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Updated: Pedestrians injured after PRTC commuter bus slams into Arlington apartment building

From an email written by PRTC Interim Executive Director Eric Marx: 

I’m writing to inform you that one of our OmniRide commuter buses was involved in an accident within the last half hour or so. Details are few and sketchy – all we know at this time is that bus number 355 appears to have struck the Lennox apartment building in Crystal City, that the operator has been transported to the hospital, that there were no passengers onboard, and that there appear to have been additional injuries.

Update 8 p.m. from a PRTC spokeswoman: 

It was a strategic bus, not in service. It actually wasn’t on a route at the time.  Two pedestrians injured, plus driver

Update From PRTC: 

A PRTC OmniRide bus was involved in an accident at approximately 6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 29 in Arlington, resulting in three people – the bus operator and two people outside the bus – being transported to the hospital. The bus was carrying no passengers at the time.

The accident is still under investigation, but it appears the bus struck a vehicle on South 12th Street in Arlington. It’s unclear at this time if the vehicle struck by the bus was parked. After the collision, the bus ran onto the curb and struck the wall of a business on the first floor of the Lenox Club apartment building in Pentagon City.

One pedestrian on the sidewalk and one person in the business appear to have non-life-threatening injuries. The operator also was injured; his condition remains unknown.

The bus, a 2006 MCI, was towed from the scene and impounded by Arlington County Police. The bus was not carrying passengers because it was stationed in the area to be put into service only if necessary.

PRTC and its contractor, First Transit Inc., are cooperating fully with the Arlington County Police investigation. 

In addition to the investigation by Arlington authorities, PRTC and First Transit also will perform a review to determine what happened and if the crash was preventable. The internal investigation will include interviewing witnesses, reviewing video of the incident, checking the vehicle and reviewing the bus operator’s driving history.

Traffic
App for public transport now features PRTC bus arrivals

From Potomac & Rappahannock Transportation Commission:

PRTC bus arrival information is now available on Moovit, the world’s #1 transit app that’s free on iOS, Android and the Web.

Moovit, which has more than 55 million users, combines information from public transit entities along with live information from users, offering travelers a real-time picture, including the best route.

“Some people hesitate to use transit because of the uncertainty about when their bus will arrive. By providing real-time information, we’ll make our transit services more attractive and help to put riders’ minds at ease,” said PRTC Chairman Frank J. Principi. (more…)

Traffic
Expect overnight work on I-95 ramp at Dale Boulevard

From VDOT: 

A portion of the ramp from southbound I-95 to Dale Blvd (Route 784) will be closed the nights of Tuesday, March 28 through Friday, March 31 for tree clearing related to the ramp realignment project, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

The ramp will be closed between the Potomac Mills Road spur ramp and Dale Boulevard according to the following schedule:

  • Tuesday, March 28 through Thursday, March 30: 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.
  • Friday, March 31: 10 p.m. to 9 a.m.

Traffic will be detoured via Potomac Mills Road and Gideon Drive back to Dale Boulevard.

All work is weather permitting.

The project will realign the ramp and add a traffic signal so that traffic from southbound I-95 can merge more safely onto westbound Dale Boulevard. The project is scheduled for completion in summer 2017.

                             

Traffic
VDOT looks at extending I-95 Express Lanes to Fredericksburg

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — From 50,000 feet, the 10-mile stretch of the Interstate 95 E-ZPass Express Lanes proposed by the Virginia Department of Transportation is known as “Component 3A” of the Atlantic Gateway project launched by Governor Terry McAuliffe (D-VA) last year.

From ground level, the new express lanes extension proposal is a step in the right direction according to Lorenza Cooper who said: “they’re not extending is as far as it needs to go.” Cooper, was one of the attendees looking over the express lanes maps and fliers at a VDOT public information meeting March 21 at Freedom High School in Woodbridge. He is a Stafford resident that uses the existing lanes when he has to but admits the tolls are something he’s not comfortable with. “I only take small segments since it’s so expensive,” Cooper said.

The 10-mile extension VDOT will run from Route 610 in North Stafford to Route 17 in, just north of the Rappahannock River outside Fredericksburg. There are three major access points in the new plan: at Russell Road near Quantico; Courthouse Road, or Exit 140; and Route 17. The Russell Road access point isn’t even in the new stretch but is needed for those headed to Quantico. As with the other express lanes on I-95 and I-495, there are tolls for vehicles with one or two occupants, but those with three or more can ride toll-free.

The meeting was just to test the waters and let residents know what is on the planning tables, said VDOT spokesperson Kelly Hannon. (more…)

Traffic
VRE nixes expansion to Gainesville, Haymarket. It’ll study expanding, relocating its Broad Run station in Manassas

As we originally reported it would do in December, Virginia Railway Express this month decided to end its study of expanding commuter rail west of Manassas to Haymarket and Gainesville.

From VRE: 

“The Virginia Railway Express (VRE) Operations Board unanimously voted to advance the Broad Run Terminus Expansion alternative of the Gainesville-Haymarket Extension Study. This alternative, which was recommended by the VRE staff and endorsed by the Prince William County Board of Supervisors, allows for capacity expansion along the Manassas line by expanding storage at the Broad Run train yard, and potentially realigning the current station and adding new parking at the Broad Run station.

The vote allows VRE to advance into “Phase 2” of the current project, which will include the completion of preliminary engineering and preparation for National Environmental Policy Act evaluation. An early step in the next phase will be continuing coordination with the Norfolk Southern railroad, working toward their approval of the necessary railroad infrastructure.

The Broad Run Terminus was one of five alternatives studied by VRE with input from the local community and the various jurisdictions along the Manassas line. The other alternatives included eliminating the Broad Run station and expanding the line as far as Gainesville or Haymarket. In approving the Broad Run Expansion alternative, the Board noted its decision was based on an analysis that showed this was the most cost effective means of addressing future service needs along the Manassas line.
(more…)

Traffic
Winter storm will impact travel Monday night, Tuesday

From VDOT: 

Road crews are preparing for major snowfall to start during the evening commute Monday, and the Virginia Department of Transportation asks that drivers and residents do the same.

Crews are pre-treating interstates and high-volume roads with brine today, to help prevent snow from sticking when the storm begins. VDOT asks that drivers give these large, slow-moving tankers plenty of room.

By tomorrow afternoon, about 4,500 pieces of equipment will stage through the region to begin pushing snow once two inches have fallen.

How you can prepare: (more…)

Traffic
Update: Victims in Prince William Parkway crash identified

From Prince William police: 

Double Fatal Crash Investigation – On March 11 at 8:50PM, investigators with the Crash Unit responded to Prince William Pkwy between I-95 and York Dr in Woodbridge (22191) to investigate a two-vehicle accident. Two victims, identified as adult males, were pronounced dead at the scene. A third victim, also an adult male, has been flown to an area hospital with

A third victim, also an adult male, has been flown to an area hospital with life-threatening injuries. The investigation into the cause of the crash is currently underway. Further information on the crash will be released when available. The identity of the deceased will also be released once a next of kin is notified.

Prince William Pkwy is expected to be closed for an extended period and will reopen as soon as the roadway is cleared. The investigation continues. 

Update 

Further investigation revealed that the driver of a 2006 Honda Civic was traveling westbound on Prince William Pkwy between York Dr/Summerland Dr and the I-95 northbound on ramp at a high rate of speed when the driver lost control of the vehicle.

The Civic then veered across the median onto the eastbound side of the roadway and struck a 2001 Mitsubishi Mirage traveling in the eastbound lanes. The driver of the Civic and a passenger of the Mirage were pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver of the Mirage was flown to an area hospital with life threatening injuries and is expected to recover. It is unknown at this time if alcohol and drugs are a factor. The investigation continues.

Identified:

The driver of the 2006 Honda Civic was identified as Kevin Jonathan MARTINEZ, 20 of Woodbridge

The passenger of the 2001 Mitsubishi Mirage was identified as Miguel Montae GRIFFITH, 24, of Ft. Washington, Maryland

The driver of the 2001 Mitsubishi Mirage was identified as a 30-year-old man of Manassas

Traffic
One trapped after sedan collides with semi truck

QUANTICO, Va. — One person is trapped inside sedan after it collided with a tractor-trailer on Interstate 95 near Quantico.

Fire and rescue crews are working to remove the patient from the wrecked car. A right lane on I-95 south at milepost 150 is blocked.

More as we have it.

3:47 p.m. 

The victim is pulled from the wreckage. 

Gainesville parking lot unavailable on March 10

From PTRC Transit:

The lot at the Gainesville United Methodist Church will be unavailable for parking by Gainesville OmniRide and Linton Hall Metro Direct passengers on Friday, March 10, 2017 due to a Boy Scouts mulch sale.

Alternate parking will be across the street at the rear of Holy Trinity Catholic Church. This alternate parking arrangement is for Friday, March 10 only.

Thank you for your cooperation.

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. 

Traffic
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

123OldBridge
OccoquanRoad
123I95

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…)

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