Light Tinkering Improves Bridge Traffic

By Dr. Gridlock
Sunday, September 24, 2006

Memorial Bridge across the Potomac is one of the great gateways to an American city. This entry into the nation's capital is in the same league as the George Washington Bridge into New York and the Oakland Bay Bridge into San Francisco.

Lately, though, inbound commuters from Virginia have not been focused on the grand prospect of the Lincoln Memorial. Their eyes were lower, and to the left, where they found two new traffic lights casting a shadow over their trip. Outbound in the afternoon, they confronted not only the lights but a bunch of buses overstaying their welcome after dropping off tourists.

The angry letters to Dr. Gridlock from people who work in the Foggy Bottom area or east along Constitution Avenue, plus the comments on our Get There blog at , far surpassed anything I've seen since I began doing the column this summer.

Here is a mere sampler.

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

Well, the construction around the Lincoln Memorial is just about finished, and we have a first-class new bottleneck. Each morning, traffic is backed up from the new light on the circle at 23rd Street back across Memorial Bridge, Columbia Pike and to I-395.

The major contributor seems to be a short green for traffic on the circle that continues on the diagonal up to Constitution Avenue. The long red serves no obvious purpose, since there is no oncoming traffic that could cross this lane.

-- Bruce Taylor

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