After 13 years of seeking a new location to give road tests for drivers' licenses, the D.C. Transportation Department has found -- and opened -- it at a site adjoining Metro's Rhode Island Avenue subway station.

Until yesterday, drivers took such tests in the congested neighborhood around the Municipal Center on Judiciary Square, an area fraught with hazards for new drivers. Once, veteran Washington Post police reporter Alfred E. Lewis recalled, an applicant flunked her test spectacularly when she plunged her car into a pit excavated for foundations of the new D.C. Courthouse.

Not only that, but parking spaces while waiting for the tests are, to put it mildly, extremely scarce in the Judiciary Square area.

The new location for road tests is at Brentwood Road and W Street NE, a short walk from the Metro stop on the Red Line for those who don't bring their cars when they take the tests. Short-term car rentals are available there, as they were downtown.

However -- and this is very important -- license applicants still must go to the Municipal Center to take the written examinations on driving rules that precede the actual road tests. Once an applicant passes the written exam, an appointment will be made for a later road test at Brentwood Road. Payment for the license, by check or money order but not cash, may be made at Brentwood.

D.C. City Council members Jerry A. Moore Jr. (R-At Large), chairman of the Transportation Committee, and William R. Spaulding (R-Ward 5), attended a dedication ceremony yesterday.