Dear Dr. Gridlock:

Could you find out when the new garage at the Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro station will open? It was originally targeted for completion this spring. But the barriers and construction equipment don't seem to be going anywhere soon.

Matt Mesmer


I'm told the garage will open later this summer.

Scooter Laws

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

I'm fed up with the rising costs of Metro, plus the inconvenience of the hours and off-peak wait times for catching a train.

I commute daily from Takoma Park to Georgetown and am very interested in obtaining a gasoline-powered motor scooter, like a Vespa. These are motor conveyances between a moped and a motorcycle.

Parking would be a lot easier, and the cost of gasoline these days makes driving a car too expensive for short trips. These motor scooters can get 90 miles per gallon.

What are the laws for licensing, tags/registration and such in Maryland?

Paul A. Foley

Takoma Park

Pretty simple. You don't need to register one or get a license plate, said Jeff Tosi, a spokesman for the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration. You do need to have a Maryland driver's license or a moped driver's license.

Rising gasoline prices will encourage more of us to look to alternative means of travel. Maybe $5-a-gallon gas is the solution to our gridlock.

Road Hazards

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

The inner loop of the Beltway from just before the George Washington Parkway exit to the American Legion Bridge is growing a large crop of deep potholes that is getting worse by the week. Cars are swerving and weaving to avoid them, making a bad situation even more dangerous.

Does Virginia have any plans to fill these hazards anytime soon?

Robert Villeneuve


This should qualify as an emergency fix for the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), which should have been out there already to make at least temporary patches.

Maybe VDOT doesn't know about it. To report potholes, call 703-383-VDOT.

Officials promise to send workers immediately to emergencies and to respond within 72 hours to lesser problems.

Calming Solution?

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

Road rage is one of the area's most dangerous problems. I think drivers are listening to the radio and hearing the latest news, weather, stock market and traffic conditions, generally all bad situations. Is it any wonder that drivers are in a rage?

Let's lobby for some soft, soothing commuter music. Who can be angry listening to Frank Sinatra or Tony Bennett? Everyone will relax, calm down, smile at the driver in the next car and enjoy the ride.

Helen Heneghan


If only it were so simple. Maybe that's one way to enjoy our commutes. Others say audiobooks can be a pleasant diversion.

A May, Not a Must

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

Something else that might need posting at right-on-red intersections is the word may, which would hopefully take some emphasis off the assumed word must. Right on red should not be a requirement, but an option.

If a patient, mature, conscientious driver thinks some right-on-red situations are too risky, it should be his/her prerogative to opt out and wait for a green light. It would be helpful if a sign notified impatient drivers that one may turn right.

Gary Munday

West Laurel

You're right. Right on red is an option. Yours is a good suggestion.

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

During the energy shortages of the 1970s, drivers were given the opportunity by law to turn right on red unless otherwise prohibited. But I believe that before turning on red, one is to stop to see if the turn can be made safely. Many drivers, particularly in the District and Maryland, make the turn at a red light but fail to stop. I was rear-ended once by a woman while I was stopped at a red light and about to make a right turn. She said, "I thought you were going to turn."

Ernest W. Harris


Although some intersections permit a right turn on red, that is only after stopping. Some of the me-first motorists seem not to care. That can be dangerous.

Dangerous Move

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

As I waited in the right lane at a stoplight, a car came flying up beside me in the left lane and attempted to make a right turn on red in front of me. It happened as the light turned green and I was moving through the intersection.

Is it legal to make a right turn on red from the left lane?

Cliff Cummins


No, not unless the lane is also designated as a right-turn lane. Otherwise, it's an illegal turn. I'm hearing more about this in Montgomery County. It's dangerous, reckless behavior.

All in One

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

Is there a way on The Washington Post's Web site to merge all your questions and answers for the week into one column? I know you zone different ways for each of the Extras, but it would be nice on the online site to have a consolidated column so that I don't have to read through multiple versions.

Rick Pike

Charles County

Bless your heart. I've sent your request over to the people, and I'll get back to you with the answer.

Transportation researcher Diane Mattingly contributed to this column.

Dr. Gridlock appears Sunday in the Metro section and Thursday in 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.