Heavy Traffic Following Accident on I-395

by ARLnow.com July 11, 2012 at 8:45 am 4,153 55 Comments

The morning commute got even worse for many in the area this morning, following an accident on I-395 on or near the 14th Street Bridge.

The accident was reported between 7:00 and 7:30, and was said to be blocking several lanes. The lane closures have since been cleared, but as a result of residual delays traffic is crawling all the way back to Alexandria on I-395.

Other main routes that feed onto I-395 also seem to be affected. Eastbound traffic on Route 50, Washington Boulevard and Columbia Pike is very heavy, and delays have also been reported on the GW Parkway near Reagan National Airport.

Alternate streets, such as Route 110 and Route 50, have become jammed as well. Although parts of the George Washington Parkway seem to be moving, other areas are moving slowly, such as the area near the airport.

Drivers should expect significant delays for the morning commute, and should check alternate routes.

  • Bill

    30 minutes to get from the intersection of Washington Blvd. and Route 50 to I-395 S.

  • Good Grief

    45 minutes to get from Spout Run to Old town..

  • jbobmurph

    30 minutes from Columbia Pike & Highland past the wreck.

  • Douglas Parker

    Got caught up in that this morning! Fun Fun!

    If everyone involved in the accident is OK (which I hope is the case), I would like to extend a special thank you to the knucklehead who wrecked on a one way bridge and snarled traffic for tens of thousands of commuters.

    Yes you, you crap driver, have touched my life and taken 45 minutes of it away. It is my gift to you, and the DC Metro Traffic Gods. My sacrifice that future mornings will be smooth and trouble free through this offering of time that I have made.

    Peace and smooth commutes be upon you all.

  • jbobmurph

    Days like this make me glad I bought a smaller, older house on a smaller lot, for more money, so my commute would be shorter.

    45 minute commute is a pain – but if that’s the worst I ever have (and today’s been the worst AM commute over 5+ years of Arlington->DC commutes), I can deal.

    • Likes to see business kept local

      Ditto on the small house. We have only a four mile commute, and on some heavy traffic days it might take us all of fifteen minutes to get to work. I also have a reverse commute from Alexandria to Woodbridge… twenty-two miles in twenty minutes! Plus, on a small house the property taxes are less in comparison.

  • WeiQiang

    I’ll politely demur. Hope there are no injured.

  • Chris B

    Haha, the advantages of bicycling to work!

    • Gypsy

      Ugh, we get it, can’t you enjoy your little victory in silence? The last thing people need is one more reason to be annoyed with bikers–gloating, exclamation points and ‘haha’ after everyone just finished a miserable commute.

      • CO2isYourFriend

        certainly we should not be reminded that there are other ways to commute.

        • So does this mean…

          We get to gloat the next time someone on a bicycle gets creamed by a Mack truck on the way to work?

          Or the next time a Metro train derails, or maybe rear ends another Metro train, killing a dozen people?

          Because after all – there are other ways to commute.

          • cyclist

            “We get to gloat the next time someone on a bicycle gets creamed by a Mack truck on the way to work?”

            That’s the thing – some already do.

          • The situation is a little different…

            The gloating in the cases of bike accidents/etc tends to be based on the stupidity of the biker who got hit (rightly or wrongly).

            The gloating in this case seems to center around the perceived stupidity of EVERYONE who drives to work.

            At least Douglas Parker had the decency to focus his gloating on the idiot who couldn’t make it across the bridge without causing an accident that shuts down two lanes.

            I won’t go into the fact that health/environmental/etc benefits notwithstanding, it’s pretty much always faster to drive.

          • CO2isYourFriend

            did chris call anyone stupid? All he did was say that there are advantages to biking to work.

            someone above was thankful they live close in – no one seems to have jumped on him for calling those who live further out stupid.

            And yes, apart from really short commutes in urban locations, driving is almost always faster than biking. Thats why in a man bites dog situation, a little gloating doesn’t seem overbearing to me.

          • cyclist

            This post was gloating about commuting modes, not an injury. They’re different.

          • cyclist

            Clarification – I wasn’t saying it’s okay to gloat about any injuries, in a car or on a bike. Chris wasn’t doing that either. Just pointing out that it happens.

          • CO2isYourFriend

            er, I read Chris as gloating about getting there faster than folks stuck in traffic, not gloating about the harm to the people in the accident.

            yes, i do hear drivers gloating about DELAYS on metrorail.

          • Since folks are having trouble following…

            Chris was gloating about the fact that people in cars were delayed, regardless of the possibility of injuries.

            I just want to know if it is then okay for me to gloat when there is a metro accident that likely caused injuries/deaths, because it delays people on the Metro.

            Or if there is a bike accident that likely caused injuries/deaths that shuts down the W & OD trail, for instance, that delays people biking in.

          • WeiQiang

            I see what you did there. “… regardless of the possibility of injuries.” You can’t ascribe that reasoning to him logically. Backpedaling – even on and injury-free bicycle commute – is tough.

          • CO2isYourFriend

            I think CW is correct.

            The normal response when there is a metro accident is to attack unions, attack WMATA management, suggest that metro should not be expanded, to suggest metro is not a safe mode, and to question why anyone would take metro.

            Gloating is probably not done because drivers typically beleive (often correctly) that absent incidents on either mode, driving is faster.

            In this case people usually consider cycling the slower mode (usually correctly, the exceptions being short commutes in particularly dense and bike friendly places) so the gloating has a “man bites dog” element – which makes it clear its about travel times, not about satisfaction in an injury.

          • CO2isYourFriend

            “Chris was gloating about the fact that people in cars were delayed, regardless of the possibility of injuries.”

            I hope you never gloat about getting something on sale – you know someone could have been injured making it. Or someone who bought at a higher price, might have done so because of a scarcity due to an injury causing accident.

          • WeiQiang

            point of order … I believe that the discussion was revolving around the length/hassle of the commute. I’m a dumbass, so maybe I missed the point where someone was gloating over the possibility of someone being injured.

          • CW

            Proper responses to transportation injuries on forums:

            When a driver gets hurt in an accident, it is a tragedy.

            When a cyclist gets run over, they deserved it.

            When a pedestrian gets hit, they should not have been in the road.

            When there is a public transportation accident, all unions should be disbanded.

          • WeiQiang

            slow down! have to add these to the ArlNow Blue Book

          • cyclist

            When your power is out for a few days, the power company should be fined millions, top execs should be fired, all lines should be buried and half the trees should be cut down.

          • stu

            Because an extra 30 minutes being added to the daily commute is exactly the same as people dying. I got stuck in the traffic too, it was very frustrating; but this is a terrible analogy.

      • AuroraHighlands

        Gloat away, Chris B. I usually bike to work, but needed to drive today. I got caught in the mess too. It just reinforces the joys of biking to work – never having to worry about traffic, accidents, etc….

        • Douglas Parker

          Well, you ought to worry about the potential for accidents.

          My cousin, new to the area, ran over a biker at the mouth of the Key bridge in Rosslyn several years ago. Although the biker was ok, I’m pretty sure he is keenly aware of the few but serious risks associated with biking to work.

          • Chris B

            Of course I worry about that, and driving safely is very important. The crossing near the Key bridge sucks and is d.

            But the numbers are clear — it’s safer to bicycle than to drive a car (especially on dedicated trails and bicycle lanes).

            – In 2003 there were 6,328,000 car accidents in the US. There were 2.9 million injuries and 42,643 people were killed in auto accidents.
            – In 2007, 698 pedalcyclists were killed and an additional 43,000 were injured in traffic crashes. Pedalcyclist deaths accounted for 2 percent of all traffic fatalities, and pedalcyclists made up 2 percent of all the people injured in traffic crashes during the year.

          • cyclist

            What about the statistics per miles traveled?

          • Chris B

            Good question, I couldn’t find those stats.

            Keep in mind that the numbers above are for the entire US — they don’t take into account that Arlington and DC are safer than most other places in the US.

            Here’s some more data: http://www.bicyclinginfo.org/facts/docs/BikeTSF_2007.pdf

          • The situation is a little different…

            NHTSA #’s for drivers for 2010 –
            1.1 fatalities per 100 million miles traveled

            These guys do a decent job of estimating the same for bikes –


            Bike miles traveled is roughly estimated, but it’s somewhere between 3.7 and 12.6 fatalities per 100 million miles traveled.

          • CO2isYourFriend

            the general rule is that cycling is more dangerous per mile, though less dangerous per hour. So if you live where you live, and its a choice of biking or driving (and you have an “average” commute either way in terms of safety) you are safer driving (ignoring long term health benefits of cycling). OTOH if you are moving closer to work to be able to cycle, and can manage a commute of the same time, you are safer with the short cycle commute.

          • cyclist

            Stats include the worst cases. You can make yourself safer. On a bike, wear a helmet, don’t ride stupid. In a car, wear your seatbelt, don’t drive stupid. Then you’re much less likely to be included in the death column in the stats.

      • CW

        All I feel is pity for you. I have been chained to the car, and then chained to metro. Then I discovered cycle commuting. Incredibly liberating. Yes, there are pains and dangers, but I am in control, and I would rather face risks while in control than be at the mercy of the world.

        Let your hatred of commuting consume you, then buy a bike and come over to the dark side.

        • cyclist

          Nothing more liberating than self-reliance.

          • CW

            Yes, very existential really. I would rather sweat in hundred degree heat by my own choice or get hit by a truck through my own error in judgment than go through each day with my life being dictated by externalities.

        • You’re only really in control if you walk to work…

          Or realistically if you work from home.

          You’re still chained to your bike. Hope your chain doesn’t break, you don’t get a flat, etc (all have happened to me while bike commuting).

          And if you’re walking, I hope you don’t break your leg (happened to a colleague who commuted by foot when I lived in NYC).

          • Tabs

            When I lived in Manhattan, my roommate got shot in the leg (beebee gun from unknown apt bldg window) walking home from work. Coulda been his eye…

          • Mr. Griswold

            Lasky, Guard at Walleyworld: That’s not a real gun, is it Clark?
            Clark: Are you kidding? This is a Magnum P.I.
            Lasky, Guard at Walleyworld: It’s a BB gun!
            Clark: Don’t tempt me. I could put an eye out with this thing.
            Lasky, Guard at Walleyworld: You couldn’t even break the skin with that thing.

          • CO2isYourFriend

            when teleworking, you rely on your ISP, on your electric utilty, your PC.

            To really be self reliant you should engage in subsitence farming – though that has dangers as well.

            BTW, teleworking is still a great alternative

          • Incidentally…

            I love the fact that OPM suggested folks telework from home during the derecho-related liberal leave policy.

            Because obviously if I can’t make it to work because I don’t have power, I can get online at home.

          • cyclist

            Bike-driven generator. Boom, done!

    • Re: Biking to work

      Not everyone has the luxury of an office with a shower, toiletries, and limitless close space for our suits. Not everyone who drives to work does so just to “stick it” to other types of commuters. Get over yourself.

      -A driver & recreational cyclist

      • CW

        You could probably join a gym near your office and get a reserved locker, amortize the cost of all your bike-related expenses, and still save money every month over driving.

        Just sayin.

      • CO2isYourFriend

        you are correct, for everyone to have the benefits chris is thankful for, all employers would need to become bike friendly. that day is not yet, but I think more employers are moving in that direction.

        • cyclist

          And let’s remember that bike-friendly (and transit) means fewer cars on the roads, which is good for those who still drive too.

          • Justin

            It’s not safe to bike in Arlington or DC. Full stop.

  • Ren

    I also was reminded how glad I am to be able to bicycle to work, but, since I’m still impacted by the frustration and ineptidude of drivers (not claiming that these qualities are limited to any one mode of transportation) I would like to give a scream-out to the driver of the white pick-up truck on Columbia Pike. I’m sorry that you can’t READ, but in the morning, the right lane of Columbia Pike just shy of Washington Blvd is right turn only and the left permits right turns. Hence, when traffic is a mess and you can’t easily break the law and endanger drivers and cyclists around you, you look like a total moron by laying down on the horn in frustration because cars in the left lane and turning right are preventing you from going straight.

    • Westover

      Very good information to share with all the out of town drivers. That place needs much better signage.

      • I’ve never understood…

        Why they don’t just permanently set up that intersection that way (maybe with some bollards).

        Even in AM rush, and even in a car, to avoid being creamed by someone who ignores (or misses) the signs, you’re stupid if you turn right from the left lane (unless traffic’s light).

        But seriously – just build a traffic island, have EB columbia pike be one lane going under the bridge. Then wb wash blvd to eb pike can keep moving, bikes/peds have more space under the bridge, and no one gets creamed at a stupid intersection.

    • cyclist

      A good place to post minor annoyances like this:


    • Auntie Mame

      THANK YOU! I’m glad someone else recognizes this problem. It’s a little like Russian Roulette wondering if the drivers in the right hand lane have read the sign or not.


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