Dr. Gridlock

Jan 25, 2016

The Washington Post's Dr. Gridlock, Robert Thomson, will be online to take all your questions about Metro, traffic throughout the region and other transportation issues.

Welcome, travelers. Naturally enough, the questions and comments so far are dominated by the mighty blizzard and the recovery, such as it is so far.

I'll start with some of the general, regional issues, then move to some specific points. Keep questions/comments coming, and react to what your neighbors are saying about the cleanup. You will notice some contrasting views.

How to explain cities that routinely handle snowfalls such ours, and DC's seemingly inadequate response, shutting down government and business for days? Dedicated resources and equipment? Does the region, including homeowners, need to budget more for these "extreme" weather events (snowblowers, snowplow trucks, etc.), which arguably are predicted by "global warming" theories?

I don't know of places in the continental United States that "routinely" handle blizzards. (See Boston last winter.) For the DC region, there's nothing about a blizzard that is routine and I think that for local governments to acquire the equipment that would allow for a very quick cleanup after a blizzard would be a waste of money. 

The usual procedure is to budget based on history and then add extra money if the government goes over its snow budget.

Forgetting about the debacle Wednesday night, I think they have responded better during the storm than they did during snowmageddon.

Certainly wasn't perfect but they didn't abandon plowing the roads during the storm. That said, I can't help but wonder if Virginia's response is hampered by the state being responsible for even small city side streets (plowing and for keeping up with the maintenance).

Living in Minnesota, Michigan and New York, the county if not the city, took care of the side streets with the state only responsible for interstate and state highways, which takes big equipment.

Then counties and cities have the smaller equipment for their smaller streets, but larger than the landscaping guy with a plow blade on his truck that really can't deal well with this amount of snow.

It's early yet. We've got a few more days of cleanup, and many difficulties remain. For transportation officials -- as opposed to road crews and Metro's cleanup staff -- the blizzard itself was the easy part. They knew for days that the big storm was coming, and they pulled out their big-storm playbook. They also -- quite properly -- shut down transit services and, in some cases, highways, and urged everyone to stay put.

Today and the next couple of days will be the really hard part. The cleanup crews are moving into the neighborhood streets, but slowly. Transit service is coming back, but slowly.

Fortunately, most governments and schools closed Monday and many plan to stay closed on Tuesday to allow more time for the recovery.

(Not sure about the Wizards playing Monday night at Verizon Center. Think travel will still be dicey for that.)

Our recent history tells us that the return to work is often the most difficult part of storm week.

Not sure that the size of the VDOT territory is a particular problem. VDOT has equipment and plans designed to respond to conditions on highways and on local streets.

 

Not a question but a suggestion: When Metro resumes full service, could you post a report on sidewalk conditions for those of us who walk from stations to our offices, at least downtown? Are curbs cleared at the corners, or is there ankle-deep snow or water? Is pavement icy or mostly sand-covered? Etc.

That's a good suggestion and will try to do that to the extent possible. Conditions can vary so much within one block, since it's up to property owners to clear their sidewalks.

Intersection curbs are bound to be difficult. Also, bus riders will have to leap over snowbanks to board their buses. (Please don't stand in the streets.)

I'm sure you're going to get dozens of this question, but what's your best guess for school reopening dates?

In think it will vary from school system to system, based on very local conditions. Several school systems already plan to be closed on Tuesday. My guess -- just a guess -- is that many will be back on Wednesday.

Hi Dr. G, my friends and family who live in Falls Church, Springfield, Gaithersburg, have all seen multiple plows through their residential streets. In Bethesda, no one has seen a plow on their street since Friday.. how is this possible?

The cleanup will continue for several more days. The local governments and highway departments warned us of that over the weekend.

This is the time period when people will be aware that plows have been in some communities and not others -- even on some nearby streets and not others. Each snow-clearing agency has its own battle plan for which streets to hit in what order. (My street in Silver Spring is untouched.)

I did a blog posting with many links to snow plow trackers -- including Montgomery County's -- and for general snow plans and complaint lines.

It's two feet of snow. This will go slowly and no department is prepared to tackle all the streets at the same time.

What's the prognosis for the government opening back up tomorrow?

It's rare for governments to make those calls early in the day.  We'll monitor that and spread the word via the Dr. Gridlock blog and Twitter.

This is a particularly tricky day for making calls about Tuesday. Governments will assess the state of their transit systems as well as their roads. They'll consider the state of their primary routes as well as their neighborhoods. There's usually a big regional conference call in the evening to assess the day's progress.

Why didn't Metro open the underground sections of the Blue and Yellow Lines on 01-25-2016? Fashion Centre at Pentagon City is open on 01-25-2016, but employees and customers can't get there on Metro.

Big parts of the Metro system remain closed, despite the opening of more stations at 11 a.m. The Silver, Yellow and Blue lines remain closed at this hour.

Metro service Monday -- bus and rail -- is basically an emergency service. It's not a commuter service. Travel is free, but the trains are operating about 25 minutes apart and only a couple dozen bus routes are working, and only till 5 p.m.

Metro said that decisions about what segments of rail line to open depended on the state of the outdoor tracks and stations, the condition of the third rail, the state of the interlocks, the number of rail cars available. (There's also a practical issue: You're not going to open an underground portion of a line for a couple of stops when there are outdoor segments on either side that still are shut.)

What's your estimate for blue/yellow lines reopening? For those who need to get into the District this afternoon from the Crystal/Pentagon City area, what's the best bet - uber?

My colleague, Paul Duggan, who covers Metro transit for The Post, said that while Metro continues to work on restoring service, he doesn't expect to see Blue and Yellow Line service today at the outdoor stations. We'll spread the word when we hear of additional stations opening.

As we gripe about how many people are on the roads today, let us remember the reason most of them are out there: their employers want them at work. This is crazy. Many of us can't get out of our neighborhoods at all or can't do so safely. Not everyone has 4-wheel drive or AWD, and 4WD and AWD won't save you in all conditions. Employers should think hard about whether they really need to open on days like today. Naturally, they don't like paying salaried employees to stay home, but really. If the DOT is saying people still shouldn't be on the roads, then employers need to close for the day and not put the burden on employees to somehow make it to work. (Obviously this does not apply to hospitals, etc.) Hooray for those who allow telework.

Agreed. Many governments and school systems made good calls about closing today. That sharply reduced the morning rush hour traffic and travel on transit. This was a big help. If we'd had many thousands more employees going to work the effects on even the main routes -- the ones that have the most lanes open -- would have been disastrous.

We had black ice, snow and ice on ramps, merge lanes and turn lanes, some blocked through lanes. This would have been a nightmare with more travelers.

Dont help you turn and dont help you stop!!! Dont believe the commercials because the fine print says the cars or SUvs are using winter tires. You can still lose traction and spin going in a straight line in the snow. Check out You Tube. All Season tires are really "No Season". Even All TerrAin Tires and Mud Terrain tires dont work very well in snow and especially deep snow. Winter tires like Michlein Latitude Ices and Bridgestone Blizzaks will get even a rear wheel drive 3 series or Vette through the snow.

I have an all-wheel drive vehicle safely ensconced in snow in front of my house. No point in digging it out, because I couldn't get half a block, given the depth of snow in the road.

That's another problem with the return to work. Many drivers -- not just the four-wheelers and all-wheelers -- overestimate their skills in snow and ice.

What is the current status of snow removal? Any estimate to when things will be back to normal?

Back to normal regionwide? My guess is Friday.

Is there any way to get from crystal city to the verizon center for tonight's wizards game? Are taxis an option with metro closed?

This is what I mean about the Wizards game, on schedule for tonight at 7 o'clock at Verizon Center. Travel options for fans are really limited.

Yeah, taxi is an option. I doubt Metrorail service will be restored in Crystal City, but even on the open portions of lines, the service is 20 to 25 minutes between trains. Like I say, that's for emergency travel, not routine commuting and entertainment travel.

Who makes the call to declare a state of emergency in each jurisdiction and require people to stay off the roads? It seemed like many leaders in the DMV were simply encouraging people to stay home but shouldn't they have banned people from being out (except for emergency personnel and the such)? Also, did the new channels contribute to the problem of people being out? Each network had 10-20 reporters in the field and many were showing some of the major roads as being cleared - - - which leads people to want to drive everywhere.

The government leader in each jurisdiction makes the call on the state of emergency. We had states of emergency throughout the DC region, but not travel bans, a much tougher step -- and probably unenforceable.

Many of us spent the weekend encouraging people to stay put, rather than becoming part of the problem for emergency responders. I think people's cooperation was pretty good. There were a few knuckleheads, but cooperation was pretty good.

These next few days are more difficult. There are the people who's bosses say, Get to work, and their are the sports/entertainment events that go on as scheduled and you have to decide whether to take a chance on travel or eat the tickets.

As for the TV crews, the ones I saw would periodically note that they were traveling in specialized vehicles with professional drivers. This wasn't like me getting in my all-wheel drive and heading out. (Which I didn't.)

I took the metro at about 9:30 this morning from Gallery Place to Dupont Circle to check in on my mum and returned at 11:15. I didn't have to wait long either time. Great idea to make it free too. I think part of why people get cross is waiting twenty minutes for a train at the weekend and being expected to pay full wack.

This is the sort of thing the transit system is open for today: Checking on relatives. It's not yet capable of much more.

What's my best bet for getting from Shaw to Pentagon City this afternoon or tonight? Taxi/Uber?

Yes. I don't see anything so far in transit that's going to help you, but will let you know if more Metrorail stations open.

Here's Metro's list of the "lifeline" bus services operating till 5 p.m. Monday:

Dr., how is it our elected leaders can say "do not travel on the roads or the sidewalks unless in an emergency" and yet some businesses are open today? I work in a plain office pushing papers around, and yet I had to defy Muriel Bowser and somehow get to work this morning? How do business leaders justify that? And how are places like Verizon Center and Kennedy Center allowed to open for games and shows when the message from our leaders is "stay home unless it's an emergency"?

I think private employers, sports leagues and entertainment venues should have given it a rest today.

We're getting through Monday largely because so many governments and school systems are shut.

I don't believe any of the local governments had the resources to enforce a travel ban. Seemed reasonable to me that DC would hand out tickets to people who created a nuisance while leaving others alone.

Looks to me like the sidewalks are still in pretty bad shape, and there are big piles of snow at many intersections, making crossing difficult. We're still a couple of days away from normal travel, and the more people out there, the worse it's going to get.

I thought this was a pretty good idea when they announced they were going to try to store 900 cars in the tunnels. And a pretty good justification for the early closing and providing no service during the storm. But they didn't do it. Any idea as to why? Was it simply they didn't want to keep the employees around until the small hours on Saturday morning to do the transfers and then leave them with no way to get home?

As best I can tell, there was a misunderstanding about how many cars would be stored underground.

Metro GM Paul Wiedefeld was just on Kojo's show on WAMU saying that the restoration problem isn't the condition of the rail cars. It's the above ground tracks, switches and third rail.

I walked a few blocks on 7th St NW at E and a few blocks from the Q Street exit of Dupont Circle metro - the curb situation is hit or miss. I had to walk in the road on Q Street just over the Buffalo Bridge on the Georgetown side because I couldn't get over the snow on the curb when crossing.

Just a suggestion....if the plow hasn't made it impossible, it's a good idea to try to shovel out the storm drains (more commonly, but not necessarily correctly, referred to as the sewer). It gives the melting snow, and the forecast rain, somewhere to go......and also sometimes small animals live down there! There's a cat who often hides in the drain on our block and it'd be kind of cruel to trap it down there since we know it's usually there!

This is a good tip. In fact, in many neighborhoods, it's probably more helpful to spend some energy clearing storm drains and hydrants than to dig the cars out.

But please be careful while shoveling. Take it easy. Some of the deaths in the past few days have occurred while people were shoveling.

According to one of the local stations, Maryland doesn't have a law requiring snow removal from the roof and hood of vehicles. Legislators please get a law because there are many drivers with little commonsense.

People not clearing the snow crowns off their cars will certainly be a problem, and it's worth highlighting. But I think there are enough laws already. Unsafe operation of a motor vehicle, for example.

Manassas City Public Schools are closed for the week!

I think Thursday and Friday plans are not weather-related.

The Post will have a list of cancellations.

By the way, I'll have a list on the blog with the new dates for VDOT's I-66 HOT lanes hearings. The Monday and Tuesday hearings have been postponed because of the blizzard. The first one now is scheduled for Wednesday night at VDOT 's Northern Virginia headquarters in Fairfax.

I have it on good authority it is on the "Do Not Plow Till April" list. BTW you are the only one on the April list. Several folks are on the " Do Not Plow Until March" List.

Yeah, when I look at the Montgomery County plow tracker, I get the feeling you're right.

Good chance Fairfax Count Public Schools will be closed all week. Kids have to be able to walk to bus stop safely and that isnt going to happen this week. not to mention being able to walk to school.

Fairfax County schools definitely are closed Tuesday. No official word beyond that.

Bus stop safety is indeed an issue in many communities. School officials consult with police and transportation officials, among others, before making their calls. We'll see some variation across the region.

Don't forget in Virginia, in particular, some neighborhoods will see split plowing responsibilities. I live on a block that gets plowed by the HOA, but the street that leads in and out is plowed by VDOT. Sometimes our street gets plowed first, sometimes it doesn't (this time it didn't). It's worth remembering that if your friend's street has been plowed and yours hasn't, it could well be a case of an HOA that was able to get its own plow through.

We didn't even get a courtesy spray of brine before the storm either. I know that most of the primary and the main secondary roads have been plowed. It's just frustrating knowing that the road 2 blocks away is done. I'm just hoping we'll get it done sometime today.

The nearest precedent for this massive cleanup is February 2010. Many people were frustrated about what they considered a slow cleanup. Thought they were special targets. Wondered who in government they had offended. Took three or four days for plows to reach some streets.

I've got a relative with a (noncanceled!) flight out of DCA this evening. Traveling from Silver Spring, is it safe to assume GW Parkway is in good enough shape to drive her to the airport? I see it's closing at 8 p.m. again, but I wasn't sure if there's another way I should be taking her.

I think you might be best off taking the Beltway inner loop and the Wilson Bridge, rather than the outer loop around to McLean and then GW Parkway from there. No matter what, leave a lot more time than you normally would.

I see this new alert distributed by Fairfax County:

Partial road closure for snow removal till 3 p.m. on the northbound lanes of George Washington Memorial Pkwy between Spout Run Park and Chain Bridge Road

I'm betting that the federal government will be open tomorrow with unscheduled leave and telework authorized. There so much pressure on OPM not to close the government entirely, even if driving and commuting conditions aren't ideal.

This seems to be the consensus among federal workers who are commenting today. But I think OPM officials are painfully aware of the harm that can be caused to our transportation system if they bring in hundreds of thousands of employees before the roads and transit have fully recovered to handle them.

In any case, we're monitoring OPM for a decision. In most such situations, the decisions don't come till quite late. They need to get on the phone with dozens of transportation officials and many other interested parties and get assessments of how far the cleanup got today.

We were plowed out to pavement here in Franklin Knowles yesterday morning, although there's one street that wasn't. Nevertheless, we're going no where before Wednesday, if then, because thirty plus years of living here tell me that many many streets will be barely passable, even major thoroughfares like University Blvd. Doc, do us all a favor and urge your contacts in govt to keep schools and businesses closed through the week, until streets and Metro are back to normal.

I think you're plan is prudent, and I can see it's based on experience. There will be no "familiar" routes in the next couple of days, because you may encounter block to block variations in the cleanup.

Generally, I think the closings assessments will be made day to day. But getting Metro back to normal is crucial.

I can't speak for all of Arlington's bike paths but the one going through the park near East Falls Church metro station was almost completely clear and in great shape yesterday morning. However, the local residential streets were still packed with snow. Does Arlington clear bike paths before residential streets?

Arlington County is unusual among our local jurisdictions in that it includes certain trails within its snow clearing plan, but that doesn't mean it clears bike paths "before" residential streets.

Here's the way the county government describes the plan for paths:

"The Department of Parks and Recreation will treat and clear up to 10 miles of high-volume, multi-use County trails this snow season. The goal is to give the most heavily used County trails the same priority and response time as primary arterial streets. The actual response time and trail conditions will vary as the ease of snow removal can greatly differ from one event to the next."

I saw someone on TV complaining about the subway being shut down. They said most of it is underground. Well, I don't think that was the point. There were total white-out conditions and I do not think Metro wanted people walking or driving to their stations. That was the right call.

With such an extensive rail system, many factors need to be considered in a shutdown plan. There's safety during the blizzard. (We've had enough cases of stranded trains, don't you think?)

And then a more extensive shutdown during a storm is likely to help speed the recovery phase. We'll see, but I hope that's what's going on right now.

Chief Lanier quite rightly pointed out that there are no parking "dibs" on public streets. I'm curious if you know how many vigilantes are trying to do it anyway. (Last year in my neighborhood in Fairfax Count one guy tried it but didn't but anything in the space to mark it as his. We all laughed at him. I'm glad I don't live in the city.)

You know what's going to happen, regionwide. We're going to hear reports over the next few days about arguments over "reserved" parking spaces on the streets.

People who go to great trouble to dig their cars out will expect other drivers to leave that space alone till they return. Some will mark those spaces with cones, or lawn chairs.

I live in Montgomery County and have a yard stick I put in my backyard to measure the depth of the snow. When I got up, I noticed that the level of snow has gone down two inches since yesterday morning. Now around 22 inches. At this rate, I think my SUV can safely get out of the neighborhood and reach the nearby cleared roads in about six days..

I'm a Fed, and even though we're technically closed today, I'm teleworking. Already had a conference call, three calls from my colleagues, and a chat session.

I think teleworking is the most likely way we're going to solve the region's congestion problems. And I don't mean just in the aftermath of blizzards.

One of us is 78 and the other 62, but we were able to shovel one lane of the driveway out and the walkway. Then the VDOT plow came. Ice packed snow now reaches 6 feet high and is several feet wide, completely blocking access from our driveway and those of neighbors. Doesn't VDOT train these plow operators how to plow a residential street?

I'm really sorry that happened to you. I expect you're not alone, and that many other people are going to have similar experiences.

VDOT says it instructs plow drivers to be careful about the driveways and walkways on residential streets, but with a storm this big, it's inevitable that the plows are going to dump a lot of snow across drives and walks.

That's one reason I haven't yet tried to dig out the driveway or the cars in front of my Montgomery County home. I'm waiting to see what the plow does, and develop my cleanup strategy from there. (Sidewalk shoveled.)

VDOT urges people who are shoveling driveways to tolls the snow to the right as they're facing the street. That will limit the amount of snow that the plow pushes back across the driveway.

Is it just me or is it completely out-of-date (i.e. yesterday's data not posted till noon today)?

My reading is that the various snow plow trackers have had a lot of trouble keeping up in the aftermath of the blizzard.

For anyone in Howard County, there was a message on their website this morning that said it could be 2 to 3 days before all neighborhood streets are cleared. Very frustrating when you live right off a secondary road and can see traffic whizzing by.

Just in case the Silver line is not running tomorrow, any suggestions on how I can get from Reston to Ballston (to get on the Orange line) using public trans? THANKS!

Keep an eye on the Fairfax Connector status. Use this link.

Also, you might consider using Metrobus 5A (Herndon-Monroe Park and Ride to Rosslyn).

Of course, we're all hoping for an expansion of above-ground Metrorail service by Tuesday morning.

Here's the latest from The Post's Paul Duggan about Metrorail's status:

Metro spokesman Dan Stessel says that in addition to the 24 stations that were reopened at 11 a.m., the agency tentatively plans to reopen several more this afternoon and is hoping for a fully open rail system for Tuesday.

But he could not be sure. And if the system does entirely reopen, train wait-times could still be longer than normal, he said.

When should we expect to learn which bus lines will be running tomorrow?

I expect it will be fairly late Monday before we know about how many more bus routes Metro can operate on Tuesday. We're also waiting on calls by suburban bus systems. I think this is more difficult than deciding about when to reopen the outdoor rail stations. So much about the bus routes depends on turn by turn conditions. Even some of the restored bus service could involve detours.

I'm an IT consultant to the feds and don't get paid when the government is closed...unless I telework. So I am happily getting things done from my couch with a cat AND a laptop on my lap. I'm glad it works this way.

The reason I read was that the initial estimate didn't account for the need to move snow removal equipment on the rails through the system so they had to leave tunnel tracks clear for that.

I think a key issue about storage is that if you get 'em in, you've got to get 'em out again.

Metro stored cars underground, in the rail sheds and outside in the rail yards.

People have unrealistic expectations when it comes to snow removal. With 30 inches of snow in the street, just what was the plow supposed to do? They don't vacuum it up, it has to go somewhere. And anyone that thinks the governments here should have more resources on hand, will you change your mind when we have another winter like last year? Does Minneapolis do a better job than the DC area? Sure, because they do it twice a week for four months every year and the cost is worth it.

Yes, nobody gets to reserve a cleared parking space, but it's the height of discourtesy to your neighbors to steal somebody else's labor. People should be respectful of their neighbors, even if that's not legally required.

We don't have as much experience with this as places like Boston, which get buried in snow more often. I think this commenter sets a good standard.

We are taking a 7 am flight from DCA to Atlanta tomorrow, 26th. We live in Annapolis and plan to leave home at 4 am. Are the roads to the airport parking totally clear by tonight?

Long-time readers know that I'm very conservative on questions like this. I'd leave even more time to reach the airport. And of course, I'd monitor the flight status while enroute.

I wouldn't expect any long trip in the D.C. region on Tuesday to be "totally clear." I'd monitor the Capital Weather Gang and worry about the possibility of black ice overnight, so I'd probably be crawling along Route 50 and the Beltway on my way to DCA. That said, I think the trip can be done.

It certainly makes sense for D.C. not to spend Boston- or Buffalo-level money to warehouse snow removal equipment that would only be used every five years or so. But it's incomprehensible that Metro could be shut down for an entire weekend at a time when streets were impassable. Some people -- like hospital and public safety workers -- NEEDED to get to work, and non-essential businesses like neighborhood restaurants and convenience stores could stay open even if they wanted to because employees couldn't get to work. Why can't Metro heat the rails and equip some rail cars with plows to keep the trains running?

During rapidly falling snow and winds, it would be difficult if not impossible to keep the tracks clear and the trains connected with the third rail. If Metro had tried to stay open this weekend, we'd be telling you horror stories today from stranded passengers.

And the post-blizzard recovery effort would have taken even longer than it's taking now. We've seen that in previous storms.

I've lived in central Illinois, downtown Boston, and upstate New York, so I'm an experienced snow person. I think the District's response has been very good to excellent, given the depth of snow that it has to clear. But the people here -- that's another matter! Everyone in snowy towns and cities knows that you have to give plows the space and time to do their jobs, and making frivolous trips, whether in cars or walking in the middle of the street, to restaurants and coffee shops just because you're bored is idiotic. I've seen pedestrians flip the bird to drivers of snow plows who are just trying to do a difficult job on long, cold shifts, and I can't believe how selfish people are. Sorry, pedestrians and drivers, you don't have the right to "share" a snowy, icy street with a multi-ton snow plow whose driver has limited visibility and very limited ability to stop quickly without skidding and/or getting stuck! Stay home for a few days and let them clear the streets.

In my situation, the snow they piled up at the end of my driveway did not come from my driveway. (We had spent 6 hours shoveling our driveway and throwing the snow over ever higher piles onto the lawn.) What they piled in front of our driveway was snow they had pushed in front of the plow as they made their way down the cul de sac. In past years, including "historic" storms, the plow drivers pushed the snow into the center of the street, which gave us our very own divided highway! People whose houses were on the left could get in and out by using the left lane of the cul de sac and those on the right used the right lane. My guess is that this time VDOT had to call in some contractors to plow who were not experienced.

VDOT does use many contractors. That's generally true of the highway departments. They don't have the full-time staff and equipment to handle a rare event like this blizzard.

For VDOT and most other snow cleanup agencies in the DC region, you'll find links in this blog posting that will help you file complaints.

Loved the story on the snow plow that sat so long it was covered with Christmas lights! Glad some folks enjoyed their time off, even if their street was blocked.

If you have an early morning flight tomorrow, why not go to the airport tonight, and pay 70-90 for a hotel room nearby? Hotels are probably nearly empty, so good rates. Much more peace of mind that way!

Good tip.

Despite all our frustrations, this blizzard was a once-in-a-lifetime event. Plowers in the region have never had to deal with a snowfall of this magnitude. Neither have mass transit operators. I think all employees helping the region to recover are doing the best that they can.

Thanks for joining me on what I know is a frustrating day for many of you. We'll continue to update the state of the cleanup on the Dr. Gridlock blog and Twitter. That will include the status of the region's transit systems and the openings/closings announcements.

Stay safe under these very difficult conditions. We'll get through it.

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Robert Thomson
Robert Thomson is The Washington Post's Dr. Gridlock. He offers therapy for that most intimate relationship: the one between you and your commute. You can read his work on the Dr. Gridlock blog, as well as in the Metro section of The Washington Post.
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