Dear Dr. Gridlock:As a recent transplant from Connecticut to the Woodbridge area, I would like to put in my two cents worth on commuting:

I lived in Connecticut all my life, and for the last 10 years, I commuted into New York City. Talk about crazy. You people down here have it so good, you don't know. My one-way commute started at wake-up of 5:45 a.m. I left the "condo" (a 750-square-foot, one bedroom/bath, $145,000) at 6:30 a.m. to catch a 6:50 a.m. train to New York's Grand Central Station. Monthly commuting ticket: $161. Monthly parking at the {Connecticut} train station: $25. Arriving at Grand Central at 8:07 a.m., I fought the crush to the Lexington Avenue subway line to ride two express stops to the office.

Monthly cost: $40.

If I could get on the first train that pulled in, I'd be lucky. Usually two or three trains would come and go and be so packed with sweaty, smelly humanity, you couldn't get on. I've seen fights, shoving and pushing and someone actually pushed on the tracks and run over by a train. Anyway, the ride usually lasted 15 minutes or more. I'd arrive at the office by about 8:30 a.m., if everything was on time. Going home was the reverse. In the summer the subway would be so hot and humid, I'd be soaked by the time I got in. The subway and train cars were seldom air conditioned, and the new Kawasaki cars were so packed with people, the air couldn't keep up anyway. Total monthly commuting cost: $226.

What drove us to Virginia? A four bedroom, three bath, 2,000-square-foot brand new house in Dale City for $112,000. Living 25 miles from work. Leaving the house at 8 a.m., meeting a car pool of great people at Potomac Mills at 8:10 a.m., arriving at work in Southwest Washington at 8:40 a.m. Stopping to pick up a cup of coffee and getting in the office before 9 a.m. Total commuting cost: drive once a week, pay $17.50 parking every five months (yes, we have five people, because once in a while at least one of us has other plans -- that still leaves four for the car-pool lanes).

Why didn't we move closer to New York? Because there isn't anything affordable closer to New York. So it was a two-hour, one-way commute for $226 a month, versus a 45-minute trip for almost next to nothing.

The next time someone down here moans to me about the high cost of housing or how long it takes them to get to and from work, my advice is to move to Connecticut and commute to New York -- then you'll really have something to moan about. Or join a car pool. JOE SALATA Dale City

Keep smiling, Mr. Salata. Maybe you haven't been here long enough to savor the full flavor of driving in Washington.

Yours is probably the first letter ever received by Dr. Gridlock from someone who is grateful for a 45-minute trip each way. What did they do to you in New York? You should know, that many other people here, from the hundred or so letters received each week, are not happy. In fact, they're pretty mad. They're mad about a woefully inadequate road system in this area, bad signs, bad driving habits and too many cars. Some people are as fed up here as you were in New York and have moved to places like Wyoming.

It can drive you bonkers. Just the other day Post columnist Courtland Milloy, perhaps having ingested too much exhaust that day, confessed in his column he hears traffic signals talking. He asked Dr. Gridlock if others hear those voices too. (There, there, Courtland, of course they do.)

You should also know, Mr. Salata, that setting aside highway lanes for car pools is a hot topic around here. A number of people would like to see those lanes opened to all traffic. More will appear here on that in subsequent weeks.

Anyway, it was a delight to receive your letter. Access Road Car Pools Dear Dr. Gridlock:

Our car pool noted with interest the {recent} news reports that the Metropolitan Washington Airports Commission was considering opening the Dulles Access Road to car pools (HOV-3) during rush hours. We've heard nothing in the media since then.

We believe the proposal is sound for a number of reasons:

1. Allowing car pools to use the Access Road would relieve congestion on the Toll Road, to the benefit of all motorists who rely on the Toll Road for the daily commute.

2. Enforcement would not be a problem because the police who allow Metrobuses on the Access Road could also control access by car pools.

3. The proposal would encourage commuters to use car pools.

4. The proposal would not significantly increase congestion on the Access Road because (a) the Access Road is not heavily used by inbound airport traffic in the morning (most inbound traffic on the Access Road is caused by commuters driving to Dulles and turning around to save time, money, or both), and (b) there is not a very high proportion of car pools on the Toll Road.

We understand the concern of the airport commission that this "allowance" not become permanent, and that the State of Virginia should make a commitment to complete the third lane of the Toll Road by a certain date. However, the modest car-pool proposal should alleviate the traffic congestion in the short term, to everyone's benefit.

We urge the airport commission to vote soon, and we urge the media to tell us what is happening with the proposal. JOANNE BORDEAUX, DARIA DANIELS, MYLES FLINT, STUART D. GIBSON, CANDACE McCOY Northern Virginia

For those not familiar with this traffic corridor, the Dulles Access Road is the four-lane, divided highway under federal control that was built in 1962 to serve Dulles International Airport. The Dulles Toll Road (Rte. 267) was built in 1984 parallel to the Access Road to serve commuter traffic in the rapidly expanding western Fairfax area. Traffic is relatively light on the Dulles Access Road; it is much more congested on the toll road.

Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.) asked the airport commission last September to consider allowing car pools of three or more people to use the Access Road to relieve congestion on the toll road. This was proposed to last until the Dulles Toll Road is widened from two to three lanes in each direction. That project is scheduled to get under way next year and be finished by the spring of 1991.

Ed Newberry, Wolf's spokesman, said Wolf staff members did traffic counts on the two roads and based on that, Wolf has concluded that the Access Road has more than enough capacity to absorb the car pools that would be generated from toll road traffic without slowing down traffic on the access road.

Dave Hess, spokesman for the airport authority, said the matter is under study.

"We need to see how this will affect us now and in the future," Hess said. He said there is no timetable for a response, but promises to alert the media when there is.

Locked Up at Seven Locks Dear Dr. Gridlock:

Last October, the highway department for Maryland or Montgomery County dug up the road shoulders on all approaches to the intersection of Seven Locks Road and Bradley Boulevard in West Bethesda, and placed warning barrels all around. The resulting constriction of traffic is particularly severe in the morning rush hour on southbound Seven Locks, often backing up traffic all the way to Democracy Boulevard.

Recently, there has been absolutely no apparent further work done. To rip up a useable road and then apparently abandon whatever repair or improvement they were going to do is irresponsibly poor planning. Can you please find out what's going on, and when the highway department will restore the shoulders? BROOKS J. BOWEN Potomac

Ron Welke, chief traffic engineer for Montgomery County, says the work at this intersection has been halted because of winter weather. The work will resume around April 1 and will take three to four months to complete, Welke said. He said he drives through that intersection every evening and has not noticed any significant traffic disruption because of the suspended work there, and notes that because the job did start last October, it can be finished earlier this year than had the project started this spring.

The work is to provide better left-turn capabilities at the intersection that should improve traffic flow. The left-turn lanes are being extended to handle more cars, and left-turn arrows have been installed for people heading south on Seven Locks or east on Bradley, Welke said.

Within the next year, the county transportation department will begin improvements on two other Seven Locks intersections. At Tuckerman Lane, another lane will be added for people going south on Seven Locks or east on Tuckerman. At Seven Locks and Democracy Boulevard, the intersection will be reconfigured to provide left-turn improvements. Both those projects should be done around the spring of 1989, Welke said.

Wolf's Wilson Bridge Experiment

A traffic note: Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va) has been busy trying to seek improved traffic flow on the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. His office announced this week as a result of one of his House initiatives the commandant of the Coast Guard will temporarily extend the hours that the Woodrow Wilson Bridge cannot be raised. Currently the drawbridge is not supposed to be raised between 6:30 and 9:30 a.m. and 4 and 6:30 p,m, The new hours would ban bridge raising from 6 to 10 and 3 to 8. "Because it takes nearly a half-hour to raise and lower the bridge," Wolf said, "severe traffic congestion occurs when the drawspan is opened during peak hour periods such as 3:52 or 3:59 p.m."

The new hours will take effect in mid-April and will last 60 days while the Coast Guard studies the consequences. Wolf's spokesman said the representative has also prompted the Federal Highway Administration to install electronic surveillance and electronic signs on the bridge to alert authorities to problems on the bridge and advise motorists of alternate routes. The administration will also pay for a study on the possibility of double decking or otherwise expanding the bridge.

Dr. Gridlock appears in Metro 2 each Friday to explore what makes it difficult to get around on roads, from misleading signs to parking problems to chronic bottlenecks. We'll try to find out why bad situations exist and what is being done about them. You can suggest topics by writing to DR. GRIDLOCK, c/o The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071. Include your full name, address and day and evening phone numbers.