Dr. Gridlock received some concern recently about police closing the Capital Beltway entrance to Arena Drive before the Redskins' first home game Sept. 12. As a result, some fans missed the kickoff -- and the only Redskins touchdown of the game.
Since this interchange was built with state funds to provide access to FedEx Field, one wonders why this exit was closed.
I checked with Prince George's County police, and a spokesman, Lt. Steve Yuen, explained that the exit was closed because traffic was so backed up on Arena Drive that motorists were lined up on the Beltway waiting to exit. The line of stopped cars, next to vehicles whizzing by at 65 mph, was creating a dangerous situation, so the exit was closed to allow Arena Drive congestion to clear. Traffic was routed farther north on the Beltway to the Landover Road exit.
Yuen said Arena Drive is the most heavily congested route to the stadium. He recommends that traffic from the north and east use Central Avenue (Route 214) to Morgan Boulevard.
Traffic coming from the west and south can use D.C. 295 (Kenilworth Avenue) to go east on Route 50 to Route 202 toward Landover. From Route 202, directions to the field are plainly marked, I'm told.
Metro will open two new stations on its Blue Line, Morgan Boulevard and Largo Town Center, on Dec. 18. Those could be a healthy walk to the stadium. We'll see.
These Redskins events are major traffic magnets. The Sept. 12 game against Tampa Bay drew the largest sports crowd ever in Maryland -- 92,000-plus.
Monday night's game against Dallas, folded into a weekday evening rush hour, promises extraordinary congestion. Leave early.
I'll be glad to hear your experiences, recommendations and questions involving traffic at FedEx Field.
Sticking By Our Troops
In last week's column, I said that all across the country I've been noticing yellow decals on the rear of many vehicles. They are in the shape of a ribbon and read, "Support Our Troops." I asked where one could buy them. I received plenty of responses, including these:
Dear Dr. Gridlock:
We purchased the ribbons to support our troops, but they are not decals -- they are magnets that affix to your vehicle. The Web site to get them is through www.magnetamerica.com. We ordered them online, and the magnets were delivered in less than a week.
There are several sites online that are selling them right now. Flagsoncars.com is one. Militarymagnets.com is another. I'm still trying to find one that donates to Operation Homefront (www.operationhomefront.net) so I can make my purchase knowing that some proceeds will go to a great cause.
Yellow ribbon "Support Our Troops" vehicle magnets are available for $5 each from Linda Rexrode, Route 1, Box 124B, Burlington, W.Va. 26710. All proceeds are used to send care packages to Iraq.
Linda and a neighbor have mailed hundreds of boxes since the war began. The response from the troops has been wonderful.
Col. Janet R. Southby, USA (Ret.)
Readers have also found the magnets in Hallmark and Total Crafts stores. "I just bought five," wrote Genevieve Rivinius of Warrenton. "It is so important to show that we love and support our troops!"
And then, here is another view:
Dear Dr. Gridlock:
I hope your column does not encourage people to get these magnets.
If you put one on your trunk, no troop will see it. No life will be saved. If someone does or does not have a magnet on their car, is the war closer to being won or lost?
What purpose does empty, more-patriotic-than-thou symbolism serve?
I think you have to be stationed abroad to appreciate the meaning of a care package, a letter from a first-grade class or "Support Our Troops" magnets, which our soldiers can see across the country while on home leave. They are serving for you, Mr. Bennett. You can salute them, or not.
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 email@example.com or faxes at 703-352-3908. Include your full name, town, county and day and evening telephone numbers. Dr. Gridlock cannot take phone calls.