because we don’t bitch enough about our commutes

The Post had an extensive article recently about the ever-lengthening commutes in the DC area and the general head-scratching among our elected officials over what to do about it.

Indulge me, if you will, in one of the most infuriating quotes:

Government officials said they have all but given up on attempts to do anything extraordinary to solve area transportation problems. Instead, they are trying to broaden commuting options for people by experimenting with such proposals as allowing drivers without passengers to pay to use carpool lanes. But they said there was little they can do if people continue to live farther and farther from their jobs.

“There’s nothing we can do to fix it,” said Dan Tangherlini, the District’s transportation director. “There are things we can do to try to influence it. But it is a little frustrating when most people sit around and agree that people are making all the wrong choices and yet more and more people are doing it.”

Yeah, let’s talk for a minute about why people are making “all the wrong choices.” Have these people examined what might be driving commuters to make “all the wrong choices?” You might be able to find affordable housing in a “rapidly gentrifying” neighborhood, which is fine if you’re a 20-something with no kids. But for people with families, “affordable housing” means a townhouse in Reston or a single family home in Centreville. And guess what? Metro doesn’t go out that far- and have you tried getting a bus reliably in this area? Hah….

And this commuter has noticed something that has long irritated me:

“Sometimes it’s just plain scary,” said Danitza Valdivia, 31, a project assistant who lives in Northwest Washington and works near MCI Center — a four-mile commute as the crow flies that takes her a half-hour to negotiate. “I get to work and have to take a coffee break before I start my workday. All of the cars, everybody cutting you off, all those people intent on getting there before you. . . . It’s almost a surprise to get to work or get home safely.”

Attention local drivers who think your hurry is more important than mine: This is Washington DC. If you were really that important, you’d have a motorcade or a helicopter.

3 Comments so far

  1. Shawn Honnick (unregistered) on March 3rd, 2005 @ 2:11 am

    I don’t think my hurry is all that important most of the time (because I am not often in a hurry) but I am frequently convinced the person in front of or beside me in traffic needs to be re-tested for a driver permit. I usually get over it… usually. :-)

  2. dawn (unregistered) on March 3rd, 2005 @ 7:07 am

    I’m so glad you blogged it, Tiff — this article had me mad as a hornet. It’s so true about needing a coffee break when you get to work. I drive 32 miles each way and probably get cut off or have to slam on my brakes that many times during the ride. I literally shut myself in my office, put on makeup, drink coffee and thank my stars that I made it alive another day. I swear, I’ve lost years of my life just from the anxiety.

    And about those who think their time is more precious than ours? Oooh, they might get to work five minutes before I do. Aren’t they freaking special?!?! At least I will get there alive. Some days, you take what you can get. :)

  3. Tom Bridge (unregistered) on March 3rd, 2005 @ 11:50 am

    When I need to drive around here, I definitely good tunes and no ads to make me not want to kill all the Dippies and illegals who managed somehow to acquire a car.

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