The District is escalating what some suburban commuters are calling its war against workers who drive into the city. The city has changed parts of Constitution Avenue NE from a reversible commuter artery back to a quiet side street and is considering removing the reversible lane on 16th Street NW, a key commuting route from Montgomery County.
That idea sounds awesome. Listen, I live on 16th Street. It's loud. Sure, the noise is sometimes attributable to the occasional shout/firework/gun shot (not necessarily all at the same time), but most of the time it's from traffic. Trust me, when you live a 15-minute bike ride from work, suffer from a slight case of insomnia and don't need to be in the office until
The District is moving toward becoming "the most anti-car city in the country," said John Townsend, a spokesman for AAA Mid-Atlantic. "They see commuters as the enemy."
While I think commuting is a big waste of time personally (I'd rather pay more for the luxury of being able to walk/bike anywhere I need to go than pay less and live in, say, Dale City), I don't see commuters as the enemy, per se. Their cars -- perhaps. But commuters themselves? Not if they're doing what most people do in the rest of the world, such as riding the damn commuter trains THAT WERE CONSTRUCTED ESPECIALLY FOR THEM with the other plebes.
And yes, I just called you all plebes. I'm a plebe. You're a plebe. Everyone's a plebe-plebe. Get over it. I don't care whether you drive a broke-down hatchback or a Bentley. If you're driving yourself in a motor vehicle and not commuting via helicopter, hovercraft or some other legitimately cool, non-traditional mode of transportation, you're a plebe and you need to learn to just deal with it. And therein lies the problem.
It seems so many of the people who commute via personal motor vehicle think they're entitled to drive like assholes on my roads. I realize I don't literally own 16th Street, but metaphorically, I do. I live here. You don't. I should be able to ride my damn bike up and down that bitch as much as I want to without worrying about some SUV with Maryland plates honking like an asshole while creeping up dangerously close to my sweet ass when I'm as far to the right as I can possibly get without physically peddling in the gutter and subsequently curbing myself. Not tight.
Improving pedestrian safety is a priority for the city. The District has higher pedestrian death rates than New York, Boston, Seattle, Chicago and Los Angeles, with 2.7 deaths per 100,000 people, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Pedestrian injuries rose from 586 in 2000 to 725 in 2006. District officials said the city's broad avenues create wide expanses of asphalt that make it difficult or intimidating for pedestrians to cross.
Seriously. You, automobile commuter, need to step off ma'jock. Or get a job in Maryland. But let me ride dirty in peace on a road that doesn't double as a major highway every weekday at dawn and on one that doesn't cause me to fear for my slightly precious life while I'm out and about enjoying all the sites, establishments and violent crime that my inner city neighborhood has to offer.
Part of the city's new pedestrian plan would eliminate the reversible middle lane on 16th Street NW through Mount Pleasant and Columbia Heights, pedestrian-heavy sections of the city. The city wants to turn the lane into a landscaped island that would serve as a refuge for pedestrians trying to cross the street.
Thank you, I would love a landscaped island. After failing in so many uniquely retarded ways, DC is finally doing something right, so please, you, your car and your silly "taxation with representation," shut the f*ck up.
U.S. Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.) said the city should be careful not to chase people away. Like the District, Old Town Alexandria would be a nicer place without all the cars, he said. But there is an economic component to be considered, he said, and people in cars represent customers for restaurants and shops.
"Because of the limitations of our rail and bus system, there are an awful lot of suburbanites who don't have access but are willing to spend lots of money in the District," Moran said. "They are dependent on suburban spending for their tax base."
He added: "DC could wind up as an island isolating themselves with these policies. Don't pray too hard for fear that all your prayers will be answered."
Uh-huh, right...The next time I see a rush of suburbanites trying to kick it at Burritos Fast or Don Juan's, maybe I'll indulge Moran in his opinion that it's self-important douches in SUVs from Maryland and Virginia who keep this city afloat. Until that day, however, I'm forced to just keep it real and end this exactly as I started it: Suck it. Or better yet, I'm going to organize a mass Segway tour around Old Town Alexandria. With babies. In double-wide strollers. Reciprocity is a bitch!