Post-Earthquake Gridlock Raises Questions About Emergency Evacuations | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

WAMU 88.5 : News

Post-Earthquake Gridlock Raises Questions About Emergency Evacuations

Play associated audio
The scene at 17th and DeSales streets NW, near Dupont Circle, just after the 5.8 magnitude earthquake hit the D.C. region. The earthquake led DCPS to shut schools today to ensure the structural safety of school buildings.
Elliott Francis
The scene at 17th and DeSales streets NW, near Dupont Circle, just after the 5.8 magnitude earthquake hit the D.C. region. The earthquake led DCPS to shut schools today to ensure the structural safety of school buildings.

The earthquake triggered some of the worst traffic jams since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and the massive traffic problems have prompted questions about the way District officials handled the situation.

Many commuters sat in their cars for hours, trying to get home after the earthquake ended. Others crowded in train and metro stations, after some lines were temporarily shut down while crews inspected lines.

John Townsend of AAA Mid-Atlantic says the panicked reactions only made the mess worse.

"Although people had been assured that their buildings were safe and sound, most peopled decided to head for the exits at 3 o'clock," he says.

He faults D.C. officials for not anticipating the reaction and giving workers more direction -- more quickly.

"They didn't plan for a public panic and that's exactly what happened," he says. "There should have been greater communication."

Townsend says the District Department of Transportation and the Department of Homeland Security have set up 25 evacuation routes out of the city, but many people don't know where they are. Commuters should find the one nearest to their offices, so they'll be ready for the next emergency.

There are "E-route" signs placed around the city, but AAA is now working to make sure that people know the basic information. One important fact: during an emergency evacuation, Pennsylvania Avenue divides the city between North and South and no vehicles are allowed to cross any part of the road.

NPR

Snubs And Successes: 6 Lessons Learned From This Year's Emmy Nominations

HBO's Game of Thrones emerged as the most-nominated series with 19 nods for the Primetime Emmy Awards, but new series such as FX's Fargo and HBO's True Detective scored, too.
NPR

'Captain Pizza' Saves The Day, But Doesn't Save Himself A Slice

A pilot found himself hungry during a midflight delay. But instead of just buying a pizza for himself, he bought 50 pizzas for the entire Frontier Airlines plane.
NPR

In Texas, Obama Sets Stage To Answer 'Do-Nothing' Congress

President Obama knows he's unlikely to get support from Texas' predominantly Republican congressional delegation, but being rebuffed will make it easier for him to shift blame to the GOP.
NPR

A New Device Lets You Track Your Preschooler ... And Listen In

LG's KizON wristband lets you keep tabs on your child. But some experts say such devices send the wrong message about the world we live in. And the gadgets raise questions about kids' privacy rights.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.