Dear Dr. Gridlock:

Since you're curious about Arlington commuters on Metro, I'll share.

I was a frequent Metro user, picking up a Metrobus in front of my apartment and then taking a single Orange Line train to Federal Triangle, from where I could walk easily through the Reagan Building to my office in the Department of Commerce.

It's got to be one of the easiest commutes in the Metro area . . . on paper.

The trains were usually standing room only when I got on at East Falls Church, and over two years, it just got worse and worse.

Not to mention that Metro loves running four-car trains during rush hour.

And the delays. Always the delays: Fire. Sick passenger. Backup. Whatever. Gilda Radner said, "It's always something." So true of Metro and its delays.

Anyway, on good days, from door to door, the commute would take about 45 minutes.

What is it by driving time? Twenty minutes. And I have my car nearby, so I can leave and return whenever I want. I like to stay later at work and hit the gym; well, do that with Metro and try getting home in a reasonable time after rush hour. It was never reasonable, and it was never an hour.

My attitude at work is much better, and I arrive way ahead of Metro.

Every month I do write a relatively hefty check -- money out of my pocket, not the government's, by the way -- to the Reagan Building for parking. I do it gladly, and with a flourish, knowing that the other option really isn't an option, even though it looksgood on a map.

Mike Walker


Cyclist-Driver Sharing

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

I have been reading your column regarding the problem of cyclist vs. motorist on Rock Creek Parkway for more than 10 years (the latest Sept. 16). The solution is obvious. The lanes are wide enough to accommodate both cyclists and motorists. All that is needed is a little courtesy.

The cyclist traveling at 15 mph should not feel he has the right to stay in the middle of the lane and block cars averaging 25 mph.

On the other hand, the motorist when passing should not blare his horn at the cyclist or aggressively lean his vehicle close to the bicycle, almost forcing him off the road. There is room for both traveling at a reasonable speed, as long as one doesn't try to outmaneuver the other.

I am both cyclist and motorist on Rock Creek Parkway. When driving, I don't find it inconvenient to share the road with a cyclist, as long as he stays to the right. When cycling, I prefer the off-highway trail. It is bumpier but safer.

Rock Creek Parkway is not an interstate. It would be nice if both cyclist and motorist would put aside their aggressive Washington attitude and enjoy the trees and other scenery on this off-highway road.

Richard Lampl


I'm not a bicyclist, but it seems that a motorist and a bicyclist sharing the same lane, side by side, is a bit too dangerous. One moment of distraction by the motorist could send the bicyclist flying.

So, since bicyclists/motorcyclists are to be treated as if they were a car/truck/van, why not yield the space ahead entirely to the cyclist already in it?

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 at 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071. He prefers to receive e-mail, at, or faxes, at 703-352-3908. Include your full name, town, county and day and evening phone numbers.