Ron Shaffer, better known as Dr. Gridlock, writes a twice-weekly column for The Post on traffic and commuting problems.
My impression of last Sunday's gridlock in the Redskins Stadium parking lot (and halfway around the Beltway) is that this must have been the result of youthful and inexperienced management. The new owner, Daniel Snyder, is the youngest in the National Football League at age 34, and he fired a bunch of people when he took charge earlier this year.
The doctor's prescription for healing is not simply to announce that more parking spaces would be added by next year--as Snyder did--but to undertake a comprehensive analysis now that allows the fans to be part of the solution. We can't wait till next year.
Management ineptitude created overflowing lots, irate motorists and a 20-mile backup on the Beltway. That ineptitude continued after the last whistle blew.
Following the game, Snyder told reporters he thought that traffic had moved well.
On Monday, he said there was a problem and the solution was to develop 30 acres of new parking next to the existing lots.
On Tuesday, his people said those lots wouldn't be ready until next year.
By midweek, it was clear that the problem was a bit more complex than it appeared and that no one was ready to announce a definitive plan. So here's my suggestion: Invite the fans to analyze the situation. Send some up in helicopters with your staff to see what problems occur as the lots fill. Invite mail, e-mails and faxes from the fans.
For instance, here are some intriguing comments from my readers:
"We've been attending games since the stadium opened and this was the worst snafu we've seen; we saw people giving away their tickets while stuck in traffic," said Dennis Bowden of Vienna.
"Why were individuals selling handfuls of Red Lot parking passes on the streets leading into the stadium?" asked Dorothy Russ of Alexandria. She and others speculated that fans who had already parked were selling their parking passes to freelance hawkers, who helped oversell stadium parking.
"Why was I allowed to turn into the stadium when the lots were full?" asked Dennis Kemp of Laurel. "I should have been notified on the radio and I would have gone to the USAir Arena to park. Set up a command center to redirect traffic when lots are full."
Let the people help tell you what's wrong, Mr. Snyder. They're a good resource.