Dear Dr. Gridlock:

I read your comments on too-slow cab drivers [Dr. Gridlock, March 31] with much interest. I believe I have an explanation.

During a recent six-month assignment, I was arriving at and exiting Reagan National Airport every day. The high number of slow cabs I encountered every day was exasperating.

Because it took me only a week or two to become familiar with the airport, it would seem logical that the cabbies would know it very well.

Then, while following an incredibly slow cab one day, it hit me. The driver must not know where he was going! We've heard stories of licensed cabbies lending their cabs and/or licenses to friends and family members. That is the only explanation I can think of.

Alfred Hobbs


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


Pick Prince George's

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

My fiance and I are planning to move soon. I will be working in Annapolis, and his job is in Manassas.

Any suggestions on a location that would minimize commute times? In particular, what would traffic be like if we lived in Alexandria? Silver Spring?

Thanks so much for your help.

Caroline Miller


You might try Prince George's County. Each of you would be commuting against the rush-hour traffic flow. Your husband could connect with rail to Manassas.

Sign Strategically Placed

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

Not sure who is the responsible party, but it has to be someone who doesn't travel north on Interstate 95 in Maryland on a daily basis. Is there any way to move the overhead electronic message sign that is at the top of a hill between Routes 175 and 100?

There are daily backups simply because people put on their brakes to read the sign at the top of the hill. Most of the time, this sign just tells you that there are backups closer to Baltimore, a good 15 miles away.

I-95 would move a whole lot faster between Routes 175 and 100 if this sign were moved to another area where it would be easier to read.

Maria Agara

Ellicott City

The Maryland State Highway Administration has jurisdiction here. According to a spokesman, Chuck Gischlar, the sign is strategically placed at this point because it can divert traffic to major roads ahead, such as Route 1 and Route 29, the Baltimore Beltway and Route 100, in the event of major accidents ahead. "The mere fact that people are slowing down to look at it is a good thing," he said.

When East Is West

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

Regarding the recent Chesapeake Bay Bridge update in your column, the Maryland Transportation Authority (MdTA) can reverse one of the three westbound lanes to serve heavier eastbound traffic at any time. When that is done, vehicles using the far left, eastbound toll booths must use the westbound bridge. One of those toll booths is dedicated to E-ZPass.

Driving eastbound over the westbound bridge is nerve-racking and dangerous, as both eastbound and westbound cars are traveling on the same three-lane bridge.

The dedicated E-ZPass booths are a great idea, but E-ZPass drivers who do not know about an upcoming lane change and do not want to use the westbound bridge are penalized.

Also, this approach is a disincentive to use this E-ZPass booth. MdTA must warn drivers approaching this booth that they will be forced to go over the westbound bridge. Why not have several dedicated booths for E-ZPass, as New York does at its bridge and tunnel approaches? That way the driver can use his/her discretion as to which bridge to use.

Joel Greenstein


The Chesapeake Bay Bridge has three booths for E-ZPass use: No. 1 and No. 2 on the left, and No. 9 on the right. That is out of a total of 11 lanes. A car passing through E-ZPass booth No. 9 would not normally be directed to use the westbound bridge in times of heavy eastbound traffic.

As payment by electronic transponder increases in popularity, more E-ZPass booths will be added, the MdTA has said. To learn more about E-ZPass, log on to

For updates on congestion at the Bay Bridge, call 1-877-BAYSPAN.

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.