Driving DC - monday 2008-07-14 0559 last modified 2008-07-14 2333
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Major cities are unfriendly to drivers, the ones not bought out by the auto industry decades ago providing useful public transport systems to keep metropolitan residents from revolting. DC has evolved differently by, presumably, a combination of building height ordinances (no taller than Capitol Hill, so no high rises) and federal land ownership. As it turns out, this means the district can't domicile its mass of white collar employees, and now it's home to the very wealthy, renters, students, and blue collar workers for whom it makes no sense to live outside the district. The surrounding areas in Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia seem to be a giant exurb. Since no sane municipality invests heavily in sparse suburban public transport, and with no good, cheap way to park a car in DC, it's almost a burden to have one here. How do I get in to have dinner with a friend?

Parts of DC are rapidly undergoing a gentrification process that, according to Christi, is driving a notable racial and economic divide further east. The middle class has all fled outside the Beltway; squeeze too hard, and those of lesser means will have nowhere to go. There's a serious difference between urban renewal and driving people from their homes to make way for apartment complexes. It will be interesting to watch over the next few years.

About driving. Why is George Washington Parkway, a hilly, curvy, narrow, and vital corridor along the Potomac, completely unlit? And why is Cabin John such a mash of information overload on what times which roads turn or reverse flow? Someone in the traffic department needs to invest in tollbooth red X's and green arrows. Those of us wishing to remain ambulatory are unwilling to stop in 50mph traffic to digest the short stories on your signs, many of which are hiding behind tall shrubs.

I passed the 1k mile mark today. For some reason I thought that would come later, but I am estimating 12k+ total, so I guess it's not so far ahead of schedule. I'm about 450 road miles away from my point of origin; that sounds about right.

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