8/12/11

Ride In 8/12

Since it's Friday and less than 90, I figured that today would be a good day to ride my schweet town bike and so I did. I also rode a bit easier than normal, happy to be enjoying an easy morning ride savoring the remaining time I have left riding this particular route before we move. I'm not in full-on nostalgia mode yet, but I have begun to think about potential routes from our new house to work and I'll be asking the universe (or at least twitterverse) about the best bike routes north-by-northwest (by crop duster?) through the city.
Sometimes when a superbiker meets a fixie you can get a serious demonstration of bike skills. Other times, you just get the confluence of the two most annoying biker stereotypes. I rode behind this guy from about Clarendon to Court House (doing my best to keep up on my milkman-style bike) and was treated to a fairly amazing demonstration of skid stopping. With some quick backpedaling, he slowed himself to a complete stop in a matter of feet. The skid sounded like three short bursts from a pneumatic drill. This wasn't just some hipster. Dude had skills. Skills that I completely lack and would never even attempt to develop. I can barely stop with hand brakes.
Day 3 of my "Clarendon Boulevard Closed Bike Lane" vigil. It's probably going to be another week. That's just a guess and not even a well-informed one.
Sometimes I make the mistake of reading comments on car-bike crash stories. I shouldn't do this. It's one thing to have a "debate" but you can't really debate if you don't share the same premises. Namely, if you think that bicyclists are solely responsible for anything that happens to them and that drivers don't bare the same level of responsibility, there's simply no common ground from which to have any meaningful discussion. Likewise, if you think that roads are solely for the movement of cars and not the movement of people and that any non-car transportation is secondary in nature, there's simply nowhere to go with that. Reasonable people can disagree about things, but if there's no common starting point, there's no point in starting.I guess the only heartening takeaway is that the commenters to every internet news story (not just bike ones) are jerks, so that's something, right?
Saw a fellow bike commuter crossing M (illegally and sort of stupidly) in front of the bridge. It's better just to merge in with car traffic on M if you ever get caught on the upstream side and you need to be on the downstream side.
Anyone have any recommendations for a good bikeworthy coffee travel mug? The one I have is basically a dribble glass. Also, anyone have any recommendations for a good stain remover?
When Ken Archer writes something in GGW, it's always worth your time to read it. Most of the time, especially when it's about that local university that everyone hates, it's SMH like nobody's business , but every once in a while, he stumbles upon something that's actually sort of interesting. His latest post was about a few different things, but primarily about the District's subsidization of the driving habits of out-of-state workers. It's also about skills mismatch and unemployment, but only secondarily. Here's what I especially found interesting:
This self-defeating deference to suburban commuters is found in the design of streets across the city. My residential street (33rd Street in Georgetown) is primarily used by Virginians crossing the Key Bridge to get to jobs in Upper Northwest. Two of the most iconic streets in our city, M and Wisconsin in Georgetown, have become car sewers for suburban commuters during rush hour. Unsurprisingly, most jobs in Georgetown, including the large percentage of leisure and hospitality positions, are held by Virginians.
Why do we allow this? Let's replace a lane on each side of M and Wisconsin with a dedicated transit lane or widened sidewalks, and push to get streetcar service into Georgetown to help DC residents access Georgetown jobs. Let's cut off my Georgetown residential street and others to through traffic.
Since I ride through Georgetown daily, I guess I have something of a vested interest in its traffic conditions.
I would really, really like DDOT (or committed amateurs?) to actually measure the veracity of the claims that most cars on the roads (residential and commercial) belong to suburban car commuters and not urban car commuters who live in the neighborhood and are driving to their jobs downtown. Because, unlike what the movie No Way Out suggests, there is no metro in Georgetown. And I don't think that bus usage in these neighborhoods is particularly high either. So, while I don't doubt K Dawg's (not an officially sanctioned nickname for Mr. Archer) assertion that out-of-state car commuters are a problem, I'm not entirely sure to what extent they're the real traffic problem. I think I'm just sort of suspicious of this kind of argumentation since it's very similar to the "students and university employees make the traffic" argument that comes up in the AU campus plan hearings when traffic surveys shows that they only account for 12% of the rush hour car traffic. Sometimes it's the just the car dependent people who live in the neighborhood who are causing the neighborhood traffic. Will replacing a lane on each M and Wisconsin with a dedicated transit lane really make Georgetowners less likely to drive cars to work? I'm not so sure.
This is my last workday of cat sitting (which has really only consisted of stopping in the morning to feed them, not actual sitting) so this means it's my last morning of riding in residential Glover Park. Thanks GP- it's been real. One my way from the cats, I saw a colleague driving past me. He rolled down his window and said "I can't believe you bike up this hill." I said "Yeah, every day" even though I was still two hills away from the hill that I bike up every day and I sort of thought that maybe he was referring to a different hill and not the hill we were currently on, which I almost never ride up, but in hindsight, I don't know what I thought this. He then drove off. What I really wanted to say was "I can't believe you drive to work" because it's really not that far to walk. It's a judgmental thing to think, but I'm unabashedly judgmental, so I guess that's not a surprise that I thought that. If I lived less than a mile from work, I think that driving and paying for parking wouldn't be the best use of my money. But freedom is freedom and people should be allowed to do what they want for whatever reason they want.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Post a Comment