Dear Dr. Gridlock:

This is in response to the letter about the ticketing of cars at the state Park and Ride lot on Harry S. Truman Parkway in Annapolis [Dr. Gridlock, Oct. 13].

As a fellow commuter, I understand the frustration. I haven't been able to ride the bus into the District for the last two years because parking spaces at the Truman lot fill up quickly. However, people began to create their own parking spots, and it became very dangerous to navigate the lot, so I understand the need to put up No Parking signs and enforce them.

In my communications with different people at state agencies, I understand that the state owns the vacant property adjacent to the current lot.

There are several huge developments (Park Place Annapolis, Annapolis Towne Center at Parole, 1901 West St.) in the works that will bring more people into Annapolis.

It seems to me that it would make sense to invest in the public transportation infrastructure.

When I was driving on Riva Road this past weekend, I noticed a sign indicating improvements at the Park and Ride, but I don't know what they are.

Barbara Klose


The letter you referred to was complaining about bus commuters getting tickets for parking illegally in the aisles and on the fringes of that lot, which is often full.

Some good news: The Maryland State Highway Administration is constructing 200 more parking spaces at the lot. They should be available next spring.

By the way, the Harry S. Truman parking lot is outside the Annapolis city limit, and the parking tickets there are being issued by the Anne Arundel County Police.

I agree with you. Transportation officials have got to make commuter parking at mass transit stops a top priority to get more vehicles off an already overburdened road system.

Md. Is a 2-Plate State

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

There's another reason you might see front license plates "missing" from cars in Maryland, as distinguished from Maryland-registered cars, which must have both front and back plates [Dr. Gridlock, Sept. 29].

The Washington-Baltimore area has a lot of active-duty military servicemen and women and their families stationed here and in neighboring Virginia. Under the Soldiers' and Sailors' Civil Relief Act, active-duty service members may keep their cars registered in their home states.

So if you don't see a front tag on a car in Maryland, glance at the rear plate before you get all excited. It may simply be a member of the military (or a visitor) from one of those rear-tag-only states!

Bill Santiff


Twenty-one states do not issue front tags: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia, according to the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators.

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

Might it not make sense for Maryland to eliminate the requirement for front license plates on vehicles? I see no benefit to having front plates in today's society. The advantages could include cost savings for the state and elimination of stolen front plates and associated problems. And your vehicle will look better, especially with today's body styles.

Would Maryland law need to be changed to eliminate front tags, or could Maryland state officials accomplish this?

James Williamson


Changing the two-plate requirement in Maryland Vehicle Law would require action by the General Assembly and governor. Bills have been introduced in the past that would require only a rear license plate, but they have failed amid opposition from law enforcement, which believes front and rear plates make for easier identification.

Law enforcement support is generally cited as the reason the majority of states still require front and rear plates, according to Jason King, spokesman for the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators.

Transportation researcher Diane Mattingly contributed to this column.

Dr. Gridlock appears Thursdays in the Extra and Sundays in the Metro section. You can write to Dr. Gridlock at 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071. He prefers to receive e-mail, at, or faxes, at 703-352-3908. Include your full name, town, county and day and evening telephone numbers.