The Funny Questions You Ask While Commuting

This morning, while riding to work, an odd question came to my mind. We drove up 395 through mostly sparse traffic (hooray for Friday!) and over the 14th St. Bridge, past the Tidal Basin all pink with cherries and took the 12th St. Exit.

Passing under the streets of DC, I noticed something odd about the lights of the tunnel. At the southern end of the tunnel, the lights are constant, one after another, for about a third of the length of the tunnel. Then, it goes down to groups of three. Then two. Then one.

lightlightlight lightlightlight lightlightlight

lightlight lightlight lightlight

light light light.

Why is that? Did they run out of lamp fixtures? Decide it was too bright at the North end of the tunnel? Not have enough amperage to run the whole string?

Odd. What are your commuting oddities, dear readers?

5 Comments so far

  1. Emily (unregistered) on April 8th, 2005 @ 11:14 am

    I think they do it because of the light from the end of the tunnel. Because there’s light coming in from the end of the tunnel, they don’t need to have as many lights set up. I’d imagine this saves them a chunk of change, since they don’t need to pay for the extra lighting. I’ve seen this kind of lighting setup in a bunch of different tunnels.

  2. Tom Bridge (unregistered) on April 8th, 2005 @ 11:18 am

    That may well be the case, come to think of it, but it’s weird they do it at the north end, but not also at the south…

  3. Ted (unregistered) on April 8th, 2005 @ 1:21 pm

    There is a similar arrangement in the Roslyn tunnel on I 66. Rather annoying if nothing else.

  4. Emily (unregistered) on April 8th, 2005 @ 1:37 pm

    Do they have it set up that way in the tunnel on both ends? I’d imagine it would start out with a maximum concentration of streetlights, to minimize drivers’ need to adjust to the dark tunnel from what could be a very sunny day. That means that each direction would have the spaced-out lights at different ends, so both sides of the tunnel would see the spaced-out lights at the end of the tunnels.

  5. Adeel (unregistered) on May 9th, 2005 @ 2:41 pm

    its simple really, to keep the attention of the driver in focus, so he doesnt doze off while driving :D

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