When I first started working some 32 years ago, I took the bus from my apartment on Beacon Hill south of Alexandria, VA to downtown DC. Sometime after the Blue Line on Metro opened up, I took Metro to my downtown DC job. And after my husband took a job where I work, we would both use Metro to commute downtown together. When our children became of school age, we began to drive to work because we needed the freedom to get home more quickly during the day in case of emergencies (and we had some doozies during those years). Driving to and from work everyday on I-395 is something of a challenge. As the years have passed, the traffic has become alarmingly worse. Our commute from Springfield to downtown DC (10 miles or so maybe) had become somewhere from 50 to 60 minutes, with the occaisional two hour crawl if there was a bad accident along the way. There is a center two lane roadway (with shoulders on both sides) on I-395 that house the HOV (high occupancy vehicles) lanes. In this case, it is HOV 3, meaning three or more people have to be in a car for it to use these lanes. The HOV lanes speed limit is 10 miles above that of the non HOV lanes. On most days, the cars in the HOV 3 lanes whiz by while the cars in the regular lanes creep along. I have been of mixed feelings about the HOV concept. It does encourage folks to bunch up so there are fewer single occupant cars on the road, thus saving energy and lowering the pollution factor. But, the lanes seem way too empty at times like they are just wasting all that space that the rest of us could be using. Very tantalizing. Our son has just taken an internshiop downtown and is now riding with us to DC – three of us in the car – hello HOV 3.

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