Va. Should End Hy­brids’ HOV Use in ’08

The Washington Post Sunday - - Metro Week -

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

Hy­attsville

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

Kingstowne

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 dr­grid­lock@wash­post.com. In­clude your name, home com­mu­nity and phone num­ber.

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