DR. G’S TIPS

The Washington Post Sunday - - COMMUTER - For more trans­porta­tion news, go to wash­ing­ton­post.com/trans­porta­tion.

VIR­TUAL TUN­NELS

The Metro staff ’s ideas about build­ing pedes­trian tun­nels be­tween some sta­tions are good ones, though ex­pen­sive. Dur­ing my on­line dis­cus­sion Mon­day, I ques­tioned whether any­one now com­mut­ing would still be com­mut­ing when such costly tun­nels fi­nally open.

A vir­tual tun­nel known as the Far­ragut Cross­ing links the Far­ragut West sta­tion on the Or­ange and Blue lines with the nearby Far­ragut North sta­tion on the Red Line. A rider with a SmarTrip card gets a free trans­fer, but has to go up to street level.

The Far­ragut Cross­ing is be­ing used by about 600 week­day rid­ers and 100 on week­end days, Metro spokesman Dan Stes­sel said.

The staff also has pro­posed build­ing a real tun­nel to link the Metro Cen­ter and Gallery Place trans­fer sta­tions. To­day, that has no vir­tual ver­sion. The ge­og­ra­phy of the lines made the Far­ragut Cross­ing a higher pri­or­ity for the SmarTrip re­pro­gram­ming, Stes­sel said. The big­gest ben­e­fi­cia­ries of a Metro Cen­ter-Gallery Place cross­ing would be those rid­ing north of Gallery Place or west of Metro Cen­ter. Oth­ers can make an eas­ier trans­fer within the L’Enfant Plaza sta­tion.

HOT LANES AC­CESS

The most fre­quently asked ques­tions about the 495 Ex­press Lanes have to do with ac­cess. A solo trav­eler who uses I-66 East dur­ing the morn­ing rush, when the HOV left-lane rules are in ef­fect, asked if he could get into the left lane to en­ter the north­bound high-oc­cu­pancy toll lanes at the Cap­i­tal Belt­way.

Yes. Drivers head­ing for the ex­press lanes can get into that left lane on I-66 East about a mile be­fore the Belt­way. In fact, they should see a white sign over­head that says “E-ZPass Ex­press al­lowed in left lane start­ing here.”

Drivers who look at the HOT lanes Web site, at www.495ex­press­lanes.com, can see videos show­ing the ap­proaches to the lanes’ ac­cess points.

PRES­I­DENTS’ DAY WEEK­END

The long hol­i­day week­end means that Metro­rail has a long sched­ule for track work, con­tinu- ing through the train sys­tem’s mid­night clos­ing Mon­day. The Or­ange Line is not run­ning be­tween Sta­dium-Ar­mory and Chev­erly. The Blue Line is not run­ning be­tween Sta­dium-Ar­mory and Largo Town Cen­ter. Free shut­tle buses bridge the gaps in rail ser­vice. On the Red Line, trains are shar­ing a track be­tween Rhode Is­land Av­enue and Takoma.

All of this is dis­rup­tive, but the great­est dif­fi­culty for rid­ers is likely to come on Mon­day. Yes, it’s a fed­eral hol­i­day, but many pri­vate em­ploy­ees will be at work.

METRO ON MON­DAY

Metro­rail will open at 5 a.m. and close at mid­night, as on a week­day, but the level of ser­vice will be about what rid­ers would see on a Satur­day. Metrobus will op­er­ate on a “Satur­day sup­ple­men­tal sched­ule,” some­thing Metro goes to on hol­i­days when more peo­ple are likely to be work­ing. It’s best to check the timeta­bles on Metro’s Web site, at www.wmata.com.

BUS ROUTE TIP

Dur­ing Wed­nes­day’s Metro­rail dis­rup­tion at Gallery Place, an on­line com­menter who uses the han­dle bret­ton3021 of­fered a tip for Blue and Yel­low Line rid­ers head­ing into the District from North­ern Vir­ginia:

If you can get as far as the Pen­tagon sta­tion dur­ing a rail ser­vice dis­rup­tion, trans­fer to the 7Y or 16X Metrobuses into the District. The 7Y goes across Ar­ling- ton Me­mo­rial Bridge and along Con­sti­tu­tion from 23rd Street to 10th Street and Penn­syl­va­nia Av­enue NW. The 16X, a limted stop ser­vice, crosses the 14th Street Bridge to In­de­pen­dence Av­enue then turns on Sev­enth Street and con­tin­ues to Penn­syl­va­nia Av­enue and 11th Street NW.

ME­MO­RIAL BRIDGE

The Fed­eral High­way Ad­min­is­tra­tion is about to start an ex­ten­sive in­spec­tion of the Me­mo­rial Bridge deck. The in­spec­tion is sched­uled to be­gin this coming week and could con­tinue un­til March 5. Drivers may en­counter lane clos­ings from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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