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Gridlock-Fighting Shopping Tips

Some anti-gridlock shopping tips for local travelers, collected from readers and other sources:

-- Keep the total number of shopping trips to a minimum. Once you've written out what you want to buy for each person, do a list by shopping zone, so you can make the most of one trip and avoid having to revisit a crowded area.
-- Check your gas gauge. It's easy to forget when you're running on holiday Adrenalin.
-- After dinner time on the weeknights is a good time to shop. "I do it every year and I've never dealt with crowds, even the week right before Christmas," said one reader.
-- Another said: "At Springfield Mall, and at several other malls, every other garage level lines up with a mall entrance. Those levels from which you have to walk up or down steps to get to the entrance are usually empty."
-- And: "With the exception of Ballston, try the top level, if it's cold and during the day, the sunlight will help keep the interior a little warmer."
-- Keep your headlights on, even when shopping during the day. It helps to be visible, when other drivers are distracted by their shopping lists.
-- Don't park in the handicapped spaces, no matter who desperate you are or how short the errand.
-- Watch for pedestrians. They're distracted. You're distracted.
-- Don't rule out shopping by Metrorail. There's no weekend track work in December, which cuts down on the single-tracking that slowed schedules this year.

What should we add to this list?

We can talk about that, or any other transportation topic, in the Live Online discussion at 1 p.m. today. You can submit questions and comments now. Then join me here at 1 p.m.

By Robert Thomson  |  December 4, 2006; 8:00 AM ET
Categories:  holiday travel  
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