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Is It Summer Yet?

It's after Memorial Day, which we always tell our readers is the start of summer vacation season, when our transportation concerns shift from commuting to long range travel.

So far, I'm not seeing it. Are you?

Here's what I am seeing: The roads I've traveled on during the past week, like the Capital Beltway, I-66, Routes 7 and 123, East-West Highway, Route 29, Wisconsin Avenue, Connecticut Avenue -- they all seem just as crowded as usual.

Metro, too: The midday trains on the Red, Green and Orange lines have plenty of standees. Metrorail reported three exceptionally crowded days this week.Thursday was the eighth highest ridership day in its history, with 793,392 trips taken. Wednesday became the seventh highest ridership day, with 796,087 trips, and Tuesday was the 11th highest, with 783,024 trips. (Metro thinks Nationals baseball had something to do with that. Not from where I was sitting at RFK on Wednesday night. Fans are enthusiastic, but sparse.)

Now, I get this letter from a Southern Maryland reader complaining about traffic.

Dear Dr. Gridlock:
I would love for someone to explain to me why traffic has been so terribly congested on my daily commute from Waldorf into the city since the beginning of June. What used to take me 50 minutes on a good day has recently been more like 80 - 90! Are other people complaining about this?

I usually travel MD-228 to Indian Head Hwy (MD-210), then 295, to 395 to Maine Ave. I rejected the Rt 5 option because of the unbearable length of the red lights. Any info/thoughts on this would be much appreciated!

Kaitlin Dow

Maybe we've got a combination of work-crazy Washington, summer tourists starting to arrive, long-distance vacationers adding to interstate highway traffic, young people still in school, Congress still in session and warm-weather paving projects underway.

Somebody's got to leave town.

By Robert Thomson  |  June 8, 2007; 5:06 AM ET
Categories:  Commuting  
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