The folks at the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Project--that's a group of state and federal officials who are trying to replace the bridge--are offering a couple more evening meetings you might be interested in.
The meetings will provide a review of where we stand with the bridge and solicit input on the 10- and 12-lane bridge proposals.
A federal judge last spring, acting on a lawsuit brought by Alexandria citizen groups, ordered further study of a smaller 10-lane bridge and additional compliance with environmental and historic resource laws.
The bridge builders had received approval from state and local governments to construct a 12-lane bridge next to the existing span. Work would begin soon and be finished in 2006. It is not clear whether the lawsuit will extend that timetable.
The public sessions are:
* Wednesday, 5 to 8 p.m., Valley View Elementary School, 5500 Danby Ave., Oxon Hill.
* Sept. 9, 5 to 8 p.m., Belle View Elementary School, 6701 Fort Hunt Rd., Alexandria.
For more information, call 703-519-9800.
Traffic Signals Too Hard to See
Dear Dr. Gridlock:
I would like to complain about the terrible and dangerous way Maryland and Virginia install their traffic signals. The common practice is to string a wire across the intersection (also unsightly), then dangle the signal directly over the lanes of traffic.
Fine, but if you are driving behind a bus, truck or any tall vehicle, the signals are often totally hidden from view when approaching or waiting at an intersection.
To correct this, signals at an intersection should be placed on the far right and far left corners if the roadway is undivided. This way the signals are easily visible around tall vehicles. It's better for pedestrians, too.
The next time you are in the District of Columbia or California, take notice. They do it right.
A recent national television show illustrated an intersection in suburban Dallas that was particularly dangerous because of just what you cite, Mr. Thompson: no signals on the corners, no view of the overhead signal because of trucks.
Dr. Gridlock mentioned this situation to Northern Virginia traffic engineers a few years ago and challenged them to look at other jurisdictions to see how it's done. To my amazement, Fairfax County did and concluded that mast-arm lights, although more expensive than span wire, are cheaper to maintain (not so much wind and water damage). Since then, Fairfax has been installing numerous mast arms, with lights at the corners.
Let's hope our local governments study this further (and attach a big, easy-to-read street sign from each mast arm).
A Cool Way to Beat the Heat
Dear Dr. Gridlock:
A few weeks ago, the temperature reached 100 degrees, and I was sweltering. So I came up with a good way to keep cool. I pulled out one of my holiday tapes, like "Winter Wonderland," and felt instantly cooler.
Whatever works. Will "Heat Wave" work in winter?
Dr. Gridlock's assistant, Jessica Medinger, contributed to this column.
Dr. Gridlock appears Monday in the Metro section and Thursday in Loudoun Extra. You can write to Dr. Gridlock, P.O. Box 3467, Fairfax, Va. 22038-3467, or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Doctor's fax number is 703-352-3908. Please include your full name, address and day and evening phone numbers.