Dear Dr. Gridlock:

What happened to the custom of painting white lines on the roads in the metropolitan area? I commute daily from Prince George's County to downtown. For the most part, I see very worn, hardly discernible white lines in both areas. Isn't this an annual rite of spring anymore?

The deplorable condition of the streets inside the District is hard enough to take, but this is compounded by the lack of visible lane markings. AGNES FREDERICK Temple Hills

Majid Shakib, a spokesman for the Maryland State Highway Administration, said the state will repaint white lines as needed, as often as every two months, if necessary. The longest that lines on major roadways go without being repainted is 12 months, he said.

Shakib said to write him about areas that may have been overlooked, c/o Maryland State Highway Administration, 9300 Kenilworth Ave., Greenbelt, Md. 20770, telling him where lines need to be repainted.

District of Columbia Chief Highway Engineer George Schoene said: "We try to repaint the pavement markings at least once a year, but every so often we fall behind." For areas that need repainting, write Schoene at the D.C. Department of Public Works, 2000 14th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20009. Answer to Hidden Addresses Dear Dr. Gridlock:

I saw implemented in some city an efficient way to find the right address while driving.

It is easier to enforce than a uniform number on the storefronts, and should be less expensive.

On the street signs at the intersection, the range of street numbers is printed on the street sign.

For example, the street sign at the corner besides saying "E. Broad" also would have written under the name the range of addresses in that block on that side of the street. For example,"201-257."

The motorist would have a consistent place to look for the addresses and would see at a glance if the location is in that block.

It could be less expensive to implement, too. All the store owners on that block, on that side of the street can share the expense of putting up one new street sign with the range of addresses on it.

If the sign is wide enough it might even be possible to glue on the address range on existing street signs with those same kind of stickers the state uses on our license plates. They are small but are easy to see, reflect the light, and last forever.

Please pass the suggestion on to the COG {Council of Governments} for their September meeting. DONALD GARCIA Arlington

This kind of signing is used in a number of cities and would certainly be helpful in this area. Your suggestion is hereby passed onto COG for its meeting with regional officials to explore ways to help people locate business addresses. However, your suggestion alone still may not be sufficient. The problem in this area is with businesses that have no address numbers, or numbers that are too small or put in various spots that are hard for motorists to see while driving. What may be needed is what you suggest in addition to some kind of uniformity of number size and location. Thanks for the suggestion. Secret Passage to I-66 West

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

How about the absence of any signs to I-66 near National Airport? I can get to the airport via I-66 just fine. But I only get back to Falls Church because I know that if I follow the George Washington Parkway, drive up to Rosslyn and around the circle at Key Bridge, then I see a sign for I-66 going west.

Are they keeping it a secret? D.G. LEEP Falls Church

John Byrne, superintendent of the George Washington Memorial Parkway, said that if you follow the parkway west past Key Bridge to the Spout Run exit, you will see the two signs that direct motorists to I-66 via Lee Highway.

Following the Key Bridge signs to Rosslyn is one way to reach I-66, but Byrne said that if he put up I-66 signs in addition to the bridge and other directional signs, "the place would be a zoo."

Byrne said that the suggestion to add more signs on the parkway closer to the airport is a good one. "Maybe we need some more. I'll review it," he said. To Divert a Disaster at Parkway Entrance Dear Dr. Gridlock:

The entry onto Rock Creek Parkway, headed downtown from Massachusetts Avenue NW, is a deathtrap. Cars driving downtown from the zoo and beyond come speeding around a blind curve at 40 to 50 mph, using both lanes, and it is impossible to enter the parkway safely.

There is a small sign before the curve indicating entering traffic beyond, but the sign is so small and positioned so inconspicuously that you have to know it is there and look for it in order to see it.

The pavement on the Maryland/George Washington Parkway at Cabin John is marked to divert through traffic to one lane so entering traffic can be accommodated safely.

Please try to have something similar done at the Massachusetts Avenue entrance to Rock Creek Parkway before we have a major disaster there. HAROLD P. HALPERT Bethesda

As you approach the merging traffic coming onto Rock Creek Parkway, there is a sign that warns "yield to parkway traffic," said Sandra Alley of the National Park Service.

"The sign is of minimum standard size 30 inches and we have not yet had any safety problems with that area," she said. However, following this inquiry, the Park Service agreed to make a 36-inch sign.

Alley said it would not be practical to divert traffic into one lane because "it would just create another problem by congesting traffic." Driving Home Through My Neighborhood Dear Dr. Gridlock:

Yes indeed I'm bothered by traffic {congestion} on Capitol Hill, but it's the Maryland commuters using Independence, East Capitol and other streets to drive home through residential neighborhoods that bother me.

These commuter routes were forced on the Hill when its population was poor and defenseless.

We're working now to de-elect the politicians that continue to permit it.

Take the freeway or use Metro! ROBERT THOMAS Washington

Tara Hamilton, spokeswoman for the D.C. Department of Public Works, says the D.C. government is well aware of concerns of Capitol Hill residents about commuter traffic on city streets and has done a number of things to address those concerns. On Capitol Hill in particular, the department has met with civic leaders for several years on a regular basis to discuss ways to protect the residential uses of the streets, she said.

In 1983, the department restored a curb lane of parking on Constitution Avenue from Third Street NE to North Carolina Avenue during the morning rush hour. Previously, all three lanes were open for inbound traffic and residents had to move their cars early in the morning. On C Street, which is one way at all times, parking was restored to both sides of the street, allowing only one lane for rush-hour traffic.

The city has a long-range plan, called the Barney Circle Freeway, which would provide a new direct connection between the Southeast-Southwest Freeway and I-295 (Kenilworth Avenue) northbound to Maryland and to the East Capitol Street bridge. The design for this plan is not expected to be completed until December, Hamilton said. But once the design is completed and approved at a public hearing, bids will be taken on the construction. This new bridge and boulevard could further help to attract motorists to freeways and away from residential streets on Capitol Hill. Angering 'Bread-and-Butter' Riders Dear Dr. Gridlock:

One of the best things Metro has ever done was to finally obtain Farecard machines that would accept $10 and $20 bills. One of the worst things it has ever done was to place all those machines next to the entrances of the stations. Human nature being what it is, most people go to the first available machine they come to -- usually the $10/$20 bill machine, even if they are using dimes to purchase a Farecard.

As a daily rider of Metro at $4.40 per day, I go through a lot of tickets. Since Metro put in the new Farecard machines, I have continually had to wait in line to use the new Farecard machines behind somebody who is using crumpled singles to purchase a Farecard at the only machine I could use, while six or seven other machines stood ready for them. One day three of us stood in line five minutes while a woman purchased $90 worth of Farecards using $5 bills.

I have complained to Metro numerous times and requested they either move the machines (too costly they say) or place signs suggesting use of the machines only for $10/$20 bills. Nothing has happened yet. Meanwhile, Metro continues to anger their bread-and-butter customers by their inaction.

Maybe you can succeed where I have failed and get Metro to either move the machines or place signs on them. At the very least, maybe you can get a better excuse as to why they are unable to do either. ERROL R. WAITS Fairfax

According to Metro spokeswoman Marilyn Dicus, not all of the $10/$20 Farecard machines are in station entrances; some are in the middle. And, she said, "If it's the first machine as you're coming into the station, it's the last machine as you come out, so 'first' is only a relative term."

As for putting signs on the Farecard machines suggesting that customers use other machines, Dicus said Metro has tried something like this before and found it didn't work. As an experiment, Metro placed "express" Farecard vendors in certain stations. Express vendors were specially modified to accept only $5 bills and give only $5 Farecards. "We thought regular commuters would use them" to avoid waiting in line, Dicus said.

But what happened is that everybody ignored the signs and tried to use the express vendors anyway, Dicus said. People put in a $5 bill and then complained when they found they couldn't buy a Farecard of lesser value and they couldn't get change. "People normally go to the machine with the shortest line," Dicus said. "The point is, people just don't read those signs."

Dicus said that Metro now has a total of 32 Farecard machines that accept $10 and $20 bills. These machines are placed in stations with a large volumne of commuter traffic, such as the Metro Center, Silver Spring, New Carrollton and Huntington stations. With the purchase of new machines and with improvements Metro officials hope to make on older Farecard machines, eventually Metro would have at least one machine that accepts $10 and $20 bills in every station. Dicus also noted that these machines provide a maximum of $4.95 in change, so you can't put in a $20 bill and expect to buy an 80-cent Farecard.

To reduce time spent standing in line, Metro officials suggest you buy high-value Farecards and buy your Farecards as you're leaving the station at night.

Dr. Gridlock appears in this section each Friday. You can suggest problems by writing to GRIDLOCK, c/o The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071. Please include your full name, address and day and evening phone numbers.