Ever since I got out of my daily commute job in DC I’ve studiously avoided situations that require me to be in DC before about 10:00 in the morning. That’s especially true since I drive alone and the HOV restrictions make coming in on Route 66 impossible. This morning was a bit different owing to my weekend guests who were coming in to DC for a conference this week. With them in the car, the magical HOV lanes were open to me and I came right in. Some things change and some things remain the same, as they say, and the trip in this morning proved no exception to that rule.
The myth that HOV lanes speed the traffic along doesn’t hold any more true today than it did a few years ago. With the plethora of hybrid vehicles out there and the exception that exists for them to use the HOV lanes with only 1 person in them means that the line of cars in those lanes were, most of the way, about as thick as the other lanes. What traffic slowups were avoided by being in those lanes on the Dulles Toll Road were replaced with construction delays from the new Metro line prep work. Once inside of those delays on 66 it was back to traffic problems. In all, however, it took just a bit over an hour to get into DC this morning. All in all, not too bad. But not a speedy event, either. Traffic is just traffic.
After dropping my guests off and heading over to my usual haunts, I decided to set up my office at a local Starbucks. Trying to get a picture of the place without including some unwitting fellow commuter was a bit of a trick but I managed.
And just as I was filing this, I was treated to a reminder that DC is truly an international city. Two folks in line were having an earnest discussion in German, a couple of businessmen behind me were talking about meeting some Congresscritter this morning (one of them had a helluva southern twang in his voice) and a young woman on a cell phone was speaking intently in French. Should be a fun day.