Va. Should End Hybrids’ HOV Use in ’08
D ear Dr. Gridlock:
Have you heard anything about extending the provision that permits hybrids to use HOV lanes? Robert Pease
Springfield Dear Dr. Gridlock:
Exempting hybrids from HOV restrictions does not lower pollution and only makes matters worse.
I’ll use Interstate 395 as an example, since that is what I have used for over 12 years. Allowing one vehicle with three occupants to be replaced by three single-occupant hybrids causes three times the congestion. The three hybrids combined produce more pollution than the single vehicle. Dear Dr. Gridlock:
I have submitted a total of three complaints to Metro because of poorly driven buses in the past 18 to 24 months. Two were for a bus crossing outbound traffic against the light. The third involved a bus crossing the double-yellow lines and speeding to pass vehicles driving at the speed limit in a residential D.C. neighborhood. I have not heard any feedback on any of these complaints.
The majority of the Metrobus drivers are good, and it is the others who make life difficult for them. Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) signed House Bill 2132, sponsored by Del. Timothy D. Hugo (R-Fairfax), to extend the hybrid exemption one year until July 1, 2008, for motorists with the proper clean-fuel tags. Then Virginia should drop it and let the carpool lanes serve their original customers. What once seemed like a good way to encourage the purchase of cleaner-emission cars by allowing drivers an exemption on interstates 95, 395 and 66 and the Dulles Toll Road has turned out to be a mixed blessing.
Richard Berry Fairfax Station Andrew Wolf
Many readers, including a resident in the 800 block of K Street NE who told Metro more than a month ago that the bus stop sign out front needed replacement, wonder how to complain or suggest and what happens next.
Metro spokesman Steven Taubenkibel said the two main ways to register a complaint, compliment or request are the customer assistance phone number, 202-637-1328, or the comment form on Metro’s Web site, www.wmata.com.
If you use the phone line, you follow an automated menu that offers the choice of speaking or using the phone’s keypad to find the option you’re looking for. Using those methods, you could narrow your target to the Red Line, Metrobus or MetroAccess, for example. You can speak to a customer service agent about it.
If you want to fill out the online form, look on Metro’s home page for “Contact Us” or “Have a Suggestion?” You’ll wind up on the “Contact Metro” page. Look for the “customer comment form.” Make sure to include your e-mail address and expect to receive an acknowledgment with a case number. Metro should then look into the problem and follow up with you. If you want an update, contact customer assistance again and the staff will check into it, Taubenkibel said.
If your complaint involves a Metro employee, it might take a couple of weeks to investigate. Because of policies on employee confidentiality, Metro usually does not provide specifics but can tell you if disciplinary action was taken.
Right on Red
Dear Dr. Gridlock:
Is it legal to turn right on a red light from the left-hand lane when both lanes are marked as right-turn lanes? The specific intersection we are discussing is at 34th and M streets NW in Georgetown, turning right onto M from 34th.
I typically turn right from the left lane because I want to then turn left onto the Key Bridge. If I wait for the light on 34th to turn green to make my right turn, I get angry honks from the line of traffic behind me wanting me to go on red. Cheryl Poliquin
This question about a popular route from the District to Virginia had me stumped, and I’m grateful to Andy Solberg, commander of the 2nd Police District, and other D.C. police officials for their advice.
In recommending our letter writer not to make the right on red from anywhere but the right-most lane, they cited a municipal regulation requiring that right turns be made as close to the right-hand curb as possible. That makes sense: You run a greater risk of exposing your vehicle to oncoming traffic the farther out you have to swing in making the right on red. Dr. Gridlock appears Thursday in the Extras and Sunday in the Metro section. You can e-mail questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Include your name, home community and phone number.