News & Politics

A Solution to Traffic Woes?

Steve Eldridge, who has reported on Washington traffic for 19 years, offers the five best ideas to solve traffic problems.

We turned to Eldridge, who now writes the "Sprawl and Crawl" commuting/traffic column in the Washington Examiner, for some ideas on how to address the problem of congestion on Washington's roads. He had five suggestions—and the good news is all of his concepts are under consideration or in the works:

Telecommuting. Allowing employees to work from home or one of the region’s many telecenters a couple of days a week can have an immediate impact. Technology is available to make the transition fast and secure.

More Metro. Expanding most trains to eight cars will reduce the shoulder-to-shoulder irritation riders feel and deduct a reason for not taking the trains. Adding more buses to major lines will reduce wait times—one reason people resist taking the bus.

HOT lanes. Private companies think they can make money from tolls to be charged for using high-occupancy lanes on the Beltway and I-270. Let them build them and then charge people who want to use them; the rest of us will find fewer cars and trucks in our lanes.

Even more transit. Building the Purple Line to connect Bethesda, Silver Spring, and New Carrollton will take cars off the Beltway in one of the most congested corridors. Other ideas: building the Corridor Cities Transitway to alleviate congestion caused by overdevelopment along I-270, getting a rail line to Dulles Airport, and extending Metro’s Orange Line west of Vienna.

Redesigned interchanges. They work for the outer-loop Beltway exit to the Dulles Toll Road and along Route 29 between Howard County and Silver Spring’s White Oak section; now it’s time to retool others to reduce confusion and congestion. Getting queues off the main roads and onto ramps works and can cost a fraction of widening the big roads. Think in terms of the Beltway, Route 28 in Virginia, the north end of I-270, and other places relief is needed now.

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