The Washington Post

Dr. Gridlock

Jan 26, 2015

The Washington Post's Dr. Gridlock, Robert Thomson, will be online to take all your questions about Metro and traffic throughout the region. But this Monday, he especially wants your questions and comments about the new 95 Express Lanes.

Welcome, travelers. Because I wrote a story for our Local Living section about the new 95 Express Lanes, I've invited people to submit questions and comments about their experiences with the lanes. You might also be interested in the plans for I-66 HOT lanes that Lori Aratani wrote about this weekend.

I'll go to the HOT lanes questions first, but I've also got a set of questions and comments about Metro issues that I'll get to.

[This question/comment came in on Jan. 18, the eve of the Martin Luther King Day holiday.]

Why doesn't Transurban do a better job of providing information regarding the travel direction of the Express Lanes?

For example, Monday is the MLK holiday. Will it be a Monday schedule? A Sunday schedule (since it is like the last day in the weekend)? Are there any "rules" for how Transurban handles holidays?

Many people have been asking about the hours for the reversible lanes since the 95 Express Lanes opened. The hours haven't changed much, except to add a half hour to the overnight closing time, so it's now midnight to 2:30 a.m. on weeknights. 

On the Monday holidays, VDOT generally kept the HOV lanes open northbound, and that's still the case.

VDOT set the lane directions according to its traffic studies showing whether northbound or southbound traffic was dominant.

One big reason not to change this is that the the new 95 Express Lanes link up with the hold HOV lanes around Edsall Road. They won't have cars going in different directions on those two sets of lanes.

But I do notice that it's hard to discover the holiday information on either the 95 Express Lanes Web site or the VDOT Web site, so I'll ask about that. 

Did anyone ever study or research the negative side effects of the recent developments of HOT HOV ICC Tolls etc., on tourism to the region? As a business owner in the hospitality industry I often hear bitter complaints about mass confusion VA road signs and predatory law enforcement in the region that creates lasting unfavorable impression of VA, DC & MD.

I know of no research on that topic. Travelers do write to me to say they find various highway signs confusing, and they recommend changes.

But that didn't start with tolling. Generally, I don't find the highway  signs in our region any more or less confusing than the signs in other parts of the country.

I do think the HOT lanes are the most complicated roads we drive on, partly because of the various sets of signs that either state the rules or show the tolls.

In the next comment I post, you will see an example of the type of sign complaint I'm most familiar with.

FROM North 95/495 there are no signs and/or poor to the Woodrow Wilson bridgeor 295 North DC for travelers who don't know. How do u get to Bolling, Air Force Base, Kenilworth Ave, Anacostia, BWI or National Harbor. There are good directions from MD & DC goig South.

I do get complaints that focus on the signs along the outer loop between Springfield and the Wilson Bridge. Much of this correspondence focuses on the LOCAL/THRU lane directions. Which should you chose to reach particular destinations.

VDOT, I find, is cautious about adding signs for fear of further confusing drivers. This is a difficult zone, because you have so many long-distance drives who don't routinely use that stretch of highway.

How is a state trooper supposed to electronically scan multiple cars on the HOT lanes to see what each car's EZ PASS Flex was set for HOV or SOV and then visually see in each car to see if they have 1 or 3 people. That is impossible during rush hour given the number of cars and this enforcement is not possible leading to a significant increase in cheating. The Commonwealth can't afford to pay for cheaters.

There's a scene that repeats in some old movies and TV shows -- usually a Western scenario, I think. The angry mob confronts the armed sheriff protecting the jailhouse. The mob leader says something like, "Let's go boys, he can only get one of us!" And the sheriff says, "You're the one." That brings the mob leader to a sudden stop.

I think there's a bit of a link to the enforcement strategy on the HOT lanes. The Virginia state police can't possibly catch all cheaters. But knowing that you may be the one to pay the penalty -- the penalty that escalates with each offense -- is a decent deterrent.

Police have equipment that allows them to detect that the driver has the E-Pass Flex set to "HOV On." The tricky part is that they have to count the number of people in that vehicle. 

Clearly, they're not going to be able to enforce the rules in every case. But it should work at least as well as the system for catching the HOV lane cheaters, before the advent of the express lanes.

 

Why isn't there ANY enforcement of the HOT lanes and he HOV lanes north of Edsall during rush hour. Cheaters are starting to realize they can switch their EZPass Flex to HOV Only, not pay and not get caught during rush hour. Seems VDOT and Transurban were lying when they said there would be heavy enforecement to prevent cheating.

I'm not sure that I've got the scenario right on this one, but here's what I'm thinking: Drivers can do anything they want with their E-ZPass Flex setting north of Edsall Road. There's no toll-reading equipment once the HOT lanes end and the old HOV lanes begin.

There certainly are enforcement problems with the HOV lanes, but they are the same ones we've had for many years. State police have a difficult time setting up a safe enforcement operation that doesn't create more traffic problems than it's meant to solve.

Dr.Gridlock – I have attempted to familiarize myself with the new HOT lanes on I-95 as well as the Express lanes on 495. I live in Burke, very near the Springfield line.

Because of this, I have opportunities to use both of these new “pay lanes”. I would like to know why all of the maps I have seen have designated blue and green as the color for entrance and exits? I have a great deal of difficulty differentiating between these two colors, especially when the dots on the maps are so small. I also would bet that I am not the only person with this problem. As a result, I am not using the lanes as much as I would like. I cannot tell by looking at the maps if there is an exit near where I need to go. I would like to see symbols instead of colored dots. A triangle, or “X” could be used---- or any other readily recognizable symbol that would allow people to more easily plan their trips using these roads. I have my flex transponder and am ready to go --- if only I knew where to get on & off.

There is a lot of blue and green, but I still think it might be helpful for you to check this pdf map on the expresslanes.com Web site. It shows the northbound and southbound access points between the regular lanes and the express lanes. Note that the access points are marked either "From" or "Onto." I hope that wording will help overcome the problem with the colors.

 

I live in D.C. and I only head down I-95 a few times a year. I would be interested in using the new 95 Express lanes but there doesn't seem to be an option for me. My understanding of the EZ pass is that you have to use it pretty regularly or you billed for not using it. This is really insane, since it encourages people to drive more. Why can't we have a license plate billing option like they have out West in CO and WA? Also, we do the make is so hard for people that don't drive that much to us EZ pass.

A D.C. resident can get an E-ZPass from Virginia that's good for travel anywhere in the E-ZPass system. You prepay a minimum of $35 in tolls. 

The only other fee I'm aware of is the $10 that could be charged after July 1 for an E-ZPass Flex -- the carpooler version -- that goes unused for six months. (Virginia wants the Flexes to go to carpoolers.)

 

Mr. Thomason, I submitted this question to EZ Pass customer service with no avail. I have been given so many no answers to the questions, and even a request to go into my account to look. I hope you can help me and the other drivers of the NEW 95 HOT Lanes. Q. I have down loaded my billing statement in a CSV file formate, and the Entry and Exit Plaza are the same. How is that possible? How do I see exactly where I entered and exited the highway? Also, How can i see the entry and exit times? Thanks in advance alb

This is not a problem I'm familiar with. Is anyone else experiencing it?

The terminology is a bit confusing to me. The express lanes don't have "plazas." 

Hi, Dr. Gridlock, I'm going for a two-fer here. First, the toll pricing signs seem unclear to me if you're planning on travelling past a single segment. There is no "full segment price" sign, so is the price for a segment the highest price of the destinations available on that segment? Could Transurban improve the signage to make this more clear, because if you're exiting at Prince William Parkway but you entered from 395, the only time you see a price for that exit, it only tells you the price within that segment. And second, why has Transurban decided to set a $1.00 minimum on all tolls, even on super short trips like entering the lanes northbound and then immediately exiting at Franconia Springfield Parkway?

Questions about the toll signs on I-93/395 are among the most frequently asked so far. The questions reflect the complexity of this new system.

The third line on the lighted sign tells you the toll you pay to the end of that segment. Northbound, there are two segments. Southbound, there are free.

As you move from segment to segment, you have a chance to exit back to the regular lanes. But you need to watch for the set of lighted signs that will tell you the tolls for the next segment. Again, the third line -- the bottom line -- is going to tell you the toll to the end of that segment.

I've found this system a little difficult to adjust to, at least in the early going. Once I see the first set of signs and decide to enter, the toll for the first segment goes out of my head.

When I see the second set of signs -- assuming I'm paying attention -- I have trouble adding up the two charges to get my total toll. (This is partly a personal problem with math, but I do find other drivers expressing similar frustrations.)

I did double check with Transurban, the company that operates the lanes, about the $1 toll. Officials confirmed that you should expect to pay at least a dollar for any part of that trip in the northern area.

They say it's the most effective way of managing the traffic entering and exiting in that area.

The tolls for using the express lanes have two purposes. One is to manage the traffic and keep it flowing at a reliable pace. That's particularly challenging in the northern area. Some drivers are familiar with other types of tolling, like the distance-based system on the New Jersey Turnpike.

The Virginia express lanes don't use the same model. Yes, the express lanes tolls do rise the farther you travel, but it's not purely a distance-based system.

 

Your coverage of the transition to HOT lanes has been great but I have a question about hybrids with tags that allowed the use of HOV lanes prior to December. We don't know whether we can continue to use the HOV lanes from Seminary Road to the District with the "grandfathered" hybrid tags. As a result, we've been avoiding getting into the HOV lanes and our commute times from Seminary to and from the District have doubled. Are we correct that we should stay out of the HOV lanes?

The rules for using the HOV lanes between the Edsall Road area and the 14th Street Bridge have not changed. If you have the proper clean fuel tags issued by Virginia, you can still use those old HOV lanes.

(There is no hybrid exemption for using either the 95 Express Lanes or the 495 Express Lanes.)

Why don't the Virginia State Police enforce existing laws 1) § 46.2-842.1. Drivers to give way to certain overtaking vehicles on divided highways. and 2) § 46.2-804. Special regulations applicable on highways laned for traffic. ? If VDOT educated the public on these laws and the Virginia State Police rigorously enforced these laws, we would have much better use of our existing roadways. More traffic would flow more smoothly. If these 2 laws were enforced, we would greatly reduce road-rage, more cars could use existing roadways instead of expanding the number of lanes. Instead, the Virginia State Police allow chaos to reign over the roadways. Now, cars most often have to pass other vehicles on the right, which is unsafe, putting all of us at risk. Thanks, Griff

The full version reads like this: "It shall be unlawful to fail to give way to overtaking traffic when driving a motor vehicle to the left and abreast of another motor vehicle on a divided highway. On audible or light signal, the driver of the overtaken vehicle shall move to the right to allow the overtaking vehicle to pass as soon as the overtaken vehicle can safely do so. A violation of this section shall not be construed as negligence per se in any civil action."

Worthy of note is that no part of Virginia traffic law gives any driver the right to exceed the speed limit.

I recommend that drivers stay right except to pass or to prepare for a left-side exit. I also recommend they obey the speed limit.

Congestion signs that indicate how long it will take to travel sections of the i-95 main line were added last year. They are helpful in understanding how long it will take to travel to specific places like Woodbridge, Rt 610 and Fredericksburg. However, the first sign on 95 South-bound is stationed just AFTER the on ramp to the HOT-Lanes - are there any plans to move this indicator further north, so that it can be used as a tool to assist drivers in deciding if it makes sense to spend the money on tolls from Springfield to Woodbridge?

I don't know of any plans to move the sign. The travel time signs can be helpful in deciding whether to use the express lanes and pay the toll. There's not much else you can do while on the road, besides listen to the traffic reports on the radio.

You can compare what the sign says with the idea that you're almost always going to be able to travel at 65 mph in the express lanes. (Except in bad weather.)

Why do the signs on east-bound Old Keene Mill Road indicate 95 North Express Lane? As I understand it, I-95 North is the east side of the Beltway and the north bound road inside the Beltway is 395. If you're on OKMR going east and wanted 95 North why would you ever take the express lane?

That's an interesting point. The name of the new highway segment is 95 Express Lanes, which I believe is what all the purple and white signs say.

It is possible that some drivers could get confused about this, but I have a feeling that the drivers along Old Keene Mill Road are going to get used to this very quickly and will not make the mistake of thinking that the lanes take them onto the Beltway toward the Wilson Bridge.

Why are the per mile tolls so high in Springfield, even during off-peak hours when there's not a single vehicle in the lanes? While the total cost of the tolls seem low, the actual per mile toll makes the stretch of Express Lanes in Springfield the most expensive toll road in the country at over $1.60/mile just before and after rush hours (sometimes even higher during the rush). Do people realize how high the toll is for this relatively short stretch (3 miles northbound and just over 2 miles southbound) of pavement really is? I understand the need to keep the lanes free flowing, but there's a difference between discouraging entry and gouging.

I think price gouging, by definition, occurs where the purchaser has no other option but to pay. That's not the case with the express lanes system. Drivers who think the toll is too high should avoid the express lanes and take the regular lanes.

I found out that Transurban has determined that lowest toll their willing to collect on I-95 Express Lanes users is $1.00, as evidence from the fact that they charge that toll to drive even the shortest (sometimes less than 0.5 miles) stretches of Express Lanes. However, I have yet to receive an explanation as to why they determined the minimum toll in the I-95 lanes is $1.00, but the minimum toll on the Beltway lanes is $0.35. Do you know why a roadway that cost Transurban nearly 4 times as much to build has a minimum toll 1/3 as low?

What the Transurban people say is that the range of tolls is not related to the cost of building any particular segment of the HOT lanes system. It's set to regulate the flow of traffic.

But that's confusing, because the toll doesn't drop to zero when there's incredibly light traffic -- at least, not under normal circumstances.

The toll's other goal is to pay back the private consortium for building and operating the lanes.

I notice that drivers have trouble reconciling those two elements. The one they hear the most about is variable tolling to manage traffic. They have their own ideas on how much the charge should be to manage traffic. 

Dr. Gridlock, you said this: "Much of this correspondence focuses on the LOCAL/THRU lane directions. Which should you chose to reach particular destinations." It seems to me the solution for VDOT is easy and should take its cue from the New York subway. In New York, if you're unfamiliar with the trains, everyone tells you to ride the local. It takes longer, but it stops at every station so you have less of a worry about missing your stop. Similarly, on the Beltway the LOCAL lanes provide access to every interchange and then continue on through towards Baltimore or Springfield/Richmond. If you have any doubt, just get into the local lanes. There has to be some way to say this on the signs. I understand why they don't want to say "ALL LANES THRU" like you see in New Jersey, as that would be confusing when they're designated one set of lanes as "THRU." But they need to reassure out-of-area drivers that getting into the LOCAL lanes is not a problem and you'll still be able to continue on your way.

All that makes sense to me. I'm not sure what the appropriate wording should be. When I talk to people in charge of highway signs, they'll say several things: One is that the Federal Highway Administration is pretty strict about what wording can be placed on signs. They'll also note that it's difficult to calculate the right place to put a sign so that people will pay attention, and won't forget by the time they reach the point where that information becomes useful.

I heard on the radio last week that Virginia is planning on having I-66 be HOT/HOV inside the beltway during rush hour in both directions as soon as 2017. Is this a done deal or just a proposal?

It's what the Virginia government wants to do, but it has to clear some hurdles. You can read more about I-66 inside the Beltway on my blog posting from last week.

If it goes through as Virginia plans, this will become our most unusual set of HOT lanes for many reasons. The prime one is that it will be the first full conversion to HOT lanes in the D.C. region. In the other cases, Virginia added lane capacity. The I-66 inside the Beltway idea takes existing lanes and converts them.

Another unusual feature is that Virginia plans to operate the lanes. In the other cases we've talked about, Virginia leased the lanes to a private partner to build and operate them.

Your online E-ZPass statement uses the column headings "Entry Plaza" and "Exit Plaza." All that means is where you entered and exited a tolled facility, regardless of whether there's an actual tollbooth or ORT equipment. I can't help with the question about the CSV file, though. I've never used one. My online E-ZPass statement reads correctly when I view it online, though I must agree the "plaza" designations are probably cryptic to a lot of people.

Thanks for the help on responding to the earlier question about the E-ZPass statements.

Do the State Police ever check EVERY car on the HOT/HOV lanes to make sure they have the the EZPass transponder correctly set to reflect the number of people in the car? I know that a few times a year they check I-66 inside the beltway or HOV violators.

The express lanes enforcement is a bit different from what you'd be familiar with on I-66. For one thing, the express lanes operator has a contract with Virginia state police to enforce the lane rules. Also, the 495 and 95 express lanes were designed to have special cutouts where police cruisers can park and monitor traffic.

But to answer your question, No, there's no way police are going to be able to check every car every day that's claiming the carpool exemption.

What prevents a single driver with a transponder that has a switch for car pooling from switching it on (denoting 3 or more occupants) when passing readers?

I think there's nothing to prevent a driver from doing that. Not physically, anyway. It's easy to flip the switch. But the driver would need to remember to do that when coming within range of every single toll gantry along the route. That amounts to distracted driving.

But it's really pointless anyway. Those cutouts I mentioned for the police cruisers are located at the toll gantries. So the solo driver would be flipping the switch just at the point where state police are most likely to be looking for cheaters.

I am a DC resident and I have an EZ-pass from Maryland. Is it still possible to get an ez-pass flex for times when we travel to Virginia? Is there a higher fee for these transponders?

You can get an E-ZPass Flex from Maryland. Or you could give up your Maryland pass and open a Virginia account. There's no maintenance fee on a Virginia account. And the Flex switch can be set either for toll paying or for carpooling, so there's no need to have both a regular pass and a Flex.

On I-66, I am familiar with the square message boards with the Red X/Green Arrow over the right lane. On westbound I-66 past the Rt 123 ramps, there is a message board with square boxes, but instead of just being over the right lane, there appears to be one for each lane. They haven't been on yet, but I can't figure out what they are for. Do you have any idea?

I think what you're seeing is part of the setup for Virginia's Active Traffic Management program, scheduled to start operating this year. 

Hope you don't mind a Metro question/comment. I dropped my wife at the Franconia-Springfield stop at about 8:00 this morning. She rides the Blue Line to Foggy Bottom and is supposed to be at work by 9:00, so dropping her at 8:00 should be plenty early. Not so much. Here is a censored version of her e-mail sent to me at 9:16. What do you recommend she do when the trains only come every half hour? "Morning dear. Just got here. That [#%*+] Metro. I was there at 8:05 and a Yellow was there but I decided to wait for the Blue. It came at 8:27!!!!! How is that for wonderful service? So it finally arrived at FB at 9 am. So no matter what I do, the Metro screws me up. And they say a train should come every 12 minutes, you can tell Dr. G that it doesn't and I am sick of their lousy service."

I just submitted a comment about my wife waiting almost half an hour for a train at Springfield this morning. She just e-mailed back to say from the time she got there at 8:05 to the time a Blue train left at 8:27, quote, "No other trains came in that time either, no Yellow and no other Blue. We just all stood there waiting in the cold and wind. Really pleasant way to begin the day." I'm starting to wonder what the point is of bothering with the Metrorail.

This is a difficult situation for riders from Franconia-Springfield bound for Rosslyn or the stations on the west side of the District.

Riders complain frequently about not knowing which train is which on the platform. But now, the regularly scheduled 12 minute gap between Blue Line trains adds to their frustration.

This morning, I saw no e-mail alerts or Twitter warnings about the extra gap in trains on the Blue Line. However, when I asked Metro spokesman Dan Stessel for clarification, he wrote back to say that yes, "the train set that would normally turn at Franconia-Springfield at 8:12 a.m. was delayed enroute on its westbound trip, arriving at Franconia-Springfield at 8:22 a.m.

"However,  the train behind it, which would be the 8:24 a.m. departure, was close to schedule. So both trains turned and were sent back as soon as they arrived -- dispatched within five minutes of each other."

I think this illustrates one of the problems built into a line where the trains are 12 minutes apart. When problems come up to delay trains, a big gap just gets bigger. (And that's a mighty cold platform to wait on in the winter.)

Even before the L'enfant incident, it was clear to me that the VRE has a much better handle on basic things such as clear announcements (both audio and visual) than metro. When incidents happen (like the railroad shut down overnight when a pedestrian was hit in Manassas last week) they are pretty good about communication. Not perfect, but much better than metro. And they communicate what happened to riders via a follow up email if their response was not great. The number of passengers and scale are different, but I'll continue to take VRE over metro whenever I can as the basics are better and management actually communicates with the riders and wants to continue to improve even in the short term, and not a wait til the many, many year rebuilding project is over to see improvements.

VRE has come a long way on service and communications during the past decade. As the commenter notes, the scale of the VRE operations is much smaller than that of Metro. But commuters should do what works best for them, whatever the scale.

I find it really disturbing that Metro is losing riders (unlike many mass transit systems in America), yet they're going to those riders that are left and asking them to pay more money. They admit their ridership is hurting on long-distance rail trips and their fare increase proposal certainly won't help. I also think cutting Fri/Sat late night train service is a bad idea, but I think they could certainly close a handful of stations earlier as there are some that are not near late-night commercial or residential areas. Some examples are Greensboro, Medical Center, Judiciary Square, Smithsonian, and Federal Center SW. I bet the boardings at these stations after midnight are minimal and they can save money by closing them down and not paying a station manager to babysit an empty station. In an ideal world, we'd have a regional 1/4 cent sales or gas tax to support WMATA, or at least the WMATA Board would have the guts to ask the jurisdictions for more funding instead of continuing to fleece the remaining riders.

Metro most certainly is asking the jurisdictions that support it to support it even more this year. (And the Yellow Line incident sure didn't help in building confidence.)

In a story last week, The Post's Paul Duggan described Metro's budget situation this way:

 The possibility of generating more money by making commuting slightly more expensive for Metro customers is one of a handful of cost-cutting and revenue-boosting options discussed by the finance committee. No formal action was taken.

 

The one key question that I have not seen answered is what is Metro's protocol for ordering an evacuation without the presence of rescuers? I know that evacuation carries its dangers, but clearly waiting on the train was not a good idea in the L'enfant emergency. By not saying anything, Metro is encouraging people to self-evacuate in emergencies.

As a policy matter, Metro is definitely not encouraging passengers to evacuate trains on their own, but rather to await the instructions of the train operator and emergency responders.

But in a situation such as the stranded and smoke-filled Yellow Line, the longer riders have to wait the less confidence they have in that message from Metro. It's even worse if there's a gap in the information they're getting.

It's difficult to say the passengers would have been  better off if they all had left the train on their own. That didn't happen. Some people did evacuate on their own but most stayed on board till the firefighters got there.

They were in bad shape. It's just difficult to say if the overall situation would have been better or worse with hundreds of people wandering around on their own in a smoke-filled tunnel.

The thing that seems clearest: All the passengers would have been better off if the smoke problem had not occurred in the first place. Second choice: Get them out of the tunnel faster. 

Hi Doc, I read the I-66 hot lanes article and I don't understand something. If I-66 inside the beltway is HOV-2 plus hot lanes, won't that make it more crowded during rush hour than it already is (HOV only)?

It would go to HOV3 inside the Beltway. That was scheduled to happen anyway by 2020. The latest Virginia plan pushes that up to 2017, to coincide with the start of the HOT lanes operation. 

So the lanes wouldn't necessarily be more crowded during rush hour.

And keep in mind that the toll would rise with the level of traffic, to the point where it could discourage more solo drivers from using the lanes.

There's a federal requirement that any time you convert HOV lanes to HOT lanes, you do not "degrade the facility" for the HOV drivers.

I just tried downloading my E-ZPass statement from Virginia as a Microsoft Excel file. I noted the column names showing where I entered and exited the roads all just said "Interstate," but I also noted the columns are very narrow. For the person having the problem, try using your mouse to drag the columns to make the widths wider and see if you get more info that way. For example, before I widened the columns, mine listed one transaction where both the "Entry Plaza" and "Exit Plaza" said simply "Interstate," but when I made the columns wider I saw the "Entry Plaza" was "Interstate 395-95-495" and the "Exit Plaza" was "Interstate 66." That makes a lot more sense!

I think the previous poster was noting the inability to conduct enforcement between the Beltway and the area north of Edsall Road. Assuming that's what they mean, they have a good point as there is very little room to conduct enforcement in that stretch (a stretch that never costs less than $1.00), and I would add that there are very few locations on the Express Lanes north of Woodbridge where effective HOV enforcement can be conducted. The third lane that took away the second should and narrowed the remaining shoulder makes it next to impossible to conduct any enforcement aside from a couple of spots and on exit ramps. When cheaters figure this out, it's going to really increase tolls.

State police seem to be quite active in that zone, at least at rush hour. They've been nailing some of the people who pull off to the side to wait for the HOV3 rules to expire north of where the express lanes end.

Dr. Gridlock, do you and the chatters care to give the local jurisdiction a grade on their snow preparations and response?

I think the road crews generally have done a very good job this winter.

Much depends on when the storms arrive and whether the local governments and schools have taken appropriate action to keep the roads clear for the road crews.

What the highway departments need to do is be less "can do" and more realistic in their pre-storm statements. They need to remind us that there's only so much they can do to fight Mother Nature and that if a storm is scheduled to arrive at rush hour, our best choice is to stay off the roads.

Thanks for joining me today. Please don't let down your guard during the Monday afternoon commute, just because we're not getting the Northeast blizzard.

A  bit more snow and falling temperatures are likely to make driving tricky in our area. So stay safe, and come back and join me next Monday for another chat.

In This Chat
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 Get There blog, as well as in the Metro section of The Washington Post.
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