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

Should Ray Rice Get A Second Chance? 'Maybe,' Parcells Says

In part two of David Greene's conversation with Bill Parcells, the legendary football coach discusses how he dealt with players' drug use, and redemption for the former Baltimore Raven running back.
NPR

Food Industry Drags Its Heels On Recyclable And Compostable Packaging

A new report from two environmental groups reviewed the recyclability and compostability of packaging from 47 food companies. It found few examples of companies that have prioritized waste reduction.
NPR

Former Democratic Sen. Jim Webb Explores Presidential Bid

In considering whether to launch a presidential campaign, former Senator Jim Webb of Virginia tells Steve Inskeep his big challenge would be raising money to promote his ideas.
NPR

Media Outlets Partner With Snapchat To Appeal To Younger Users

As people disappear from the audiences of conventional news organizations, 11 media outlets have partnered with Snapchat in the U.S. to offer its younger users easily digested fare within the app.

Leave a Comment

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