC’s reduced fare policy is available at http://www.prtctransit.org/local-bus/fares.html.
More from PRTC Interim Director Eric Marx:
A Message from the Interim Executive Director:
While PRTC is on the verge of reducing services and raising fares, I’m pleased to report that we have begun a two-phased strategic planning effort funded by the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT).
Phase I consists of developing recommendations for establishing alternative funding mechanisms and sources including:
—Reviewing and documenting the current state of practice for transit funding in the United States;
—Identifying potential funding opportunities that are not currently used by PRTC; and
—Recommending a number of strategies based on evaluation of the information gathered during plan development.
The Phase I analysis will identify both short-term funding sources, necessary to reduce/eliminate the agency’s remaining average annual $2.2 million shortfall, and sources and strategies to ensure long-term (5+ years) sustainability/growth.
Phase II will develop a strategic plan to guide PRTC’s provision of transit and other Transportation Demand Management (TDM) services through the year 2030. This new plan will build upon and update several documents that have guided PRTC over the past decade. Among the items that will be addressed are:
—Ensuring the sustainability of current services;
—Determining existing service gaps;
—Examining alternative methods of service provision; and
—Developing a framework for future growth.
Recognizing PRTC’s role in both the regional and local transportation networks, this effort will consider significant trends and planned changes within and outside of the three PRTC bus-sponsoring jurisdictions, and will be in keeping with PRTC’s stated mission and the values and goals expressed in those jurisdictions’ plans.
Phase I results are expected in August; Phase II work will begin in July. PRTC anticipates the plan’s development will involve significant general public, customer, and stakeholder participation, and the PRTC Board of Commissioners has already established a project steering committee.
From Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller:
At 8:40 a.m., Wednesday, Virginia State Police responded to a crash in the southbound lanes of I-95 at Exit 158. The crash involved an SUV pulling a trailer. Two people were transported to a nearby hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries. All lanes were reopened by 9:51 a.m. Crash remains under investigation.
All lanes reopened.
Update: Accident: SB on I-95 at MM158 in Prince William Co. 1 travel lane closed. Delay 2 mi.9:40AM
— I95VA (@I95VA) June 22, 2016
A crash involving a U-haul occurred about 9 a.m. in the southbound lanes of Interstate 95 at Prince William Parkway.
We don’t know yet if there are any injuries, or how the crash occurred.
Accident: SB on I-95 at MM158 in Prince William Co. All travel lanes closed. Delay 2 mi.8:52AM
— I95VA (@I95VA) June 22, 2016
Riding Virginia Railway Express into Washington, D.C. is an easy way to enjoy the fireworks on the National Mall.
We rode the Firecracker Express two years ago in and out of the city for the annual fireworks show.
The ride was mostly uneventful. Some passengers on the trip home apparently had a little too much fun during the Independence Day party, so we had to watch our step to avoid a small mess on the floor.
More from VRE:
As you probably have heard, we are operating trains so people can go to DC and see the fireworks on July 4th. Although tickets are available on-line until Friday, June 24th, you may now contact our main office at (703) 684-1001 for more details about purchasing.
The Virginia Railway Express (VRE) will run a Firecracker Special on both the Fredericksburg and Manassas Lines to downtown Washington, DC for Fourth of July Fireworks 2016. Trains will come northbound in the afternoons and will return southbound approximately an hour after the fireworks end.
Tickets will be sold online from June 6, 2016 to June 24, 2016 for $10.00 each person roundtrip (from any station) including all children. Tickets will be sold in our Alexandria office until July 1, 2016, 6:30pm. To purchase tickets at our office visit us at 1500 King Street, Suite 202 Alexandria, VA 22314 or call us at 703-684-1001 9am to 6:30pm any weekday until July 1, 2016 6:30pm. Tickets are non-refundable.
Tickets can be purchased on our website at:
Tickets are non-refundable.
One word is synonymous with the Potomac Mills mall parking lot on any weekend: Jammed.
The retailing center today announced some changes to its parking lot:
The three new parking services include:
Veterans-Only Parking [Opening Wednesday, June 29th]
To honor the brave men and women who have served our country, Potomac Mills will have six reserved spaces for Veterans and their families. The spaces will be located near the main entrance of the mall.
A ribbon cutting ceremony will be held on Wednesday, June 29th near the AMC theaters to officially open the spaces. Remarks will be provided by Marie Moore, Mall Manager, Potomac Mills.
Weekend Valet Parking Program [Now Open]
For a nominal fee, valet parking will be available at the newly remodeled mall entrance next to the restaurant plaza. Hours of operations will be Friday (5 pm – 12:30 a.m.), Saturday (11 a.m. – 12:30 a.m.) and Sunday (11 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.).
Expanded Commuter Parking Lot
As the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s (WMATA) SafeTrack initiative gets under way, more Prince William County residents are expected to be affected. To help ease the situation, Potomac Mills will be expanding its commuter parking lot to accommodate temporary parking for affected residents. The existing commuter lot will nearly double in size allowing more residents the convenience to park their cars and access alternative transportation routes.
Potomac Mills in 2011 reduced the number of commuter parking spaces by 75% to make way for the expansion that included Bahama Breeze, Cheesecake Factory, and Matchbox restaurants.
We did a lot of reporting on it back then, as the move riled commuters:
It is the second week of Metro’s big SafeTrack repairs and Virginia transportation officials say traffic has gotten worse.
While day-to-day analysis of traffic patterns continues, VDOT’s traffic operations center has observed an increase in congestion and delays on some major routes when compared with the same weekdays in recent weeks. Drivers are reminded that impacts may fluctuate based on accidents and other events, and that the month of June can also generally include an uptick in traffic volume on northern Virginia roads, with early vacation traffic, an increase in regional visitors, and schools in session for most of the month.
What you can to to prevent getting stuck in a delay:
During surges that impact their route, commuters are strongly urged to rideshare, telework, adjust work schedules and use other alternate options. For those who must drive, allow additional time for trips and plan for extended rush hours, and remain alert to increased congestion as commuters adjust routes and travel methods during each surge.
Commuters are reminded to visit www.wmata.com/safetrack for details on station-specific impacts, links to transit options and local commute alternatives.
VDOT’s traffic operations center will monitor and adjust signal-timing to help support extended peak hours and changes in traffic patterns.
VDOT will also continue to evaluate lane closures for maintenance, construction and permitted work on impacted roads during the day.
Has your commute gotten worse because of Metro's SafeTrack repair program?
Work is underway to bury utility lines at Prince William Parkway and Minnieville Road,
Once buried, crews will move an out-of-place concrete traffic island on Prince William Parkway east and move it to the right, as well as move a merge lane that carries drivers turning right onto the parkway from Minniville Road.
We wrote about the project last year. The effort is now expected to cost $2.7 million and should be finished by the end fo the year, according to Prince William County Transportation Department spokesman Rick Canizales.
Crews last year completed work to widen Prince William Parkway from four to six lanes between Minnieville and Old Bridge roads. This is the final phase of that project.
Hey back way commuters who use Aden Road to Fitzwater Drive to get to Stafford County and points south: this will delay your trip.
A blue sedan went into a ditch while headed east on Aden Road, at the intersection of Parkgate Drive. The accident scene is just east of a four-way stop at Aden that causes a major backup for drivers on Aden Road ( the country).
Fire and rescue crews pulled up at 4 p.m. The driver appeared to be outside of his car talking on his cell phone. He appears to be OK.
At about 2:30 p.m. near Manassas (the city), fire and rescue crews were called to a report of an unconscious person at the intersection of Sudley Road and Sudley Manor Drive.
A Prince William police spokesman said it was a medical call. A fire and rescue spokesman did not have any about the incident at the time we emailed him.
It looks like at least one person was taken to a hospital. A two truck was called to the intersection to remove a silver hatchback.
Purcell Road will be closed to through traffic between Hunter’s Grove and Westside roads from 8 p.m. Friday, June 10 until 5 a.m. Monday, June 13 to replace a drainage pipe, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.
Access during the closure will be limited to residents within the closure area and emergency responders.
Through traffic will be detoured via Kahns Road and Hoadly Road back to Purcell Road (pictured).
Message signs alerting motorists to the closure are in place. Detour signage will be in place during the closure.
From 95 Express Lanes:
The northbound 95 Express Lanes and I-395 high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes will close weekdays at 10 a.m. for the morning reversal beginning Friday, June 10. The early closure will enable southbound travelers to enter the 95 Express Lanes around 11:30 a.m., one hour earlier than the current schedule. Overnight weekday reversals will continue to take place from about midnight to 2 a.m.
“During summer months, we consistently see much stronger demand in the southbound direction across both the regular lanes and Express Lanes during the late morning period,” said Nic Barr, vice president of operations, Transurban. “By providing drivers with an extra hour of access to the southbound 95 Express Lanes, we hope to improve their travel experience and reduce congestion in the adjacent regular lanes. With summer traffic beginning to increase, this is an ideal time to implement the adjusted schedule.”
The schedule will remain in place throughout the summer.
OmniRide buses that are used to take commuters from Prince William County to Washington. D.C. will continue to operate.
The transit system’s $56 million budget keeps commuter, and local buses running for the next year and includes a mixture of ride fare increases, service cuts, and administrative savings to include lower-than-budgeted diesel fuel costs. Overall, it’s good news for an agency that earlier this year faced a $9 million budget shortfall and discussed cost-saving measures like converting its commuter bus fleet to feeder buses only serving Metro stations.
Prince William County — the largest funder of OmniRide, because it has the most residents who use the service — kicked in an additional $6 million in one-time funds to offset the budget shortfall this year. Next year, and for every year until 2021, the transit system will continue to face a $2.2 million budget shortfall, said Eric Marx, the interim director for the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission.
It will be up to local politicians a year from now make up that funding, or else the transit agency must look for more cuts or “cost savings.”
Overall, Virginian’s have become more “multi-modal” since 2007, according to a statewide travel study conducted by the Southeastern Institute of Reasearch and heralded by Virginia’s Department of Rail and Public Transportation.
The study found a six-percent decrease in single-driving commuting, meaning those to travel to work along in a car. Statewide, commuters still travel the same distances (about 37 miles one way) and spend the same amount of time (about 30 minutes one way) in 2015 as they did in 2007.
Fredericksburg commuters have the longest commute in the state traveling on average 60 miles round trip, spending an average of 90 minutes roundtrip commuting, according to the study.
The statewide numbers are important to OmniRide. However, the agency will soon begin its two-phase study that will examine how other localities across the nation fund their transit systems. The buses in our region are funded by state, and federal subsidies, and from a motor fuels tax fund reserve that built up when gas prices topped $4 a gallon six years ago but now is near depletion.
“Are they using gas taxes, or are they using meals taxes or some other form of funding? These are the things we will look at,” said Marx.
A second phase of the investigation will examine alternative transportation modes. Slugging, and the rise of ride share services like Uber and Lyft, and how they impact or offset transit services, has gotten the attention of transportation officials.
New traffic delineator posts on Graham Park Road in Dumfries are in place to help control traffic.
The new posts are standing at one of the busiest intersections in the town at Graham Park Road and Route 1, between Dunkin Donuts and Triangle Shopping Plaza. This section of Graham Park Road is used by drivers from Route 1 north and south, and by drivers coming out of the Prince William Estates, Williamstown, and Graham Park Shores neighborhoods need to access Route 1.
Before the $2,000 delineators ware installed last week, drivers making a left from Graham Park Road into Triangle Shopping Plaza would stop traffic on the two-lane road. This caused backups on Route 1 north, said town manager Daniel Taber.
Drivers who want to turn left into Triangle Shopping Center now must turn left onto Route 1 south at a signal light, and then turn left into the plaza entrance from Route 1.
The traffic delineator is the next in a line of traffic improvements made to the busy intersection, to include retiming the two traffic signals at the intersection. A yet-to-begin improvement project at the intersection will install a new control box for the signal lights, consolidating the number of control boxes from two to one. Additionally, the project will add a new northbound lane alongside the southbound portion of Route 1 from Tebbs Lane to Graham Park Drive, so northbound drivers no longer have to turn right on southbound Route 1, exit the town, turn around, and drive north, said Taber.
A separate road project about two miles north of Graham Park Road, to add two new turn lanes from Route 1 north to Route 234 north is nearly completed. Severe traffic backups along Route 1 caused by drivers turning left onto Route 234 prompted the new lanes, said Taber.
The project was administered by Prince William County and VDOT.
I-95N paving bet. mm 146 -148 in Stafford near the Pr. Wm. Co. line will cont. on Fri. night. Expect delays bet. 10p. Fri. until 7a. Sat.
— VDOT Fredericksburg (@VaDOTFRED) June 2, 2016
More than 38 million people across the U.S. will travel this Memorial Day weekend.
Low fuel prices — the lowest they’ve been in 11 years — will spur most of that travel.
Around here, the operators of the E-Z Pass Express Lanes on Interstate 95 from North Stafford Alexandria are getting ready. Toll lanes operator Transurban says toll prices will be higher than average, drivers should pay attention to overhead warning signs, and that congestion on I-95’s travel lanes can lead to congestion in the Express Lanes at the southern terminus in Stafford County.
When to go:
The busiest getaway travel times on the regular I-95 lanes and the 95 Express Lanes before Memorial
Day weekend in 2015 were Thursday and Friday between noon and 6 p.m. Delays were worse on
Friday. We expect those periods will again face the heaviest travel volumes
To avoid higher-than-average tolls and peak traffic, drivers should depart before noon on Thursday or after 6 p.m. on Friday
On the road:
An advisory sign before the Quantico/Joplin Road exit will alert Express Lanes drivers to any delays ahead on the Lanes
Drivers can then decide whether to exit the Lanes at Joplin Road or continue to the end of the 95
Express Lanes near Garrisonville Road
If delays increase, signage before the Joplin Road exit will advise travelers to exit to the regular lanes
Express Assist crews will be available to help drivers who get stuck on the Lanes
Riding with family or friends? If you have at least two passengers in your vehicle, don’t forget to put your E-ZPass® FlexSM in HOV mode for a toll-free trip
Here’s the northbound / southbound schedule fro the lanes for the holiday weekend:
The 95 Express Lanes reversal schedule will be adjusted for holiday getaway traffic and to accommodate the Rolling Thunder event on Sunday, May 29. Here’s what drivers can expect:
Thursday, May 26: Southbound reversal begins one hour earlier at 10 a.m.
Friday, May 27: Southbound reversal begins one hour earlier at 10 a.m.
Saturday, May 28: Normal operations – Lanes reverse to northbound at 2 p.m.
Sunday, May 29: Northbound Lanes will close around 7:30 a.m. The Rolling Thunder event will access the Lanes via Opitz Boulevard with the support of Express Assist crews. The Lanes will open around 11 a.m. again in the northbound direction
Monday, May 30: Express Lanes remain northbound all day
Tuesday, May 31: Normal operations – southbound reversal begins around 11 a.m. with Lanes opening by 1 p.m.
For those staying close to home and taking Metro, the subway will operate on a Sunday schedule on Memorial Day with the first Blue and Orange line trains leaving the station at 7 a.m. and the last Orange line train arriving at the Vienna station at 12:35 a.m. and the last Blue line train leaving arriving in Springfield at 12:44 a.m.
There’s a plan to spend more than
$330 $23 billion on transportation improvements in Northern Virginia by 2040.
That plan is called “TransAction 2040,” and transportation planners want you to become more familiar with it. A meeting will be held from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday in Manassas Park where consultants from the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority — the agency that
approves and doles ranks regional transportation projects making them eligible for state funding — will ask a simple question: What’s wrong with your commute.
Obviously, if you live in Northern Virginia, there’s not one simple answer.
The responses will be used to update TransAction — a long-range planning guide that identifies what roadways need improvements, and how to better fund and expand transit. The list also serves as a way to tell state legislators in Richmond about the problems Northern Virginia drivers face on a daily basis.
“NVTA is one of the most progressive approaches to traffic control that I’ve seen,” said Manassas City Councilman Jonathan Way. “They monitor transportation funding, something that we in Northern Virginia value very much because we’re putting more money in than we’re getting back.”
Consultants will use the feedback as they implement updates to the TransAction2014 plan.
The program is separate from the more than 20 projects evaluated by the state for possible funding. The plans were reviewed for their potential to reduce traffic delays, congestion, and to increase access to jobs within a 45 to 60-minute time span by the year 2020.
At the top of the list: Improvements to the Interstate 66 / Route 28 interchange in Centreville.
NVTA will hold a workshop on its TransAction plan at the Manassas Park Community Center. It is open to the public.
James Hill is a section of Brooke Road that sits near Potomac Creek.
There have been nearly 60 crashes along the winding 2-lane road in Stafford County since 1996. The majority of the crashes involved personal injuries.
One of the most infamous crashes to occur here in 1995 and injured 15-year-old Molly Gill, of Aquia Harbour. Gill was paralyzed from the accident and later died after complications from surgery.
The Stafford Sheriff’s Office now honors a victim of crime that has demonstrated resilience and perseverance with an award named in Gill’s honor.
In 2008, Stafford County’s Youth Driver Taskforce identified this section of Brooke Road to be in need of improvement. The task force called for the straightening of this section of Brooke Road, and for widening the lanes to 11 feet wide with six-feet shoulders.
The task force was the brainchild of then Stafford Board of Supervisors member turned Virginia Delegate Mark Dudenhefer, who also lost his daughter to a crash on a two-lane road in Stafford County.
Stafford leaders decided to fund the project. They purchased the needed land to widen the lanes and to relocate utilities and then moved them.
Then money dried up due to declining gas tax revenues and county leaders shelved the project. Now Aquia District Supervisor Paul Milde wants to use about $3 million of unspent carryover funds from the School Board to finish the job.
Each year, the unspent money is returned to the Board of Supervisors for reallocation. Milde said the improving the roadway would benefit all drivers, including students, and he hopes the School Board supports the move.
“Hopefully, they will understand because the need is so unique,” said Milde.
The total price tag for fixing this portion of Brooke Road is about $6 million. The state promised about $3 million in matching funds if Stafford County put up half, said Milde.
The School Board has about $17 million in carryover funds from this year and last. The Board expects to spend $6 million of it before the end of the year ending June 30 to improve the track at Stafford High School, a parking lot at Hampton Oaks Elementary School, and to give each Stafford County Public Schools Employee a $300 stipend, said Falmouth District School Board member Scott Hirons.
Hirons said he saw no problem in spending the $2.8 million to fix the road. If the county doesn’t step up soon it will lose the state’s match funding for the project, said Milde, who plans to bring up the road project to the Board of Supervisors at the June 7 meeting.
However, Hirons said he hopes the Board of Supervisors will put their money where their mouth is and fund a $2 million rebuild of Anne E. Moncure Elementary School in North Stafford. Four years ago, the Board of Supervisors said it wanted to the land on which the 44-year-old school sits, along busy Garrisonville Road.
That land is better suited for mixed use retail development, county documents stated at the time. County officials the laid out plans to purchase about 22 acres of property on nearby Juggins Road, to lease the land back to the School Board at no cost, where a new school would be built.
It’s now 2016, and Moncure Elementary School hasn’t moved.
“The Board of Supervisors asked us to dedicate the money [for the new school] to make the [Capital Improvement Plan] work,” said Hirons, who added the new Moncure Elementary School is in the design process.
Road crews on Interstate 95 in Woodbridge will close the northbound portion of the highway in the area of Cardinal Drive just before the exits for Dale City and Rippon Landing.
More in a press release :
Lane closures will occur between 9:30 p.m. tonight and 5 a.m. Thursday, May 19 on northbound I-95 at the Cardinal Drive overpass to complete work related to the removal of overhead signs, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.
Single lane closures will occur between 9:30 and 11 p.m.; up to two lanes will be closed between 11 p.m. tonight and 5 a.m. tomorrow. At least one lane will be open during all closures.
Follow VDOT Northern Virginia on Twitter: @vadotnova
The annual Law Enforcement United Ride is expected to enter Stafford County after 3 p.m. today.
Participants in the annual bicycle ride to raise awareness of fallen police officers and funds for their families will spend the night in Stafford County. They’ll depart from their hotels on Thursday morning.
The bicyclists are expected to head north and arrive in Prince William County about 8 a.m., Thursday, May 12, 2016, said Prince William police Sgt. Jonathan Perok.
Police do not expect any impacts to rush hour traffic due to the ride.
Bikers will use Route 1 north as they travel to Arlington National Cemetery. The ride will eventually end in Washington, D.C.
Riders departed Chesapeake on Tuesday for the annual 3-day event.