With regard to Metro's parking lot procedures, Metro's parking customer service representatives survey each facility by 9 a.m. weekdays to see if a lot is full. If it is, with the exception of the reserved spaces, the representative will place a sign at the entrance that says the lot is full except for the reserved spaces.
Reserved parking spaces for permit holders are held until 10 a.m. After that time, all unused spaces are available to general parking customers. If a customer enters a parking facility and cannot find a space, the representative can let the driver exit without paying.
Metro is working on a pilot program to install "Lot Full" signs and associated equipment at several parking facilities by the end of the year.
Public Affairs Specialist
Area Transit Authority
So, there you have it. If the lot is full, a sign should be posted at the entrance. If you are inside and can't find a parking space, a customer service representative can let you out without paying.
Let me know how this is working out.
Synchronizing Old Town
On July 7, I ran letters from commuters who wanted the City of Alexandria to better synchronize its traffic lights along Washington Street so they could get to work faster.
I ran a response from the city's transportation chief stating that the Washington Street lights had been changed to allow for more cross traffic by Alexandria city residents. I lambasted the non-city residents who seemed to feel they are entitled to priority on Washington Street.
Now it's readers' turn to lambaste me:
Dear Dr. Gridlock:
Oh, so you "concur" with the Alexandria official's suggestion that commuters "use interstate highways instead of Washington Street," do you? And which "interstate highways" are those, pray tell? I've noticed none between, say, Mount Vernon and Crystal City in the 25 years that I have lived in Alexandria. Maybe I am missing something.
And I am so pleased that "Alexandria officials have shown restraint in allowing this commuting corridor to exist." How good of them.
Are you out of your mind? Do you hear yourself? There are all sorts of traffic problems in Alexandria because those same officials think that ignoring reality will make it go away.
They don't synchronize the traffic lights. They don't allow adequate entrances to the Eisenhower Valley area (for fear of the dread commuter and "cut-through" traffic), but allow endless development. The main ways in and out of Eisenhower merge with Beltway entrances and back up every morning and evening in all directions.
They approved Potomac Yard development without widening the roads, so that area backs up. Russell Road backs up at rush hour every afternoon. All is made worse by the ongoing Woodrow Wilson Bridge construction.
Some people can't see the forest for the trees. I think you -- and the "Alexandria officials" -- are leaf people.
Ouch. The interstate highways are the Beltway, Interstate 295 and Interstate 395. With all that's going on with the Woodrow Wilson Bridge construction these days, I'd think you might want to head west toward I-395, with an easy shot into Crystal City.
Dear Dr. Gridlock:
Your reply to John Wright [Dr. Gridlock, July 7] was poorly conceived and missed the point. Even Alexandria officials surely see the benefit to allowing traffic to move gracefully through the city during rush hours.
How much more pollution does the city receive if commuters take 30 minutes instead of 10 minutes to drive through town?
How much more painful is it to residents if intersections are blocked because the signal lights are poorly coordinated?
How much more likely are weekday commuters to return for weekend or evening spending sprees if the city seems to manage daily traffic well?
Rather than getting on your soapbox, give the city the chance to say if there is a problem or if they have made a change that isn't working.
The city officials aren't saying there's a problem; some commuters are.
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 email@example.com, or faxes, at 703-352-3908. Include your full name, town, county and day and evening telephone numbers. Dr. Gridlock cannot take phone calls.