Dear Dr. Gridlock:

I have read your columns regarding left-lane cruisers with interest. A couple of things come to mind, one of which is the argument that the left lane is for passing. The argument seems to be that people who cruise in the left lane are breaking the law. Yet the people who are complaining often seem to be doing so because they want to drive as fast as they want no matter what the legal speed limit is.

So the disagreement seems to be over which law it is okay to break. I can't help but wonder if the speeders truly want to pass, which I was taught was the act of moving from the right lane to pass a slower car in front of you and then move back to the right lane, or do they simply want a lane free of impediment so that they can go as fast as they want?

On the Beltway such a lane is fine. There are four lanes going in the same direction and so, while the Beltway is undeniably congested, there is at least some room to allow for most traffic to flow normally while leaving a lane open for people who want to travel at a higher speed.

That brings me to the other thing that crossed my mind while reading the reactions. I have to admit that I do travel in the left lane, but only in one situation: Suitland Parkway during my morning commute. Suitland is two lanes inbound and two outbound. As traffic increases, Suitland can barely support it.

If I, and others, were to use only the right lane in this instance, the backup would be ridiculous.

Jeannie Moody


If a driver wants to camp out in the left lane (regardless of speed), I'd say in a matter of moments another driver who wants to go faster would approach from the rear, sometimes honking and flashing lights. Why put up with that? Just use the left lane for passing and get out of it.

Kiss This Idea Goodbye

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

Now that most Metro parking lots -- even Greenbelt's at the end of the line -- fill up in the morning, causing many folks to park illegally (and receive tickets), how can Metro justify all of those empty Kiss and Ride spaces day after day?

Greenbelt has dozens of Kiss and Rides and short-term metered spaces that are never used. If Metro were to install some long-term meters in some of those spaces, they could have guaranteed income, every weekday -- and fewer people parking illegally (and dangerously).

If government officials want us to take public transportation, they need to provide us the means to do so, which includes parking spaces for those of us not near a bus line.

Jennifer Manning


Metro should keep Kiss and Ride spaces available at all times because dropping off customers is an efficient way to use the property (as opposed to parked cars).

That said, Metro and the local governments have fallen behind in providing enough day parking for customers. I can't think of a better contribution to our transportation system than constructing more parking at Metro stations.

HOV and Route 50

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

I am one of the law-abiding drivers fed up with all the HOV scofflaws on Route 50.

Police officers take their lives in their hands to ticket these offenders because of the high speed (80 mph is routine) and lack of a shoulder. I'm sure the officers and their families want them to go home alive at the end of the day.

I have a suggestion that I think would cut way back on scofflaws and keep the police safe: Set up cameras just like we do for red-light runners. They could take a picture of every vehicle, which would be screened by human eyes for passengers, and the process would still be cost-effective and a huge moneymaker for the state, because nine of 10 vehicles are noncompliant.

The number of noncompliant vehicles would soon drop.

Cate Sutter


While I'm all for more enforcement of traffic violations, I'm not sure your suggestion would work. What if a violator claimed in court to have an infant in the back seat who could not been seen by the camera? Or a sleeping child in the back seat?

What do you folks think?

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

On several of my Route 50 carpool commutes from Annapolis to the District, when traffic is at a standstill west of Bowie, cars are pulling into the HOV lane going 2 mph with carpool cars approaching at 65 mph. Twice we have had to brake hard to keep from hitting these cars. What are these people thinking? Also, most of them are single-driver cars.

Maybe your other readers are right -- forget the HOV designation and make it another lane.

Jeff Knowles


I'm for giving police time to apply effective enforcement. But the reports from letters to this column indicate this is not being done.

There are similar complaints about Virginia HOV lanes. Federal money builds the HOV lanes, but state and local police can't enforce the violations enough to keep cheaters from clogging up the lanes.

What do you think should be done?

Transportation researcher Diane Mattingly contributed to this column.

Dr. Gridlock appears Sunday in the Metro section and Thursday in Prince George's 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.