Dear Dr. Gridlock:

With regard to recent comments on the effectiveness of the Virginia Department of Transportation's public-private partnerships on Route 28, an instructional case for planners is the ongoing upgrading of Interstate 66 and the Dulles Greenway toll road.

I-66, a state highway, is mired in daily backups from Centreville to Haymarket because the planning for growth (more lanes, more interchanges and the appropriate funding) was not accomplished before the arrival of new homes and residents.

The state bureaucracy is in its usual catch-up mode, with a partial solution of adding four lanes to a three-mile section of the interstate, from Route 234 Business to the Route 234 Bypass.

In contrast, the Greenway's private owner has planned, obtained financing for and begun construction of new lanes, interchanges and toll booths.

The Greenway improvements are being accomplished before the buildout of eastern Loudoun.

Give me that toll and free enterprise every time.

Joe Wagner


If you're suggesting that private enterprise take over more and more of the state's transportation role, that may happen, and it may be a good thing.

But remember, it is county governments such as those in Loudoun, Fairfax and Prince William that are approving runaway development while the state scrambles for dollars to keep up.

Baby on Board

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

The other day I was in line at a store behind a woman who was carrying an infant in a sling close to her chest.

When I got out to the parking lot, I was appalled to see her backing out of her parking spot with the tiny infant still in the sling, between her and the steering wheel!

James E. Halpin


I would call 911 on that one, then get the license plate and phone child protective services for that area. With all the emphasis on child safety these days, it's astonishing that you would see something like that.

Driver Training

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

From time to time, you have provided information on defensive driving courses for teens.

I have been searching the Web without much luck in finding the one I sent two grandchildren to in the past.

They were particularly good, with hands-on training and solid tips that have helped both my grandkids in tough situations during the past few years.

I would like to refer others to the group but have given away all the literature received online, and I changed computers without keeping the Web site in my favorites file.

I would greatly appreciate a list of the best courses you have listed in the past, as I am certain I will recognize the organization and be able to go to its Web site for more information.

Walter Ochs


I have mentioned three companies:

(1) Car Guys Inc., of Rockville, 800-800-GUYS.

(2) BSR Inc., of Summit Point, W.Va., 304-725-6512.

(3) Driver's Edge, of Las Vegas, which has touring clinics that come to this area, 702-896-6482.

I've received positive feedback on all of them.

D.C.: Ticket or Tow

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

Why is it, during the morning and evening commutes, that 19th and 20th streets NW are full of illegally stopped or parked cars that are neither ticketed nor towed? I travel from Arlington to Dupont Circle every workday, and the gridlock caused by these blockages can be significant, lengthening the trip by as much as 30 minutes.

Illegal parking around George Washington University seems to be the worst in the morning on 20th Street, but in the afternoon, stopped cars from Pennsylvania Avenue to E Street are causing horrendous backups. I have called the university and District police, to no avail.

Francesca Fierro O'Reilly


The city really must address these problems to relieve downtown gridlock.

Try lodging a complaint with the mayor's hotline at 202-727-1000. Then try 18th Street NW northbound in the morning and 23rd Street southbound in the evening. Both connect with Constitution Avenue.

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.