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Posted at 8:46 PM ET, 02/ 1/2011

The traffic planners let us down

By Azik Schwechter, Silver Spring

Regarding the Jan. 28 front-page article “In post-snow blame game, no one wins”:

The article, though well written, did not address with enough emphasis the failure of the emergency management teams of the District, Virginia and Maryland. I drove through all three areas last Wednesday, making a 7 1/2-hour round trip, and I believe the major problem was not the snow, road conditions, abandoned cars, stopped buses or accidents but the inability of the police, or whoever is responsible for traffic coordination, to move major traffic out of Washington.

The comparison to the traffic conditions on Sept. 11, 2001, has been appropriate, and it highlights the real issue. Almost 10 years later, we are still not prepared to handle a major emergency. The coordination was nonexistent. From the traffic to the information being relayed to the news stations, this was a total failure.

The article mentioned the problems on 16th Street NW. I sat through the traffic, and it struck me as odd that the southbound lanes were not shut to southbound traffic and opened to northbound traffic.

All of this scares me. The snow was an inconvenience, and the only problem commuters faced was getting home late. What happens when the emergency is more than that, and we really have to get out of the city? What are we going to do then? Who are the people who can answer these questions?

By Azik Schwechter, Silver Spring  | February 1, 2011; 8:46 PM ET
Categories:  D.C., HotTopic, Maryland, Virginia  
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Comments

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Posted by: stallmorce | February 2, 2011 2:14 AM | Report abuse

I hate to break it to you, but living in this area means that if another disaster hits, like a dirty bomb or something, we're all dead. DC, NYC, etc...we're all first strike targets.

The roads are woefully neglected and there are just too many people to make any kind of speedy retreat. I knew that when i lived in NJ near NY, and when I moved here I actually mentioned this to my wife who agreed with me.

That's the tradeoff for living in a high income area with lots of jobs.

Posted by: Please_Fix_VAs_Roads | February 2, 2011 8:20 AM | Report abuse

Agree with Roads. If there was a major disaster which affected DC only, plans hope for as much time as possible or that most people will shelter in place. Think of it as Katrina squared without any handy domed stadiums.

Posted by: Nemo24601 | February 2, 2011 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Thank you, Roads.

I grew up in Los Angeles, where multiple road choices helped alleviate traffic issues (IMHO). Alas, when there's only one choice for travel, everyone is on that road.

Posted by: cfow1 | February 2, 2011 1:50 PM | Report abuse

The DMV probably has the highest per capita of sworn police offices and hire security personnel than anywhere else in America. But when a crisis (like a snow strom occur)they are not even available to direct traffic out of the city. Didn't Cathy Lanier state they were driving snow plows or something? In emergencies, its reasonable to expect police officers to be doing police related work.

Posted by: PracticalIndependent | February 2, 2011 3:55 PM | Report abuse

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