Dear Dr. Gridlock:

I love to read your column in The Washington Post and appreciate the wide range of information it provides. But I have not come across any information so far about removing expired residential parking permit stickers.

On May 24, at 1:40 a.m., I was issued a $15 ticket for not removing my old District Department of Motor Vehicles residential parking permit sticker from the windshield. On the ticket it says, "Other: Fail to remove expired RPP sticker."

Let me make it clear that the old sticker was not obstructing the driver's view. It is stuck on the lower left corner of my vehicle's front windshield.

I tried to remove the old sticker, but without a proper tool, I couldn't. The stickers are so strongly glued that they are difficult to remove. One has to have a special tool, I think.

Dr. Gridlock, please let me know if D.C. parking law says that not removing old stickers from the windshield is a parking violation.

P.S.: Should I contest this ticket or just pay the $15 fine?

Dolma Chhonzom


Yes, displaying an expired RPP is a traffic violation, punishable by a $15 fine. Pay the fine and move on. You might try a razor blade in a holder to remove the sticker.

Be Aware of Bikes

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

Thanks for printing "Be Aware of Bikes" [Dr. Gridlock, May 22]. When I took the mandatory defensive driving class in high school, I learned that after parallel parking a vehicle, it is best for the driver to slide over to the passenger door to exit. Otherwise, be certain to check for passing traffic before opening the left door, as you are liable for anything that hits your door.

In elementary school bicycle safety class, I was taught to check every parked car I passed for occupants to ensure that a door would not open on me. For many years, that strategy worked. I was only "doored" once by a motorist, and his insurance readily paid for the damage.

These days, with headrests and tinted windows obstructing views, and with more motorists not checking for passing cyclists, it is no longer practicable to bike near vehicles.

I regret that I now must cycle out in the right lane and possibly annoy motorists.

Tim Bouquet


You're entitled to that lane. If that's where you feel safest, take it.

How About Tomorrow?

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

Could you tell us about the construction blocking one lane in either direction on 16th Street NW, in the underpass near the Jefferson hotel?

The roadbed has apparently been replaced, but there are construction signs and orange cones in the interior lanes in both directions. I drive that route daily and have seen no actual construction activity in some time.

The blocked lanes cause significant backups daily in both directions, especially when the light at the top of the underpass exit is red.

Any word on when we might see some relief from this?

Gary J. Krump

Silver Spring

How about tomorrow?

You are seeing the end of an 18-month project to reconstruct 16th Street NW and the tunnel under Scott Circle. Coincidentally, the completion is scheduled for tomorrow.

With You, Not the Car

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

A recent article in The Post about auto theft recommended not leaving one's vehicle registration card in the auto. I had understood that it was necessary to keep the registration with the auto to prove ownership. What do you advise?

Martha Mathis


Put it in your wallet or purse.

Dividing the Dark

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

I have noticed for several years how difficult it is to see the white dividing lines at major intersections when it is raining or dark outside. Oftentimes the headlights from other vehicles reflect off the surface of the wet roadways, masking the dividing lines to the point that a driver has to be extra vigilant to not meander into another driver's lane.

I think the solution is simple physically and worth the cost financially. Every intersection should have road reflectors installed on top of the dividing lines.

Michael S. Stanton


A common problem. People can't see the lines in the dark or when it's raining. There are devices that can be embedded into the pavement and reflect back light, but those are more expensive than painting the lines.

Western states use raised disks that provide plenty of visibility. Using those here wouldn't work because snowplows would scrape them off, I'm told.

Whoever solves this problem will reign forever.

A Curfew for Trucks?

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

While other readers have been busily observing cheaters in the HOV lanes, I have been observing the regular lanes instead. And what strikes me as very odd (and correctible?) is the many out-of-state 18-wheelers going through our area during peak commuter hours.

Each truck takes up the space of three or four automobiles and emits clouds of sickening fumes. And the irony is that these drivers are paid by the mile, which makes the decision to time their trips to coincide with and exacerbate commuters' suffering doubly stupid.

I wonder if a meeting of the minds between representatives of the trucking industry and traffic/highway authorities could not come up with some ideas that would benefit both the truck drivers and our local commuters.

If interstate truck traffic on interstate highways within 30 miles of the U.S. Capitol were restricted, say, to the hours between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m., I think we'd see improvements immediately, without costly road improvements.

Just a thought.

Rita Mattia


As I understand it, the commercial life of our area requires access to businesses. To prohibit traffic for 12 hours a day sounds like too much of an impediment to the flow of commerce.

Slowing for Fares

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

I see slow-moving cabs a lot, and they are almost always empty.

I've assumed that they are either looking for potential fares or driving slowly enough to be able to stop for a fare.

Bill Moseley


Thanks for the suggestions.

Taking On Delivery Trucks

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

A few months ago you asked readers to send in instances of illegal parking by United Parcel Service (UPS) delivery vehicles in the District.

Do you plan a followup with the results of that request?

Iolaire McFadden


This is it. I never received examples of illegal parking that included all the information needed for UPS headquarters in Atlanta to track down the violator.

This is a good chance for motorists to do something about these lane-blockers.

I need the address of the alleged illegal parking, the number of the truck, the direction it is headed, and the time and date. If I get that information, I'll track your examples down and get back to you.

P.S.: I got the sense that UPS management would look for alternate parking spots for chronic violators brought to their attention.

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.