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For Older Drivers, Giving Up License And Independence Can Be Tough

First, can anyone tell me why the downtown business district was developed with so few alleys? Wouldn't that have helped alleviate all the double-parking, which is a major cause of downtown gridlock?

I don't have the power to write tickets myself, and don't seem to be able to encourage law enforcement to write them, so let's try this:

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Some of the regular violators are delivery vans from United Parcel Service, FedEx and the U.S. Postal Service.

I'm in touch with UPS headquarters in Atlanta. Send me the details of any UPS truck you see illegally parked, especially during rush hours. Get the address of the nearest building, date, time, nearest cross street and UPS number, painted on all four sides of the truck.

I'll relay that information to Atlanta and see what can be done on a case-by-case basis.

Then, we'll take a look at FedEx and the U.S. Postal Service.

Accident Congestion

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

Recently there was an accident on Interstate 95 in Howard County when a truck vaulted a bridge railing and landed in the Middle Patuxent River. A massive traffic jam ensued.

That evening there was a TV news crew set up next to the highway on the rest area lawn. Their presence caused another massive jam, extending back to the Capital Beltway. What possible justification exists for delaying thousands of motorists for this dubious activity? Where is common sense, especially on the part of Maryland State Police?

Gary Holt

Laurel

That is a tough one because I can certainly see things from the media's standpoint, but this is also a column for motorists. This was a Jan. 26 accident in which a truck driver, trying to avoid a person on the highway, lost control and plunged his rig over the bridge railing.

Miraculously, the driver survived and was rescued. His truck was later hauled up from the river with the aid of two tow trucks, a sight to see in itself.

"The rest area was a safe, off-road area for the media to receive updates and information," said Kellie Boulware, a spokeswoman for the Maryland State Highway Administration. "The rest area was an ideal location -- near the crash site but far enough away so that the SHA and Maryland State Police could investigate and clear the crash scene safely, assist the injured and reopen the travel lanes."

Dr. Gridlock hopes that in prolonged accident operations like this, the State Highway Administration will post notices on overhead electric signs or portable signs on wheels so that motorists can cut over to the Baltimore-Washington Parkway or some other parallel road and bypass the accident.

Transportation researcher Diane Mattingly contributed to this column.

Dr. Gridlock appears Sunday in the Metro section and Thursday in Extra. You can write to Dr. Gridlock, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071. He prefers to receive e-mail, at drgridlock@washpost.com, or faxes, at 703-352-3908. Please include your full name, town, county and day and evening phone numbers.


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