Dear Dr. Gridlock:

May I make a request of the local radio stations? Please ask your traffic reporters to speak more slowly and not rush through the report!

Why the rush? The DJs don't have anything so important to say that they can't allocate an extra 30 seconds to the traffic reporter.

Rushing through a report simply renders the message incomprehensible. Please slow down and give us a chance to absorb what you are saying.

Teresa Duncan


I suspect that the window for these reporters is rigid and that they are trying to get in as much as possible. However, I know what you mean. Sometimes the information comes across as one, fast nonstop sentence, and I have trouble sorting the items.

That said, I believe we appreciate the radio traffic reporters. Any of them care to comment?

Double-Decker Trouble

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

I hope your readers won't be too hard on Mr. [Stuart] Plattner's suggestion [Oct. 24] to double-deck the Beltway. Where would we be without a few people willing to think outside the box?

One aspect he may not have considered, however, is the tendency for raised roads to ice over. I understand Houston has many raised highways, and has icing problems every year, despite the more temperate climate.

Can you imagine the ice-induced wrecks, and blocked traffic, here?

Angela Billingsley

Silver Spring

Many readers have suggested double-decking our roads. Ice problems aside, the cost is prohibitive.

Merging Our Interests

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

I was saddened by the number of letters I read about drivers who won't let other cars merge in front of them.

What a miserable and selfish way to live! I have decided that if a driver signals that they want to switch lanes, I will ALWAYS let them in (assuming it is safe to do so).

Wouldn't our roads be nicer if everyone did this?

Anne Whitten


Yes, and less stressful. What if we all resolved to let at least one person merge in front of us each day. Would that be too much?

Walled-Off Superhighway

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

A gridlock solution: Make a superhighway through town. Convert the Baltimore-Washington Parkway and the Anacostia Freeway (D.C. 295) to four lanes each way, and wall it off.

The new route would be called I-95, and the Prince George's portion of the Capital Beltway would go back to being I-495 once again (with decidedly reduced congestion).

William B. Smith


We are thinking this week. However, who would like to tell the National Park Service/Federal Highway Administration officials that the Baltimore-Washington Parkway they've been rebuilding for the last 15 years now has to be doubled in width? Not me.

Besides, the Park Service, which owns the parkway from the District for 20 miles out to Route 175 in Anne Arundel County, doesn't want the road to become an interstate highway. It is an aesthetically pleasing parkway, thank you, with trees, stone facing on the bridges and few signs.

You'll have to relocate I-95 somewhere else, Mr. Smith. Virginia, by the way, has suggested an outer beltway, with new bridges across the Potomac River into Charles and Montgomery counties, but Maryland, citing the desire to preserve open space and restrict development, is having none of it.

So, with scant major road or mass transit projects funded in the years ahead, looks like our transportation system is at status quo -- or worse, as more people move into the area.

Getting HOV-2 Credit

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

During HOV-2 restrictions on I-66, can I drop off a passenger at Dulles Airport, and then take I-66 into D.C., even if I am alone in my car? If so, how would you prove it if stopped by police?

Jen Holland


Yes, you can. Police can generally tell through questioning whether you should receive the airport exemption. To be sure, get a copy of your passenger's airline ticket and present it to any officer who might stop you.

Transportation researcher Diane Mattingly contributed to this column.

You can write to Dr. Gridlock at 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071. He prefers e-mails at or faxes at 703-352-3908. Include your full name, town, county, and day and evening telephone numbers. Dr. Gridlock cannot take phone calls.