The Annapolis Department of Transportation has announced the creation of a new bus route, C-40, to link Annapolis, Anne Arundel Community College in Arnold and Edgewater, starting Jan. 13.

The new route is designed to connect residents to education, employment and business opportunities in the areas, said Paul Foer, a spokesman for the Annapolis Department of Transportation.

The following are tentative stops but may be changed according to demand:

* South River Colony Shopping Center and residential area.

* South River High School.

* Center of Applied Technology (South).

* Several stops along Mayo Road.

* South County Senior Center.

* Lee Airport.

* The Spa Road Transfer Point (free transfers to other city bus routes).

* Anne Arundel Community College.

* Arnold business centers along Route 2.

The cost will be $1.50 one way and $3 round trip. The bus will operate from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The bus can make off-route stops based on advance requests.

For more information, call Annapolis Transit at 410-263-7964, Ext. 107; e-mail Ginger Doyel at; or visit

Pull Up for a Light

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

I read with interest the comments on why drivers stop a car length before the white line at intersections. Their reasons are valid, but . . .

Many lights where I drive have sensors embedded in the road that don't trigger the green light unless a car is stopped directly behind the white line.

I've spent many cycles trapped behind drivers who don't realize that the light isn't going to change unless they move up.

The line grows and grows behind them, and it sometimes takes several more cycles before the intersection can clear.

Some drivers never realize that they need to move up. After 10 minutes, I will get out of my car and beg them to move up to the line so we can trigger a green light.

The same thing happens when drivers go past the white line to wait. Unless the region is able to make the sensors include the area at least a car length behind the line -- or do away with them altogether -- those drivers who choose to stop well before the line are making a significant contribution to the increased time required to get around.

Karen Reznek

Berwyn Heights

Make Room for Visibility

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

If your correspondents with this irrational fear of having a large vehicle in front of them, like an SUV, would keep the proper distance between their car and the vehicle in front of them, their ability to see beyond the larger vehicle would become a nonissue.

Of course their visibility is going to be compromised when they are following a vehicle with one car length separating them at highway speeds.

A one-car-length separation for each 10 mph of highway speed would provide the visibility they need and allow enough time to stop in the event of an emergency.

Mark Willard Sparks


A Passing Issue

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

One of your readers asked if it was legal to use a shoulder to pass a stopped car on a two-lane road. You quoted Maryland State Police spokesman Sgt. Thorny Rouse as saying it was. This is not accurate.

Maryland traffic law (21-305c) says you may not go off the roadway to pass another vehicle. Roadway is defined (11-151) as part of a highway that is improved, designed or ordinarily used for vehicular travel other than the shoulder.

Daniel Snyder


I've got no reason to doubt Sgt. Rouse. Often, readers will have a different interpretation of an ambiguously written law than the state police.

In this case, I suggest motorists simply stop and wait for the vehicle to turn rather than drive on the shoulder to pass.

Lots of Talk, Little Action In a recent letter, Dick Bentz of Bethesda said he was hearing radio advertisements promoting the Smooth Operator and Checkpoint Strikeforce police programs, purportedly to crack down on aggressive and drunk drivers.

Bentz wrote that he has not seen "one iota of evidence that either program is in operation."

I haven't seen any evidence, either.

I asked for your answers. Almost all of them were negative and bring into question the value of such programs. Here's a sample:

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

Mr. Bentz deserves the "Letter of the Year Award." He hit the nail on the head! There is no Smooth Operator program or any other program to target bad drivers (and there are a lot) in the D.C. area.

I have personally written to Col. David Mitchell of the Maryland State Police three times over the last two years and told him that they need to do way more than they're doing right now about aggressive driving on Interstate 270, the Beltway, Interstate 95 north between Baltimore and D.C. and, of course, Northern Virginia. It has gotten worse and worse and worse.

David Alston

Silver Spring

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

What do I think? Police routinely ignore traffic situations.


Monday, Oct. 7, 1 p.m. Good Hope Estates neighborhood, Silver Spring. Four police cars are across the residential street investigating a break-in with a possible suspect still in the house. There are two officers on the lawn with shotguns trained on the house.

A car comes squealing around the corner (speed limit 25) at a very high rate of speed and slams sideways into the curb, disabling the vehicle on the entire driver's side (two flat tires at least).

Six neighbors watching the police see the incident, as do the police. No one is cited for reckless driving.

The teenagers return later when the police are gone, again at a high rate of speed, and curse the assembled neighbors beseeching them to slow down.

Go to six months ago. 10 p.m. A car on the same street has left the roadway and crashed through a neighbor's large brick mailbox holder planter. No skid marks. Pieces of car and bricks everywhere. The police come. No citations issued. No testing of the driver for any substance.

Anyone walking along the street at either time would have been killed in either of these incidents. Neighbors are confused as to what needs to happen to be cited for reckless driving in Montgomery County.

Pat Jarvis

Silver Spring

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

You asked for opinions about the police's apparently lackluster efforts against aggressive driving vs. the advertising hype.

If my experience is any indication, aggressive drivers are largely getting a "green light."

I commute to my job from Germantown to Washington via Interstate 270 and the Beltway, and although most drivers are sensible, I regularly encounter those who risk my life and theirs to save a few seconds.

Finally, one day I couldn't take it anymore when a driver attempted to run me off the road so that she could wedge her car in front of mine on the exit ramp to Georgia Avenue South.

Ordinarily, this butting in line is mainly an annoyance, but this particular one really frightened me because the driver came barreling around the corner and attempted to shove me out of her way after I was already heading down the single-lane ramp.

I remembered the police ads encouraging people to report aggressive drivers, and dialed #77 on my cell phone.

I was told I had reached the wrong department and that there was nothing that could be done at that number because it was outside their jurisdiction.

I called a second police department number and was told the same thing; after my prodding, the man answering said he would pass along the information, but that he could not guarantee any result or that the right person would get the message.

I called a third number and was told I had reached the right department, but that there is nothing the police can do unless they personally see the violation.

Can't you even send some the driver a letter? I asked, having written down the license plate number. Nope, but they'll keep an eye out for the driver, she said casually (10 minutes now having passed since the incident because of the telephone runaround).

In all three phone calls, it was clear that they simply were not interested in pursuing the incident. This effectively means that the aggressive driver nearly caused an accident and got away with it and will go on to do likewise to others, because she paid no price for her actions.

I can understand that police wouldn't want to issue a ticket based solely on the word of another driver, who may have some sort of ax to grind, but it seems to me they should at least be able to send a letter to the offender stating that an aggressive driving incident had been reported.

Because of previous advertising, I was under the false impression that this could be done. If a driver were to get several of these resulting from separate incidents, he or she could receive a formal warning. As it stands now, aggressive drivers have carte blanche to risk the lives and property of their fellow commuters, and they seem to know it and take full advantage of it.

The police may as well spend their advertising money somewhere else.

Christine M. Hanson


Dear Dr. Gridlock:

My vote is an overwhelming no. In two years of driving from Harford County to Reston (and sometimes beyond), I don't recall ever seeing anybody pulled over for aggressive driving. Now that I take rail and Metro to Springfield, I don't experience the aggressive drivers as much, but I do see it frequently in Baltimore on the Jones Falls Expressway, which I believe was documented as having the least patrols of any highway in the area.

These campaigns not only seem to favor certain companies/organizations, but they also make the politicians look good (especially in an election year) because they appear to be doing something.

Aggressive drivers aren't going to pay any more attention to radio ads than teenagers do to billboards discouraging smoking or other risky behaviors.

Bill Ballantyne


Transportation researcher Diane Mattingly contributed to this column.

Dr. Gridlock appears Sunday in the Metro section and Thursday in Anne Arundel Extra. You can write to Dr. Gridlock, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071. He prefers to receive e-mail, at, or faxes, at 703-352-3908. Please include your full name, town, county and day and evening phone numbers. Dr. Gridlock cannot take phone calls.