Ride In 6/16: ____ from the ______

Summer haze and should be hot all week. Mornings aren't as bad as afternoons, but in the way that getting eaten by a lion isn't as bad as getting eaten by a tiger. Drink water, go slow, ride in the shade of trees, wear sunscreen, don a hat, be happy you're not on Venus, where the weather is marginally worse. Stupid Venus.

Living on Capitol Hill and working off it affords me the chance to bike through the Capitol grounds nearly every work day, so naturally this buzzy nonsense about closing streets to cars and building security fences evokes a certain level of personal interest and/or concern. In short, the plan would be to close off a bunch of streets to cars, thereby preventing people from using car bombs to blow up buildings that they could now blow up with car bombs but don't for some reason. Maybe closing these streets would make us all safer. Maybe closing these streets would lead to CARMAGGEDON. Maybe both, maybe neither. However, the thing I think about when I ride or walk through the Capitol complex is just how crappy of an area it is for cyclists and pedestrians. There are security gates. There are metal bollards. There are a sidewalks with no curb cuts. There's a shit ton of car parking for the important people and I doubt that any of this would go away in any kind of pedestrianization plan. Because it's not really a pedestrianization plan. It's a security plan. And while a security plan and a restriction of access might incidentally result in spaces that are free (or freer) from cars and thereby pedestrianized, it's not the same thing as designing a great space for pedestrians as the primary priority. I can assure of this because the streets around the Capitol complex which are currently free (or freer) from car traffic aren't great for the through movement of people walking or on bikes. So, why should I trust them to do any better with even more closed streets? Simply put, I don't think that the people in charge of security want people- whether in cars, on bikes, or on foot- around and I don't think that would change if even more streets were closed. Anyway.

Pennsylvania Avenue to 15th to M. The funny thing about the M Street Cycletrack is that it's still not 100% done. Well, funny isn't exactly the right word. I mean, it's like 89% done and I think we're happy for the B+. The last half block should be done soon. The whole thing could stand to be repaved and I'm sure that's in the cards soon enough. Until then, probably not the best route if you're biking with Faberge eggs, as as one does.

I can guarantee you that I'm more held up by cars on Wisconsin than I ever hold them up. In fact, this might just be true in general. A thought experiment: a commute morning, but no bicyclists are on the road. How much faster does the average driver get anywhere? A second thought experiment: a commute, but there are no cars on the road. How much faster does the average cyclist get anywhere? I think about this every time I'm on my bike stuck in car traffic. You can opt out of driving, but you can't always opt of the consequences of others driving. Unfair? Probably.

I rode up Volta Street to 35th and then down to Tunlaw and up the hill and up New Mexico Avenue in the wonderful, wonderful bike lanes, which are wonderful. By wonderful, I mean totally adequate for their being some white paint, but really, I'm not complaining. So much better to have them than to lack them.


  1. I left for work at 8 instead of 7 this morning. I had to stop along the way. I didn't get to the office until 10 and it was HOT outside. Dang. Can't we average this out with February somehow?
    I think they should put a huge Lexan dome over all the government buildings. On second thought, this would mess up my plan for pneumatic tubes all over town. Drat.

  2. Quails from the Marrows?

    "there are no cars on the road. How much faster does the average cyclist get anywhere?"
    Depends on where you're going. Through somewhere like Cap Hill where there's not a ton of traffic pretty much anytime, maybe like 20% (in my late-night biking experience). Through somewhere like downtown, probably more like 50-75% (assuming that without cars you can pretty much do away with traffic control signals).

    I assume that this is also why some bicyclists cut between lanes and ignore traffic control signals: They want to reach their maximum speed potential. Personally I prefer not being dead, but it would be nice if the two options weren't often mutually exclusive. (but not always: the lights on my commutes on 4th and 6th St NE/SE are timed such that it's all greens going ~15mph during rush hours and it's the BEST [except it ruins the experience of biking anywhere else in the city])