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[P]
Tourist's Guide To Driving Around Washington D.C.

By wiredog in Culture
Tue Nov 16, 2004 at 04:46:52 AM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)
Culture

So you've decided that want to travel to The Capital of Teh Free World to see the sights, and possibly engage in a Constitutionally Protected Protest. You've also decided that it would more convenient, or less expensive, to drive. There are a few things you should be aware of before you come to our fine metro region.


The DC road grid was laid out by a Frenchman, which explains why locals hate the French, and also explains much about US Foriegn Policy. Within DC proper, the roads are laid out in a grid, with other streets crossing the grid at weird angles, usually through a traffic circle. No one in DC knows how to drive in a traffic circle, and people from the surburbs are worse. Many streets are one way, and making a left turn can require travelling three or four blocks out of your way. Right turns are worse. Right turn on red is allowed, except at intersections that are posted otherwise.

Most intersections are posted otherwise.

Also, within DC we take security seriously! Primarily by shutting down major roads and intersections for no discernable reason.

If your road map of Montgomery County MD is more than a few weeks old, throw it out and buy a new one, it's obsolete. If in Loudon or Fairfax County in Va, and your map is one day old, it's already obsolete.

There is no such thing as a dangerous high speed chase in DC, it's just another chase, usually on the BW Parkway.

All directions start with "The Beltway", which has no beginning and no end, just one continuous loop that locals believe is somehow clarified by an "inner loop" and "outer loop" designation. The inner loop goes clockwise, the outer counterclockwise. This makes no sense to ANYONE outside the Metro Area.

The Metro Area stretches north to south from Southern Pennsylvania to Frederick Virginia, and east to west from the Chesapeake Bay to the Shenandoah River. Also to parts of West Virginia and maybe the Delmarva (DElaware, MAryland, VirginiA peninsula.)

Construction on I-270 is a way of life and a permanent source of scorn and cynical entertainment. It's ironic that it's called an "Interstate" as it runs only from Bethesda to Frederick (unless you consider Montgomery County another state, which some do). Opening in the 60's, it has been torn up and under reconstruction ever since. Also, it has a "Spur" section which is even more confusing.

This is true of the Beltway also. Especially the local intersection known as "the Mixing Bowl" where 4 interstates (95, 295, 395, and 495) come together. It has been under constructon for several years, and will be for several more. Also beware the Wilson Bridge. A new bridge is being built, at a cost of about $8,000,000,000, in the hopes that it can be finished before the old one collapses under the load. The old one, and the new one, are drawbridges. When the bridge is up, traffic stops.

Any mild disturbance in the flow of traffic backs up the Beltway for miles in either direction. Something catastrophic, such as a semi-truck jacknifing on the Legion Bridge, can shut down traffic for 10 miles in each direction, and on all the side roads, in 15 minutes. You may have to detour through Leesburg, Point of Rocks, and Frederick, to get where you are going. Or you can go via Norfolk and the Bay Bridge/Tunnel. Not to be confused with the Bay Bridge.

To avoid these disturbances people listen to WTOP, 1500 AM and 107.7 FM, for the traffic report which runs every 10 minutes. 24 hours/day. Even if they can't avoid the disturbance, they listen to find out what the disturbance is, and in the hope that the person who caused it died screaming in agony.

The minimum acceptable speed on the Beltway is 75. Anything less is a hazard to navigation.

The morning rush hour is from 5 to 11 AM. The evening rush hour is from 1 to 8 PM. The lunch rush is from 11 AM to 1 PM. Friday's rush hour starts Thursday morning, especially during the summer on Route 50 eastbound.

If there is a ball game at the Redskins stadium, there is no point in driving anywhere near PG County.
Tip: Never say PG County to anyone from Mitchellville, Upper Marlboro or Fort Washington, they'll blow a blood vessel in their neck and go into a seizure.

If you run the red light, be sure to smile for the $100 "picture" you will receive courtesy of DMV. However, if you don't go as soon as the light turns green, you will get cussed out in 382 languages, none of them English. If you actually stop at a yellow light, you will be rear-ended and shot at.

Rain causes an immediate 50 point drop of IQ in drivers. Snow causes an immediate 100 point drop in IQ and a rush to the local supermarket for toilet paper, bread and milk. IF it might snow, schools will be closed. If it is already snowing then the bus will pick up the children and they will immediately CLOSE the schools after 8 inches of snow has fallen. All parents must leave work upon arrival to pick up their children.

All unexplained sights are explained by the phrase, "Oh, we're near Takoma Park."

If someone actually has their turn signal on they are, by definition, a tourist.

All old ladies in Buicks have the right of way near or in Leisure World.

Many roads mysteriously change their names as you cross intersections. Don't ask why, no one knows or cares.

If asking directions in Arlington, Langley Park, Wheaton or Adams Morgan, you must know how to speak Spanish. In Annandale and Seven Corners a Cambodian, Korean or Vietnamese dialect will come in handy. If on Dupont Circle, Capitol Hill or U Street, a gay dialect helps. If you stop to ask directions in Southeast... well, just don't.

A taxi ride across town will cost you $12.50. A taxi ride two blocks will cost you 16.75 (it's a zone thing, you wouldn't understand).

Traveling south out of DC on Interstate 395/95 is the most dangerous, scariest thing you will ever do. There is nothing more frightening than seven lanes of traffic cruising along at 75 mph, BUMPER TO BUMPER. It's not speeding, it's NASCAR time, let's DRAFT!!!

The open lane for passing on all interstates is the far right lane because no self-respecting local would ever be caught driving in the "slow" lane. Unofficially, both shoulders are fair game also.

The far left lanes on all interstates are official "chat" lanes reserved for drivers who wish to talk on their cell phones.
Note: All mini-vans have priority clearance to use the far left at whatever speed the driver feels most comfortable multitasking in (it's not a mini-van, it's a bullet on wheels with a TV).

If it's 30 degrees, it's Orioles' opening day. If it's 100 degrees, it's the 'Skins opening day. If the humidity is 90+ and the temperature is 90+, then it's May,June,July,August and sometimes September.

NEVER ask a native Washingtonian for directions. We don't know street names and will tell you to turn left where Woodies (Woodward and Lothrop) used to be. If the landmark in question was standing last week, it may not be there now.

NEVER,EVER leave town the Thursday or Friday of a three-day weekend. Leave on Wednesday and take Tuesday off to come back; otherwise, you'll arrive at the same time when you left a day early to beat the traffic.

Avoid I-66 at any time. Just listen to the traffic report ONCE and it is the same every day. The sun is in your face in the morning, and for your return trip, it's once again blinding you in the afternoon.

Avoid Rt. 7, (Leesburg Pike or any other name it changes to) at all times as well. Same story as above except you have no breaks because on this road, there are people who commute from West Virginia.

Of course you could take the subway, known locally as The Metro. Remember that either the Orange or Red line will be shut down or single tracked due to an accident. Unless both are shut down or single tracked. This is most likely to happen during rush hour. The escalators rarely work, the elevators even more rarely. However, the trains are very clean, kept that way by highly motivated police who will not hesitate to arrest a 12 year old for eating a french fry.

Have fun in D.C.!

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Poll
When I come to DC
o I fly 20%
o I drive 15%
o I take the train 25%
o I sail the yacht down from Maine 38%

Votes: 39
Results | Other Polls

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o Also by wiredog


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Tourist's Guide To Driving Around Washington D.C. | 156 comments (146 topical, 10 editorial, 0 hidden)
comment and OT: inner and outer beltways, (none / 0) (#1)
by khallow on Mon Nov 15, 2004 at 12:12:58 PM EST

You should link to touristy things to do in DC. There are a number of museums, monuments, parks, official government buildings, etc.

Raleigh, NC has a similar beltway scheme. It makes sense in that the clockwise side is always inside the counterclockwise side (since US drives on the right side of the road).

Stating the obvious since 1969.

touristy things to do in DC (3.00 / 5) (#3)
by wiredog on Mon Nov 15, 2004 at 12:26:27 PM EST

No room for all the links. In addition to a number of museums, monuments, parks, and official government buildings, there's numerous bars, nightclubs, strip joints, and good restaurants.

Also, it's an article about driving, not touristing.

Wilford Brimley scares my chickens.
Phil the Canuck

[ Parent ]

Touristy things? (2.00 / 2) (#29)
by godix on Mon Nov 15, 2004 at 06:15:54 PM EST

Like what, which crack dealer to visit if you want a chance to run into Marion Barry? Where you can get regular street theater by watching someone shot in front of you? The fun and entertaining game of wino guessing (you know, guess if the wino is gonna hit you up for a cigarette or money and if he'll just ask or if a knife will be involved)? While those would be interesting I think it's an entirely different article than what you were imagining

Or perhaps you meant the national monuments. If that's the case just do what I did when I visited DC. Walk around the government area, pick an impressive looking building, and start taking pictures. It may end up being a Dominos pizza instead of the Capitol Building but it looks just as pretty and as an added bonus there's a lot less assholes inside and they're willing to sell you food.

"Yeah, we rocked the vote all right. Those little bastards betrayed us again."
- Hunter S. Thompson on the 2004 election.
[ Parent ]

When taking pictures (none / 1) (#31)
by wiredog on Mon Nov 15, 2004 at 06:27:01 PM EST

be sure to look Arabic and speak in some foriegn language!

Especially if you like full body cavity searches.

Wilford Brimley scares my chickens.
Phil the Canuck

[ Parent ]

I wish all cities made such a distinction /nt (none / 0) (#68)
by enthalpyX on Tue Nov 16, 2004 at 11:38:13 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Three cheers for I-95 (3.00 / 3) (#2)
by schickl on Mon Nov 15, 2004 at 12:18:23 PM EST

My favorite testament to the temperamental I-95 drivers:
Woman dies after jump from bridge over Rappahannock River.

...

Some frustrated drivers--stuck in traffic in the southbound lanes of I-95 as Dunham negotiated with Myers--yelled as they passed over the bridge. Dunham told other police officers that he was sickened to hear at least a dozen people shout for her to jump as they passed over the bridge.


They even have a picture of her starting her jump (1.50 / 2) (#27)
by CoolSpot on Mon Nov 15, 2004 at 05:37:01 PM EST

http://www.fredericksburg.com/News/FLS/2002/042002/04272002/389998/lojumpa2.jpg

[ Parent ]
ha ha :O) (none / 0) (#98)
by Roman on Wed Nov 17, 2004 at 02:20:21 AM EST

that's funny shit, man :)

[ Parent ]
Good advice. (3.00 / 2) (#4)
by ubernostrum on Mon Nov 15, 2004 at 12:31:59 PM EST

Avoid I-66 at any time.

I went to a friend's wedding this summer and had to use 66 to get around the area (I was staying in Manassas, the wedding was in Springfield). The night of the bachelor party we ended up on the Beltway and I'm still not sure how that happened; I just blame the evil that is I-66.




--
You cooin' with my bird?
I use 66 a lot, really. (none / 0) (#138)
by zapb42 on Thu Nov 18, 2004 at 08:50:46 PM EST

It sucks, yeah, but I find it to be the easiest way into towm from the Leesburg area where I live.  267 tollway to 66 to somewhere around the Pentagon to Constitution.  It sucks, but it works.

[ Parent ]
That's just loony (none / 0) (#156)
by wemmick on Fri Dec 10, 2004 at 03:48:56 PM EST

What sort of friend suggested that you stay in Manassas for a wedding in Springfield?

[ Parent ]
The Free Masons and DC road layout (none / 0) (#5)
by strlen on Mon Nov 15, 2004 at 12:36:09 PM EST

I've heard that the DC roads are layed according to the Sacred Geometry of Freemasons, is that an urban legend or an actual fact (not too implausible, with the amount of freemason symbols in US and many founding fathers being freemasons)?

--
[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
Close (none / 0) (#6)
by LilDebbie on Mon Nov 15, 2004 at 12:40:09 PM EST

They're based off the street layout of ancient Alexandria. Whether or not Alexandria's street layout is based off of some Sacred Geometry is anyone's guess.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
Uh not unless Alexandria was used (none / 0) (#35)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Nov 15, 2004 at 07:58:11 PM EST

to design the streets of Paris.

While there were a lot of Freemasons involved in the US government at the time, The radial layout of DC was designed along the same basic lines as Paris - to allow people to get to and from the center of government and back to their homes in Podunk, Ohio, with a minimum of fuss.

It's all the people who live there and want to go someplace besides the capitol building that cause all the problems.

Now where did I leave that clue? I know I had one just a minute ago! - PDC
[ Parent ]

Street layout... (none / 0) (#50)
by claes on Tue Nov 16, 2004 at 08:12:08 AM EST

I'd heard that the DC street layout was also designed to aid in the defense of the city (remember, the our friends the british burned the place in the early 1800s). Wide north-south, east-west, and diagonal streets feed into parks, which are meant to be turned into forts in case of attack.

May just be an urban legend, but it kind of makes sense.

-- claes

[ Parent ]

The city design preceded 1812 (none / 1) (#55)
by wiredog on Tue Nov 16, 2004 at 08:42:19 AM EST

L'Enfant laid it out in the late 1700s.

Wilford Brimley scares my chickens.
Phil the Canuck

[ Parent ]
Possibly true. (none / 0) (#58)
by porkchop_d_clown on Tue Nov 16, 2004 at 09:06:41 AM EST

It does make sense. It's still a bit of an oddity, though. AFAIK, DC is the only American city to use the radial plan overlaid on the more common rectangular grid.

This was probably fine in the horse-and-buggy days, but all those odd intersections play havoc with automotive traffic.

Now where did I leave that clue? I know I had one just a minute ago! - PDC
[ Parent ]

Not sure. . . (none / 0) (#71)
by thankyougustad on Tue Nov 16, 2004 at 11:54:43 AM EST

Paris was almost entirely rebuilt in the middle of the 19th century. The road layout is certainly much different. Washington DC predates Paris, albiet not by much. I grew up in DC and never heard about it being based on Paris. A Frenchman designed it, true enough, but not necessarily with Paris in mind.

No no thanks no
Je n'aime que le bourbon
no no thanks no
c'est une affaire de goût.

[ Parent ]
Depends (none / 1) (#89)
by DeepOmega on Tue Nov 16, 2004 at 08:29:26 PM EST

who you ask.

Peace and much love...
[ Parent ]

Sllort's guide to driving in the district: (3.00 / 17) (#7)
by sllort on Mon Nov 15, 2004 at 12:46:27 PM EST

  1. DON'T
  2. If driving is absolutely necessary, obtain an SUV, the road quality is among the world's worst. Marion Barry's legacy is still alive, and he's making a political comeback.
  3. When choosing a direction, pick North or West. Don't ever go South or East, especially at the same time.
  4. If you're ever near a street named after a black person, especially Martin Luther King, radio for help immediately.
  5. Lock all your doors at all times. At red lights, leave enough room that you can floor it onto the sidewalk to avoid a carjacking if necessary. Use side lanes when possible to leave room for emergency exits.
  6. On 295 or 395, avoid the right lane, if often exits into hellhole areas without any kind of "exit only" warning, and in the district there are often no return on-ramps. If you're in the right lane and the people left of you are starting to form a defensive formation, consider this a sign of impending exit.
  7. Washington D.C. is the nation's leader in speed camera technology. Automated tickets are given from mobile two-unmarked-police-car stations placed at random around the district. They'll be white Grand Caprice's. They ticket at a threshold of 4 over the speed limit, and are often placed in 25mph zones where traffic moves at 60mph+. Tickets range from $100-$200. Don't slow down to avoid a ticket; you will be rear-ended and killed. Rather, attempt to form a tight enough formation with other cars so that your license is not visible. Also budget for several tickets a week.
  8. Tinted windows are HIGHLY recommended.
  9. Radar detectors are illegal and might land you in jail.
  10. Food is illegal on the subway (Metro) and they will jail and strip search you for eating it. This is not a joke at all.
  11. Keep in mind that you are in the murder capital of the world. Refueling outside of the district is highly recommended.
  12. Travel in daylight.
  13. Using your turn signals will key locals into the fact that you are visiting. It is a sign of weakness and may make you a target.
  14. D.C. has many roundabouts. Do not think that because you are on the roundabout you have right-of-way. The right-of-way rule in the district is thus: if the other motherfucker looks meaner than you and has a car that costs under half what your car costs, OR is an SUV weighing more than 8000 pounds with 45" low profile reflective wheels, then the other motherfucker has right of way over you; bitch.
  15. DON'T
  16. If you absolutely must visit, order the vegetarian platter at Meskerem, it's the best thing there.

--
Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.
wiredog - i apologize for repeating you. [nt] (none / 0) (#8)
by sllort on Mon Nov 15, 2004 at 12:55:48 PM EST


--
Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.
[ Parent ]
WTF is a Grand Caprice? (none / 0) (#17)
by zrail on Mon Nov 15, 2004 at 02:52:50 PM EST

I think you're thinking of something different. Cops use one of several cars in the United States (most frequent first):

  1. Ford Crown Victoria
  2. Chevy Imapla
  3. Chevy Caprice (they stopped making these about 6 years ago)
  4. Ford Expedition
  5. Ford Explorer
  6. Chevy Tahoe
Now, I'm not saying that they don't use other vehicles, especialy for undercover, unmarked, or detective vehicles. I've just never heard of a Grand Caprice.



[ Parent ]
that'd be a Mercury Grand Marquis? -nt (none / 0) (#20)
by KnightStalker on Mon Nov 15, 2004 at 04:15:54 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Typically not used (none / 0) (#33)
by zrail on Mon Nov 15, 2004 at 06:55:22 PM EST

At least for patrol cars and regular unmarked cars. Mercury doesn't provide an interceptor package, as far as I know, so they'd be more expensive to convert and install radios and gear. They're also more expensive than a base fleet Crown Vic.

[ Parent ]
Christ I was in a hurry (none / 0) (#60)
by sllort on Tue Nov 16, 2004 at 10:07:22 AM EST

Crown Vic. Old, dirty white, crown Vics, with the shiny externally mounted driver's side spotlight.
--
Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.
[ Parent ]
There ya go (none / 0) (#78)
by zrail on Tue Nov 16, 2004 at 12:58:48 PM EST

This makes much more sense.

[ Parent ]
Sorry (none / 0) (#86)
by sllort on Tue Nov 16, 2004 at 02:06:02 PM EST

I was writing that comment in a huge hurry to get out the door. I skipped relating some important D.C. driving anecdotes, the Battle of Wilson Bridge, the Blind Kid's School Speedcam Installation, Post-9/11 death-in-a-hail-of-bullets no-no wrong turns like the NSA exit on B/W Parkway, and other assorted goodies. Perhaps I'll write an addendum to this article, the Paranoiac's Guide to D.C.

Bitch set me up.
--
Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.
[ Parent ]

Subway eating (3.00 / 5) (#23)
by fairthought on Mon Nov 15, 2004 at 05:04:40 PM EST

10. Food is illegal on the subway (Metro) and they will jail and strip search you for eating it.

Make sure you deny knowledge of the law if caught. In that case you will only be given a warning. Apparently ignorance is an excuse in this case.

In the referenced case the girl was only twelve years old and part of here sentence was to undergo counseling. Because the vast majority of subway eaters return to their dangerous ways if they do not receive proper treatment for their problem. Just ask Jared.

[ Parent ]
Court opinion (none / 0) (#91)
by El Volio on Tue Nov 16, 2004 at 08:34:16 PM EST

The opinion of the appeals court (that somewhat unwillingly upheld the sentence) notes that policies have since been changed. Wonder how much they've changed if such a stupid law is still on the books. The opinion later notes that juveniles are now warned and eventually cited, not arrested.

The district court described the policies that led to her arrest as `"foolish," and indeed the policies were changed after those responsible endured the sort of publicity reserved for adults who make young girls cry.

Nice.

[ Parent ]

Ever seen the rats on the Paris Metro? (none / 1) (#118)
by nlscb on Wed Nov 17, 2004 at 07:16:05 PM EST

Most dogs would have trouble dealing with them. There is a very good reason why food is banned. While they should not have arrested her, they should have definitely handed her parents a $100 fine.

Unfortunately, people are not taking this rule seriously anymore. Until both sides, management and riders, get their act together, things look bleak for the DC Metro.

Comment Search has returned - Like a beaten wife, I am pathetically grateful. - mr strange
[ Parent ]

MAryland should be MARyland... (none / 1) (#9)
by sudog on Mon Nov 15, 2004 at 01:31:15 PM EST

... for the acronym.


Hmmm. Yes. Should've used edit mode. (none / 0) (#11)
by wiredog on Mon Nov 15, 2004 at 01:35:14 PM EST

Ah well. Such is life.

Wilford Brimley scares my chickens.
Phil the Canuck

[ Parent ]
What? (none / 0) (#22)
by fairthought on Mon Nov 15, 2004 at 04:51:05 PM EST

You catch MARyland but not DELaware?

No matter. I'm sure some kind passing K5 super editor will take pity and fix both errors in between his plentiful other K5 duties.

[ Parent ]

As a tourist (none / 1) (#10)
by aphrael on Mon Nov 15, 2004 at 01:33:47 PM EST

As a tourist it would never occur to me to drive around DC - i'd find a place to stay close to the subway system and just use that to get around. Last time I was in DC, I stayed in a nice medium-rate hotel near the Capital. :)

On top of all of that... (3.00 / 3) (#13)
by adharma on Mon Nov 15, 2004 at 02:03:44 PM EST

I seem to remember streets running in opposite directions based on times of day. I've been to 40 friggin states so far. New Orleans has the worst drivers, but DC is by far the worst place to drive I have ever been to. I had to get my co-pilot to read the signs while I was trying to dodge friggin SUV's. These signs can have paragraphs of material on them, oh, and they occur approximately every three feet. I simply said screw them map and loked for the big white penis to get us where were going...

hehe - memorial 4 the father of our country nt (none / 0) (#14)
by nlscb on Mon Nov 15, 2004 at 02:35:29 PM EST


Comment Search has returned - Like a beaten wife, I am pathetically grateful. - mr strange
[ Parent ]

Story of my life n/t (none / 0) (#15)
by schickl on Mon Nov 15, 2004 at 02:36:42 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Canal road, Chain Bridge (none / 0) (#16)
by wiredog on Mon Nov 15, 2004 at 02:38:01 PM EST

Even the express lanes on 95, iirc, do that.

Wilford Brimley scares my chickens.
Phil the Canuck

[ Parent ]
What my dad told me (none / 0) (#18)
by MichaelCrawford on Mon Nov 15, 2004 at 03:15:30 PM EST

I've never been to DC but my dad traveled there sometimes on business with the Navy.

He told me that the diamond lanes (carpool lanes, where the traffic is lighter and so you can go faster) require four passengers in a car, so even though he traveled there with a coworker he could not take the diamond lanes.

Most places in California the diamond lanes only require two passengers.


--

Live your fucking life. Sue someone on the Internet. Write a fucking music player. Like the great man Michael David Crawford has shown us all: Hard work, a strong will to stalk, and a few fries short of a happy meal goes a long way. -- bride of spidy


No longer true - now it's two (none / 0) (#19)
by nlscb on Mon Nov 15, 2004 at 03:46:02 PM EST

Also, if you buy a hybrid, you can use them by yourself.

They're so badly enforced, it's hard to see how they make much of a difference. In addition, there are just so many people on the road, you'll sit in traffic jams in those lanes as well.

Comment Search has returned - Like a beaten wife, I am pathetically grateful. - mr strange
[ Parent ]

He was there around 1980 or so (none / 0) (#26)
by MichaelCrawford on Mon Nov 15, 2004 at 05:19:03 PM EST

So I guess the rules have changed since then.


--

Live your fucking life. Sue someone on the Internet. Write a fucking music player. Like the great man Michael David Crawford has shown us all: Hard work, a strong will to stalk, and a few fries short of a happy meal goes a long way. -- bride of spidy


[ Parent ]

HOV-2 vs. HOV-3 (none / 0) (#24)
by kosuri on Mon Nov 15, 2004 at 05:12:43 PM EST

The 2 or 3 at the end tells you how many people need to be in the car. I am not aware of any HOV-4 roads in DC, but there are definitely HOV-3 roads.
--
I'm glad that when this story goes down this stupid comment will go with it. -- thankyougustad, 11/23/2005
[ Parent ]
How is it enforced? (none / 0) (#52)
by pwhysall on Tue Nov 16, 2004 at 08:26:44 AM EST


--
Peter
K5 Editors
I'm going to wager that the story keeps getting dumped because it is a steaming pile of badly formatted fool-meme.
CheeseBurgerBrown
[ Parent ]
Poorly. (none / 1) (#61)
by Another Scott on Tue Nov 16, 2004 at 10:18:05 AM EST

Occasionally there will be a police car in traffic or on the side of the road that will pull over people violating the HOV restrictions.

Of course, when he does so, the rubberneckers will slow down and cause an even larger backup in the rest of the traffic...

Cheers,
Scott.

[ Parent ]

Police will ticket HOV violators (none / 1) (#88)
by kosuri on Tue Nov 16, 2004 at 05:38:30 PM EST

Enforcement on most highways seems to be pretty lax, but on I-66, the entire highway is HOV-2 in one direction during rush hour. The police sit on entrance ramps during monring rush 2-3 times per week and ticket violators by the dozen. You'll see 3-4 cars pulled over on each entrance ramp during the entire morning rush on those days, so HOV is flagrantly violated. Big revenue generator for Fairfax and Arlington counties, though.

Too many people with too much money in Northern Virginia, I guess.
--
I'm glad that when this story goes down this stupid comment will go with it. -- thankyougustad, 11/23/2005
[ Parent ]

Great article. (none / 1) (#21)
by odano on Mon Nov 15, 2004 at 04:27:33 PM EST

Having lived in the DC area and commuting to school inside the beltway everyday for many years, I love this article.  Driving into DC itself though is a whole new cup of tea.

I have driven into DC many times.  I have mapped out the routes and planned it perfectly.  And yet not once have I actually gotten in and out on the route I planned due to road closures, accidents, protests, explosions, bomb scares.  It just never works out.

Although a funny thing is that of the two places I have lived, DC has the best traffic.  That is because my current home is LA, where rush hour goes from 6am - 11:30pm, all day, everyday.  Although, having to compare the two places, it is MUCH easier to get around in LA, where it seems the streets were actually laid out with navigation in mind.

odano
Stockton Computer Repair | Biggest US Cities

Two quick notes: (none / 0) (#25)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Nov 15, 2004 at 05:18:02 PM EST

  1. You've obviously been having a bad day. Cheer up! Eventually you will be dead and it will be all over.
  2. I am so glad I left DC in 89.


Now where did I leave that clue? I know I had one just a minute ago! - PDC
You're just the fucking Bluebird of Happiness (3.00 / 3) (#30)
by wiredog on Mon Nov 15, 2004 at 06:23:34 PM EST

ain't ya?

Personally, I'm glad I came back. But any more time in that small town in S. Utah and I'd've gone bugfuck.

Wilford Brimley scares my chickens.
Phil the Canuck

[ Parent ]

Heh. I lived in Arlington for 2 years (none / 0) (#36)
by porkchop_d_clown on Mon Nov 15, 2004 at 08:00:37 PM EST

took a bus every day to my job under that funny looking 5 sided building.

It's beautiful place but the combination of high cost of living, southern drivers and northern weather were just brutal. That and my wife making me drive back and froth to Pennsylvania to visit our families 2x a month.

Now where did I leave that clue? I know I had one just a minute ago! - PDC
[ Parent ]

I live in McLean (none / 0) (#56)
by wiredog on Tue Nov 16, 2004 at 08:45:19 AM EST

commute to Fair Oaks/Fairfax. So I'm outbound in the morning, inbound in the evening. Makes the commute easy.

The combination of southern drivers and northern weather (every 4th year or so) does make things interesting.

Wilford Brimley scares my chickens.
Phil the Canuck

[ Parent ]

I don't see the big deal (3.00 / 3) (#28)
by MotorMachineMercenary on Mon Nov 15, 2004 at 05:59:11 PM EST

In my experience DC was nothing special. Just another big city. Now, I don't have that much experience with DC but I know enough. I've driven on much scarier roads in Europe.

My scariest experiences have involved driving at night, in rain, on a two-lane (in one direction) autobahn at 170+ kph (100+ mph for US/UKians) where the lanes are half width due to road work, huddling right next to a 20-ton rig which is buckling from side to side because its right tires drop off the pavement due to the narrowed lane. Or going at 200+ kph on the far left lane and a 20-ton rig jumps in front of you. Experiences like that tends to keep you awake regardless of how much sleep deprivation you've had. I'd take the beltway any day. Not so about SE DC, though.

I have noticed that going at 200+ is at the limit of my performance on the road. Even on autobahns in Germany and Austria where such speeds are legal and which have the best-behaved and smoothest goddam traffic you have to constantly map the 360 degrees of your surroundings to 200-400 meters in your head. If you don't look at the side/back mirror for three seconds there's suddenly someone there blocking your way out of the harms way. And at 200 there's always cars which are going much faster and you have to give them way. It is extremely taxing mentally but fun in its own way.

--
"If you cant think of your own sig, you are nothing." - noogie


Europe's not as bad (none / 0) (#59)
by curien on Tue Nov 16, 2004 at 09:27:24 AM EST

I moved from the Hampton Roads area (south of DC) to Germany. It's much easier and more pleasant to drive here than there. And Hampton Roads has got nothing on DC. Yes, you drive a little faster on the Autobahn than on the Interstate, but people drive more politely and traffic generally flows more smoothly.

--
This sig is umop apisdn.
[ Parent ]
Bzzt! Not in Austria! (none / 1) (#79)
by aw70 on Tue Nov 16, 2004 at 01:07:44 PM EST

As someone living there I have to object: Austria has a speed limit of 130 kph on motorways. AFAIK Germany is the only country in the world without a speed limit for motorways, and even they are reconsidering this from time to time nowadays.

To be fair I have to add that in my opinion doing 200kph on a German motorway is still less dangerous than driving on the M26 London orbital - or anywhere in Italy - or in most parts of Greece, regardless of how fast you are going... >;-) But what you say about the reaction times is certainly true; 200 is about the maximum a normal person can sustain, and even that only in a suitable vehicle (i.e. one that is *really* built for these velocities, not just barely capable of reaching them).

A.W.



[ Parent ]
Ya (none / 0) (#85)
by MotorMachineMercenary on Tue Nov 16, 2004 at 01:52:36 PM EST

I know that, but the average speed on 130 kph roads is 150-170 :)

And I agree with you and the other replier to my post that London orbital is way more dangerous than autobanhs. I just told my experience where I've had my scariest experiences. Generally I adore driving in Germany and Austria due to the courtesy of drivers and fluidity of traffic.

I've only driven around London once in a tinytiny rental at 150+ which was pretty intense. But the traffic there is much more chaotic and uncoordinated than autobahns. And the left-side traffic is just freaky, especially with the British roundabaout fetish. The narrow country roads with hedges right next to the lanes are very beautiful and picturesque, but you have to be very careful since you don't know how many sheep you have to avoid around the next corner.

Regardless, I love driving.

--
"If you cant think of your own sig, you are nothing." - noogie


[ Parent ]
Well (none / 0) (#137)
by zapb42 on Thu Nov 18, 2004 at 08:45:50 PM EST

It is humorous for those of us that have spent a lot of time there, at least.

[ Parent ]
Wait a minute, it will come to me... (3.00 / 5) (#32)
by codejack on Mon Nov 15, 2004 at 06:31:00 PM EST

Oh yea!

"Washington is a city of Southern efficiency and Northern charm."
-JFK


Please read before posting.

-1, delmava fabricated by bored geographers (none / 1) (#34)
by Esspets on Mon Nov 15, 2004 at 07:08:51 PM EST




Desperation.
Crazy fucks down there (none / 0) (#40)
by bugmenot on Mon Nov 15, 2004 at 09:24:13 PM EST

So I was in D.C. over the summer.  We flew into B.W.I. and took a cab to D.C.  While in the cab driving on what I think was I-295, a pretty big and busy highway, I see this crazy fuck riding a bike.  On the fucking highway.  Crazy fuck almost got his crazy fucking ass run over.  Who the fuck does that?

Oh, and D.C. is a total embaressment to the nation.  Stunning that its the freaking capital, yet there are millions of uneducated, underfed children running around who have no voting representation in Congress.

Oh, and bitching about zoned taxis is foolish.  I can't even tell you how much cheaper it is in D.C. then here in Boston with the distance and time factored in.

Oh, and you aren't allowed to bitch about the Metro either.  Try riding the T's Green Line.  I'll swap horror stories any day of the week.

---

I am living on borrowed time.

DC as experiment under observation (none / 1) (#94)
by chunkstyle on Wed Nov 17, 2004 at 12:40:19 AM EST

Your city, too, can have all of the perks of government intervention! Simply follow the DC model DC has the harshest gun control laws, yet one of the highest murder rates. DC spends the most per pupil in public schools, yet has the worst results to show for it. DC has lip service observer status in the House of Representatives, yet has to live with the decrees that those who know best lay down. Representation, indeed! The mayor can be busted with a prostitute while smoking crack on videotape, and still get re-elected! Ahhh, now that's what the rest of the country needs, more control over your life delegated to DC. I hear if you cooperate, they might even send up to 70% of your tax dollars back to your state. Just don't get uppity and think about changing your state's speed limit or drinking age though!

[ Parent ]
thanks auto format! (none / 0) (#96)
by chunkstyle on Wed Nov 17, 2004 at 12:42:01 AM EST

for removing all of my line breaks and stylish bullet point formatting!

[ Parent ]
Route 3 (none / 0) (#132)
by hans on Thu Nov 18, 2004 at 03:24:39 PM EST

Those who fear driving the beltway should be thrown on Route 3N at 7 AM.  85 MPH, minimum, in the breakdown lane, with frequent cutting off of the right lane at ramps.  Then you hit 93 and your speed drops to 5.  Then 0.  Then surges to 20 and immediately stops.

[ Parent ]
dangerous d.c. fights (1.11 / 9) (#41)
by meathead on Mon Nov 15, 2004 at 09:41:18 PM EST

the other night I was leaving a club in downtown D.C. with my friend when we were approached by three other guys

they walked past us, and purposely didn't move out of the way just to be dicks

one of them bumped shoulders with my friend

as this happened, my friend turned to him and asked him what his problem was, and shoved him hard into a car

obviously embarrassed, he quickly got up and took a swing at my friend, who calmly leaned back, slipped the punch, took hold of the guy's shirt with his left hand and punched him several times in the face with his right (he boxes)

the guy kept on swinging furiously, and flailing his arms about in the air, trying to hit my friend who still had hold of his shirt, but to no avail

my friend eventually kneed him hard in the stomach, and swung him around by the collar into a car door

at this point the guy was down on his hands and knees with a bloody, beaten face, so my friend finished him off with a good hard kick to the ribs

the guy's friends - who were obviously pussies - just stood there idley, not doing anything

my friend looked at me, and motioned for me to do something

i wasn't really sure what to do, and I'm not really much of a fighter; so I walked over to the guy face down on the ground, grabbed hold of both his ankles, lifted him up (so he was in a wheelbarrow position) and kicked him in the balls


wow! same thing... (3.00 / 9) (#43)
by maccha on Tue Nov 16, 2004 at 12:26:06 AM EST

Almost the exact same thing happened to me. I was walking my girlfriend to her modelling gig when this bunch of about 15 guys starts eyeing her up.

When I asked what their problem was, this pussy took a swing at me. Well I almost forgot to dodge, cause I was laughing my ass off so hard.

Anyway, I'm 2.5 metres tall and trained in Shaolin kung-fu, so I was trying not to yawn as I kicked him through the windscreen of a parked car. Then I twatted four of his friends with a roundhouse kick. The other pansies ran off.

My girl was so hot. I had to take her back to the Porsche and fuck her twice before she calmed down.

Honestly, man. It's a jungle out there.


(Or am I just talking a load of crap?)


[ Parent ]
hey that's nothing (3.00 / 5) (#49)
by pyramid termite on Tue Nov 16, 2004 at 07:53:47 AM EST

i was walking down the street one day with my .357 police special at my side and got mobbed by 100 guys ... before they knew it, there was 6 dead guys and 94 pallbearers


On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]

Fighting (none / 0) (#51)
by buzh on Tue Nov 16, 2004 at 08:12:32 AM EST

Glad I don't know you or your friend. Violence is for assholes and ball-kicking is for self-defence.
--
The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth. -Niels Bohr
[ Parent ]
That was YOU? (none / 1) (#83)
by Sgt York on Tue Nov 16, 2004 at 01:19:34 PM EST

You sonofabitch, I TRIPPED and your friend just started wailing on me before I could even say "excuse me", you fucking PSYCHO!

Goddammit, that was four days ago and my balls still fucking hurt and he broke my nose.

I'm gonna sue.

There is a reason for everything. Sometimes, that reason just sucks.
[ Parent ]

-1, will soon need to be retitled: (1.50 / 2) (#45)
by Peahippo on Tue Nov 16, 2004 at 01:09:05 AM EST

"Tourist's Guide To Driving Around Washington D.C. Crater"


long live TITOR! (none / 0) (#46)
by The Amazing Idiot on Tue Nov 16, 2004 at 01:13:06 AM EST



[ Parent ]
tune into Don + Mike on WJFK (none / 0) (#47)
by Lode Runner on Tue Nov 16, 2004 at 01:41:30 AM EST

Those guys keep me entertained whenever I'm unfortunate to have to rent a car in the DC area. Way funnier than Diane Rehm, who you can tell used to be pretty hot (and who obviously has been around the block a few times) which makes you wonder why she seems so naive; e.g.:

Rehm: Why did they call you 'horse'?
Guest: Because I'm hung like a horse!
Rehm: Did they used to hang horses in Mississippi? Is that something they did?

Forget driving, use the Metro (none / 1) (#48)
by buzh on Tue Nov 16, 2004 at 07:04:21 AM EST

If you ever want to go there as a tourist (not sure why anyone would) the easiest and cheapest way to get around is to stay at a hotel within walking distance of the Metro. It's dirt cheap, works well compared to any other subway system I've seen and takes you close to the places worthwhile seeing. It stops running at 2300 (or was it midnight?) though, so best not get too wasted on your night out in Georgetown or whatever unless you have a driver.

I can recommend Bethesda, MD, as it has the added bonus of actually having some restaurants and shops in the city core, unlike many (most?) other suburban areas in the vicinity of DC which will leave you pretty much stranded in a desert of concrete and tarmac with the occasional minimall-oasis.

My last visit to the area left me alone for 3 months in a (comparatively) cheap-ass hotel in Rockville, MD, and let me tell you: It sucks not having a car when there are no sidewalks and the closest grocery store is ~3km up the road. Btw, if you order pizza from Sonny's in Rockville, tell them "TT said I could have a discount".

On the people of the DC area, my impression is that most people are long blinded by the eternal ratrace for power and money in the capitalist capital of the world. Honestly, my countrymen have a well-deserved reputation for being cold, arrogant and unapproachable, but the white middle-class types of the DC area struck me as the most stuck up people in the world, hardly willing to converse with anyone not fitting their image of a "successful" person.

All in all, you'd be better off as a tourist in mostly any other place than DC. If you want to see the sites, go buy a picture book. It looks better than it is. That and the fact that the area is the most expensive in the US would lead any rational person to take their vacation elsewhere.

On my first day of arriving, someone at the hotel asked where I was from, and when I told them the stunned reply was "Why the hell did you want to come here?". I didn't understand what they meant for at least a couple of days.
--
The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth. -Niels Bohr
works well (2.50 / 2) (#53)
by wiredog on Tue Nov 16, 2004 at 08:31:08 AM EST

Not anymore. Seriously. Recently they've had a train collision that shut down a track for a week, a station shut down due to a fire sprinkler going off and flooding the station, and massive overcrowding. Yes, it's better than driving, usually, but that's only because driving is so bad.

If you're going to Georgetown to drink, have enough money to pay for a cab at the end of the night, or be ready to walk 6 blocks to a Metro station while drunk in public.

Wilford Brimley scares my chickens.
Phil the Canuck

[ Parent ]

IAWTP - Metro not what it used to be (2.50 / 2) (#62)
by nlscb on Tue Nov 16, 2004 at 10:30:07 AM EST

It's overcrowded and underfunded. Besides the recent accidents, it simply has too many users. It grinds to a halt during rush hour. Just like on the London Tube, it's commuters, not tourists, who bear the brunt. It used to be wonderful. Now, it is less so. Instead of investing in capacity and redundancy in the area's transportation system, over the past 20 yrs people have been chanting "Metro will save us!". DC residents are now paying for the consequences of this attitude.

Regardless of whether your liberal or conservative, pro public transport or pro highway, something needs to be built and built NOW. My personal feeling is that one needs both top notch highways and mass transit. Otherwise, your just being penny smart/dollar stupid.

Comment Search has returned - Like a beaten wife, I am pathetically grateful. - mr strange
[ Parent ]

ICC and new Potomac crossing (none / 0) (#63)
by wiredog on Tue Nov 16, 2004 at 10:46:29 AM EST

Hopefully, a new Potomac Crossing connected to the ICC and the Fairfax County Parkway.

Wilford Brimley scares my chickens.
Phil the Canuck

[ Parent ]
metro hours (none / 1) (#141)
by mmclar on Thu Nov 18, 2004 at 11:16:15 PM EST

the metro is great. I am from Phila and spent the summer in the DC area, took the metro everywhere.

it is open 'til 3am friday and saturday nights to accomodate for the weekend crowds. to me this is a happy medium between

  1. closing at midnight every night (like we do here in phila), which is just a pain in the ass, and
  2. staying open all night, which i beleive is the case (for the most part) in NYC, which would quite possibly be a huge problem for out-of-towners, and even locals who have had a few too many, who decide to take the train at 4am in the wrong direction


---
sig sig sig sig (sing with the notes C G A B, and feel free to transpose to any key)
[ Parent ]
Sounds familiar. (3.00 / 4) (#64)
by lesha on Tue Nov 16, 2004 at 10:50:42 AM EST

Reminds me of this article.

How the fuck did this get onto the front page? (1.33 / 6) (#65)
by I Hate Yanks on Tue Nov 16, 2004 at 10:52:54 AM EST

(n/t)
Reasons to hate Americans (No. 812): Circletimessquare lives there.
Been wondering that myself (none / 0) (#66)
by wiredog on Tue Nov 16, 2004 at 10:59:32 AM EST

Must be more current and former Washingtonians around here than I thought.

Wilford Brimley scares my chickens.
Phil the Canuck

[ Parent ]
Not exactly. . . (none / 0) (#73)
by thankyougustad on Tue Nov 16, 2004 at 12:06:59 PM EST

I grew up there and voted it down. By the way, did you really write this article?

No no thanks no
Je n'aime que le bourbon
no no thanks no
c'est une affaire de goût.

[ Parent ]
Didn't write that one. (none / 0) (#77)
by wiredog on Tue Nov 16, 2004 at 12:51:45 PM EST

Can't get it to load. Site must be /.ed or something. I wouldn't be surprised if someone else didn't put the same mail up somewhere else.

Heck, I didn't expect this to get posted, much less FP.

Wilford Brimley scares my chickens.
Phil the Canuck

[ Parent ]

I dunno man. . . (none / 0) (#80)
by thankyougustad on Tue Nov 16, 2004 at 01:11:44 PM EST

it definately seems like you intended us to believe that you wrote this peice. Nowhere does it say where you came across it. I understand it to be one of those anonymous peices that kind of waft around the internet. The way you present it, it borders on plagiarism. Might want to be careful about that next time.

No no thanks no
Je n'aime que le bourbon
no no thanks no
c'est une affaire de goût.

[ Parent ]
Yeah (none / 0) (#84)
by wiredog on Tue Nov 16, 2004 at 01:44:51 PM EST

If I'd thought it would go anywhere but down in flames...

Wilford Brimley scares my chickens.
Phil the Canuck

[ Parent ]
Navigation (none / 1) (#67)
by enthalpyX on Tue Nov 16, 2004 at 11:35:46 AM EST

While the road layout can be confusing, following a few simple rules of thumb can vastly simplify life:
  • DC is shaped like a diamond. Put a horizontal & vertical axis in there & you get four quadrants. NW ritzy, SW mostly government, SE scary, NE less scary.
  • Streets that run east-west are lettered.
  • Streets that run north-south are numbered.
  • Streets that run diagonally are named by states.

As wired mentioned, various the state streets come out like spokes of roundabouts. Since these are superimposed on the grid letter/numbered grid, you get these weird triangles all over the place. For example, the ever-trendy Georgetown area is the general area of M & Wisconsin & 30-something streets.

With that in mind, you can usually tell which direction you're going. Numbered streets increase east to west. Lettered streets lexically increase north to south. And I believe on the diagonals, street addresses increase as you head AWAY from the center of the city.

DC is somewhat crazy, but after living there (*cough* well, not dc. but inside the beltway) for four years, it seems there's some semblance of order to the madness.



little more complicated than that... (none / 1) (#112)
by greenplato on Wed Nov 17, 2004 at 04:38:33 PM EST

Numbered streets increase east to west. Lettered streets lexically increase north to south.
Not exactly, numbers increase as you get further away from the Capitol and letter streets increase as you travel away from the Capital. The Capital building is(was) the center of the city, so all letters/numbers start there. Example: 2nd and A St SE is two blocks East and one block South from the Capital. 1st and E St NW is one block West and five blocks North. You have to consider your location in relation to the Capital to make a guess of where you are and where you are headed. So your general rule breaks down when you cross over into a different quardant (yes, DC does consists of more than Northwest thankyouverymuch).

Streets that run east-west are lettered
Until you run out of letters. Some are omitted (J, X, Y, Z, & maybe others), so that only give you a domain of some 22 lettered streets on either side of the north-south dividing line. Past that the names change to words which increase alphabetically, then by syllable. Examples, Upshur St NW is one block south of Varnum St NW and Monroe St NW is about 20 blocks south from Madison St NW. But this is just a rule of thumb, as you will encounter many streets that break this rule of thumb (I think a Street will more faithfully follow this rule but a Road, Place, Ave, Court, etc will not). Second letter comparisons are also useful at times: Van Ness St NW is South of Veazy St NW.

But, as you said, things are laid out so that it's hard to stay lost for very long (unless you end up in Rock Creek Park where there are no street signs, all the roads wind in all sorts of ways and you never know where or if you will come out).

[ Parent ]

You missed a few things (3.00 / 2) (#69)
by malraux on Tue Nov 16, 2004 at 11:48:36 AM EST

I lived there for a year and a half back in 92-93.
  1. The ambulances take a good 50-60 minutes to reach anyone inside the city, due to the backed up traffic circles (I've seen them trying to drive over the concrete medians to get through). If you have a heart attack, you might be better off walking to the hospital. Or finishing your will.
  2. The guy who likes to drive 55 in the far left lane of the Beltway. I can't remember his name, but he did it so often that he was notorious.
  3. Using a turn indicator is a sign of weakness; using turn indicators on the Beltway will encourage people to position themselves to block your lane change.
  4. The yields instead of merges onto the Beltway. And how people will actively try to prevent you from merging. See #3.
  5. Sunday is "park on the main roads and turn them into one lane each direction" day in the city.
  6. Don't tap your brakes to make someone back off your bumper. This will cause either a) a major accident as they completely over-react or b) a drive by shooting (yours) or c) a traffic jam as the guy cuts you off, stops his car, and walks back to berate you in a foreign language (this is the one that happened to me, thankfully... on Sunday, so the road was one lane. Man, were there a lot of cars backed up behind us).
  7. When the Beltway was built, it had been designed to carry 90,000 cars per day. Within 6 months it was running over capacity. When I was there in 93, it was carrying 200,000 cars per day and it had never been expanded.

66 is just as you described. I enjoyed sitting on the Metro and cruising at 50 mph past 3 lanes of parked cars every morning while I read a book.

Regards,
-scott

Administrator of zIWETHEY forums
DC? (none / 0) (#82)
by Sgt York on Tue Nov 16, 2004 at 01:15:08 PM EST

Are you sure you're talking about DC? That sounds like Houston to me (except for the ambulances, they are normally quite good).

Or any large US city for that matter.

There is a reason for everything. Sometimes, that reason just sucks.
[ Parent ]

There's nothing wrong with the DC layout (none / 1) (#70)
by jolly st nick on Tue Nov 16, 2004 at 11:54:08 AM EST

that reducing the number of people working in DC by 50% wouldn't cure.

My wife spent some time in DC after grad school working in the Reagan area government. A curious side effect of the Gipper's attempt to reduce the size of the federal government was that the population working in DC exploded.

Addition.. (none / 0) (#72)
by sasquatchan on Tue Nov 16, 2004 at 12:02:42 PM EST

There are almost no DC natives or locals. Everyone you meet will be from somewhere else. Finding a genuine DC local is a needle/haystack proposition.

(I'd be a 3rd generation born/bred, but left in '94 and never looked back)
-- The internet is not here for your personal therapy.

I left too (3.00 / 3) (#74)
by thankyougustad on Tue Nov 16, 2004 at 12:10:03 PM EST

I was back last spring. I saw actual black helicopters, and a guy with a machine gun on the steps of the capitol.

No no thanks no
Je n'aime que le bourbon
no no thanks no
c'est une affaire de goût.

[ Parent ]
There are a few of us (none / 1) (#76)
by wiredog on Tue Nov 16, 2004 at 12:48:05 PM EST

Not many, but some.

Wilford Brimley scares my chickens.
Phil the Canuck

[ Parent ]
Yo, Yo, Yo - Native DCer in da house! (none / 1) (#81)
by nlscb on Tue Nov 16, 2004 at 01:13:47 PM EST

Shout to y'all locals from Northwest!

AKA - The rich, white part of DC. Only 1st gen, though.

Why does everyone leave, especially people born and raised in DC? Abandoning your home makes the Baby Jesus cry.

Comment Search has returned - Like a beaten wife, I am pathetically grateful. - mr strange
[ Parent ]

registered just to reply (none / 1) (#129)
by kayen on Thu Nov 18, 2004 at 09:50:08 AM EST

Usually I lurk, but I registered at Kuro5hin just to reply to your post.
Born at Providence Hospital.

//dont know why I am so proud to be born in DC
//kinda silly

[ Parent ]
DC is my summer home (none / 1) (#136)
by zapb42 on Thu Nov 18, 2004 at 08:35:19 PM EST

Unfortunately, the past few summers I have spent there, actually in Ashburn and then Leesburg, and actually lived in the Springfield area about 10 years back for a 3 year stretch.

Driving around there definitely takes some tenacity, and is quite a difference from my current residence, North Dakota.

[ Parent ]

Yeah, just a couple of us. (none / 0) (#149)
by dormat on Mon Nov 22, 2004 at 11:24:59 PM EST

I grew up in No. VA and learned to drive on 66 and the beltway. Now I'm stuck in Chattanooga for school. The drivers down here in the south suck WAY more than the drivers in DC. There will be only 2 cars on a 15 mile stretch of highway, you and a big ugly loud beater that insists on riding right on your ass. Forget about passing. It's raining two inches an hour so I'll stay right on your ass as we go along at 50 mph. I get way more mad driving in Chattanooga than I do in DC. And that is saying a lot.

[ Parent ]
Clarifications (3.00 / 5) (#75)
by michaelmalak on Tue Nov 16, 2004 at 12:19:25 PM EST

As the author of an embarrassingly large number of dc.driving UseNet posts, please allow me to offer a few clarifications, corrections, and addenda:

All directions start with "The Beltway", which has no beginning and no end, just one continuous loop that locals believe is somehow clarified by an "inner loop" and "outer loop" designation. The inner loop goes clockwise, the outer counterclockwise. This makes no sense to ANYONE outside the Metro Area.
Correct -- the DC region has surprisingly few limited access highways, with just one circumferential highway. When DC finally gets an outer beltway, the monikers "inner loop" and "outer loop" will cease to exist.
The Metro Area stretches north to south from Southern Pennsylvania to Frederick Virginia, and east to west from the Chesapeake Bay to the Shenandoah River. Also to parts of West Virginia and maybe the Delmarva (DElaware, MAryland, VirginiA peninsula.)
That would be Fredericksburg, Virginia. Frederick is in Maryland.
Construction on I-270 is a way of life and a permanent source of scorn and cynical entertainment. It's ironic that it's called an "Interstate" as it runs only from Bethesda to Frederick (unless you consider Montgomery County another state, which some do). Opening in the 60's, it has been torn up and under reconstruction ever since. Also, it has a "Spur" section which is even more confusing.
I-270's Interstate designation is not ironic at all. It's a 3-digit Interstate, meaning it's a just connection within the larger Interstate system.

What is ironic is I-97 that runs from Annapolis to the Baltimore beltway. 2-digit Interstates are supposed to actually run between states (and those that are divisible by 5 are the most important). However, I-97 never even leaves the county (Anne Arundel County, Maryland).

And if we really want to pick on a 3-digit Interstate, the one to pick on is I-370, not I-270. I-370 is just an exit ramp from I-270 to the Shady Grove Metro. There, the Interstate designation was used just to get federal funds.

More DC Interstate trivia:

  • US-50 in Maryland from the Beltway to Annapolis is actually I-595, but was left marked as US-50 to avoid confusion.
  • The 1.5-mile stretch of highway linking I-395 and I-295 is actually I-695, but is marked as "To I-295" and known as the "Southeast/Southwest freeway". This is to avoid confusion with the I-695 Baltimore beltway.
  • "295" actually has three labels: I-295, then DC-295 (DC's only numbered highway), and finally MD-295.
This is true of the Beltway also. Especially the local intersection known as "the Mixing Bowl" where 4 interstates (95, 295, 395, and 495) come together. It has been under constructon for several years, and will be for several more. Also beware the Wilson Bridge. A new bridge is being built, at a cost of about $8,000,000,000, in the hopes that it can be finished before the old one collapses under the load. The old one, and the new one, are drawbridges. When the bridge is up, traffic stops.
As Scott Kozel, another dc.driving regular, likes to harp on, "Mixing Bowl" used to refer to the equally complex set of ramps adjacent to the Pentagon, where I-395, I-395 HOV, US-1, VA-110, VA-27, and the George Washington Parkway all come together.
To avoid these disturbances people listen to WTOP, 1500 AM and 107.7 FM, for the traffic report which runs every 10 minutes. 24 hours/day. Even if they can't avoid the disturbance, they listen to find out what the disturbance is, and in the hope that the person who caused it died screaming in agony.
Way outdated. The WTOP "network" now also includes 820 AM and 104.3 FM.
The minimum acceptable speed on the Beltway is 75. Anything less is a hazard to navigation.
That is true, but it's also true that going over 70 MPH through the Springfield Interchange is a jailable offense. The speed limit was reduced there to 50 MPH during construction to reduce accidents. And it's still 50 MPH despite large sections now having been completed. And in Virginia, going 20 MPH over the limit is considered "reckless driving", with 6 points on your license, and a misdemeanor with a mandatory court appearance and possibility of up to a year in jail and/or a $2500 fine. Jail doesn't happen except for multiple offenders, but without a lawyer, a "misdemeanor" appearing on your record is likely, which could negatively impact future job applications.

Where this is especially bad is the exit from the "outer loop" of I-495 onto I-395, for it is a left exit with prevailing speeds of 75 MPH.

And besides the "20 MPH over" reckless driving, there are other more onerous variants. The I-95/I-395 HOV lanes have a speed limit of 65 MPH, but Virginia has an 80 MPH reckless driving clause. And in Fairfax County (for I-395/I-95 that would be between the Occoquan River and Landmark Mall at VA-236), there is a 75 MPH reckless driving clause.

--
BergamoAcademy.com  Authentic Montessori in Denver

Interstates which don't make sense. (none / 0) (#125)
by ubernostrum on Thu Nov 18, 2004 at 07:34:40 AM EST

What is ironic is I-97 that runs from Annapolis to the Baltimore beltway. 2-digit Interstates are supposed to actually run between states

Well, it's really more of a guideline. There are a few two-digit Interstates which never leave their states of origin (and this is without counting the ones in Hawaii). By my count, there are eighteen:

  1. I-4 (entirely in Florida)
  2. I-12 (Louisiana)
  3. I-16 (Georgia)
  4. I-17 (Arizona)
  5. I-19 (Arizona)
  6. I-27 (Texas)
  7. I-37 (Texas)
  8. I-43 (Wisconsin)
  9. I-45 (Texas)
  10. I-49 (Louisiana)
  11. I-66 (Virginia)
  12. I-72 (Illinois)
  13. I-86 (Idaho)
  14. I-87 (New York)
  15. I-88 (Illinois)
  16. I-96 (Michigan)
  17. I-97 (Maryland)
  18. I-99 (Pennsylvania)

As for full-fledged violations of the numbering standards, this guy has quite a list.




--
You cooin' with my bird?
[ Parent ]
Make that nineteen. (none / 0) (#126)
by ubernostrum on Thu Nov 18, 2004 at 07:36:19 AM EST

Apparently I-73 currently only exists in North Carolina, though eventually it'll stretch from Michigan to South Carolina.




--
You cooin' with my bird?
[ Parent ]
I-66 is in two states (none / 0) (#127)
by wiredog on Thu Nov 18, 2004 at 08:44:44 AM EST

Well, Va and DC.

Wilford Brimley scares my chickens.
Phil the Canuck

[ Parent ]
Hm. (none / 0) (#135)
by ubernostrum on Thu Nov 18, 2004 at 07:36:21 PM EST

So should we be pedantic in favor of its crossing state lines, or pedantic in favor of DC not being a state?




--
You cooin' with my bird?
[ Parent ]
Even if you're a pedant (none / 1) (#143)
by wiredog on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 08:47:30 AM EST

The road still crosses a state line

Wilford Brimley scares my chickens.
Phil the Canuck

[ Parent ]
Inner & Outer Loops (none / 0) (#87)
by davidduncanscott on Tue Nov 16, 2004 at 05:09:05 PM EST

What's your problem with those designations? Driving both 495 and 695, I am driven nuts by signs that show compass directions for a circular highway. "North" is a valid description for a couple of miles, after which the road heads east or west.

"Clockwise" or "counterclockwise", "inner" and "outer" designations just make sense if you're planning on driving past the next exit.

what is the point of this? (none / 0) (#92)
by wobblie on Tue Nov 16, 2004 at 09:38:01 PM EST

I went to DC and used the subway, exclusively. There is no need for a car at all. the subway is great and very easy to figure out. What's with this stupid driving shit?

Outlier (none / 0) (#93)
by ffaiser on Tue Nov 16, 2004 at 09:54:53 PM EST

Your sample size evidentially was too small; one saturday afternoon on the metro doesn't come close to a weekday morning.
out.
[ Parent ]
Driving to DC (none / 1) (#95)
by debillitatus on Wed Nov 17, 2004 at 12:41:47 AM EST

Yeah, I gotta go down there every once in a while for family stuff. And let me tell you, the moment I roll back onto Manhattan Island, I have a grin on my face and a song in my heart.

All it takes is a weekend in DC to remind you why NYC is so awesome.

Damn you and your daily doubles, you brigand!

A question .... (none / 0) (#97)
by taniwha on Wed Nov 17, 2004 at 12:52:36 AM EST

We took the kids to DC earlier this year ... decided to see if we could find all the buildings that were on the money ... anyone know where the one off of the $1 is?

It's been moved to Maryland (none / 0) (#113)
by greenplato on Wed Nov 17, 2004 at 05:12:02 PM EST

9900 Stoneybrook Dr
Kensington, MD 20895
United States

[ Parent ]
Hmm, I thought it had moved here (none / 0) (#119)
by nlscb on Wed Nov 17, 2004 at 07:20:58 PM EST

101 Callahan Drive
Alexandria, Virginia 22301

Comment Search has returned - Like a beaten wife, I am pathetically grateful. - mr strange
[ Parent ]

101 Callahan Drive (none / 0) (#145)
by greenplato on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 11:09:58 PM EST

Yup, you're probably right. If you can, take a tour of this temple. Most of these sinister Masons are old enough to remember the original greenback.

[ Parent ]
And leave your guns at home (2.00 / 6) (#99)
by theElectron on Wed Nov 17, 2004 at 03:44:01 AM EST

Little known fact: thanks to the miracles of Interstate Commerce, while traveling it is legal to posses any type of firearm, so long as you are legally allowed to possess that firearm in your State of origin AND your State of destination. So if you were travelling from say the firearms-enlightened Commonwealth of Virginia to the firearms-enlightened State of New Hampshire with your Browning Automatic Rifle, said firearm would be legal to possess in Washington, D.C. so long as you are "in transit." However, in a city where even single-shot bolt-action .22 short rifles are illegal to keep unless fully dissassembled into as many pieces as possible and kept at opposite ends of one's house with no ammunition within a 5 mile radius, do not expect the jack-booted thu ... erm ... law-enforcement of said jurisdiction to have any respect for the Firearms Owners Protection Act.

I live within driving distance of D.C. It's a shithole. The possession of handguns is completely banned in D.C., and rifles may be kept only in one's home, and only then when disassembled. In Virginia it's legal to own machine guns, silencers, sawed-off shotguns, "assault" rifles, handguns, armor-piercing ammunition, etc. and it's legal to carry concealed handguns. Guess whose murder rate is a gazillion times higher? Like I said, the place is a shithole. Pop in and run through the Smithsonian if you have to, but then get the hell out. Seriously, think about how fucked up the Federal government is. Then think about a city that operates under the oversight of only the Federal government. Gives me the heeby-jeebies, that does.

Thank goodness for State governments.

P.S. Bitch set me up!

--
Join the NRA!

The scary thing is... (1.75 / 4) (#105)
by wiredog on Wed Nov 17, 2004 at 08:42:44 AM EST

A few years ago the Feds took over the running of the city from the local government. Things improved.

Wilford Brimley scares my chickens.
Phil the Canuck

[ Parent ]
Imrovement (none / 1) (#108)
by lesha on Wed Nov 17, 2004 at 11:17:44 AM EST

Things might have imroved simply because Marion Barry is a mayor no more.

[ Parent ]
He just got elected to city council (none / 0) (#115)
by sllort on Wed Nov 17, 2004 at 05:46:00 PM EST

Buncha bitches set him up with a seat.
--
Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.
[ Parent ]
The handgun ban. (none / 0) (#107)
by lesha on Wed Nov 17, 2004 at 11:15:56 AM EST

The handgun ban was repealed not too long ago by the House of Representatives. The ban was a local law introduced by the city council. Indeed, it caused an huge outcry because DC is not even represeneted in the House.

[ Parent ]
WTF? (none / 1) (#110)
by theElectron on Wed Nov 17, 2004 at 01:54:34 PM EST

The House has *voted* to repeal it, but the Senate has not. The ban remains in place. The idea behind the legislation is that the Constitution (and hence the Second Amendment) trumps any right D.C. has to "home rule." This is not unprecedented by any means, many (if not most) states have firearm preemption laws which forbid localities from passing any law having to do with firearms.

--
Join the NRA!
[ Parent ]
Re (none / 0) (#111)
by lesha on Wed Nov 17, 2004 at 02:54:33 PM EST

OK, I stand corrected, Senate didn't pass it. As to whether the ban was constitutional or not is up to the Superme Court to decide, and certainly not someone whom residents of DC didn't elect.

[ Parent ]
Practical reality vs. principled fact (none / 1) (#121)
by kurtmweber on Wed Nov 17, 2004 at 10:34:32 PM EST

Actually, the Supreme Court does not decide whether or not a law is Constitutional. The Constitutionality of a law is independent of the Supreme Court's assessment of it. The Supreme Court only determines legal practical reality, not principled fact.

Kurt Weber
Any field of study can be considered 'complex' when it starts using Hebrew letters for symbols.--me
[ Parent ]
Eh? (none / 0) (#122)
by Another Scott on Wed Nov 17, 2004 at 11:52:22 PM EST

The Constitutionality of a law is independent of the Supreme Court's assessment of it.

How can that be so? It can't be self-evident. Some body has to decide whether something is Constituional or not. It's the Supreme Court that has that power.

Since the days of John Marshall, the Supreme Court has had the power of judicial review:

The Marshall court established the principle of judicial review, in which the court ruled that the Supreme Court had the power to declare invalid any act of Congress that was in conflict with the U.S. Constitution.

Cheers,
Scott.

[ Parent ]

Perception vs. Fact (none / 1) (#123)
by theElectron on Thu Nov 18, 2004 at 01:26:44 AM EST

The Constitutionality of a law is independent of our (or the Supreme Court's) ability to recognize it. That is to say, just because the Supreme Court hasn't said something is unconstitutional doesn't make it Constitutional, or vice versa. Indeed, it should be the responsibility of all branches of government to ensure Constitutional compliance. Did you George Washington set the brief precedent of signing every law Congress sent to him, with the exception of those laws he felt were unconstitutional?

Regarding this "home rule" nonsense, D.C. is a shithole (I believe I've mentioned that before). They re-elected Marion "Bitch Set Me Up" Barry, for Christ's sake! Unfettered home rule for D.C. is truly the inmates running the asylum. D.C. will never be state, D.C. will never have voting Congressional representation, D.C. will always be the Federal government's bitch, and D.C. will always be a shithole. If you don't like it, move to a frigging State. Anyone who actually chooses to live in D.C. clearly doesn't possess the mental fitness to effectively make their own decisions, anyway.

--
Join the NRA!
[ Parent ]

That still doesn't make much sense to me. (none / 0) (#144)
by Another Scott on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 08:00:33 PM EST

The Constitutionality of a law is independent of our (or the Supreme Court's) ability to recognize it. That is to say, just because the Supreme Court hasn't said something is unconstitutional doesn't make it Constitutional, or vice versa.

If a law hasn't been before the Supreme Court, then yes, nothing can be said about its constitutionality with certainty. It might be thought of as in an indeterminate state WRT constitutionality. It certainly can't be cited as evidence that something else is constitutional.

However, once the Supreme Court does say that something is unconstitutional, it is. And once the Supreme Court rejects an argument that states a law is unconstitutional, it (usually) can serve as a prescedent for judging the constitutionality of future issues.

(Of course, the Court can and sometimes has changed its mind.)

In short, since Marshall's time, the Supreme Court has decided constitutionality - it's not an independent attribute.

My $0.02.

Cheers,
Scott.

[ Parent ]

An issue of perception vs. reality, really (none / 1) (#150)
by kurtmweber on Tue Nov 23, 2004 at 01:05:42 AM EST

The constitutionality of a law is independent of the Supreme Court's assessment. The Supreme Court's assessment may decide legal reality, but if a law is actually unconstitutional, the Supreme Court saying it is constitutional does not make it so, and vice-versa. The Supreme Court only determines legal practical reality, not the actual constitutionality of a law (which is not dependent on institutional fiat).

Kurt Weber
Any field of study can be considered 'complex' when it starts using Hebrew letters for symbols.--me
[ Parent ]
You're just repeating yourself. (none / 0) (#151)
by Another Scott on Tue Nov 23, 2004 at 07:55:48 PM EST

People don't have receptors for constitutionality the way they do for some physical properties of matter. It's not something self-evident like arithmetic. It must be decided by someone or some group. In the US, that group is the USSC.

... but if a law is actually unconstitutional, the Supreme Court saying it is constitutional does not make it so, ...

Here's the crux of it: How does one know whether a law is "actually unconstitutional"? Are we to take your word for it?

The Supreme Court only determines legal practical reality, not the actual constitutionality of a law (which is not dependent on institutional fiat).

Perhaps you can provide a cite to support this claim?

Cheers,
Scott.

[ Parent ]

Metaphysics, not epistemology (none / 0) (#154)
by kurtmweber on Fri Nov 26, 2004 at 05:21:08 PM EST

People don't have receptors for constitutionality the way they do for some physical properties of matter. It's not something self-evident like arithmetic.

Actually, it is. All phenomena have certain properties, and the nature of those properties is objective. Reality exists independent of perception--a law's actual constitutionality is independent of the perception of its constitutionality.

Here's the crux of it: How does one know whether a law is "actually unconstitutional"? Are we to take your word for it?

That's beside the point. Don't try to hide your metaphysical failure by trying to switch the subject to epistemology--it's childish and cheap.

Perhaps you can provide a cite to support this claim?

Reality. The Supreme Court does not decide whether or not a law is actually constitutional; it merely decides (often incorrectly) whether or not the law is treated as constitutional in the US legal system.

Kurt Weber
Any field of study can be considered 'complex' when it starts using Hebrew letters for symbols.--me
[ Parent ]
You're orthogonal. (none / 0) (#155)
by cburke on Tue Nov 30, 2004 at 01:28:09 AM EST

The Constitutionality of a law is independent of the Supreme Court's assessment of it.

How can that be so? It can't be self-evident. Some body has to decide whether something is Constituional or not. It's the Supreme Court that has that power.

In the same way that a statement can be true but believed to be false.  It was decided that the earth was flat, but that didn't make it so.  

You're right, someone must decide Constitutionality, and the Supreme Court is the body that does.  Just like guilt or innocence: there's the truth, and then there's the human necessity to decide on what they think "truth" is.  So you're orthogonal.  They are talking about whether a law really is in conflict with the Constitution, you're talking about the reality of whether a law is still on the books and enforced or not.  

[ Parent ]

Crime Rate vs. Gun Laws (none / 0) (#142)
by glothar on Fri Nov 19, 2004 at 08:45:53 AM EST

Right.

I'm sure that the reason why Fairfax and Arlington counties have much lower crime rates than DC is because they have looser gun control laws and not the fact that Fairfax county was (somewhat recently) identified as the most affluent county in the nation. OR that both counties have some of the highest percentages of citizens with university degrees that you'll find anywhere. Or that they have average incomes which are over 15,000 a year higher than DC. Or that they have some of the best funded police departments in the nation.

You're probably right. I bet its the gun laws.

(Moron)

[ Parent ]

As someone who's driven over 100,000 miles (3.00 / 2) (#100)
by drachen on Wed Nov 17, 2004 at 08:16:25 AM EST

in and around D.C., I can agree with most of what you've said.

In general I use my turn signals always except when other people around me are being dicks. I don't know why, but the attitudes of other drivers definitely rubs off on me.

One thing about driving around here is that you just can't be afraid of driving. If you are you'll never make it. People are not going to let you into their lane easily (I never do) and people are not going to yield. It just doesn't happen. So you have to be pro-active in your driving -- otherwise known as driving offensively.  If you want to get in a lane... do it! Turning on your signal to give people a 5 second warning is a great way to let other people know there's some open road and that they should speed up so none of it is wasted. I tend to just start changing lanes and blink once on the way in. It's considerate and won't give other people a chance to block you out.

I-66 and I-270... they are the worst. The Montgomery County portion of the beltway is almost always horrible, but it's damn fun to drive on at 3am when you can whip around those corners at whatever speed you can handle. The Virginia part of the beltway is also always horrible. I live in P.G. (Po' Ghetto County) and thankfully the beltway isn't too bad here. Actually driving the beltway late at night is probably very similar to the autobahn. Wide open road with four lanes and plenty of visibilty ahead and behind you.

WTOP is by far the best radio station for traffic in the D.C. area. However, unless you're from around here... you will have no idea what they're saying during the traffic report.

Metro... I hate metro. It's overcrowded. It's slow. And it's unreliable these days. I could take metro to work, but that would take almost 2 hours, and requires 2 different bus rides, and an almost hour long train ride. I can get there by car on average in 30 to 40 minutes. Between $3.50/day parking, and over $7/day in fares, and for being so damn inconvenient, I really have no reason to use metro. I've used it -- many times -- but for general commuting it's not worth it.

Driving in the rain here is insane. Absolutely crazy. If you value your life, I would suggest not driving during the rain. Last week on whatever day it rained 2 feet on firetrucks and ambulances were constantly driving by my 'hood to rescue people.

Mini-vans and SUVs are a staple of the beltway as well. They definitely don't have to signal when changing lanes, and not only that they don't have to look and see if my puny car is in the lane they feel like changing into. I get cut off at least once per commute. Generally I will cut them back off if I can.

If you're a D.C. driver or thinking about coming here, my only advice is to please... PLEASE get OUT of my way. The left lane is my home and nothing annoys me more than someone who's not obeying the 85+MPH left lane speed limit. If you've got cars stacking up behind you... MOVE!

Crap I just heard there's an accident on the outer loop in Landover with traffic backed up to Central Avenue. Guess that means it's time to stop procrastinating and get outta here...

driving offensively (none / 0) (#104)
by wiredog on Wed Nov 17, 2004 at 08:41:19 AM EST

I picked up my best Beltway driving habits while riding a motorcycle. (That curvy stretch by the Mormon Temple, by the way, is a blast on a bike.) So I drive defensively. Actually, I drive paranoid.

Wilford Brimley scares my chickens.
Phil the Canuck

[ Parent ]
offensive driving (none / 0) (#106)
by drachen on Wed Nov 17, 2004 at 09:44:57 AM EST

I personally would never ride a motorcycle on the beltway. It just seems like that's asking for death. The stretch past the Mormon Temple is both the best and worst stretch. Fun to drive on at night with no traffic, but a nightmare when 200,000 cars are trying to pass through it. And it's amazing how many people cannot stay in their lane on that stretch.

Driving paranoid is a good idea. Don't assume anything about any of the other drivers around you except that they are trying to kill you.

That being said, you still need to be assertive when driving around here if you expect to get anywhere, especially if you expect to merge onto the beltway in the first place.

[ Parent ]

You rode the Chevy Chase slalom on a bike (none / 1) (#116)
by sllort on Wed Nov 17, 2004 at 05:50:00 PM EST

And lived to tell about it?

Dude I know ex-pro motorcycle racers who won't ride the beltway. That's sick.
--
Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.
[ Parent ]

Hit it at the right time (none / 0) (#128)
by wiredog on Thu Nov 18, 2004 at 08:48:43 AM EST

The height of rush hour is actually pretty safe, as everyone is moving so slowly. Sunday mornings and after 10PM on any night are also safe, because there's actually not much traffic then.

2PM on a weekday is insane. Heavy traffic moving at high speed.

Wilford Brimley scares my chickens.
Phil the Canuck

[ Parent ]

I would hesitate to take an air cooled bike (none / 0) (#133)
by Adam Rightmann on Thu Nov 18, 2004 at 04:29:06 PM EST

on the beltway during rush hour. I'm too lawful to lane split, and high temperatures and low speed make for an unhappy air cooled motorcycle.

[ Parent ]
Not if the engine's clean (none / 1) (#134)
by wiredog on Thu Nov 18, 2004 at 05:29:21 PM EST

and the cooling fins are in good shape. An air cooled bike (at least a modern one) should have no trouble in those conditions.

Does kinda suck to be the rider, what with the hot air wafting up from the engine.

Wilford Brimley scares my chickens.
Phil the Canuck

[ Parent ]

Did this pass editing with this mistake (1.50 / 2) (#101)
by scrantic on Wed Nov 17, 2004 at 08:20:53 AM EST

The Capital of Teh Free World Im guessing supposed to be The instead of teh sorry if the obvious has been stated.

Intentional (none / 1) (#103)
by wiredog on Wed Nov 17, 2004 at 08:34:04 AM EST

Intended to amuse yuo!

Wilford Brimley scares my chickens.
Phil the Canuck

[ Parent ]
Thats alright (none / 0) (#124)
by scrantic on Thu Nov 18, 2004 at 02:30:21 AM EST

Was somwhere past midnight when i posed my funny bone bust has been borked.

[ Parent ]
DC Rules (none / 1) (#109)
by dogeye on Wed Nov 17, 2004 at 11:54:22 AM EST

The Washington D.C. metropolitan area hasthe 3rd worst traffic in the nation despite being the 7th largest metro areain the country. The average resident spends 67 hours a year stuck in gridlock. However, it is still my favorite city in the country. The traffic is easily bearable if you know when to drive where and what route to take. Plan your life so you don't drive on busy roads during rush hour. There is an enormous free museum system (the Smithsonian), all the major professional sports teams, rivers, trees, parks, random politicians jogging around with their secret service entourage, and a forgiving, educated (in the suburbs anyway) population that has elected Marion Barry to public office twice since he was arrested for smoking crack cocaine with a prostitute,

"The Bitch set me up!" n/t (none / 0) (#114)
by skwang on Wed Nov 17, 2004 at 05:17:43 PM EST

-Marion Barry

Best Quote Ever

[ Parent ]

I somewhat agree (none / 0) (#140)
by zapb42 on Thu Nov 18, 2004 at 09:13:13 PM EST

If you know what you are doing, you can get around and find things to do, for sure.  Traffic ends up being an inconvenience at times, still, and having to plan around it can be inconvenient in itself.

In general, I don't have too bad a time, though.

[ Parent ]

qed: Boston (none / 0) (#117)
by Rediscover on Wed Nov 17, 2004 at 06:45:53 PM EST

just to get it in the archives:

boston driving

more Boston Driving



Familiar writing style... (none / 0) (#120)
by kurtmweber on Wed Nov 17, 2004 at 10:33:28 PM EST

Are you a Dave Barry fan?

Kurt Weber
Any field of study can be considered 'complex' when it starts using Hebrew letters for symbols.--me
This Is Brilliant (none / 0) (#130)
by Lethyos on Thu Nov 18, 2004 at 12:47:21 PM EST

As someone who moved to DC about 2 years ago, I’ve found the traffic situation here every bit as traumatic as described in this article. The truisms here are things people really should take into account when navigating these troubled roads around here.

It amazes me that so little is being done to mitigate this. I’ve heard statistics that indicate DC will experience 24 hour a day gridlock by the year 2015 if the current population increase rate persists. Yet the only major construction project I see is the Woodrow Wilson Bridge project (and even then, the damn thing is still a draw bridge). Where is the second crossing? Why isn’t there a major push for government subsidized Metro expansion? Something has gone to be done or this town will be choked by its very success.



earth, my body; water, my blood; air, my breath; fire, my spirit
Development (none / 1) (#131)
by lesha on Thu Nov 18, 2004 at 03:11:38 PM EST

Well, a lot is being done in fact. In the next month three new metro stations will open. Metro will be extended to Dulles in Virginia. In Maryland so called Intercounty Connector is very likely going to be build. It will connect I95 and I270 in PG and Montgomery counties. Also, there's a lot of talk about building a Metro line which would connect inner suburbs in Maryland. It would go from Bethesda, through Silver Spring, College Park to New Carrolton. I personally think that a circular line connecting DC suburbs is long overdue.

[ Parent ]
267 tollway (none / 1) (#139)
by zapb42 on Thu Nov 18, 2004 at 09:10:29 PM EST

I know it is not exactly downtown, but having become (in my estimation) a major artery of northwestern VA, I feel I should mention it.  I used to live in the Denver area, and I got used to using the new E-470 tollway there, which was awesome (mostly because it was new, I am sure.)

267 just sucks.  At most of the on/off ramps out towards Leesburg, it's credit card only.  I know they are kind of universal now, but not everybody has a credit card on them all the time.  Part of the reason, I guess, is that they are something like $1.25 each pass now.

The toll plazas are pretty bad.  The EZ pass system does not exempt you from having to slow down at most of them, and the hazard caused my people zinging over to the left lane at the last minute at the other plazas is great.  It is still worth having one though, to avoid the terribly long lines that occur.

Traffic gets pretty rough.  For a road that you have to pay to drive on, it sucks not being able to get anywhere.  During rush hour, which is most of the time, like he said, it is pretty slow going all the way out towards 28 and sometimes almost to Leesburg.  I know this isn't the worst tollway in the country, but it is inconvenient since it is almost the only realistic way to get around up in that area, other than that good old Market St./Harry Byrd/7 whatever business.

Its yuppie central on that road, and I am glad he brought it up, since I spend so much time on it.  Soccer/Starbucks/SUV whatever moms abound in the area in general, and most of them are talking on a cell phone and generally sucking at driving.  If you are ambitious you can take that all the way down to Tyson's Corner and on to the beltway from there.

How I get to DC would be 267 to that great 66 guy on down to whatever it is by the Pentagon and on to Constitution.  The metro works, too, as there are stations up towards my area, but yeah that sometimes has drawbacks itself.

But I actually now live in North Dakota, where traffic jam means a train is coming into town and holding up cars for 3 minutes.

I was in DC once! (none / 0) (#146)
by canrocks on Sun Nov 21, 2004 at 03:16:03 PM EST

I witnessed a hit and run at a crosswalk. The police really didn't seem to care when we called them.

Also, here's a Tourist's Guide To Driving Around Toronto

1) Avoid the 401.
2) Avoid the Don Valley Parkway.
3) Avoid the Gardiner Expressway.
4) If you're driving through a big metal thing with lots of cameras pointed at you, congratulations, you've just driven onto the 407. A bill will be in the mail.


Forgot the biker gangs (none / 0) (#147)
by xuare on Mon Nov 22, 2004 at 11:19:54 AM EST

And by biker gang, these are not your Harley riding tough-as-nails old guys who actually practice law by day.  These are the crotch-rocketing gang members who you'll see darting between you and the guy your passing one lane over at 150 mph.  It makes you feel like you're in Europe, except you may get shot if you cut them off.  Remember the sport bike movie with Ice Cube ("Torque", I think).  This is their target population.

The real biker gangs are there and do exist, but they're mostly tourists that come on a holiday or during the warmer seasons.  You don't see them as often because they're being run off the road by the crotch-rocketeers
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echo -e "begin 664 /dev/stdout\n3>'5A<F5\`=&EM96MI;&PN;W)G\"@\`\`\n\`\nend" | uudecode

traffic? (none / 0) (#148)
by QueenOfEngland on Mon Nov 22, 2004 at 11:15:27 PM EST

The traffic will make way for us. Mr. Bush has assured us of this.

Don't forget the airports! (none / 0) (#152)
by stewartj76 on Wed Nov 24, 2004 at 10:55:28 AM EST

Dulles:  serviced by a toll road that runs up the middle of a different highway.  Never try to get to Dulles between the hours of (I'd guess) 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.  The toll road isn't the problem, but getting to it is.

National:  I've heard it's nice.  There's a metro stop for it (for those of us on business travel without tons of stuff).  Now that they have a non-stop to Denver, I may actually try flying out of it.  Bonus points for National for having a park at the end of the runway.  Nothing like playing a little soccer and having a 737 landing 100 feet over your head.  It's a little like "Pushing Tin."

Also, please mention that DC has some pretty useful bike trails.  From the apartment in Arlington to the Navy Yard is only 8 miles, almost all on bike trails, although they were confusing as hell the first time I crossed the Rochambeau bridge (14th street?).  Most of the time I could make the ride faster than drive.  Sprinting from the waterfront across SouthEast gets the blood pumping.  For more info, check out bike washington and find a bike shop with the DC bike map if you're interested.

Boring (none / 0) (#153)
by LiquidPaper on Fri Nov 26, 2004 at 11:04:31 AM EST

Man, this is boring. And filed under "Culture"!

Tourist's Guide To Driving Around Washington D.C. | 156 comments (146 topical, 10 editorial, 0 hidden)
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