Transportation Links – January 2010

Toll, Parking Increases

The arrival of the new year has hit Northern Virginia commuters hard in the pocketbook, with Dulles Toll Road increases taking effect on New Year’s Day and new parking meter changes in downtown DC.

Commuters are now paying $1 at the main toll plaza and 75 cents at on and off ramps — up 25 cents from last year. The increase, approved by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority in November, will help pay for the Dulles Corridor Metrorail extension project to Dulles International Airport.

The following New Year’s Days will bring further increases, as the MWAA board also approved 25-cent increases at the main gate in 2011 and 2012.

In downtown DC, drivers in many areas are now paying $2 per hour at parking meters, up from $1 previously, and they’re required to pay until 10 p.m. and on Saturdays for the first time. The rules apply to the district’s Premium Demand zones, but we like‘s advice:
Don’t assume anything about the existing rules when you park at a meter. Always check the signage to make sure you’re in compliance.

For more information on DC parking meter changes, visit the District Department of Transportation.

New Challenge Looms for HOT Lanes

As the I-95/I-395 HOT Lanes project languishes in federal court, Alexandria Delegate David Englin has introduced legislation in the state assembly to require state transportation officials to conduct an environmental study of the project route before the public-private partnership moves forward.

Arlington officials last summer sued state and federal transportation officials over the same issue, saying that the project was moving forward without considering the environmental impacts on surrounding jurisdictions.

The lawsuit is on hold as the parties attempt to negotiate a settlement, according to the Sun Gazette.

According to VDOT, the 56-mile project would expand the existing High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes on I-95/395 from two to three lanes and extend two new lanes south to Massaponax. All of these lanes will become High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes – meaning buses and carpools with three or more people can continue to use the lanes for free, while non-HOV motorists can choose to pay a toll to access the lanes.

Toll prices will be based on demand. They will change throughout the day according to real-time traffic conditions to manage the number of cars in the HOT lanes and keep them congestion free – even during rush hour.

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