TYSONS CORNER, Va. – With heat kinks, derailments and power problems, it’s been a rough stretch of incidents for Metro recently.
But riders may find relief from these plaguing issues in the system’s newest extension, as the Silver Line grows through Fairfax County, and eventually into Loudoun County.
“In terms of a project perspective, that doesn’t concern me at all,” says Pat Nowakowski, who oversees construction of the Dulles rail project. “That’s normal operational stuff that everybody in the business has to deal with, and (Metro) is dealing with it right now.”
When asked if he thinks the Silver Line will be a stronger line than the rest of the system, Nowakowski said “I don’t know if ‘stronger’ is the right word.”
“WMATA does continually update their standards, so we’re not building it to the original 1970 standards that they built a lot of the system (to),” he says. “So we are building it to the latest standards.”
Nowakowski added that the Silver Line was not damaged in either the recent earthquake or derecho.
Just last week, the final aerial piece of the first segment of the Silver Line was put into place. There is now a complete connection from Falls Church through Tysons and continuing to Reston.
The first leg of the Silver Line, expected to open late next year, will have four stops in Tysons Corner.
WASHINGTON – Round and round in the traffic circle you go — and where to get off, does anybody know?
The D.C. area is filled with tricky roundabouts and traffic circles. Dupont Circle, Chevy Chase Circle and Memorial Circle are just a few.
But who has the right of way?
Circles with lights or stops signs regulate themselves, but what about the circles without signals?
Local transportation leaders spell out the rules.
“Basically, it’s the traffic within the circle that has the right of way,” says Bill McGuirk, traffic signal engineer with the D.C. Department of Transportation.
“If you’re approaching a roundabout, you should yield to the traffic within the circulating roadway,” says Cedric Ward, director of the Office of Traffic Safety with the Maryland State Highway Administration.
“There’s only one place you have to look when you are approaching a roundabout, and that is to your left to make sure there is a gap. As soon as you have that gap, you have the right of way.” says Randy Dittberner, traffic engineer with the Virginia Department of Transportation.
But still, many are confused by the circulating flow.
“I think people just do whatever they want,” said D.C. resident Lysette Howels as she walked through Dupont Circle in the District.
Alexander Rinkus, who lives in the District, says he has had to circle around more than once inside a traffic circle because of the confusion.
“I would rather go around one more time than be the guy who is trying to cross three lanes of traffic in the span of about 15 feet,” he says.
So why are there so many traffic circles in the area in the first place? A lot of them were inherited, says McGuirk.
“It goes back to the L’Enfant days. When he [Pierre Charles L’Enfant] was laying out the city, the circles basically were set up as defensive positions, and they were used to protect the White House,” says McGuirk.
“They kind of radiate out from the White House.”
Of course, traffic has increased since those days, and many of the city’s traffic circles needed to adopt signals to handle the heavy traffic flow.
Along more rural sections of road with higher speeds, drivers are more likely to encounter traditional roundabouts. The more traditional roundabout doesn’t typically allow pedestrians in the middle section, like circles might.
Dittberner sees them as a valuable tool.
“Roundabouts have a couple of good features that help make them much safer than intersections. They require all traffic to slow down on approach, so everybody is going slow and everybody is aware they have to watch out for each other,” he says.
“They are beginning to be much more popular in the U.S. We are really beginning to understand the benefits of these devices,” says Dittberner
Whether local pedestrians and drivers agree, that’s another matter.
WASHINGTON – One piece of advice sticks out in Meghin Moore’s mind from her internship orientation, and the 21-year-old recites it easily: “A dress code is the law, you must always obey it.”
Moore is one of the 20 interns at WTOP this summer, and the dress code she follows is likely less strict than others in the D.C. area. But even at a radio station, Moore can’t wear flip-flops, tank-tops or T-shirts. And Moore knows this because the station gave her a list of what not to wear before she started work on Tuesday.
“I had to go shopping for work clo
thes,” Moore says. “So my mom and I were like, ‘OK, I need business casual clothes.’ That was done over the weekend.”
But not all D.C. interns get explicit instructions on what to wear and how to act at their summer places of oft-unpaid employment. And with an estimated 40,000 interns descending on the city every June, the potential is high for cautionary tales.
“There are probably some kids at Penn State who would wear a midriff top,” jokes Moore, who attends the school in Happy Valley, Pa.
Emily Sobel is a slightly different story. WTOP is the 19-year-old’s second internship, and she wears clothes she either already had or that her mother bought for her.
“My mom is really into buying me work clothes,” Sobel says.
But despite her comfortable wardrobe, Sobel was a little nervous when she started work on Monday.
“It’s a little awkward. You don’t really know how to act or how people are going to act around the interns,” she says.
The answer to both concerns – what to wear and how to act – is easier than one might think.
“Number one, they want to mimic the style and dress of whatever office they’re working for,” says Patricia Rossi, a business etiquette coach.
“If you’re in doubt, always kick it up a couple notches – not down.”
Rossi emphasizes that interns should be noticed for their ability and expertise, not what they wear.
“We’re judged before we even open our mouth. We’re judged from the head to toe,” Rossi says.
“You want to go ahead and invest in a nice suit, you want to fit in.”
If you’re not sure what other people at the company will be wearing, Rossi says, “Google, Google, Google.”
“Google everyone in the company. Google any social functions that might have come up that have some pictures. That way you can see what other people are wearing.”
Sue Rushkowski, human resources director at WTOP, says the most important thing is that interns dress in a respectful manner, meaning they should cover up.
“All of our people are at the top of their game, and you want their endorsement. It’s very important. Dressing inappropriately can impede your success,” Rushkowski says.
She also says no one needs to spend a fortune. A few new purchases can mix with some items already in the closet and make for a nice summer wardrobe.
Moore spent less than $300 on her new clothes. She got all of her new items at Target, Old Navy and consignment shops, which, according to Rushkowski, are great places to shop for internship clothes.
WASHINGTON – Children left in hot cars can suffer heat stroke and even die.
Because of the area’s hot weather, AAA Mid-Atlantic is cautioning drivers not to leave children inside cars in the heat and for people to call 911 if they see children in hot vehicles.
“With these temperatures, it will certainly be very hot and uncomfortable outdoors,” says AAA Mid-Atlantic spokesman John B. Townsend II.
“But as hot as it is outdoors, temperatures inside a car can quickly soar to nearly 200 degrees with no relief. This is hot enough to kill most living beings, and cause most cars to conk out or to break down on the road.”
The law is quite simple. Drivers face penalties for purposely or accidentally leaving a child in a hot car.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, heat stroke is the leading cause of non-crash vehicle fatalities for children 14 and under.
Parents can keep their children safe this summer by following these child passenger safety tips:
Do not under any circumstance leave a child alone in a car. The inside of the car can still become hot quickly, even if a window is partially open.
Call 911 immediately when a child has been left in a hot car unattended. Try to cool the child as soon as possible by applying cool water to the child’s skin. While waiting for help to arrive, cool the child. Use ice packs under his armpits and on his groin area. Or wet him with a garden hose.
Children should be taught that a car is not a play area. Never allow your child to play in an unattended car. Be sure to lock the car at all times and keep car keys away from children.
If a spouse or guardian is dropping off a child at day care, then make sure that he calls to confirm that all went well.
Request a phone call from the childcare center if a child is late or does not arrive on time.
Before locking the car door and leaving, make it a routine to always look inside the car. Drivers can remind themselves a child is in the car by doing the following:
Write a reminder note and leave it in the car where it will be seen.
Place important items, such as purses and briefcases, in the backseat with a child, as a way to remember to check the back seat.
Leave a stuffed toy in the seat next to you as a reminder.
Use an free iPhone app like Baby Reminder as an additional reminder.