The last call for New Year's resolutions for our local transportation officials concludes with more suggestions.
New Year's traffic resolutions:
* D.C. police should vigorously enforce the parking restrictions along Reservoir Road NW during morning and evening rush hours. Traffic comes to a standstill near the Georgetown University Medical Center as cars, trucks and buses funnel to one lane to dodge illegally parked cars.
* Metro should inspect and update all the old, obsolete signs and station designations on its information pylons. For example, there are pylons on the upper platforms of the L'Enfant Plaza station that direct riders to Green Line stations that include "Rosecroft Raceway" (deleted from the plans years ago).
* Since you cannot go from southbound D.C. 295 to the Southeast-Southwest Freeway, why not make it easier for out-of-town visitors by signing the route intelligently. For example, the exit to the South Capitol Street Bridge (Howard Road-Downtown), gives no indication this is the way to the South Capitol Street Bridge.
Here are my New Year's resolutions for whoever is in charge of buses for the Metro system:
* I resolve to assure that the buses run reliably and to never again skip a scheduled bus. People can't use the bus if they can't count on them coming.
* I resolve to fix the shock absorption on the bus seats so that people with arthritis or other disabilities are not in pain as they ride on the rough streets of the nation's capital.
* I resolve to fix the windows of the bus so that they do not rattle incessantly and noisily.
* I resolve to fix the wheelchair lifts so they work and to discipline drivers who fail to pick up a person who uses a wheelchair.
* I will work with the media so that information about bus schedule changes is shared as widely as information about traffic conditions.
* I will do all that I can to assure that the bus provides a realistic and reliable alternative to the automobile for those who cannot drive, prefer not to drive or even like the bus.
Dale S. Brown
Arlington County officials should either step up enforcement or come up with another way to deal with Columbia Pike traffic merging left onto Route 27 East at the same point where Route 27 East traffic is exiting right to enter the I-395 South access ramp. The yield signs are ignored.
Dear Dr. Gridlock:
The Alexandria and Arlington police departments should resolve to enforce the "Yield to Traffic in Circle" signs at the Shirlington traffic circle, just off Exit 6 on Interstate 395.
I can't tell you how many times I have almost been creamed by cars whose drivers ignore the yield signs and almost sideswipe cars already in the circle. It's extremely dangerous, especially when you are trying to exit the circle through the herd of crazed scofflaws.
Let's resolve to stop talking about our transit problems and start solving them! All we do around here is debate, argue, form committees, study issues, protest resolutions, rethink the solutions, etc., etc., etc., but we never seem to actually do anything about it.
The debate should not be whether to build roads or mass transit but how much road and mass transit to build. If we stop wasting money on political infighting, we could go a long way toward solving our transit nightmares.
Northern Virginia officials should resolve to put easy-to-read overhead street signs at each intersection controlled by a traffic light. It is very difficult to read the small signs posted on the intersection corners.
Since it is always necessary to look up at the traffic light, it would be helpful to have a street sign at the same location, meaning we no longer have to locate a corner sign. Result: Traffic flow and safety would be enhanced.
William E. Stemple
We would like the powers-that-be to resolve to do a better job of synchronizing the traffic lights and carefully adjusting the timing of these lights in congested areas.
For instance, the whole Seven Corners mess. All of the timing of these lights needs to be adjusted to prevent gridlock. Every evening, cars end up blocking the roads because the timing of the lights is such that the first light is still green while the next light is red. At one point about a year ago, the timing of the lights was changed for the better, but then, after a month, it was changed back to the old settings and gridlock reigned again.
The stretch of Gallows Road from Route 50 to the Dunn Loring Metro stop, barely a mile long, has a ridiculous number of traffic lights, and none are synchronized. You go from red light to red light for the whole stretch.
We could go on for several pages but will restrain ourselves.
Lise Schioler and Thomas Williams
Be it resolved that Montgomery County will clear the shrubbery from in front of all signs on Connecticut Avenue between the Beltway and Jones Bridge Road.
The existing road network needs to be made as efficient as possible. Some suggestions to keep traffic moving more efficiently:
* Use higher-quality lane markings.
* Use reflectors to mark lanes in confusing places.
* Put up road-name signs well ahead of intersections, ideally over the road, so that people can get in the correct lane.
* Introduce "Slower Drivers Keep Right" signs in Maryland to avoid delays in the fast lanes.
* Prosecute red-light runners vigorously.
* Encourage telecommuting.
The state of Maryland should crack down on speeders on Interstate 270. The regular "flow" is creeping toward 75 mph, which is not safe, particularly when you have the occasional person doing 55 mph and far too many going 80 mph and tailgating.
Dr. Gridlock's assistant, Jessica Medinger, contributed to this column.
Dr. Gridlock appears Monday in the Metro section and on Wednesday and 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 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.