Dear PoPville – Transit Edition

Photo by PoPville flickr user thisisbossi

Couple transit related questions:

“Dear PoPville,

So I was driving home today and had an errand to run in SE Capitol Hill, so like I (and everyone else who lives in the area) frequently do, I took the “RFK Traffic Only” exit off of the SE freeway (right as it goes under Pennsylvania Avenue). There’s always been a Do Not Enter sign there, but everyone ignores it since it’s by far the most convenient way to get to that corner of Capital Hill. Tonight there were two DC cops stopping every car, lecturing the drivers (including me!) on how it was illegal, threatening tickets, and then waving us on. The cop was actually fairly cool about it, and I’m sure he was just doing his job, so I bare no ill will. But it is the BEST way to get into the area, and I can’t for the life of me figure out why the city would want to prevent it’s use when it’s one good thing in a city of otherwise so often painful traffic! Do you or your readers have any idea what the cities motivation is?”

Anyone know why the RFK Traffic Only lane is restricted?

and another reader is curious about the Green Line skipping stations:

“Dear PoPville,

Every morning I take the Green Line from Georgia Ave to College Park for work. On my commute this morning, we arrived at Fort Totten and the conductor announced that the train would only be servicing the PG Plaza and Greenbelt stations. For service to West Hyattsville and College Park, we were exit the train and board one of the following Green Line trains (which were 1 and 2 minutes behind).

This didn’t really cause me any inconvenience, as there were two more trains arriving in the next two minutes. But I am sort of curious as to why that happened. I’ve lived here for 7 years and take Metro every day and I’ve never experienced a train just skipping stations that weren’t otherwise closed. With two trains immediately following, I wonder if they just got “bunched up” and were trying to run a train off the line to get back on normal schedule.

Anyone ever experience this before? Thoughts?”

56 Comment

  • The first OP is asking what motivation the city has to enforce its laws?

  • The Greenbelt metro thing was happening yesterday as I was getting off of work also.

    • but I was paying more attention to the extremely disrespectful school children literally slapping the S&*$ out of each other and blocking the exit for people. One of their shirts even said “LEAD” on the back of it….some leader they will be.

      • Sh*t was actually being slapped out of them?? Dang, that would probably hurt….and stink.

      • i think that was lead, as in what’s in the water they’ve been drinking their whole life.

      • That’s not “lead” as in “leader” that’s “lead” as in the kind of toxic exposure during childhood which they are claiming as the excuse for their learning and behavior disorders. Kids come with warning labels now so you know what’s the matter with them and that they aren’t just acting out.

      • Uh-oh, I remember being an obnoxious teenager who sometimes annoyed people in public when messing around with my friends. HOW ON EARTH did I end up a successful adult?

  • Second question – you nailed the answer. When trains start getting bunched up, they’ll start skipping stations and pausing at stations to try to spread them out to a safer/more practical distance.

  • Metro likes to skip Deanwood on the Orange line in the afternoons when things get bunched up.

  • There seems to be a recent crack down by traffic enforcement. Intersection of 14th & K this morning several cops (not sure if they were actual cops – they had whistles and vests with the words Traffic Enforcement written across the chest) were waving cars over to the side of the road for trying to turn right onto 14th Street from K. It was a whole operation, almost assembly line style.
    And on Sunday on Wisconsin Ave I saw a cop pulling over cars for not stopping at cross walks when pedestrians were waiting on the curb to cross. He stood in the street and angrily pointed at each car to move to the side of the road. He ticketed some and yelled at others. It made for some nice enternment as I sat outside Starbucks enjoying my Sunday afternoon coffee.

    • Cops were pulling cars over for speeding this morning about 8:30 just south of the tunnel under Dupont Circle, as another data point to support the idea that there may be a recent crackdown in effect.

      • I saw this too, but figured it was somehow about not stopping for pedestrians when coming off the circle. Speeding? How could they be getting people for speeding on the CT Ave access road? Perhaps I was lucky, but when I saw these cops there was far too much traffic in the sub-Dupont tunnel to speed at all.

      • They need to enforce the frickin NO TURN ON RED around the circle, and the straight-ahead only/no left from Mass Av on the west side of the circle. I can’t tell you how many times I and others have been almost been mowed-down by by idiots who just blow through them with no regard for peds crossing with the signals. The cops would also make a mint off the people not obeying traffic control, but also texting or yapping on the phone. I have called MPD countless times over the years but never see any enforcement going on. Ring the circle with ticket cameras at least!

  • That eastern end of the Southeast Freeway has always been a mess. For whatever reason, they never built a ramp to get on westbound Pennsylvania Avenue, and I don’t think they’re ever going to finish it. Probably due to some sort of misguided neighborhood opposition.

  • Last night waiting for the metro at Chinatown a No Passenger train came in and stopped at the platform. First a guy holding a huge gun got out and stood in front of the door, then they rolled a huge metal box out of the train (there were tons more on there) and into the tunnel. Then they rolled another huge metal box out of the tunnel and onto the train. Then the dude with the huge gun got back in and they left.

    What was that????

  • The money train!

  • The RFK exit is also for emergency vehicles. Maybe they are having problems getting emergency vehicles through the area. Just a guess.

  • I live on Hill East and use the RFK access road on a regular basis. I hate to see Maryland commuters use it to jump from the SE/SW freeway to 295. I always feel like my life is at risk when I’m driving/walking/running down 17th and 19th Streets! Maybe once the 11th Street bridge is finished, the city can officially open the access road to “local traffic only” and ticket folks with out-of-state plates. Everyone wins! The Marylanders won’t have to cut across the Hill, and local folks can get to/from their homes quickly and safely.

    • The other night, I was trying to get to the car place near Brookland Metro by 6 to pick up my car. There was a small delay at Gallery where I was changing trains (this is 5:45, mind you)and then a “No Passenger” train (not the money train) went by. Finally a train comes and then announces it will not stop at Brookland! This is at 5:55! What was THAT about? Needless to say, the car place closed, and I had to go back the next day to get my car.

    • Yes, you are so much more deserving than Marylanders. Keep it up, chief.

      • When it comes to someone who lives in the neighborhood and pays more taxes to the city for the maintenance of said roads, yes they deserve to be able to use that exit more than marylanders, chief.

        • Cool, so I guess someone who makes more money than you is more deserving of using the roads too? Pretty sweet logic, sport.

          • Hey, you should move into the city! Then you’d get to craft city legislation with the rest of us. Til then, we’ll keep working to elect people who will fuck you over to our benefit in every possible way we can.

            It’s called political representation. Sport.

          • Dr. pangloss, you make yourself look like a fool and what an unnecessarily hostile response. Local traffic only doesn’t mean dc plates only. Did you really think that? Lol. Cute.

            Are you such a bigot that you really have so much hate for people who live in md? Where did you live before dc? I probably hate your state.

        • Stay out of Maryland then. You don’t pay taxes in our state. Nothing I hate more than a non-MD-tax-paying D.C. driver cluttering up the road on the way down to Ocean City.

    • “Local Traffic Only” doesn’t mean only people who live there can use it – it means only people who are headed to the neighborhood (and not using it as a pass-through) can use it. If a friend from Maryland (or elsewhere) were coming to visit someone in the neighborhood, that would be permissible under “Local Traffic Only,” so you can’t really just pull over everyone with out of town plates.

  • There was a big discussion on the 1D listserve recently about the RFK issue. I’m too lazy to pull any quotes from the posts. But I think one person had been cutting through for years and then one day got a ticket so now I guess MPD has decided to just enforce the restriction instead of letting people use the cut-through.

  • The RFK Stadium exit that feeds to/from 17th Street and Barney Circle and the SW/SE Freeway is not technically open to traffic due to the fact that is not legally graded as a freeway exit. Something to do with being too narrow for two-way traffic, and having too sharp of a curve at the top of the hill by the Lot 8 entrance.

    However, everyone in the neighborhood uses it (including myself), and further, it is used by thousands of commuters who get off 295 north onto East Capitol to C Street NE, and then speed down 17th Street to get to the Southeast/Southwest freeway.

    This is me just speculating, but the presence of cops there yesterday was likely due to the fact that two of these speed demons with Maryland license plates caused a horrendous accident at 17th and C SE, which totaled their cars and also happened to total two parked cars and cause damage to another. The neighborhood likely again raised complaints to the police about all the speeding commuters, who then likely responded by attempting to scare everyone at the exit.

    • Barney Circle confuses me. How do you get to westbound SE/SW from there? Is there a way?
      Are these people going the wrong way on Barney Circle SE?

      • Unless you take the forbidden exit, the only way to get to westbound SE/SW Freeway is to take I St SE west to Virginia Avenue, which then has a feeder exit onto the westbound freeway all the way down at 2nd Street. Thus, it’s worth the risk to take the forbidden exit when there’s not an event at RFK since it’s such a pain in the ass otherwise.

      • And no, they’re still not going the wrong way. Barney Circle is two-way – but if you’re on the inside lane, you’re supposed to turn left on 17th Street, and not go onto the stadium access road onto westbound SE/SW freeway…which of course is wide open when there’s not a stadium event and the one day every few months the cops stake it out to yell at you or give you a ticket.

  • I have been on the metro several times when they’ve skipped stops. It indeed is used to space out the trains when they are “bunched up.” They normally only skip stops near the ends of the lines (hence College Park).

  • I got a ticket a few months ago for using Barney Circle to get onto the freeway at about 10:45AM. I went to traffic court but could only get the points removed.. not the $100 fine.
    I’ve noticed that they usually do not ticket during rush hour. This is likely due to the giant cluster**** that would ensue if they clogged that artery.
    That whole area is a ridiculous piece of traffic mismanagement.

  • There is a long history of the effort to continue the SE/SW Freeway north of it’s current end, crossing the river to connect it to 295 – I am sure if you Google Barney Circle Freeway you will find plenty of that history. There was some neighborhood opposition and there was concern for the impact on historic Congressional Cemetary. In any case, that book is prety much closed right now. The rebuilding of the Eleventh Stret Bridges will provide the connection between the freeways so that it will no longer be necessary for through traffic to use the Sousa Bridge/Pennsylvania Ave to make that connection. Any changes to the ‘forbidden road’ seem pretty unlikely now, unless things change when the Hill East neighbnorhood is built and/or if RFK is someday replaced with something used more frequently than DC United games.

  • I had to laugh when I read this:

    “…DC cops stopping every car, lecturing the drivers (including me!)”

    Yes, heaven forfend! Even you!
    (I’m guessing you didn’t mean it that way, but it was still funny)

    • I hope it was supposed to be satire that simply didn’t translate well to the internets…

      If that writer was serious, I now understand why we have so many traffic problems in DC. Self righteousness explains 99% of most problems in this city…..

  • so, no one knows why there is a forbidden ramp?

    • Read up – it is “forbidden” be cause it doesn’t meet the freeway exit standards.

      • yeah, but the makeshift cluster bombs they use for speed bumps with zero engineering input, randomly covering streets for months with metal plates and the rest of sheer douche-baggery by DDOT is all kosher.

  • In addition to skipping stops, the red line will occasionally change the terminal station of a train (from Grosvenor to Shady Grove, for example) to adjust their schedule or relieve bunching.

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