As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, I find many readers are asking for the best long-distance driving routes from the Washington area to various destinations. Many also ask the best time of day or night to travel for Thanksgiving.
What I've found in my online chats with readers via www.washingtonpost.com/liveonline is that other readers have answers to these questions and are willing to provide helpful tips.
So today and through the holiday weekend, we are setting up an online Dr. Gridlock Reader Forum, where posters can log on, ask questions about holiday travel and receive answers from helpful-minded readers. People who post on this board will be able to talk directly to each other. I'll peek in.
To get to the "Reader Forum," log on to www.washingtonpost.com/gridlock. Click on Reader Forum and follow the instructions. We'll see how it works and report back in the next week or two.
Meanwhile, here's an opinion on Thanksgiving travel from Jim Farley, vice president of news and programming at WTOP radio: Radio traffic reporter Bob Marbourg says he'd take a nap Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, and leave at 8 Wednesday night.
"Historically, the bad traffic is 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on the day before, and it gets bad again on Thanksgiving Day with folks having short [under two-hour] trips in the afternoon and evening," Farley said.
"Bob also reminds that many of the highway fast-food places are closed on Thanksgiving Day, so bring food."
Have a safe holiday, and let Dr. Gridlock know how the forum works and what improvements can be made.
Goodbye, City Life!
Dear Dr. Gridlock:
I am a native Washingtonian and lifelong reader of The Washington Post. I have enjoyed your column since it began. But now, I'm going to stop reading it as I am leaving metropolitan Washington and heading for Baja, Mexico.
I found a little, affordable villa in a nice community on the beach, and I'm leaving my entire predictable life behind for something new. Call it "Boomer Fever" -- do it now before it's too late!
We hope to open a business, but if I have to, I'll get a job in San Diego. The commute is 45 minutes (not counting the border crossing), about the same as my commute from my Arlington home.
And at the end of my new commute is an ocean! With fabulous sunsets, nice people and a more leisurely and affordable life.
I just wanted to thank you for many interesting columns and all your efforts to improve our driving experiences.
Thanks for the kind words, Ms. Bates. We don't have many commuters here who have to go through a border crossing twice a day, so I'll be interested to hear about that.
Please also write in six months and tell us about the local traffic, commuting concerns, job opportunities, schools, crime, housing costs and cost-of-living.
Maybe we'll all join you!
Dr. Gridlock would also like to hear from any other formerly tortured Washington area commuters who have sought refuge elsewhere in the country or the world. Is there a life after metropolitan Washington commuting?
Manners on Metro
Dear Dr. Gridlock:
I just moved up here from Atlanta and am not that familiar with Metrorail. I'm puzzled with how rude some riders are with their loud talking.
Is it appropriate to ask a person to lower his voice?
I asked your question to a roomful of Metro riders during my appearance before the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. The consensus: Asking passengers to lower their voices will do no good and could result in hostility or worse. You might change cars in the next station and hope for the best.
Chat Change for This Week
Dr. Gridlock's online chat this week will be on Tuesday, instead of Monday, 1 to 2 p.m. at www.washingtonpost.com/liveonline.
I welcome your questions and comments about our local transportation system. I start taking and storing questions about noon and go live at 1 p.m.
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.