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Metro work affects all lines this weekend

The transit authority has been installing new signs in stations. They're easier to read, and reflect the upcoming addition of the Silver Line, which will have a transfer point at Metro Center. (Robert Thomson/The Washington Post)

All Metro stations will be open this weekend, but trains will share tracks through work zones on all lines and that will affect the schedules.

Here are the details on Metrorail service between 10 p.m. Friday and the rail system’s midnight closing on Sunday.

Red Line. Crews will work on the tracks between Judiciary Square and NoMa-Gallaudet stations. Trains are scheduled to leave the ends of the line at Shady Grove and Glenmont every 16 minutes. But extra trains will be in service from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday between Shady Grove and Judiciary Square. In that zone, trains should reach platforms every 10 minutes.

Orange Line. Crews will work on the tracks between Stadium-Armory and Eastern Market. Trains are scheduled to operate every 20 minutes all along the line.

Blue Line. It shares the tunnel with the Orange Line through the work zone, and will be on the same 20-minute schedule.

Green Line. Crews will work track switch parts between the Georgia Avenue and Fort Totten stations and also on the tracks between the Navy Yard and Anacostia stations. Trains all along the line will operate every 20 minutes.

Yellow Line. On a normal weekend, Yellow Line trains share the tunnel with the Green Line that goes north to the Fort Totten station. Because of the weekend work, the Yellow Line trains will go no farther north than Mount Vernon Square. To go beyond that, get off the Yellow Line train at Mount Vernon Square and wait on the platform for the next Green Line train toward Greenbelt. The Yellow Line trains will operate on their normal weekend frequencies.

Travel tips

Metro’s strategy on weekends like this is to space the trains far enough apart so that they don’t get bunched up waiting their turns through the single-tracking work zones. To minimize your wait on the platform, check Metro’s online Trip Planner after midday Friday, when the weekend schedule will be incorporated into the Trip Planner calculations. This helps, but it’s no guarantee of avoiding a wait. The weekend trains can get thrown off schedule, just like the weekday trains. Also, some riders have told me they still experience delays aboard trains at the points where those trains are to enter the single-tracking areas.

Also, the next train signs on the platforms are less reliable on weekends, when the trains are sharing tracks through work zones.

App will help fight parking tickets


WASHINGTON — There seems to be an app for everything these days, and soon there will be one to fight bad parking tickets.

The app, called Fixed, allows drivers to upload a picture of their ticket, then explain why the ticket shouldn’t have been written. Fixed takes care of the rest.

Fixed is launching first in San Francisco, and the developer hopes to expand to the District.

“A common misconception with parking violations is that they’re black and white. But frequently it’s actually a gray issue. That’s where we’re here to help, to get you off those tickets that are gray issues,” says David Hegarty, co-founder of Fixed.

“We have a team of legal researchers that pour over the parking regulations and ordinances that apply to parking. But what’s clever about our system is that it learns. We have an algorithm to know, for a given type of violation, what are the most common types of errors and what are the most effective defenses. The more tickets we put into the system, the smart the algorithm gets.”

Once a photograph of the ticket is uploaded, the app will asks why the ticket is wrong. It could prompt users to take more pictures, then will forward the information to the legal researchers. Fixed then helps challenge the ticket and write a statement of defense with legal reasons why the ticket should be dismissed.

For nearly a year, WTOP Ticketbuster has profiled the persistent and repeated problems with erroneous tickets written in Washington and the problems adjudicating those tickets at the D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

District of Columbia ticket writers issue about two million citations per year, mostly from the Department of Public Works (DPW).

Hegarty says he’s a victim too, that’s why he started the app.

“I was working with my co-founders last November and we were kicking around ideas. One day, I came back to my car and I found two tickets on my windshield. It was frustrating because I just paid four others. I was fuming. But someone told me that I could contest them,” says Hegarty.

“I learned how to contest tickets, all the rules, and I won both cases. I told my friends about this and they suggested to put it into an app, so everyone could do it. That was the genesis for Fixed.”

The app launches the first week of March in San Francisco for Apple and Android phones and will be free to download. There’s a waitlist to join.

Hegarty hopes to expand to Washington, D.C. within the next 18 months, but will make that decision based on demand.

“The demand is so great that we’ve put in a wait list process. The way we’ll determine what cities to expand to next is the number of downloads we have in that city. So my advice to the listeners in D.C. want it to come to the D.C.-area sooner, they should download it and get on the waitlist now,” he says.

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Silver Line construction not finished; opening delayed again

WASHINGTON – Work on the Silver Line is not yet complete and the public opening of the massive public transit expansion will be delayed again, officials at the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority said Monday.

Dulles Transit Partners, the contractor building the $2.9 billion rail extension, said earlier this month that it had substantially completed work on the first phase of the Silver Line. But MWAA officials now say the contractor has yet to finish seven of 12 key areas including a lack of occupancy certificates for stations and the Tysons tunnel.

Other issues still to be addressed include water leaks in buildings, problems with the train control system and elevator and escalator problems, according to the airports authority, which is overseeing construction.

Monday’s announcement now means that DTP, led by construction giant Bechtel, will have to do additional work until MWAA officials are satisfied. Once the airports authority determines work is complete, it will take over the project and prepare to turn it over to Metro, which will have three months for additional testing and reviews before the public would be able to use the service.

The first leg of the Silver Line includes four stops in Tysons Corner and one in Reston at Wiehle Avenue. It is one of the largest infrastructure projects currently being built in the U.S.

Officials had originally hoped to begin service in December 2013.