David Snyder ["Ready for This? Right Now, the Region Couldn't Handle a Crisis of Its Own," Outlook, Sept. 18] says, "Only the District of Columbia Department of Transportation has failed to join [TRANSCOM], which has stalled the entire project," referring to the need for "a regional transportation coordinating agency run by the highway departments and bus and railway systems." Snyder ignores our record of close cooperation with other jurisdictions and misrepresents DDOT's position on regional coordination.
Since Sept. 12, 2001, DDOT has been a full participant in all of the efforts to increase preparedness and communication in the District and neighboring jurisdictions. In cooperation with Maryland and Virginia, DDOT has designated evacuation routes with distinctive signs, supported by several rounds of publicity; lengthened signal timing plans and designated police-controlled intersections; conducted the first known real-time test of an urban evacuation plan for the crowd leaving the Fourth of July fireworks on the Mall; and contributed to regional efforts that successfully managed the major traffic problems generated by such major national events as the funeral of former president Ronald Reagan, the dedication of the National World War II Memorial and major regional construction projects. In addition, DDOT communicates with the appropriate Maryland and Virginia agencies on day-to-day problems, most recently when Kenilworth Avenue NE and Wisconsin Avenue NW were closed because of traffic incidents.
DDOT supports efforts to increase regional cooperation and information exchange and we have endorsed funding and participated in meetings along these lines. To make sure that the region is on the right track, DDOT has commissioned a study by the Volpe Center of the U.S. Transportation Department to develop a long-term plan for regional transportation communications.
Snyder's original proposal called for hiring additional personnel and setting up a new facility. Although it is not clear in The Post, apparently now calls only for better coordination and communication without additional people or overhead. If this is the case, Snyder and I are in agreement, because my concern has been about spending money, and more important, about building a bureaucracy. If we agree that our primary goal is to further unite our transportation and first-responder communities and not to add more layers, then we can get back to work making the region safer.
-- Dan Tangherlini
The writer is the director of the D.C. Department of Transportation.