Dear Dr. Gridlock:

I travel Route 50 in Maryland between Davidsonville Road and New York Avenue every day. There are HOV-2 lanes between Route 197 and the Capital Beltway, yet at least half the cars in the HOV lanes have only a single occupant in the vehicle.

What agency is responsible for HOV enforcement in Maryland?

Are there any plans to create HOV lanes on Route 50 inside the Beltway?

Andrew Wilson

West River

There are no plans to extend the HOV lanes, according to Chuck Gischlar of the Maryland State Highway Administration. The Maryland State Police are responsible for policing the Route 50 HOV lanes. They're having no more success than the Virginia State Police are with their HOV lanes. The violation rate is about 25 percent in both states.

That is unacceptable. The federal government and states are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to build express lanes used by too many traffic violators.

The next wave of express lanes in Maryland, express toll lanes, will attempt to address the problem by walling off new interstate lanes, charging a toll through electronic transponders and using cameras to catch toll violators. Those lanes would be open to everyone, meaning no need to enforce HOV lanes.

The state is considering adding two of those lanes in each direction for all or part of the Beltway in Maryland, Interstate 270, and Interstate 95 between the Capital and Baltimore beltways.

It's too soon in the planning to have dates yet, but the express toll lanes seem like a reasonable way to address the problem of chronic HOV violations.

Drivers, Be Patient

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

I'm responding to the letter from the driver who was annoyed at children dawdling while entering and exiting school buses [Dr. Gridlock, July 7]. That driver should chill out. Maybe the children in his area are getting on the bus slowly, but perhaps there is more to it than meets the eye.

My son looks like any other young child waiting for the bus, but looks can be deceiving. He is autistic and requires a few extra moments when getting on the bus.

My son is unavoidably delayed in boarding the bus by our efforts to improve his social skills and secure him in his seat. The bus is not legally allowed to move until he is strapped in.

Those two efforts take little time, but there have been several instances when drivers have honked at the bus and, on at least one occasion, the bus driver was reported to the Anne Arundel County transportation office for standing too long.

I ask all drivers to be patient. Please allow yourself a few extra minutes when you know you're going to encounter a bus along your route.

And in the end, treat each bus as if it is carrying your own most precious cargo, your children, and give the school bus drivers a break.

Lori Skalitzky



Lumps in the Road

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

What's with the asphalt lumps every 45 feet or so across all lanes on the Capital Beltway outer loop between St. Barnabas Road and Route 5?

Like minor speed bumps, they are extremely uncomfortable, and you can't avoid them.

Michael R. Kelley

City of Fairfax

What you're seeing and feeling is patchwork on the Beltway. The Maryland State Highway Administration is going to resurface the inner and outer loops of the Beltway between Routes 210 and 5. First comes the patching, then the overlay.

Elsewhere on the Beltway, the highway department is doing the same work from the Prince George's-Montgomery county border to Route 193 (Greenbelt Road).

Each of those projects is about three miles long and scheduled to be finished next spring.

Interchanges, Please

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

Route 210 (Indian Head Highway) runs from the Capital Beltway to Indian Head in Charles County, a distance of about 30 miles. Unfortunately, the route has about 13 traffic lights.

Both Routes 5 and 50 are speedways compared with Route 210. Why? Because their traffic lights were replaced with interchanges.

Are you aware of any plans to relieve the congestion on Route 210?

Mark Williams

Indian Head

Sadly, the state doesn't have plans for much in the way of road improvements on Route 210. The state is looking at addressing a couple of intersections in the future, but it's too far off for dates, according to Chuck Gischlar, a spokesman for the Maryland State Highway Administration.

What you can do is press your county officials to support the installation of interchanges in the Route 210 corridor.

The state has done a wonderful job with replacing traffic lights with interchanges on Route 29 in Howard and Montgomery counties, and on Routes 4 and 5 in Prince George's County. I would think Route 210, with its many traffic lights, should be a high priority for interchanges.

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.