Dear Dr. Gridlock:

These huge sport utility vehicles, like the Chevrolet Suburbans and the Ford Expeditions, are getting so big now that a single parking place won't hold them. They hang over the white lines, and when I'm parked next to them, I can't get my car door open wide enough to get in or out.

I've had friends let me get out before they park because I know I'll never be able to exit from the passenger side when we are next to one of these behemoths.

We need wider parking spots. Some of these shopping center managers need to be spoken to.

L.C. Catlin


These vehicles you name seem to me to be something of a menace. They crowd you in the parking lots, as you point out, and it's hard to see around them when you try to leave. And their headlights, even on low beams, strike the average motorist at head level.

Good point. You folks might look for a sign listing the property manager's office--or get that number from a store--and send in your concerns to the people who can do something about them. They should listen to their customers.

A Riddle ResolvedOur most recent license plate riddle (Nov. 1), was this: What kind of car (make and model) has the license plate that reads EDUC8EM? Most of you got part of the answer, that the plate stands for "Educate Them." However, from there, the responses went in several directions.

One person said the answer is a Mercury Villager, as in it takes a village to raise a child. Another said the vehicle was a school bus. Another said a Land Rover Discovery, and another listed a Chevrolet Nova, short for Northern Virginia Community College. Nice tries, but wrong.

Here's the correct answer, from the person who owns the vehicle:

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

A fellow teacher cut out the "License Stumper" from the Nov. 1 Washington Post and gave it to me. The license plate featured is my plate! It stands for "Educate Them" and is on my tan Mazda Protege.

I teach at Riverside Elementary School in the Alexandria section of Fairfax County. Does this mean you actually saw my car one day? Can't wait to hear back from you.

Danielle Klamans

Fairfax Station

A Post colleague saw your plate and brought it to our attention. We welcome nominations from any source. Thanks for being part of this one. Next riddle: Monday, Dec. 6.

A Land With No GridlockDr. Gridlock asked for your nominations of places to resettle/retire that have no gridlock. Here are some of them:

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

For a gridlock-free city, try Juneau, Alaska. The closest thing to a traffic jam is a three-minute wait at a traffic light.

Juneau, the state capital, also has some of the most spectacular scenery you have seen. It's surrounded on three sides by mountains, with water on the fourth side. You can take a tram up Mount Roberts and look down on the planes flying by.

You can also try Dutch Harbor, Alaska; Cold Bay, Alaska; and several other small towns in the state.

All of Alaska isn't like this, however. I've been told that Fairbanks and Anchorage both have traffic problems, but compared to most U.S. cities, they are minor.

Michael Babischkin


Dear Dr. Gridlock:

Bucks Harbor, Maine, is down a spit of land about 12 miles from Machias. At the time we lived there, the closest McDonald's was about 60 miles away in Ellsworth. We loved it. The worst traffic you could find would be two people trying to get into the post office lot at the same time.

Maybe the lobster boats experienced gridlock, but the cars never did.

Rebecca P. Michela


Dear Dr. Gridlock:

I know a lovely little town called Greenbackville, Va., that has no gridlock. It is located on the Maryland/Virginia border on the Eastern Shore, reached via Salisbury and Snow Hill, Md., and State Route 13 south through Girdletree and Temperanceville.

Did I mention that it is on a bay, and has only a post office and volunteer fire department? Ssshh. Keep this a secret as long as you can.

P.S. Great antiquing area, too.

Dianne Pickar Notes


Won't breathe a word. Keep those nominations coming, folks. From a gridlocked to a gridlock-free lifestyle. Those are choices we'd like to have.

Dr. Gridlock's assistant, Jessica Medinger, contributed to this column.

Dr. Gridlock appears Monday in the Metro section and Wednesday or Thursday in the Weekly and Extra sections. You can write to Dr. Gridlock, P.O. Box 3467, Fairfax, Va. 22038-3467, or e-mail him at The doctor's fax number is 703-352-3908. Please include your full name, address and day and evening phone numbers.