Dear Dr. Gridlock:
Stephen Brundage [Dr. Gridlock, June 2] is right on with his complaint about pedestrians dangerously scurrying across East West Highway (Route 410) between the Mall at Prince George's and the Prince George's Plaza Metro station.
Every afternoon, I drive under the pedestrian bridge there on my way home and have to avoid hitting people crossing the highway on foot illegally.
Not only do I worry about running into a pedestrian, but I also get rather annoyed at seeing all of the trash these scofflaws leave in the landscaped median.
The county (or perhaps Metro) spent a lot of money to build the pedestrian bridge over East West Highway and to landscape the area, only to have these people disregard both.
I've seen countless mothers pushing strollers across the highway. Unbelievable!
A four-foot decorative wall needs to be built from the intersection of Route 410 and Belcrest Road to the traffic light at the entrance of the mall and the Giant Food store.
Maybe then these illegal crossers won't endanger those driving down East West Highway.
John M.B. Essex
You folks have identified a chronic problem. The Maryland State Highway Administration recently surveyed an evening rush hour and counted about 1,600 people crossing to the Metro station. Only 10 percent used the pedestrian bridge; the rest streamed across East West Highway.
The state then asked Metro to close the entrance to the station closest to the shopping center, in hopes that it would discourage pedestrians from scrambling across busy Route 410. But Metro denied that request, according to MSHA spokesman David Buck.
The state has considered a fence, or wall, at that location, but is discouraged by the vandalism and destruction of a state fence on Route 202 by Largo High School, Buck said.
"We had so many problems with the Largo High School fence," Buck said. "People tore it down or ignored it.
"People are crossing East West Highway to get to the Metro station. Metro won't close it. We have signs posted for pedestrians to use the overpass. They won't do it. At some point, pedestrians have to take a certain amount of responsibility."
There it stands. Looks like we'll have to have pedestrian fatalities to move to the next step. What would you folks recommend?
2 New Metro Garages
Here's some good news for Prince George's County Metrorail users. Metro is opening two new large parking garages, one on the Green Line at College Park on June 25, and one on the Orange Line at New Carrollton on Oct. 29.
The College Park garage will have six levels and 1,345 spaces. The parking structure is located over the original Kiss-and-Ride surface lot, according to Steven Taubenkibel, a Metro spokesman.
The New Carrollton garage will have eight levels and 1,850 spaces. It is located next to an existing garage.
"Additional parking at these stations in Prince George's County will make Metrorail more user-friendly and will allow even more individuals to take advantage of public transit," said Metro board member Charles Deegan.
That is correct. Single drivers are clamoring for more parking, particularly at facilities where parking is full by 9 a.m.
Keep building parking garages, Metro. Take vehicles off the road.
Signs Set Straight
In February, Metro's electronic signs began showing when the next trains would arrive at a station. In doing so, Metro stopped giving the length of or number of cars in an upcoming train, information that some customers had relied on to know where to stand on the platform to be near the doors.
After a survey, Metro reinstated posting the length of trains over the Memorial Day weekend.
The new displays indicate the color of each rail line, the number of cars operating in a train, the train's endpoint destination and the number of minutes until a train is expected to arrive, according to Lisa Farbstein, a Metro spokeswoman.
When a train is about 30 seconds away, the letters ARR will appear under the arrival section, signaling that a train is arriving at the station. When a train is at the platform, the arrival time for the train shows BRD for boarding, Farbstein said.
The signs will still display the next three trains coming into the station.
A number of readers wrote to encourage Metro to reinstate the length of train information. You have been heard.
Dear Dr. Gridlock:
I enjoy your columns.
With a blurry photo as evidence, the City of Baltimore will soon give me a court date for a red light violation.
It is a fuzzy image, and it was not my car in the photo. How does one prove one's innocence?
You have to go to court, according to Officer Troy Harris of the Baltimore Police Department. Bring with you your current registration and especially your proof of automobile insurance, which should list all your vehicles, he said.
Good luck. Let me know how this turns out.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or faxes, at 703-352-3908. Include your full name, town, county and day and evening telephone numbers. Dr. Gridlock cannot take phone calls.