Changing Lanes: 10 Projects That Will Change How You Get Around

D.C. is known for lots of great things, but getting around quickly and conveniently is not exactly one of them.

Lucky for you, News4 Transportation Reporter Adam Tuss says there are some major changes coming to the District, Maryland and Northern Virginia that could revolutionize the way you get around.

As part of Adam's special report for News4, "Changing Lanes," check out his list of ten projects coming to the area that might relieve your commuting woes.

1. The Metro Silver Line

You've probably heard the hype around Metro's brand-new Silver Line, and for good reason. The $2.9 billion first phase of the line opened in late July, and includes five new stations: Wiehle-Reston East, Spring Hill, Greensboro, Tysons Corner and McLean.

NBC4's Adam Tuss has done some pretty extensive research and reporting on this exciting transportation development. Check out all of News4's Silver Line coverage online.

2. Metro Silver Line Cars

Some Metro cars will be getting their first facelift since the system's debut in 1976. Following the debut of the Silver Line, Metro will begin launching its new 7000-series cars.

Metro has ordered more than 500 of the new cars, and will soon begin to phase out its 300 oldest cars. Full-scale production of the cars is scheduled to begin in the second half of this year.

Want to know what the cars look like and who the lucky first riders were? We've got the scoop.

3. Beltway Changes

The Beltway is one of the most frustrating roadways in the country and makes a regular appearance on "worst commute" lists. There are repeated efforts to make driving the Beltway easier, including the 495 Express Lanes that opened in November, 2012. Those lanes are "high occupancy toll" lanes with tolls that fluctuate based on demand.

Changes to the Beltway may not stop there -- or with the road we are used to. Ideas for an "Outer Beltway" in Virginia have been proposed. For now, though, that idea doesn't seem to have much traction.

4. Street Cars

Streetcars might seem like a thing of the past, but D.C. is scheduled to bring them back later this year. Twenty-eight streetcar operators began training early this week in northeast D.C., and service is expected to start later this year.

But is it an empty promise? Adam clears that up.

5. The MARC and VRE Plan

MARC and VRE have been talking about extending each service into the other's state, which will improve riders' commutes. The plan will mean MARC and VRE trains wouldn't have to turn around at Union Station, creating a true regional rail system.

Want to know more about what this partnership could mean for your commute? We've got you covered.

6. I-95 Express Lanes Project

Who doesn't want a shorter commute? Express Lanes on I-95 are expected to be completed by early 2015, giving thousands of commuters in northern Virginia a faster way home.

Drivers using the lanes will be able to bypass congestion from Stafford County to Fairfax County, but it will come with a price.

7. The Capital Bikeshare

If all this talk about sitting in trains and cars has you craving the great outdoors then you're in luck. The Capital Bikeshare system hit its highest ridership month ever in June, with more than 320,000 trips taken.

Bikeshare is now spread across the area in D.C., Maryland and Virginia.

8. Uber

Ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft have been in the news a lot recently, and they are changing the way you get around the city. Instead of running around trying to hail a cab, the popular app-based services allow riders to call for a driver with the simple push of a button.

Sound simple? It is. But there are some pretty important things you should know about Uber before you decide to ride.

9. Pedestrian Improvements with HAWK signals

D.C. HAWK (or High-Intensity Activated Crosswalk) crosswalks are changing the way pedestrians in the city cross at busy intersections.

The first signal was installed at the intersection of Connecticut Avenue and Northampton Street NW, and stops traffic with a red signal to allow pedestrians to safely cross.

Unfortunately, the cost of keeping pedestrians safe doesn't come cheap. We can tell you just how much a HAWK crosswalk costs.

10. Proposed Purple Line

The Silver Line might be the star of the show right now, but there is a chance Metro might be adding an additional line.

The Purple Line is just a concept now, but, if built, it would link Bethesda and New Carrollton with 21 stations. The line would cost about $2.15 billion to build, around $900 million of which Maryland is seeking in federal money.

The funds wouldn't all be federal. Maryland is planning on investing in the line, too.

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