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Dec
21

Virginia Telework Week Begins March 4

By Miriam Foster

Telework is one of the most desired benefits among employees and in today’s competitive job market, because telework can attract and keep the most talented and desired workers.  Virginia’s Telework Week is a great time for businesses to start a telework program or learn how to better manage teleworking employees in an existing program. 

The Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) and local commuter assistant program partners, like DATA, are encouraging businesses across Virginia to allow qualifying employees to work from home at least one day during Telework Week, March 4-8.

Many of today’s most successful businesses have discovered a powerful way to improve their bottom lines – telework.  If your employees can work with minimal supervision, have good time management skills and meet their deadlines, they may be a great candidate for telework.  Teleworkers can work anywhere, but most work from home one to two days a week, and have improved work/life balance.

Stress from the daily grind of commuting to and from work manifests both physically and mentally, which has a direct impact to your business by decreasing productivity and increasing staff turnover. Telework Week is an ideal time to enhance your company’s policy to include information about flexible commuting options that can be a win-win for your business and employees.

Another advantage of including telework as part of your overall business strategy is the telework tax credit.  Virginia businesses can get a tax credit of up to $1,200 per employee, and as much as $50,000 per organization for eligible telework expenses. These expenses include purchases like computers and connectivity equipment; hardware, software and telecommunications equipment; fees for delivery, installation and maintenance; and up to $20,000 for a telework assessment. Visit teleworkva.org to learn how to file for this state tax credit.  

Telework can also be a crucial part of your continuity of operations (COOP) plan during natural disasters, inclement weather and other emergency situations.   

DRPT’s Telework!VA website has all the tools you need to start and manage a telework program.  Businesses can access a wealth of documents, resources, and e-learning modules for implementation and training.  Employees considering telework can get tips on selling the idea to management, and helpful information on successful teleworking. 

For business located in Northern Virginia, Telework!VA offers free technical assistance.  Our telework experts can meet with you to answer questions and support your organization in developing a customized telework strategy for free.  And for a limited time, businesses on the I-66 corridor that start or expand telework programs with the assistance of Telework!VA may receive up to $10,000.  Go to teleworkva.org and complete a request form to have a Telework!VA representative explain how your business can receive the I-66 $10,000 incentive.  

Dec
21

DATA’s 2018 Annual Membership Meeting and Holiday Reception Caps A Year of Achievement

By Liz Darak

The Dulles Area Transportation Association (DATA) held its 30th Annual Membership Meeting and Holiday Reception on Thursday, December 6, 2018 at the Hyatt Regency Dulles Airport.  The event was co-sponsored by DATA members, Arrowbrook Centre & Arrowbrook Management Corporation, Kimley-Horn, and Dewberry.

Doug Pickford, DATA’s Executive Director and CEO summarized the accomplishments of the Association. From left to right are DATA Board of Directors Chairman John Martin, Doug Pickford, Corporate Counsel Noah Klein, Terry Hoffman (Dulles Greenway) and Lori Pickford.

DATA President John Martin welcomed the guests and recognized the elected officials in attendance.  The revised Bylaws, designed to simply the Association’s operating procedures, were adopted.  Under the new rules, John Martin becomes Chairman of the Board and Executive Director Doug Pickford becomes President and CEO.  In addition, the 2018 Board of Directors, the Executive Committee, and Officers were confirmed.  

Attendees enjoyed one-on-one conversations with Hon. Kate Hanley, Former Chair of Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, Hon. Sheila Olem, Herndon Town Council, and Hon. Kathy Smith, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, Sully District.  These personal networking opportunities have become a hallmark of DATA events.    

Doug Pickford also summarized DATA’s 2018 successful programs like the DRPT-funded Vanpool!VA and SchoolPool grants.  (Visit www.datatrans.org for more information.)

Raj Paradkar, P.E., Sr. Project Manager at Kimley-Horn’s Reston office, was the keynote speaker.  Raj shared a vision of the future of mobility, outlining how connected technology, autonomous cars, electric vehicles and scooters and drones, etc. will reshape surface transportation in the not-so-distant future. 

And needless to say, like every DATA event with a social component, a good time was had by all!

Dec
21

Free Fares on New OmniRide Haymarket – Rosslyn/Ballston Express Route

For the first time, residents in western Prince William County and communities further west along I-66 have direct bus service to popular locations in Rosslyn and Ballston! And believe it or not, fares are free through February 15, 2019!

OmniRide’s new Haymarket Express bus service started in December 2018, providing I-66 drivers who travel inside the Beltway with a faster commute and an alternative to paying tolls.

“This new Express bus route is a game-changer for residents who don’t want to deal with traffic or tolls on I-66,” said Prince William County Supervisor Ruth Anderson. Anderson also serves as Chair of the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission (PRTC), which oversees OmniRide. “Instead of stressing out about their commute or paying tolls to arrive at work on time, riders can relax in a comfortable seat and read or get a few extra minutes of sleep, knowing they’ll have a reliable trip.”

The Haymarket – Rosslyn/Ballston Express bus route operates on weekdays and serves five stops along Heathcote Boulevard, including a new 230-space parking lot that was built by the Virginia Department of Transportation. Major destinations served in Rosslyn and Ballston include stops along North Fairfax Drive, Clarendon Boulevard and Wilson Boulevard.

To celebrate the addition of a route in Haymarket to OmniRide’s commuter bus services, passengers ride for free through February 15, 2019! But the bargain doesn’t end there! 

As an incentive to reduce traffic, all OmniRide buses that travel on I-66 are offering half-fares while Express Lanes construction is under way! The half-fare promotion, which is expected to last until 2021, is funded by VDOT and the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation. As a result, after February 15, 2019, the one-way SmarTrip fare on the Haymarket route will be $3.45 instead of $6.90. 

“OmniRide has wanted to offer additional bus services in western Prince William for years, but a lack of commuter parking in the area has been a major obstacle,” said Prince William County Supervisor Jeanine Lawson, who represents the Brentsville District and also serves on the PRTC Board. “The construction of this new lot and others that VDOT will open in future years will enable OmniRide to offer some greatly-needed commuting options in the I-66 corridor.” 

The new Haymarket route is funded by gas tax revenues and by tolls collected on the I-66 Express Lanes. 

Additional information about OmniRide’s services is available at 703-730-6664 and at  Omni@OmniRide.com.

Dec
21

METRO Skating Glide your way through winter car free!

In need of some outdoor exercise that doesn’t require driving your car to the location?  Why not try taking METRO to one of these six outdoor ice skating rinks conveniently located near a variety of METRO stations.  Hours of operation and fees vary from site to site, particularly during some warm, or extremely cold weather situations.  Best to call in advance.  So, get off the couch, grab your blades and jump on a METRO train to the nearest rink and have some great winter fun!

National Gallery of Art Ice Rink (Blue/Orange Lines Smithsonian Mall Exit, or Yellow/Green Lines Archives 7th Street Exit)

The 2018–2019 ice-skating season begins November 19 and continues through March 10, weather permitting. Experience ice-skating in the Sculpture Garden while surrounded by large-scale sculptures by contemporary artists, including Louise Bourgeois, Sol LeWitt, Tony Smith, Roy Lichtenstein, Roxy Paine, and others.  Rental skates are available for a fee.

Hours

Monday–Thursday – 10:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m.

Friday – 10:00 a.m.–11:00 p.m.

Saturday – 11:00 a.m.–11:00 p.m.

Sunday – 11:00 a.m.–9:00 p.m.

Please note the ice rink will be closed when it rains or when the temperature dips below 20°F. For the current status, please call (202) 216-9397.  Admission fee required.  The National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden is located on the National Mall at 7th Street and Constitution Avenue NW, is bounded by Constitution Avenue and Madison Drive and by 7th and 9th Streets NW.  During the evening, when the Gallery and Sculpture Garden are closed to the public, access to the ice rink is restricted to the entrances at Constitution Avenue near 7th Street and Madison Drive near 9th Street.

Canal Park Ice Rink (Green Line Navy Yard/Ballpark New Jersey Ave. Exit; Circulator Bus as well)

Canal Park is a stunning public park on the site of the historic Washington Canal in the heart of DC’s Capitol Riverfront neighborhood. With its dancing fountains in summer, vibrant ice rink in winter, and LEED Gold-certified water reuse systems, Canal Park is a sustainable and green neighborhood gathering place, and a destination for the entire city.

Canal Park is located in the vibrant Capitol Riverfront neighborhood at 2nd & M St. SE, one block from the Navy Yard/Ballpark Metro (New Jersey Ave. Exit).  Street address is: 202 M Street, SE Washington, DC 20003.  Fee for admission.  

Hours

Monday through Thursday: 12pm-10pm
Friday: 12pm-11pm
Saturday: 10am-11pm
Sunday: 10am-10pm

Pentagon Row Ice Rink (Blue and Yellow Line Pentagon City Exit)

The plaza at Pentagon Row underwent major renovations to create a year-round experience for guests, and now boasts an ice rink that is 50% larger with an outdoor dual-sided stone fireplace for lounging during skating breaks. Pentagon Row’s 6,840 square foot ice rink is now the largest outdoor rink in Northern Virginia, and the second largest in the state.  Open late October to mid-March.

Located at Pentagon Row Fashion Mall at 1201 Joyce Street, Arlington, VA.  Phone: 703-418-6666.  Fee for admission.

Hours

Sunday: 10am – 7pm or 10pm*

Monday:  Noon – 10pm

Tuesday:  Noon – 10pm

Wednesday:  Noon – 10pm

Thursday:  Noon – 7pm or 10pm*

Friday:  Noon – 11pm

Saturday:  10am – 11pm

*If there are Ice Rentals we will close at 7pm and re open at 9pm

Reston Town Center Ice Rink (Silver Line Wiehle Avenue/Reston Exit)

Reston Town Center Ice Skating Pavilion is open seasonally from early November-mid-March, offering public skating every day and extended hours for all holidays. The skate shop is stocked with over 500 pairs of skates ranging from size 8 toddler through men’s size 13, in both Figure and Hockey styles. For the beginner skaters, try the double bladed, flat edge skates to walk across the ice until you’re ready to glide into a single bladed skate, available in size Youth 8-13.

Located in the heart of Reston Town Center at 1818 Discovery Street, Reston, VA.  Phone: 703-709-6300.  Fee for admission.

Hours

Monday: 11:00 am – 7:00 pm 

Tuesday: 11:00 am – 7:00 pm

Wednesday: 11:00 am – 10:00 pm 

Thursday: 11:00 am – 10:00 pm

Friday: 11:00 am – 11:00 pm 

Saturday: 11:00 am – 11:00 pm

Sunday: 11:00 am – 7:00 pm

Rockville Town Square Ice Rink (Red Line Rockville Exit)

The ice rink at Rockville Town Square is the largest outdoor ice skating rink between Baltimore and Washington DC.  It is the largest in all of Montgomery County.  The rink is 7,200 square feet. 

Located in the heart of Rockville, MD at the Rockville Town Square. 131 Gibbs Street, Rockville, MD. Phone: 301-545-1999.  Fee for admission.

Hours

Monday: Thursday: Noon – 10 pm

Friday: Noon – 11pm

Saturday: 10am – 11pm

Sunday: 10am -10pm

Extended hours on Holidays

Dec
21

Metro Introduces New Features for MetroAlerts and Real-time Parking Availability

Metro introduced a new, improved MetroAlerts system to make it easier for customers to get information when and where they want it. The new features allow Metrorail and Metrobus riders to customize the alerts they receive by day and time, and allow multiple email addresses or phone numbers on one account.

“These improvements will help customers eliminate unwanted alerts that don’t affect them and better tailor text and email alerts to their travel patterns,” said Metro Assistant General Manager Lynn Bowersox. “We are mindful of the fact that our customers receive hundreds of emails and text messages through the course of the day, and this is about giving customers better control of when and how they receive information from us.”

MetroAlerts provide riders with text or email alerts about disruptions or delays that may affect their trip on specific bus or rail lines. Riders will no longer receive automatic alerts all day — only when they want, for the times of day they choose based on their travel patterns.

Among the new enhancements for Metrorail and Metrobus customers include the ability to:

  • Add multiple email addresses or phone numbers to one account
  • Select any number rail lines, bus routes or stations to receive alerts
  • Select specific days of the week to receive alerts
  • Select parts of the day to receive alerts – morning, afternoon, evening or night
  • Temporarily suspend alerts while on vacation
  • View your MetroAlerts history

MetroAlerts subscribers who wish to take advantage of these new MetroAlerts options can log in to their account at www.wmata.com/metroalerts to review and update their settings. No changes are necessary for customers who wish to maintain their current MetroAlerts settings, as all current settings have been transferred to the new system.

Real-time parking status now shown on wmata.com

In a separate improvement, Metro customers can now see which parking lots and garages have space before leaving home. Metro launched a new feature on the parking page at wmata.com that provides real-time parking availability. Simply check the parking details by station for the real-time parking status.

Customers will see one of three color-coded status updates:

  • Available (Green)– Ample parking spaces are available.
  • Limited (Yellow) – A limited number of parking spaces are
    available.
  • Full (Red) – The lot/garage is full. No parking spaces are available.

The system provides an estimate of spaces available, rather than an exact number and does not differentiate where cars are parked (i.e. reserved, paid or handicap space).

Metro plans to provide the API data for real-time parking status in
the future.