UPDATE from DDOT:

“The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) has instituted single-lane closures in each direction northbound and southbound on Rock Creek Parkway beginning at P Street, NW, because of recently fallen debris from the Pennsylvania Avenue Bridge overpass today, March 24.

During the evening rush, starting at 4 pm, two lanes will be maintained northbound until 6:30 pm. Following the rush hour, DDOT will reinstitute single-lane closures until later in the evening.

This area was closed earlier this morning due to falling debris from the Pennsylvania Avenue Bridge. DDOT’s engineers are continuing to inspect the bridge and take corrective actions as needed.

This closure will lead to moderate-to-heavy delays in the traffic in this area.

DDOT encourages all commuters to stay alert as they travel through this corridor.”

One reader writes:

“Did you see RCP was a hot mess this morning? Bricks fell from the underside of the P St bridge. Right 2 lanes were closed at 8:15 when I passed through. Scary infrastructure issues this week!”

Another says:

“I was driving south on Rock Creek Parkway this morning, and the police had the two right lanes closed under the bridge that connects Georgetown to West End. When I drove by, there were a couple guys on the phone looking at the bottom of the bridge, which appears to have lost some concrete and was showing exposed rebar.”

@DCPoliceDept tweeted:

“”Traffic Advisory Update/US Park Police:S/B Rock Crk Pkwy DIVERTED to P St due to Bridge Inspection/Use Connecticut Ave as an alternate route””

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From DDOT:

“The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) announced today the findings of a letter from the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), which conducted a peer review of the H Street/Benning Road Streetcar system last week. The peer review panel concluded that there are no fatal flaws that would prevent the DC Streetcar from starting revenue service on the H Street/Benning Road corridor. A draft report is due to be delivered in mid-April.

“This letter from APTA underscores DDOT’s guiding principle for the DC Streetcar that it will only open once it is deemed safe,” said DDOT Director Leif A. Dormsjo. “The APTA peer review helped give us a pathway toward a Streetcar service that can meet safety certifications and the needs of passengers that it will eventually serve.”

The APTA peer review panel provided a list of tasks for DDOT to complete prior to launch. These tasks include providing additional training for maintenance staff, reviewing operations and maintenance procedures, and augmenting DDOT staff with personnel experienced in streetcar operations. As such, DDOT is currently conducting workshops and analyses to establish a master schedule that will guide the agency toward completion of the peer review panel’s recommendations prior to opening the H Street/Benning Road Streetcar system to the public.

DDOT is also currently undertaking maintenance and repairs to the system, including rail breaks and water drainage mitigation. This work requires that simulated service temporarily cease along the corridor.

About APTA: APTA is a nonprofit international association of 1,500 public and private sector organizations, engaged in the areas of bus, paratransit, light rail, commuter rail, subways, waterborne services, and intercity and high-speed passenger rail. This includes: transit systems; planning, design, construction, and finance firms; product and service providers; academic institutions; transit associations and state departments of transportation. APTA is the only association in North America that represents all modes of public transportation. APTA members serve the public interest by providing safe, efficient and economical transit services and products. More than 90 percent of the people using public transportation in the United States and Canada ride APTA member systems. APTA typically performs 30 to 40 peer reviews of transit systems annually, assembling teams of industry professionals nationwide to conduct independent and impartial reviews of transit systems.”

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Photo by PoPville flickr user nevermindtheend

From WMATA:

“Reconstruction of the Metrorail system will continue over the weekend of March 20-22 with service adjustments on four of six rail lines.

This weekend, Red and Green line trains will operate at regular intervals. Orange, Silver, Blue and Yellow line trains will operate every 18 minutes.

Work Performed: Rail replacement, joint elimination, tie and insulator renewal for a safer, more comfortable ride. To support this work, Blue Line trains will share one track between Braddock Road and Reagan National Airport.

Silver and Orange Line trains will operate every 18 minutes throughout the weekend to coordinate with rebuilding on other lines.”

@MetroTransitPD tweets:

“At 12:29pm, adult female struck by train at Greenbelt. Appears intentional. Currently a rescue operation. Station is closed for response.:

@Metrorailinfo tweets:

“Six shuttle buses currently in service btwn Greenbelt & College Park to aid connections around closed Greenbelt Station. 1:31p #wmata”

Update:

“Green Line: Greenbelt Station has reopened. Expect minor residual delays following earlier person struck by train.”

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A reader reports about 7:15pm:

“Train evacuated at Shaw, lots of people coughing. Possibly a pepper spray prank by teens seen running away”

Update from an eyewitness:

“I was on the train car that got pepper sprayed tonight. It wasn’t exactly a prank. There were a group of teenagers on the train (I was sitting behind them) and another individual who got into a verbal fight and were taunting and threatening back and forth. The individual went to get off the train at the Shaw stop and someone sprayed pepper spray. I believe the individual sprayed it in the direction of the teens. Then the teens ran off the train after her. Unfortunately, the pepper spray remained in the air and quickly spread throughout the car. Everyone moved toward the ends of the car (the incident had taken place by the middle doors), but the doors had just closed before most people realized what had happened. Luckily, the operator opened the doors and everyone ran off. She then realized something was going on and subsequently, they unloaded the entire train and eventually put it out of service.”

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Disclaimer from OP: The writer has a full-time job and drives UberX part-time on the side. All UberX drivers are independent contractors. As he has no affiliation with the Uber corporation, any impression of positive press for Uber is incidental.

“Dear PoPville,

Recently, the community has expressed well-deserved interest in Uber surge pricing. There are a lot of silly rumors floating about, so I would like to share my perspective as a driver and help shed light on how the system works. Hopefully, everyone would benefit from this knowledge.

1. There is no such thing as driver collaboration.

Drivers do not know each other, nor do we know each others’ whereabouts. There are thousands of drivers and nobody thinks about causing surge pricing because that is nearly impossible for one person. A good analogy is voter turnout. One vote doesn’t matter much, but if turnout drops because voters are apathetic, then history can change. If business is slow, Uber drivers log out rather than waste their time twiddling their thumbs in a car, and if enough drivers get bored and log out, then the supply may become low enough that surge pricing occurs during the next demand spike.

2. Pricing is determined via territories.

Attached is a screenshot from the app at 2AM on New Year’s Eve. The territories are quite large and pricing is calculated based on aggregate demand and supply across the territory. For instance, Foggy Bottom and Shaw are in the same territory, and East Potomac Park and H Street NE are in the same territory. It is perfectly possible for surge pricing to exist while your block has abundant drivers – for instance, a huge demand spike at Nats Park would surge the territory while you sit at home in Trinidad wondering why Uber is trying to rip you off.

3. Pricing is determined automatically.

Except in extraordinary circumstances (such as snow emergencies, where the price is limited to 2.9x), surge pricing is determined fluidly and automatically by supply and demand. There is no Bond villain sitting at a terminal pushing buttons to rip people off. My best guess is that recent increases in surge pricing result from lower base fares combined with increased popularity. Bad weather and congestion (due to rush hour or special events) both cause surge pricing, the former due to increased demand and the latter due to diminished supply from drivers being tied up in traffic. FWIW, on New Year’s Eve many people were able to obtain surge-free rides because the system administrators manually eliminated surge pricing several times through the night. There were not enough drivers to meet demand, so this could only be done in short spurts.

In short, the Uber pricing model is quite simple in how it works. There are legitimate complaints against either the company or individual drivers, but I can assure you that the vast majority of hearsay about pricing is demonstrably false.”