WE ARE LOCAL News in Prince William, Virginia



Traffic & Transit

Who will clean bus shelters?

OmniLink switch riders buses at the Potomac Rappahannock Transportation Center in Woodbridge.

Prince William County, Va. — It’s time for the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission to decide who will clean and remove snow from its bus shelters.

The transit agency that operates OmniRide and OmniLink buses is expected to open the bidding process to find a company that will regularly clean the windows, remove any graffiti, as well as snow and ice from the transit sheds along area roads.

The number of shelters in PRTC’s inventory has grown over the past five years as new shelters have been added, forcing the agency to now to find a company through the competitive procurement process. (more…)

New commuter parking demanded for HOT lanes

(File) Drivers travel past the Pohick Road overpass at Lorton on the new fourth lane that opened Friday on Interstate 95 in Fairfax County. (VDOT)

Woodbridge, Va. –– If developers want Prince William leaders’ support for High Occupancy Toll lanes, they’d better build a new commuter parking lot.

Commuter parking has been the focus of much debate in the Woodbridge in recent weeks, after Potomac Mills mall announced they would reduce commuter parking there by 75 percent.

That left officials looking to find residents new places to park and ride, possibly leasing spaces at local churches.

Any help from the developers of the HOT lanes, Texas-based Fluor, and Transubran in Australia, would be welcome.

“If we are going to drop our opposition to the HOT lanes their developer must agree to build at least 1,000 new commuter parking spaces in eastern Prince William County,” said Stewart.

Many of those spaces should be located near the state’s largest commuter lot, at Horner Road in Woodbridge, he added. (more…)

Parking reduction could force commuting, work changes

There are several commuter lots in the Woodbridge area.

Rhonda Reed is looking to cut her losses and move north because of the lack of effective commuter parking in Woodbridge.

Though she lives in the Virginia suburb she works in Friendship Heights, Md., just north of the Washington, D.C. line.

Use our interactive map of commuter lots in the Potomac Communities that could provide a you a parking alternative to the Potomac Mills mall commuter parking lot.

She leaves her house each weekday morning by 6:45 a.m. to get to the Potomac Mills mall commuter lot by 7:15 a.m. to get a parking space, before the lot becomes full. (more…)

95 road work rescheduled

Photo: Mary Davidson

Photo: Mary Davidson

Commuters use a busy Interstate 95 near Woodbridge on a weekday morning. (Mary Davidson)

Lorton, Va. –– What was billed as overnight road work on Interstate 95 on Tuesday night has been postponed until Wednesday.

Crews will close the ramp from I-95 south to U.S. 1 south (at mile post 161 in Lorton) from 10 p.m. Wednesday until 5 a.m. Thursday.

The ramp from the from the High Occupancy Vehicle lanes to U.S. 1 south will also be closed during those hours, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation. (more…)

Rain forecasted as crews prep for ice

Road conditions deteriorated fast was snow fell fast on Jan. 26, 2011, on Garrisonville Road (Va. 610) in North Stafford. (File) (Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)

It’s going to rain overnight and into tomorrow morning.

And while there remains a chance for freezing rain to fall, temperatures are slowing expected to rise overnight which would mean a quarter and a half inch of rain could fall over the region, according to the National Weather Service.

Temperatures will remain in the mid-30s overnight and will rise in the low 50s Wednesday.

At 6:30 p.m., a freezing rain advisory was still in effect for the Potomac Communities and was expected to remain in effect until 4 a.m.

Ice or no ice road crews throughout the region were preparing for another long night of treating roads in advance of Wednesday morning’s rush hour. (more…)

Church could ease parking woes

(File) An OmniRide commuter bus bound for Dale City stops at 14th Street and New York Avenue in Downtown Washington and picks up about 20 passengers as slugs looked on.

Woodbridge, Va. –– Commuters that will be forced from the commuter lot at Potomac Mills mall could soon park at the First Baptist Church of Woodbridge.

The church is considering leasing to Prince William County up to 500 parking spaces in their 700-space lot for commuters to use on weekdays.

The church, with a 1,250-member congregation, sits at Minnieville and Elm Farm roads just off Prince William Parkway and stands to benefit financially from the deal.

“This is a deliberative process for us when we are considering annexing a large amount of spaces for commuter parking, and we also have to think about the impacts of our ministry,” said First Baptist Church of Woodbridge Executive Pastor Frank Johnson. (more…)

VRE changes probed

Virginia Railway Express wants  to change some of its policies, and has invited its riders to comment on the proposed changes.

The commuter railroad would like to eliminate the group fare, which allows passengers who ride in groups of 10 or more a discounted fare. Regular riders have complained about the policy.

VRE also wants to decrease the cost of an Amtrak step-up ticket from $10 to $5 to help ease crowding on VRE trains. The hope would be more riders would opt to ride Amtrak trains, pay a little more than the cost of a regular VRE ticket  and get to their destinations on a less-crowded train. (more…)

Icy blast eyes region

Road conditions deteriorated fast was snow fell fast on Jan. 26, 2011, on Garrisonville Road (Va. 610) in North Stafford. (File) (Mary Davidson/PotomacLocal.com)

Another round of wintry weather is set to move into the region, and road crews will be out treating the roads before conditions worsen and ice forms. Crews in Fairfax and Prince William counties will begin treating the roads at 3 p.m.

In Stafford County, crews will come in and be on standby at 8 p.m.They will not pre-treat the roads as the precipitation forcasted to fall there is expected to start as rain and would wash away any chemicals used to pre-treat road surfaces, said Virginia Department of Transportation spokeswoman Tina Bundy. (more…)

Neighborhoods want parking restrictions

North Stafford's Hampton Oaks subdivision sits off Mine Road and Northampton Boulevard.

North Stafford, Va. –– The Hampton Oaks subdivision wants to be the next to ban owners from parking commercial and pleasure vehicles on its streets.

The Stafford County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday is expected to set the date of a public hearing that would allow residents to comment on the proposal put forth by the neighborhood’s home owners’ association banning trucks, boats, trailers, motor homes, vehicles with missing parts and license plates from parking on any street in the neighborhood both public and private. (more…)

VRE’s week off to slow start

Woodbridge, Va. –– Delays this morning have plagued Virginia Railway Express passengers on the system’s Fredericksburg line.

Riders got early word from the transit system that train 308, which departs Fredericksburg at 6:30 a.m., was going to be late because of mechanical issues. It wasn’t long after that the train had been canceled altogether and riders told they could board Metro for free, by showing a valid VRE ticket.

In addition to the Metro option, riders still waiting on station platforms in Quantico and Woodbridge had the option to take an Amtrak train in place of the canceled VRE train as far as Union Station in Washington.

The next VRE train following the one that was canceled, train 312, was rolling along at 8 a.m. albeit 20 minutes behind its regular schedule.

95 lanes closing Tuesday for highway work

Lorton, Va. –– Weather permitting, the Virginia Department of Transportation will be close the ramp from Interstate 95 south to U.S. 1 south (Exit 161) from 10 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 1 to 5 a.m. Feb. 2 for steel beam erection as part of the I-95 Widening Project. The ramp from High Occupancy Vehicle lanes to U.S. 1 south will also close at 10 p.m.

Drivers on I-95 south headed to U.S. 1 south will be detoured to Prince William Parkway exit (Exit 158B), and should then follow signs back to I-95 north to Route 123 east (Exit 160) to U.S. 1. (more…)

VDOT to hit streets again tonight

Traffic was light at 7:50 a.m. Thursday Jan. 27, 2011 following the storm that forced many area drivers to abandon their cars on the roads. (VDOT)

Virginia Department of Transportation crews will be out in force once more this evening.

Tonight, 2,200 trucks will continue working to plow and address refreeze issues, with the goal of making all Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William subdivision streets passable for the a.m. rush tomorrow. Crews treating roads with salt and sand will also help prepare for the light snow expected to begin in the early morning.

VDOT reminds residents to shovel driveways to the right (when facing the street) to help prevent crews from plowing them back in. Also, residents should park in driveways if possible, or on the odd-numbered side of the street to give snowplows the most room to clear.


Park on the odd side of the street, please

Mt. Vernon, Va. –– Residents in the Mt. Vernon area should park their cars on of the sides of the streets with odd numbered addresses.

The request from Fairfax County officials comes following the snow that blanketed the region Wednesday night.

Leaving the even-numbered sides free of parked cars will allow snow plows to more easily access areas that need plowed, stated an email from Fairfax County Supervisor Gerry Hyland’s office.

The email also encouraged residents to clear snow from sidewalks, mailboxes and fire hydrants.

Crews face abandoned cars, downed trees

Traffic was light at 7:50 a.m. Thursday, following the storm that forced many area drivers to abandon their cars on the roads. (VDOT)

Fairfax County, Va. –– It’s the morning after the first major snowfall of the season and stalled and abandoned cars, icy conditions, downed power lines and trees are making it a slow going for commuters and road crews.

Many school systems have closed, federal offices are opening two hours late, and those commuters who must work today are making plans as to how they’re going to get there.

It was just as tough for commuters yesterday afternoon as Virginia State Police in Northern Virginia were called to 532 calls for help, between 5 and 10 p.m. (more…)

Continuing Storm Coverage

Update 1 p.m.

Dominion Virginia Power is reporting outages in the following areas:

Lake Ridge (the hardest hit in the Potomac Communities) 1,475 customers without power

Mt. Vernon 755 customers without power.

After what was a light morning rush hour the roads are a slushy mess, but more importantly passable.

The past 24 hours have been a busy time for police officers in Prince William County, as they were called to 1,300 incidents. Police today are using unmarked vehicles to help them better navigate the slush-covered roads. (more…)

Bill aims to consolidate PRTC

OmniLink switch buses at the Potomac Rappahannock Transportation Center in Woodbridge.

Woodbridge, Va. –– The Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission has appealed to the governor for its own continued existence.

A new bill in Virginia’s General Assembly sponsored by Del. David Albo (R-52 Fairfax) aims to consolidate PRTC, charged with overseeing operations of OmniRide and OmniLink buses and Virginia Railway Express, and Northern Virginia Transportation Authority and other transit agencies into one organization that serves Northern Virginia. (more…)

VRE explores options to handle crowding

A Virginia Railway Express train pulls into the Woodbridge station. (File Photo: Mary Davidson)

Expanding ridership on Virginia’s only commuter railroad has caused crowding, and forced rail officials to look for ways to extend the length of trains.

Virginia Railway Express’ CEO Dale Zehner in an email to riders Thursday stated ridership on the two-line commuter rail system has reached nearly 20,000 passengers on its busiest days – 10 of which were in October.

Reaching critical mass has prompted Zehner to explore the option of sending one train back each weekday morning to the Broad Run station on the Manassas line, after its stopping at Union Station in Washington. (VRE trains usually park at Union Station in Washington for the day until they are needed again for the afternoon commute). (more…)

95 reopens after icy crashes

Icy conditions Monday night led to the crash of two tractor trailers on I-95 in Triangle. (VDOT)

Update 12:40 a.m.
Prince William County authorities say a closed portion of Interstate 95 north at Triangle reopened to traffic at 12:30 a.m., following a series of tractor trailer crashes.

Triangle, Va. –– One lane of northbound traffic on Interstate 95 at Triangle has been reopened following the crash of two tractor trailers.

The tractor trailers crashed near Joplin Road some time after 11 p.m., and one began leaking fuel, officials said.

Officials had diverted traffic from the roadway onto U.S. 1. (more…)

VRE: AM commute could be icy

With freezing rain and some light snow in the forecast, Virginia Railway Express officials say it could be a messy Tuesday morning commute.

While the transit system as of Monday night had no plans of canceling or delaying service on Tuesday, they do warn the platforms at stations could be icy during morning hours.

They’ve urged riders to allow plenty of time to get to the station, use handrails on ramps and while boarding the trains, and to wear sensible clothes and shoes appropriate for the wintry weather. (more…)

Fewer parking spaces got you bummed? You have options

OmniLink switch buses at the Potomac Rappahannock Transportation Center in Woodbridge.

Woodbridge, Va. –– The expansion of the Horner Road commuter lot in Woodbridge may provide some relief for commuters that will no longer be able to park at Potomac Mills mall.  But it won’t come fast enough to help those who will be put out on February 14.

Potomac Mills announced Thursday it would curtail commuter parking in their lots by 75 percent beginning Valentine’s Day. Afterward, mall managers suggested putout commuters take the bus.

But that may not be an option for many who would board OmniRide commuter buses near the mall, as nearly all of those early morning buses are full. (more…)

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