5/26/11

Ride In 5/26

I forgot both my new goDCgo water bottle and my sunglasses this morning and I was subsequently sun-blinded and parched. It's a hot day and it was a hot morning, hotter than usual, but probably just a presage of the months to come. I think the two week sweet spot of DC weather is over and as we approach June, we can look forward to gross, uncomfortable commutes with the occasional afternoon thunderstorm. Wear suncreen. Speaking of which, Matt Yglesias posted this chart (based on data from Transportation for America) yesterday:
His takeaway is that pedestrian deaths are a huge public health problem, though not the biggest one we face. My takeaway is that melanoma is really, really scary.
Anyway, you don't read this blog for my mortality-related hangups, but instead for some other reason that advanced google metrics have yet to reveal to me. Perhaps something to do with bicycling?
On my bicycle this morning, I pulled alongside a rather beefy gentleman on a rather large hog, that is to say motorcycle, not boar. He nodded at me with a nod of acknowledgment, as if our bi-wheelism was a uniting bond, and I sort of nodded back, not wanting to affront the beefy gentleman. It was only after I nodded that I saw his holstered sidearm. I'm pretty sure that his polo shirt had some sort of badge insignia on it and he was probably in the law enforcement/security field, but when one lives in Virginia, one never knows.Granted that this is Arlington, but still. Glad I nodded back.
I'm coming not to like the intersection of Fairfax and 10th/Kirkwood because if I can't make it over to the left lane, then I get stuck in a bike lane that just ends and leaves me rather limited options. Being a pragmatist, I choose the "go whatever way you can when there's a break in the car traffic and hopefully end up in the right place" approach. It tends to work, but not without some low-level lawbreaking (I mean running lights, not check fraud, or something).
Fairly uneventful ride down Clarendon. I really wish that the big construction sign past Rhodes could fit into the width of a parking space and not intrude into the bike lane. Are there some regulations about this? If I complained, would I be a NIMBL (not in my bike lane)?
10 bikes, including 2 CaBis, coming in the opposite direction over the bridge today. I don't know if that number will go up or go down as we get closer and eventually into the summer. I don't think that heat tends to dissuade riding as much as a cold, so I expect the number of riders to stay pretty high through October. I also think that CaBi ridership will continue to pick up.
I rode the cobblestones up 35th because I'm a man and I'm tough. Grrrrr! Nothing says tough like "grrrr" which is something that an angry 13 year old Liz Phair fan might type when frustrated by snarky comments in a thread on an online Liz Phair fan forum. I did not extensively research this.
I blew through the stop sign coming downhill on Tunlaw and 39th. A guy driving a green minivan turned his head to give me a real serious look. The reason I so cavalierly rode through the stop sign is because no cars were coming from a direction that would have necessitated my stopping and furthermore, the aggressive driver behind me was closing in quite closely and I feared that had I stopped, I would have been putting myself in more danger than just by riding through and putting more distance between me and the car following me. I'm sorry if I offended your sensibilities, but this is at least an explanation of why I did what I did.
Campus plans! They cause so much traffic! In the way that things in the future affect things in the present! I saw two women walking back after presumably protesting for a while with a handmade, homemade (I hope- if it was professionally done, they got screwed) black marker on white poster board sign reading "AU CAMPUS PLAN CAUSES GRIDLOCK." I tried to get a picture:
Protesters in center, walking home after protesting. Picture taken from 18 miles away.
You might see some stopped cars behind them. I tried to get some other pictures of cars stopped. Here they are:
More traffic on Nebraska.

Long backup down New Mexico.

Now, it might or might not be that AU CAMPUS PLAN CAUSES GRIDLOCK, that is to say that it will cause future traffic jams for some reason that doesn't totally make sense to me. But all things considered, even if the campus plan is rejected, the status quo is pretty terrible! I didn't count or anything, but it didn't look like most people driving their cars on Nebraska and New Mexico this morning had anything to do with AU (it's the summer). They looked like people who live in a part of town that has limited public transportation options who were using their cars to get to their jobs, which aren't at the university. Or maybe they were heading to the DHS headquarters up the road. Or maybe to the store or to drop a kid off at school. Again, I don't really know- I guess I could have stopped and asked. As far as I could tell, the gridlock was caused by too many cars on the road at the same time and not the plan to build stuff within the next decade. But you a sign that has TOO MANY CARS CAUSE GRIDLOCK wouldn't be as fun and you probably wouldn't get much support from your ANC.

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