Dear Dr. Gridlock:

Any suggestions on which government agencies to contact regarding the dangerous, illegal pedestrian crossings near the Prince George's Plaza Metro station?

There is a near-constant stream of pedestrians who illegally cross East-West Highway (Route 410) between the Metro station and the Mall at Prince George's.

Despite the presence of a pedestrian overpass with an elevator and stairs and a lighted crosswalk less than 300 feet away, pedestrians risk their lives by dodging traffic across Route 410.

I have seen a number of instances in which pedestrians have nearly been run over trying to beat the traffic. In addition, the pedestrians disrupt the flow of traffic. I've seen groups of 30 to 40 people crossing at one time. The problem is likely to increase because of new stores at the mall.

It seems as if barriers on either side of Route 410 would encourage pedestrians to use the perfectly serviceable walkway that goes over Route 410.

Thoughts? Suggestions?

Stephen Brundage

Mount Rainier

Prince George's County officials should address this, along with the Maryland State Highway Administration. I'll alert them.

Completing I-95?

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

I have been asking one question for many years: When will Interstate 95 be completed?

As you know, traffic from I-95 in Maryland gets off onto the Capital Beltway, circles halfway around and then exits back onto I-95 heading south to Richmond.

That phenomenon occurs only here, in the Maryland and Virginia corridor. Interstate 95 traffic bypasses the Baltimore Beltway.

When will our transportation planners complete the I-95 project?

Walter W. Woo

Upper Marlboro

Not in our lifetime, if ever.

I-95 was to have run through the District, bypassing our Beltway, but city officials didn't want it. The federal money was transferred to the Metro system.

Slow Taxis

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

You wondered about the reasons for slow-moving taxi drivers [Dr. Gridlock, May 12]. I can think of two:

* The cost of gas being what it is, the difference between 30 mph and 50 mph in gas burned might mean quite a savings.

* The meters in cabs have a position the driver is supposed to use when his fare tells him to wait. The meter clicks fare units while the cab is sitting still. I have been in cabs in Montgomery and Prince George's counties that clicked while sitting at a red light. Being an ex-cabbie, I once came down hard on the driver. It cost him a nice tip.

Maybe the slower speeds and the meter wait position are ways to offset the cost of gas. The trips take longer, but a 10-mile trip pulls in more money. Just a thought.

Dwight Hyman


Thanks for the theory.

Routing Around New York

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

You had directions on how to avoid driving through the New York City area. I cut them out of the paper but lost them.

We will be towing a 36-foot trailer and want to avoid that area. Thanks.

Russ Willett


Here are suggested routes around New York for various destinations:

Get to the Baltimore Beltway (Interstate 695) north and get off at Interstate 83 north. Follow that interstate into Pennsylvania, connecting to Interstate 81 north near Harrisburg.

At Scranton, Pa., take Interstate 84 east across New York State and Connecticut. I-84 connects with Interstate 90 (Massachusetts Turnpike) at Sturbridge, Mass. Head east to Boston.

For Vermont and New Hampshire, try Interstate 91 north from Interstate 84 in Hartford. Readers advise avoiding Hartford during rush hours.

This route may be longer, but it is cheaper and more scenic and avoids New York City. Let me know how it works.

HOV on Camera

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

Bob Stelmaszek wrote about the "sheer lunacy" of some frustrated commuters and suggested it is caused by drivers who drive too slowly and camp in the left lane [Dr. Gridlock, May 19].

I, too, am a solo commuter from the Annapolis area. With the standard speed on Route 50 now at 80 mph, I wonder how much faster Mr. Stelmaszek would like to go. Is he one of the many drivers who are passing in the right lanes at 90 mph?

Also, with all three regular lanes loaded with cars moving between 70 mph and 80 mph, it isn't likely that people are going to move out of the left lane into the center or right lane. There is no room for them there.

Roads such as Route 50 are local streets that carry auto loads beyond their designed capacity. They are not interstate highways or German autobahns, and the idea that the left lane can be left empty except for speeding passers is unrealistic.

Mr. Stelmaszek is correct in his comments about the left HOV lane. It is probably the most underused lane in the Washington metropolitan area. A high percentage of those using it are solo drivers, but traffic does move better on Route 50 since that lane was opened. It would create major traffic jams if police were stopping and pulling over the scofflaws who choose to use it.

Enforcement of the HOV law in that lane should be by either cameras or unmarked cars with cameras so that illegal users do not have to be stopped. Semi-opaque windows that cameras cannot see through should be illegal.

Jim McLaughlin


School Bus Scofflaws

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

What has happened to drivers in Maryland when it comes to the laws regarding school buses? On my way home today, I saw a bus stopped on Route 355. The left and right lanes of traffic had stopped, but three cars in the center lane just kept driving through.

Later, when turning into my own neighborhood, I stopped for a school bus with its red lights flashing. A young female driver, talking away on her cell phone, came flying up behind me, slammed on her brakes to avoid rear-ending me and then had the nerve to beep her horn at me for not moving!

Not only is it illegal to not stop for a school bus, but the ramifications of not stopping do not bear thinking about. Two seconds after the driver behind beeped at me, a small girl walked across the street in front of the bus.

Would it be possible for the police to crack down on school bus runners to see if it helps to remind people of the law?

Ann Cornejo


I hope police have this traffic violation at the top of their list. Stopping for a school bus with its red lights flashing should be automatic. I can say that in 33 years of driving in this area, I've never seen anyone blow by a bus. I hope what you're reporting is not becoming a trend.

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.