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Cooped up shoppers come out in traffic

Dear Dr. Gridlock:
I missed your live online chat, but read through it. I have to stick up for Arlington County. On the whole, I thought they did an excellent job. I live in South Arlington, near Shirlington, and the snowplows were running all through the weekend. Our residential streets was plowed by early Sunday afternoon, and even though we didn't go out (by car), it was reassuring to know that we could get out for work this morning if we needed to. (We live in an admittedly high-occupancy area; not sure how quickly the plows made it to the residential streets of single-family homes.)

The observation from the field that I wanted to send has to do with how packed the roads were all day, particularly Route 7. It turns out that my office was closed today, and since the roads here seemed clear, I thought it would be fine to finish up some pre-holiday errands.

I guess a lot of people had the same idea, though, because it seemed that half of Arlington and Alexandria was out shopping! I ended up turning around with only one errand completed (out of a list of three) because it took so long to get anywhere. It took about a half hour to go less than a mile. Do you foresee Route 7 (or any of the non-interstate VA arteries) being this bad until Christmas?
Lisa Wilson
South Arlington

I have a feeling we're seeing that kind of pent up shopping frenzy at Fair Oaks tonight. This weekend was to have been huge for shopping. Instead, we were shut down. It's got to get done sometime, so people made a break for the malls on Monday, especially since so many people had the day off. Did others who were out in traffic see evidence of this all out final shopping push?

Our writer defends Arlington because comments about the county seemed to come up so often during Monday's online discussion. Every jurisdiction had a tough battle with this immense storm. It was impossible to pick a moment in time and say, "We judge the snow plows' response now." Conditions kept evolving and the work continued, and continues tonight.

By Robert Thomson  |  December 21, 2009; 7:41 PM ET
Categories:  Weather  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, snow  
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