Archive for the ‘Transportation’ Category

Photo: OpenSkies Kicks Off New Route From The Hay-Adams Hotel

As my co-worker/blogger extraordinaire Nisha can attest,  the view is great from the Hay-Adams Hotel rooftop. I was there last week at a reception to celebrate the maiden voyage of OpenSkies Airline’s new “Capital to Capital” route from Washington D.C. to Paris.

The cuisine of Michel Richard Citronelle was served as well as this interesting little cocktail that you can see was in my hand that night.

The British Aiways owned airline is the only airline to offer Business Class-only travel between Paris – New York and Paris – Washington D.C. The airline already flies a route out of New York to Paris and plan to operate non-stop flights from New York to additional Continental European cities including Brussels, Milan and Frankfurt.

Embattled Metro Chief John Catoe To Resign

CatoePhotoMy friends at the Washington Post just informed me that  Metro System General Manager John. B. Catoe Jr. will step down from his post as head of the Washington Metro Transit Authority.

As chief administrator of the second largest rail transit system and the seventh largest bus network in the United States, Catoe had his contract renewed this past September til 2012. He will step down on April 2nd. He announced his intentions to step down after a special board meeting held on Thursday.

Complete details can be caught on Washington Post’s Get There blog.

Last night I was at a happy hour with co-workers discussing the failures of the Metro system. Interesting to see that after all the calls for his resignation, it looked as if he wouldn’t leave but now is.

I’ve always been a fan of the Metro system here in DC- I consider one of the best; however I can see that it has been on a sharp decline in service and capacity in recent months. The system needs to fix itself after the tragic Metro crash back in June. I hope a change in leadership helps restore WMATA as one of the best public transit systems in the country.

And Now…DC Street Cars

Hey did you hear about those people who crashed the White House?  Oh…you did? 

Well in that case, I present something completely different.  Youtube videos of old street cars in the DC area.  A friend tweeted one of these the other day, and I then when on a bit of a hunt to find a few. I figure we’ve been hearing the same three stories in the news for the last two weeks, why not just take a break and look at something old and cool?

I think a few running street cars would be cool in the city, and I hope that the project the city is working on now is successful.

May this entertain you for at least some of the last few hours you are stuck in the office.  Note, The link is in the title and then the video should be posted below it (but the link is there just in case).  Also, some of the music/soundtrack is a bit lame-not taking blame for that.

14th Street (Early 50’s)

More after the Jump (more…)

How To Escape The District This Thanksgiving

DSC02163aToday I’m escaping The DC Metro area early for Thanksgiving. I’ll be flying out tonight but I know many others will be taking to the roads today and tomorrow for Turkey Day.

Those that want avoid the more popular (and congested) escape routes should check out the Washington Post’s article on alternate routes out of DC. As someone that always drives home to New England for Christmas, I wanted to see if my favorite alternate route was there: avoid The George Washington Bridge and taking the Tappan Zee instead.

The suggestion was indeed included along with a route to avoid Delaware, which come to think of it, is indeed a pain in the butt for the smallest state in the Union. The Post suggests this route to avoid the Delaware tolls:

From I-95 north, take Route 279 toward Newark, Del. Take the first right onto Iron Hill Road. At the end, turn left onto Chestnut Hill Road. Then turn right onto Route 896 (South College Avenue). I-95 will be a quarter-mile down the road.

The article also outlines routes for those heading South and offers some tips which I fully agree with such as enrolling in E-Z Pass, it’s a total time-saver and I have it in my car for the sole purpose of speeding through tolls on the way back home every year.

So I hope everybody has a wonderful Thanksgiving this week and if anybody else is driving to Boston this holiday season, here’s the route I take to go home.

Check Your Cranberry Sauce

No Snow-Globes For You!

Are you one of those intrepid Thanksgiving travelers who’s planning to actually — gasp! — fly on a plane to your Turkey Day Destination?  If so, the Transportation Security Administration has some handy tips on what you should not try to bring through the security screening checkpoint with you when you’re at the airport:

-Cranberry sauce
-Creamy dips and spreads (cheeses, peanut butter, etc.)
-Gift baskets with food items (salsa, jams and salad dressings)
-Gravy
-Jams
-Jellies
-Maple syrup
-Oils and vinegars
-Salad dressing
-Salsa
-Sauces
-Soups
-Wine, liquor and beer

The good news is, anything you buy after you get through security can go on the plane, as usual; plus, pies are A-OK for boarding!

Oh, and here are a couple other holiday-type tips, in addition to the usual “3-1-1 Rule” basics.  If you’re planning to bring back some Black Friday purchases with you on your return this weekend, don’t pre-wrap.  The TSA might decide to unwrap your gifts if you’re selected for a random inspection.  Finally, don’t try bringing any snow-globes through security.  They contain an “indeterminate” amount of liquid, so they’ve got to be with checked luggage. My advice to you, dear traveler, is to ship your purchases home.  It’s easier than trying to bring them with you.

Free Wi-Fi At BWI This Holiday Season

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A lot of us will be taking to the airports this holiday season as we escape The District and go back to where ever it was that we came from (because nobody is really from DC right?)

Well if you happen to be flying out of BWI, you’ll be happy to find out that there will be free Wi-Fi for the duration of the holidays. I found out through Lifehacker, that Google will be providing free Wi-Fi at certain airports  now through January 15th. In some sort of Virgin America tie-in you will also have free Wi-Fi on every one of their flights too.

While I’m sad it doesn’t extend for Dulles and Reagan National, it’s certainly going to be a welcome perk for those that trek it up to BWI.

Reagan Named Best US Airport

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Two weeks ago I had to go on an impromptu business trip, but I was happy in knowing that I was able to book a flight out of Reagan National, my personal airport of choice when it comes to escaping The District.

I’m happy to hear I’m not the only one who thinks so.

Reagan National was recently recognized as the top airport in the Conde Nast Traveler Business Travel Awards. 1,700 business travelers were surveyed for the awards and asked to rate airports according to airport navigation and design to culinary options and amenities. Reagan scored a 52.7 out of 100 which was big enough to top Portland, Oregan airport for the top spot. The airport earned high marks in ease of access (which is why I love it compared to Dulles or BWI) and safety/security (I’d hope the airport closest to DC is safe and secure.)

To me it’s a no brainer, while Reagan isn’t as big as Heathrow, it’s been one of the most convenient airports to get to and fly in/out of. While I can’t always afford to use Reagan, if I had to choose a DC airport- Reagan wins.

Daily DC Item: Hole In Plane Causes Flight Makes Emergency Landing, Passengers Recieves Free Pizza

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Here’s an interesting story for your morning: it appears that a Southwest flight heading to Baltimore from Nashville had to make an emergency landing in Charleston, WV after it lost pressure due to a hole in the plane. All 126 passengers and 5 crew landed safely after a football sized hole was discovered, causing the plane to lose pressure and deploy oxygen masks in the cabin. According to the Washington Post article, “witnesses described the hole that apparently led to the depressurization as about the size of a football and located on the side of the airplane, near the top.”

The Boeing 737-300 is being inspected, as well as all other 737-300s in the Southwest fleet. The passengers were so glad to make it down safely that they hugged the pilot.

Upon hearing this story I had to make the following wisecrack to my friend Maxie (who lives in West Virginia):

Patrick: What’s worse: a hole in your airplane or having to land in West Virginia?
Maxie: hahahaha shut up

Eventually another airplane was dispatched to send the passengers to their final destination, and while they waited at least they got some pizza. According to the CNN report, “airport spokesman Brian Belcher said a local pizzeria provided food for the passengers as they waited.”
I suppose I could put up with a hole on my plane if I got some Pizza out of the deal.

Daily DC Item: Not New News, DC Traffic Sucks

Photo courtesy of Flickr user megandafille

Lots of DCers don’t have cars. I do, and I’ll never go anywhere without one.

I’m probably one of the reasons the traffic is terrible around the Beltway region, and despite a push to go green and rising gas prices, D.C. has the second worst traffic in the nation.

Are you surprised?

The Texas Transportation Institute concludes that despite a small reduction in traffic nationwide, D.C. traffic actually increased compared to last year. L.A. still reigns king in terms of worst traffic, but that still gives us the crown for worst traffic on the East Coast.

The Washington Post article on the topic acknowledges that steps have been taken to address the issue but questions if they are really making a difference. The study concludes that sitting in traffic cost the Washington area almost $2.8 billion in 2007. Ninety million gallons of gas and 133 million hours were spend slowly crawling around The District. Think of how many podcasts I could of listened to in that time.

This is why commute is a big reason why I enjoying living in Clarendon, where I also work. I’d be really nervous if I ever ended up working somewhere where I’d have to touch a highway to get there. Maybe I’ll stick with the Fail Rail Metro if I needed to get somewhere for my daily commute.

Dude, Where’s My Bus?

Greater Greater Washington has the goods…NextBus is finally live!

Dude, where's my bus?

So, according to NextBus, the “next bus” (see what I did there?) heading for the Metro from my office will be arriving in a mere six minutes.  Unfortunately, I don’t get to go home for a few more hours.

The utility shows arrival times for the next three buses at the desired location, which you can select by stop number (those little signs on every bus stop signpost) or just use the dropdowns to select your route, direction, and intersection.  You can access the service from your computer, or a mobile device; and if you have a favorite location that you’ll be checking all the time (your home, your office) you can bookmark that custom location as well.  Neato!  Earlier this week the DC DOT introduced a similar system for Circulator buses as well.

Have a look and let us know what you think, DC.  Is it worth it after the years of waiting?

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