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 Routes 1 and 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.

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.

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.

I would not live in Alexandria, nice as it is, because housing is so expensive, or in Silver Spring, because traffic in Montgomery County is so bad.

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.

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 follow-up 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.