Dear PoPville – Line Cutter Busted on Beach Drive, Props to that Cop!

“Dear PoPville,

We all probably know the typical line cutters that think they’re smarter than the rest of us that wait patiently in line to take Beach Drive in Rock Creek Park, specially during rush hours. Every other day there is one cop (Park Police, I assume) that sits right at the split and sends every line cutter back to the Rock Creek Park Parkway. Today was one of those days, and I was able to capture the moment. I always thank the cop as I drive by and he gives me a thumbs up.”

141 Comment

  • houseintherear

    I needed this so badly today. 🙂

    • brookland_rez

      I’m probably the only one on here that doesn’t see the issue with this. First off, people need to just chill. Does it really matter that someone gets ahead of you? There’s bigger problems in this world to worry about.
      Second, what about all the idiots that sit in the “line” texting, distracted that don’t pull forward when things start moving again? That makes the line unnecessarily long and inconveniences everyone in line. I don’t go that way that often at rush hour, but when I have I’ve done it on my motorcycle. I do it where the line is dotted still. I never have a problem finding a distracted driver that doesn’t pull forward and leaves a huge 2-3 car length gap in front of them. I pull in there and I don’t feel bad about it.

      • Hey, entitled dude, get outta here.

        What are your thoughts on this one: Dude is trying to push ahead of massive crowd on metro platform, which 95% of space is taken by people on the left side, leaving a small strip of platform (where the red lights are) to allow people walking the other way to walk. One guy thinks he’s sly, and just walks on that platform all but shoving people into the platform edge.

        You’re right tho, those people should get off their phones….

      • ah

        I hope you get sent to the penalty box.

        It is drivers like this that makes Washington the cesspool that it is – 95% of people, or more, can manage to respect that there’s a line. Traffic sucks, we all want to get there faster, and all wish everyone else would take public transit, leaving the roads free for me.

        But what makes you so special that you don’t need to wait in the same line? Most of the time, the line cutters don’t wait for a space to open – they force their way in, further slowing the line and traffic, not speeding it up.

        • But like he said, he’s saving room at the back of the line by cutting through in the front, doesn’t it make perfect sense!?

        • brookland_rez

          I don’t have to force my way in because my motorcycle is a lot smaller so there’s always plenty of room when I do it.

    • brookland_rez

      Also, the Park Police are probably the only ones who would care about this. The same Park Police that chases kids on skateboards in Freedom Plaza. MPD would never care about something as trivial as this. I bet most of the people commenting on this take issue with kids skateboarding too. Is DC really getting that gentrified? Things like this make me want the old DC back.

  • Line cutting is among the scummiest behaviors on the planet. Good work PP.

  • epric002

    😀 makes me happy. just out of curiosity, could you see which state’s plates those were?

  • ah

    We needs cops like this at a 100 other places in DC as well . . . at least there’s one place.

    Glad the penalty is simply go the other way – no ticket, just a time waster for the person.

  • I really like this

  • Wow, wish they’d been doing this a few years ago when I used to commute from Mt. Pleasant to Herndon. Hated those jerks who’d skip the line and force their way in at the last minute.

  • While there’s no doubt that plenty try and do cut lines, there are also plenty of honest reasons why someone wouldn’t realize they needed to be in that lane to continue on Beach drive until that late and then seek to merge. And as far as I know “line cutting” isn’t illegal especially if someone in line yielded, so IMO the officer may have been out of line here.

    • Nope. As yawper says: “[T]hey drove into a lane clearly marked left turn only and then crossed a solid white line.”

      • brookland_rez

        I don’t go that way at rush hour too often, but when I do it on my motorcycle at the dotted part where it’s perfectly legal. Of course it’s a lot easier on a bike. I just look for the driver that’s texting and not paying attention and slip right in before they know it. You snooze, you lose!

        • Intentionally cutting off a driver that is not paying attention? In a motorcycle? To save a few minutes in a commute?

          • brookland_rez

            Not really cutting them off. I do it where there’s plenty of room. People routinely leave 2-3 car lengths in front of them when they don’t pay attention and pull forward. This causes the whole line to become longer than necessary, inconveniencing everyone. I just take advantage of the situation. By my pulling into that space, that’s less space that I take up at the back which makes the line shorter for everyone.

          • Nailed it.

            “oooh, I’m clever cutting off this person texting and I’m on a motorcycle, should be legit!”

            Darwin shall catch up with you soon enough, sir.

          • Two wrongs don’t make a right. Drivers who are texting should be busted too.

          • brookland_rez

            textdoc, driving a 4000lb cage of steel and texting/not paying attention is a lot more dangerous than me “cutting the line”. The way I do it it’s perfectly safe.
            I’m not going to debate motorcycle safety or riding techniques with a bunch of people that don’t know anything about the subject. But I will say that laws designed for cars treat motorcycles like obstacles to hit. If I have to choose between breaking a law and getting hit, I’ll break the law every time.

        • brookland_rez

          Keep hating. Been riding many many years and well over 100,000 miles at this point. If you’re not paying attention, I’m going to seize the situation to my advantage. You snooze, you lose. That’s how I ride.

          • brookland_rez

            And I’ll add, all that time is without ever having an accident with another driver. How many car drivers on here can say that?

    • I know…that’s what I was going to say. Yesterday about 12 cars did it and made the worst clusterF and I bet most of them did it on purpose! However, I remember the first time I commuted home this way and I wasn’t sure where exactly the line started. Granted I got over early enough, but I remember thinking good thing I got over when I did!

    • Accountering

      BS. If you are driving on Beach during rush hour, you are almost assuredly a commuter who has done this many times before.

      • I wouldn’t be so sure. You’d be amazed how many drivers have no idea how to work the rush hour traffic rules on RCP (like where you’re supposed to ignore red lights by the Watergate/boat house, for instance). It’s a very non-intuitive system they have set up and several of the lights, signs, and lane markers are not set up for one-directional traffic.

        • Accountering

          Again, BS. If there is a line of cars waiting patiently in the right lane, and you need to turn right, driving to the front and merging is clearly the wrong move.

          • It’s actually precisely the correct move to maximize traffic flow for the greatest number of cars.

        • There are a lot of weird non-intuitive things on RCP during rush hour, but this right turn lane is not one of them. It’s quite clearly marked.

          • I usually take 395 home so I don’t commute on RCP much at all. Like I said the first time I did, it was a little confusing! If you’re don’t know the Beach exit is coming it’s not out of the question that you wouldn’t realize it until you were on it. Things are not always black and white, sheesh!

        • ah

          I’ll grant that maybe 1 in 100 made an honest mistake, but, sorry, unless the driver has plates that aren’t DC/MD/VA, I think they’re in the 99. And even if they have other plates, there’s a good chance they’re violating not only driving norms but also the laws on registering your vehicle.

          And I drive RCP every day and the number of people who don’t know the unwritten/unsigned rules (like the left turn on red at Virginia Ave) are extremely small – plus in that case, no one is getting an advantage by stopping – here there’s a clear reason to “cheat”.

          • Wrong. I grew up here and never use rock creek parkway. I would forget in two seconds the logistics here. Sometimes people make mistakes

  • Kind of BS if you ask me. Nowhere does it say that doing what that driver did was against the law, nor did it look like it was unsafe. I guess merging into a right hand lane in the park is now frowned upon? Before i get yelled at, fyi, i take that road every single day and those that cut in line dont bother me one bit.

    • Actually they drove into a lane clearly marked left turn only and then crossed a solid white line. So, you’re wrong.

      • This. If the driver was so oblivious as to miss the left only signs and lane markings, they probably shouldn’t be driving.

      • Is it illegal to cross a solid white line in DC? That’s something that varies from state to state. I know in many states a solid white line means lane changes are “discouraged.” I don’t know the exact wording of DC law though.

        There’s nothing illegal about still being in a lane that becomes marked with turn arrows, and then exiting that lane, so the white line thing would be the main question there.

        • No, it’s not illegal. DC uses the Federal Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices , which states in Section 3B.04:
          Where crossing the lane line markings is discouraged, the lane line markings shall consist of a normal or wide solid white line.
          Where crossing the lane line markings is prohibited, the lane line markings shall consist of a solid double white line.

          • Hmm, three negatives in a four-word sentence might be a bit much. How about this: It is legal but discouraged to cross a solid white line in DC.

      • Here’s the problem with the rush hour traffic rules: the lines on the roads (and many of the signs) apply to two-direction traffic and don’t always make sense, or are unclear, for one-directional traffic.

        The sign that says that the left lane must go left is there for normal, two-way traffic so it is unclear if it applies during rush hour, one-way traffic when that lane is blocked. A driver could easily interpret that sign to apply to non-rush hour traffic, or interpret it to mean the left lanes (the two that go up to Conn. Ave.) go left.

    • “i take that road every single day and those that cut in line dont bother me one bit.” Are you yourself a line-cutter? Just wondering.

      • nope. I just dont let something that really doesn’t affect me get to me. That person cutting in line will not affect the time it takes me to get home at all, unless of course they get into a horrible car accident that blocks all of traffic.

        • epric002

          you must have more patience than most people, me included. and you’re right that a SINGLE car cutting in front of you won’t affect the time it takes you to get where you’re going. but there is never just a single car cutting the line on beach drive during rush hour- there are waaaaay too many narcissistic glassbowls who think that they are too important to wait in line like everyone else and it does indeed add up to wasted time.

        • DC1

          Line cutters ARE the cause of heavy delays at that intersection, it’s a ripple effect. So yeah, it definitely affects the time it takes for you to get home.

          • Bumper to bumper driving is the cause of heavy delays at that intersection, actually. It leads to more stop and go, which slows everyone down. If everyone gave proper following distance traffic would move at a uniform pace. A nice bonus on this is that line-cutters who do swoop in wouldn’t require you brake, and you’d keep moving at your same pace. Of course that would require those in line to have patience, so maybe I’m asking too much.

          • Anonomnom

            I’m gonna call BS on the above statement. You can’t blame the “bumper to bumper” traffic, which is something done throughout the entire city during rush. I’ve been going on this road my whole life and can’t even say how many times I’ve seen lines of cars over 10 long waiting because one jerk was too impatient and wanted to swoop in. Holds up people in both lines. And why should the cars waiting there leave space for them to swoop in? It would flow much smoother (even for those exiting up to Woodley Park, because it definitely creates a long backup that can stretch) if people just didn’t act like entitled jerks at this space.

          • Call it bumper to bumper traffic or call it “line swoop denying” but either way, too-close following distances lead to stop and go traffic and prevent efficient traffic flow and merging.

            Calling everyone a jerk when the problem can be fixed by adhering to some basic traffic engineering principles doesn’t help anything, even if it makes you feel better about waiting in line for 45 minutes instead of 5-10 during your evening commute.

          • Bumper-to-bumper driving causes traffic slowdowns. “Line-swooping” also causes traffic slowdowns. Inattentive driving also causes slowdowns. Anything that causes unnecessary braking or stopping is contributing to the delays. To say it’s one and therefore isn’t the other makes no sense to me.

          • Krampus, I agree. But here’s the thing: there wouldn’t be “line-swooping” if the two available lanes were used efficiently. If the two lanes merged together and were marked clearly for this, there wouldn’t be swoopers or swoop-deniers. There would be an equitable zipper merge and no available lane for swooping.

          • BoB, I’m not a fan of using the poor behavior of others to justify your own; I’m also not a fan of making up your own rules because I think they’re better than the ones marked. I agree that the whole thing isn’t set up ideally, but people making unilateral decisions about how it should work is IMO one of the fundamental causes of poor traffic flow. Traffic is essentially a group activity, and if people aren’t on the same page then it goes less smoothly.

          • But here again you’re replacing a moral argument (those people are bad/cheaters/jerks) for something that is an ambiguous situation. The issue is that people aren’t on the same page because there aren’t clear instructions for what do do during rush hour. Many people here are viewing the non-rush hour markings as applicable to rush hour when that is not something that clearly applies to all markings on RCP. Do some apply, do others not apply? The issue is that the rules aren’t clear, not that some people are morally inferior. That’s just a way of ignoring and perpetuating the problem.

          • It’s not a moral argument in this case (though more generally it is), it is purely practical. Traffic works better when everyone follows the same rules and pays attention. If person A decides not to, and then person B decides not to because person A didn’t, then person C isn’t going to by the same reasoning, and so on, and then traffic slows down. I’m not saying you’re a bad person, I’m saying you’re part of the reason traffic slows down.

          • Whatever… Be grateful you have a home to go to.. #firstworldproblems

    • It isn’t illegal – they weren’t given a ticket – but it is dickish. Imagine if all lines worked this way. You’re in line at the bank, then someone just strolls up and gets in line in front of you. You’d be cool with this? You don’t see how this would slow the whole line down and cause backups for those already in line?

      The line-cutters are the CAUSE of the backup. Short-sighted and selfish, IMO.

      • The lines for the Metro escalator do this. Everyone cuts in line and causes huge crowds on the platform. I don’t know why it’s that way for metro and not at the bank or anywhere else.

    • Here’s why the line cutters should bother you: they are the entire reason that a backup occurs in this spot in the first place! If 100% of drivers who are planning to make the Beach Drive turn got into the right lane at the earliest opportunity (let’s say back around the Mass Ave bridge), then traffic would be able to smoothly exit without any of the annoying stop-and-go that we presently endure.

      Of course some small percentage of drivers on this road don’t know the traffic pattern and can’t be blamed for needing to cut in late. But most of the line cutters do it every single day. Props to the cop indeed.

      • no, the reason there is a backup is because of congestion and the fact that after the tunnel there is a stop sign, then another stop sign.

        • What are you talking about? Granted I use this route only for errands, not for commuting (I can take Metro, thank God), but if you’re going northbound on Beach Drive, I don’t remember any stop signs between this point and the intersection with Piney Branch.

        • YMMV, but the backup at RCP/Beach is definitely NOT caused by the stops at Piney Branch and Tilden. Once you finally make the turn onto Beach traffic speeds up to close to the speed limit. It’s the line-cutters’ fault, period. (But if any traffic engineers are reading, I would welcome a more informed opinion).

        • I don’t think those stop signs play into it, though they probably don’t help with the congestion at Piney Branch. If everyone had proper following distance there would be far less braking and traffic would flow better, but most people stick a few feet behind the car in front of them and are on and off the brake pedal for that entire stretch.

      • If 100% of drivers got into the right lane at the earliest opportunity, the backup would occur around the Mass Ave bridge, instead of where it is now.

        The most efficient way of dealing with a bottleneck like this is for the merge to happen at the latest opportunity. The “line cutters” are simply using the road to its full capacity, and shouldn’t be punished for doing so.

        • YES

        • +1

          It sounds like you may have also read “Traffic” by Tom Vanderbilt. In any event, yes, the most efficient throughput here is for drivers to use both lanes until at or near the split, and maintain speed while allowing alternate merging. Think of the two sides of a zipper coming together. Or the tunnel approaches in NYC. This doesn’t exactly work, however, because so many texting/distracted/unskilled DC drivers either (a) follow too close to allow alternate merging or (b) unnecessarily or sporadically hit their brakes as an overreaction to a simple split and right-hand curve. Many seem to damn near come to a complete stop, for no reason.

        • ah

          This may well be the most efficient approach, in which case signs should indicate “use both lanes until merge”. But that lane is signed for a left turn only and is not indicated for use.

          • The signs are posted for use two-way traffic. During rush hour these signs don’t make sense since the Conn Ave. bound traffic stays to the 2 far left lanes, not the second from right lane. The second from right lane should be coned for a gradual zipper merge with the right lane, but maybe folks prefer to just yell about it and call their fellow community members jerks instead?

          • Baron of Brightwood, if you want to ask the Park Service to change the signage and painted road information, be my guest.
            Until then, abide by the existing signage and painted road information.

          • The existing signage is contradictory and quite obviously unclear since we’re having this debate in the first place.

            What I see is one camp that is interested in solving the problem by making the spot more efficient and another camp that gets joy out of calling their fellow commuters “jerks.”

          • The signage is pretty clear. It’s also clear that some road users prefer to ignore the signage.
            Traffic engineering doesn’t really work on a DIY level. If you want to make the road work the way you think it should work, it would be better to convince NPS to change the signage.

          • textdoc, you don’t seem interested in actually trying to solve why some people see it one way and others see it another way. Maybe it’s just easier to only see one perspective, huh?

          • BoB, I understand why you think the existing signage makes for an inefficient process. What I don’t understand is why you think that entitles anyone to cut in line.

    • Same here. Doesn’t bother me at all unless it slows someone down. In fact I believe that “Lane merge preventers” are just as bad as line cutters who slow down traffic.

    • Found the MD driver!

  • I really wish they would do this on Constitution Ave NW going up to Capitol Hill…Everyday people cause a ton of traffic because they get into the left turn lane then bully their way into the the middle lane to continue up the hill… smh

  • Devil’s advoicate here, if you are not familiar with DC it is pretty much impossible to know what’s going on with RCP. Oh you’re following a mapand don’t know what to do when you come up to a line of cars a mile long in one lane and find yourself caught out until the split? Eff you go up into Woodley Park and figure out another way.

  • Wait, people have mounted cameras in their cars to record such things now? Seriously, Is this a thing you can buy, expressly for your car these days? What (other) uses do you have for it? I am so behind the times.

    • It’s called a dash cam.

    • Insurance companies require them in Russia because of the vagrant scamming that goes on to milk money from false claims (IE intentionally running in front of a car, falling down, and pretending to be hurt to try and file a medical claim). Youtube Russian drivers and you’ll also see other reasons why insurance companies require them.

      They are slowly catching on in the US for similar reasons. Mainly to cover yourself for accidents. Cameras are cheap, turn on automatically when your car starts and usually just record loop the last few minutes of your driving. Lots of cyclist use them as well.

  • AMAZING! I had heard rumors of this- happy to finally see it 🙂

  • this is amazing. I never see a cop out there and commute this way every day. Line cutters are the worst! It is totally their fault traffic backs up.

  • Busted! Reminds me of the Busted Pennsylvania Cab driver:

  • cool. now let’s have the cops move on to the gridlockers during downtown rush hour. the a*holes blocking an entire intersection just to be stuck behind everyone on the next block are the worst. I know we have more important problems, but ticketing these people is free money for the city.

    • brookland_rez

      I love it when that happens. I always manage to get through them on my motorcycle. But all the cars get stuck behind and I have a nice empty road all to myself.

  • It’s called a zipper merge, and it’s a shame more sheeple don’t use it:

    And for those of you who say it doesn’t work: it doesn’t work because of the silly early-mergers who get on their high horse and don’t let late-mergers in.

      • brookland_rez

        Sshh! Don’t spoil the haters argument with common sense and fact. They all want to wait in line so they can be on their cell phones.

    • Accountering

      I see what you did there. You found an article from the MN Dot, and are using it as justification for being a jerk, as well as calling everyone else who doesn’t feel the need to cut in line a sheeple.
      Congratulations, those 2 minutes you save everyday make you quite important!

    • Yeah, I was going to post this, but the zipper merge only works when you lose a travel lane in one direction. So two lanes down to one. In this case, you’re talking about an exit, so a zipper merge here simply slows both the cars waiting to turn and the cars going straight and not turning. I’m all for merging at the merge point. However it doesn’t apply to an exit in this case.

      • It does apply because there ARE two lanes to work with. Line-waiters just don’t want to admit that the second lane could be used for this and could help alleviate the long single-lane line.

    • It has always been odd that there are two lanes there going north during rush hour, yet only one is used. A zipper using both lanes would allow for a shorter overall line, a more organized merge, and would conveniently leave no lane for people to wizz by in and cut at the very end. Why have that second lane there otherwise? Conn traffic stays in the far left lanes, so why not use both right lanes for Beach drive?

    • 100%! Was going to mention this technique/idea. Utilizing available lane space and zipper-merging has shown to make traffic flow more freely. Of course, I’m not saying that this queue-jumper or others aren’t being selfish and impatient. And if it’s clearly marked that the free lane here is for turns only or whatever as others have mentioned (I don’t drive in DC, not sure of the markings), you can’t just flout traffic laws and markings because it works out to be more efficient. So perhaps the problem is that the lanes shouldn’t be split/segmented until closer to the turnoff, thus enabling more zippage than presently can occur?

      • Just going to follow up on myself…: Former MN resident here. A few years back we had an especially bad, bottleneck-y season of road construction. There was an active campaign to get people to zipper. Especially if you’re driving in a place where there’s a culture of rule-following, it seems entirely natural to merge as soon as you see signs indicating that you’ll need to do so. Logically, that’s being a prepared, observant, responsible driver — when in fact, that logical behavior is anti-logical to maintaining traffic flow. So part 1 of the MN zipper campaign was to tell people that they should wait as long as possible to merge. The part 2 was to drive home to the early-mergers that they needed to let the late-zippers in, rather than blocking them out. Again, not saying that this is necessarily applicable here given the existing lane markings… but change the markings and launch some kind of awareness campaign might be to make DC traffic just a nudge less horrible.

        • brookland_rez

          The DC region and most people commenting here are way too bitter and passive aggressive for that. They would rather take their anger out in their cars and on PopVille. And that is why driving in the DC region sucks. Too many uptight drivers.

      • Gotta love Minnesota Nice. A public awareness campaign using hard science to change residents’ well-intentioned habits in the interest of efficiency, all in keeping with their “culture of rule following.” WOW.

        Sadly, all of those concepts are non-starters when it comes to Washington area traffic psychology. The forces of angry entitlement, the “honor culture,” and staggering municipal incompetence will continue to prevail here in the City of Yankee Charm and Southern Efficiency.

    • I’ve read about this before and it intrigues me, but we would need a lot of driver education and improved road design to properly implement this sort of traffic pattern. I don’t think individual drivers adopting the zipper merge on an ad hoc basis is helpful, since most people perceive it to be a violation of traffic norms and it makes everyone angry, as evidenced by these comments (mine included).

      • Here we go, a rational response! You’re right, we need better road design so we can properly implement an improved traffic pattern. You’re also right that the current poor signage leads to some drivers taking advantage of a poor system, which leads to resentment and emotional attacks from those who wait in line in an inefficient system. So let’s fix the traffic pattern!

    • No shame in my game when I do this. People don’t understand this basic concept when driving and actually reduces traffic when done properly. Too many ego’s involved around here which causes alot of traffic back up.

    • Somebody brought up the zipper-merge concept last time this issue came up. However, the road currently isn’t marked for zipper merging. In addition, as Graham mentioned, this isn’t a case of two lanes narrowing into one, but of people wanting to stay in the left-turn-only lane until the last minute and then cut ahead of all the people already in the right-turn lane.

      • It’s not a left turn lane. The two lanes on the far left are for that. The two right lanes should merge together. This should be marked more clearly for rush hour traffic.

        • What the lanes “should” do (in your opinion) does not align with what the existing markings are.

          • “what the existing markings are” is the whole problem that you’re refusing to recognize.

          • The lane you’re talking about is painted with a “left turn only” sign. Perhaps that should be painted out and replaced with signage indicating “left turn only except for rush hour, when this lane merges into the one next to it.” But currently it doesn’t have that signage.
            I agree with Krampus’s earlier post: “BoB, I’m not a fan of using the poor behavior of others to justify your own; I’m also not a fan of making up your own rules because I think they’re better than the ones marked. I agree that the whole thing isn’t set up ideally, but people making unilateral decisions about how it should work is IMO one of the fundamental causes of poor traffic flow. Traffic is essentially a group activity, and if people aren’t on the same page then it goes less smoothly.”

  • They need to do this for drivers at the intersections in DC that block the box.

    One noteworthy example is 14th and I st. Drivers constantly gun in to make the light and then block the box causing the cross traffic to merge in with it. It kinda looks like a game of jenga with cars. These people are the worst and make it dangerous for the pedestrians crossing the street to get to the McPherson Metro.

    • they are starting to use more cameras that are kinda like red-light cameras . speed cameras that catch people who are blocking the box

  • On an adjacent topic: what was going on with traffic on RCP yesterday after 6? I’ve never seen it that bad. Was it just the rain? I didn’t hear it on any of the traffic reports I listened to while I was stuck. And, FWIW, I try to stay in the left lane (or second lane from the right) until after the Mass Ave exit, because that gets backed up and then move into the right lane to continue on to Beach. But yesterday the line for Beach seemed to be before the Mass Ave exit. Not to be a line cutter, I sucked it up and took the Cathedral exit. Traffic seemed to be a total cluster yesterday evening, but RCP was particularly bad.

  • Park Police are treating the symptom with the most superficial remedy. The long line is a symptom of poorly designed rush hour lanes that force all Beach Drive traffic into the right lane, while leaving a second lane wide open. Use both lanes and zipper merge and a lot of this would be avoided. Better flow, shorter lines, no free lane for cutters.

    Instead Park Police slow everything down even more by pulling cutters out, causing a gappers delay, without solving the inherent problem.

    Also, can we get some pothole repair, I mean cmon now.

  • Excellent. Another trouble spot is the South Capitol St. (Northbound) ramp to I-395 (towards Virginia to the left or under the Mall to the right). There is always a backup going to Virginia and never a block on the northbound lane – – EXCEPT when Virginia bound people want to cut the line. And up on that ramp there is no go-around for the people who are in the correct lane. Drives me crazy.

  • made my day to see this. it’s one of those things that’s small but wears down your spirit when you have to see it day after day- people being jerks just because they *can* get away with inconveniencing and pushing aside other people. it feels so good to see even one person be prevented from “getting away with it”

  • DC1

    Happy to report that today they were actually issuing tickets to the line cutters.

  • Honestly I think there is a super-simple solution to this problem. Just get rid of that barrier with the big arrow that forces Beach-drive bound traffic into the far right lane. Then the two right lanes would feed onto beach drive, and the two left lanes would feed up the hill. For Beach drive-bound traffic the merge to one lane would happen after the split. That would naturally result in a “zipper merge” instead of the long single line with cutters:


  • I love that MPD is investing man power in such an annoying traffic issue, but wouldn’t a better solution be a lane divider? There was a major problem with line cutting on M street from drivers who had moved to the right turn only lane to Key Bridge, and I noticed they installed lane dividers that makes lane cutting (from the right turn lane) impossible.

  • Skipping the line causes everyone to move slower than if people got in line and rolled on….. I’ve driven in almost every big city in the country and the DMV area is by far the worst…. Just a tap of the brakes with 25 cars behind you will slow the 25th car down considerably because everybody else has to slow down a little bit more than the car in front….. But “my time” is more important than yours….? Ignorant and selfish imo…

  • Just another perspective: maybe the driver isn’t familiar with the road (like me) and didn’t see the painted arrow, or didn’t realize how the road would split until s/he got closer. The tide here seems to be in favor of absolute “fairness”, but I think that cop is being a petty fascist. And as someone else said, I’m sure there are PLENTY of more important things he could and should be doing.

  • There are 4 lanes going northbound durning rush hour. If you’re in the lanes that normally go southbound when it’s not rush hour you always bypass the majority of the backup and there’s ample time to merge in the space before the solid white lines start.

    When does it become “cutting” in line? I normally travel in the southbound lanes and merge before it become a solid white left turn only lane am I too a “cutter”? I end up bypassing the majority of the backup and the people who wait in one lane instead of utilizing the FOUR available northbound lanes.

    • brookland_rez

      Exactly. I don’t see what the fuss is. It’s driving, not standing in the line at the supermarket. When you drive, some people drive faster than others. That’s why there’s passing lanes. Do these same people get mad when someone passes them on the highway? Are they cutting in line too?

  • This is AWESOME! I love the guy! It drives me nuts that these people feel their time is so much more valuable than the rest of us who are waiting in line.

  • I drive this route every day, and while I’m almost always waiting politely in line, it’s not always possible NOT to be a line cutter to some degree. Allow me to illustrate. Yesterday, I was driving in the second lane from the right and there was a massive cluster with the traffic merging from P St. If you drive this during rush hour, you know that P St. is way farther south than the usual backup, which typically occurs north of the Massachusetts ramp (at least when I’m there around 5:30). I came around the curve before P at 40+ mph, and suddenly traffic on the right was at a standstill. It was unclear if there was an accident or a backup from Mass or something else, but regardless, I couldn’t merge. At that point, I had two choices: block traffic immediately in the hopes of merging where I was, or continue in the second lane in the hopes of finding a kind soul to let me merge. No ill intent or disregard for etiquette, just bad luck on that day. Should I have been ticketed? Your call, but I say no.

    Beyond yesterday’s mess, I think posting police at that intersection is an awful idea for several reasons.

    1. You can’t determine good faith from bad. Sure, most people cutting probably drive that way every day, but many navigation apps will direct you northbound on that route. Should out of state drivers be punished for not knowing the traffic patterns on an already confusing roadway?

    2. Pulling people over slows traffic. Slow traffic encourages people to skip the line. Skipping the line encourages tickets. Pulling people over slows traffic…

    3. At the moment, there’s a MASSIVE pothole right at the Rock Creek Parkway/Beach Drive merger, which has been causing heavier than usual delays as everyone has to slow down greatly/accelerate slowly to navigate it. Potholes slow traffic. Slow traffic encourages skipping. See above.

    4. Discourtesy aside, it’s not clear how this is actually a moving violation. If you take it all the way to the end, you’re actually merging from a closed lane anyway. And proper driving on standard 2-1 merge situations is for each driver to stay in the lane until the end then alternate. Granted, this one is a little different from highway construction, but it seems like enforcement of people’s frustration rather than enforcement of traffic law.

    Bring the hate.

  • As someone who needs to go left- these folks cause a traffic hazard by blocking the left lane, especially when we are back down to 2 lanes. They stop in the middle of the lane and put their blinker on. Great. Thanks. I wish they would do this more often- of make it so after a certain point, you physically can’t switch lanes.

  • Props to the cop! Now if only they’d start issuing tickets too. All of the posters talking about zipper merges sound like rationalizers. The “standard 2-1 merge situation” just doesn’t apply , and (as others have pointed out) the zipper merge is not the right solution. You have one lane of traffic that others are trying to enter late, often unsafely. The second lane continues straight. That’s why you end up with people blocking the second, straight lane. It’s not a zipper!

  • Not sure how I feel about this… What about those who genuinely don’t take the park all that regularly… I’m from here and forget that it’s turn only in the left lane.. I would totally roll along thinking “shit, left turn only gotta get over”… Sometimes line cutters are just nice people who ended up in the wrong line. Also, perhaps don’t film and drive?

  • Glad they were ticketing. I drive this route regularly and the people who cut in are definitely the source of the backup. They exhibit a total disregard for others, it’s shameful.

  • There’s just no way to justify cutting here.

    1. Its NEVER a right hand turn lane or a merge right lane so to invent a zipper merge concept is just self serving.

    2. There’s nothing wrong with taking advantage of available space if it’s there but that is closer to zipper merging and isn’t the root of the problem. The problem is people forcing their way in. The proper approach for those not wishing to wait in line is to proced as far as you can until obvious space is available; but if NOT then proceed to cathedral and use an alternative route. But no one defending line jumping seems willing to acknowledge that they are not entitled to merge (unlike a zipper merge where you have no choice).

    3. The volume of people that “honestly” find themselves unaware of the circumstances is so minute that it has no impact on the situation and should be put to rest. The problem is the group of folks who knowingly skip the line. And like I said they may very well be able to find an open spot. But I have zero sympathy for them if the gamble doesn’t pay off and they can’t find someone willing to let them in. Be accountable for your own choices and do the polite thing and bow out respectfully if you tried to save yourself time (at the expense of others) and it didn’t work out.

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