About Sums Up Last Night’s Drive Home

25th and M Street, NW – 6pm

Despite its many many failures, I’ve never loved metro more. Thanks to a reader for capturing the misery of last night’s commute home for many. The look says it all:


128 Comment

  • Who knew that little stretch of Beach Drive would fcuk up the entire city. This is sooo unsustainable.

  • I noticed during my regular jog home from the office. (I’m not being smug, it’s just…okay I’m being smug.) It was like this in much of downtown. Any particular reason?

    • HaileUnlikely

      Yeah. I’m trying to build back up to my Takoma-to-downtown run by the time the next red line phase of SafeTrack rolls around. Hell, if that fails, I could probably walk the 6.5 miles faster than the bus will get me there during that phase.

      • Takoma to downtown and back as a daily running commute? Omg I just put two and two together! Casual daily half marathon commuting like it’s no big deal. You’re Haile Gebrselassie arent you?!! Truly an honor to have you on popville.

        • HaileUnlikely

          Hah. Haile Gebrselassie is one of my heroes, and the inspiration behind the name that I use on here. Good job putting that together. I did Takoma to downtown and back every day for about 8 years in my “youth” (when I was in my twenties), but somewhere along the way, I seem to have allowed myself to get old, lazy, and fat, and that run is a lot harder than it used to be, despite my being younger now than my namesake was when he took the marathon WR under 2:04.

          • What’s your typical route from Takoma to downtown? I just moved up to FT Totten and need a good route. Thank you in advance if you have a few seconds to answer this.

          • HaileUnlikely

            If you are starting from Fort Totten, you obviously have a much longer east-west component to your run than I do. I can’t claim any special wisdom on that part.
            I take a little side street that I live on to Alaksa Ave, take Alaska to 16th, then run most of the way to downtown on 16th, and at some point I move over to 14th because I work on 14th.
            If you work closer to Union Station, the MBT has some appeal, though I’m honestly not sure if I’d use it in the evening due to safety concerns.
            If you work closer to or west of Metro Center, I’d getting from wherever you live to Irving Street where it intersects Michigan over by CUA, then take Irving west to 11th, 13th, 14th, or 16th, and take that the rest of the way south.
            If you live close to a major bus route, something that can also work well is running out of downtown and then getting on a bus later. I do that now because I’m too out of shape to do the whole run home. In your case, maybe run up 13th, 14th, or 16th to Military Road and then maybe get an E bus home from there.

      • How do you get your work clothes to/from work? I assume a backpack, but does it flop around on your back? I’m curious about trying when the weather is nice, but I can’t stand things flopping on me when I run.

        • HaileUnlikely

          Yes, backpack. I find it helpful to use one that has both a waist strap and straps that go around the backpack so you can tighten up the pack itself around its contents, i.e., so the contents don’t flop around within the pack either. I also find that there is some optimum load for the backpack, such that if all I have in there is my pants and shirt, it’ll still flop around a little, whereas if it is more full (but still light), it stays in place better and is generally less annoying, so sometimes if I’m not carrying much, I’ll throw a jacket in there just to help balance the load, even if I otherwise have no need for a jacket (e.g., today!). Now that I am out of shape and out of the habit of doing this twice a day every day, I admittedly find the backpack annoying and uncomfortable, but back when I did it all the time, it look maybe a week to get used to it and I never even thought about it after that.

        • I agree with everything Haile said. I’ve had very good results with small hiking-style backpacks, which have a waist strap and in one case a chest strap also (connecting the arm straps together). The packs I use are sort of tall and narrow, so they carry enough stuff but they don’t feel bulky; they’re actually meant to be used as hydration packs (one is a Camelbak) but I just take out the bladder and use it as a backpack.

        • ditto HaileUnlikely and Anonymous. I just tried to google for the backpack I use for run commuting and wasn’t able to find the exact model but I think the keys are: 1) lightweight material, 2) double front straps (across the chest and the stomach), and 3) optimum load (not too heavy, but full enough to not flop around – for me a towel usually works well for this). a bonus is – once you start doing this regularly, when you go out on a regular run without the backpack you’ll feel so much lighter!

        • Look for “backpacks” designed for trail running / enduro races. I’m sure that there’s something that will fit your bill (fairly) closely.

        • I use the patagonia forerunner for my run-commutes. Fits just about everything for work: dress (or pants/shirt), shoes, toiletries and wallet/work badge and dry clothes for the run home. I’m lucky that my work has a shower with towels, though.

          It wasn’t cheap, but I use it a few times a week and it came with a great water bladder. You can cinch it down really snug and forget that it’s there.

  • NH Ave Hiker

    is this really from Beach Drive being shut down?

    • My question too. I understand Beach Drive shutdown will force more people on to the main arteries in DC (16th, 14th, 12th, E, etc). But by that much? Should we expect that commute to be the new norm? My girlfriend works in Foggy Bottom. What normally takes her 15-20 minutes to drive took her an hour and 15 minutes. Hopefully this will not be the case for the next three years.

    • Prince Of Petworth

      Some say there was also an Obama motorcade/visit to the new National Museum of African American History and Culture.

      • I saw a motorcade (didn’t count the vehicles so I don’t know whose it was) at about 5:15-5:20, at 16th and M. And heard more sirens than usual. So I bet you’re right: roaming VIPs had a lot to do with it.

      • The traffic between 19th & K St and 16th & K St was TERRIBLE well before the motorcade though (I was stuck in it around 4:15). I think there was also a fender-bender or something.

        • Yeah the traffic on L St between 19th and 16th was worse than usual yesterday too (also headed out at 4:15). Though my normal 25 minute drive was lengthened by only about 10 mins. I didn’t see anything past the usual cars/delivery trucks illegally parked and blocking lanes so I’m not sure what the traffic was about.

          • Was awful on K st as well–I was 10 minutes late to pick up mtpkiddo as a result! Silly me thinking that the S1 would be faster than walking to 16th & catching the S2/S4/S9….

          • Hahaha mtpresident — that was EXACTLY the same mistake I made!!!

    • I have a hard time believing that side streets in Georgetown were gridlocked by the Beach Drive closure. This traffic was more akin to that found during the tree lighting ceremony. But, we’ll find out over the next two weeks.

      • Well, Georgetown is a gridlock most evenings, and M street feeds directly onto RCP, and the horrendous traffic on P street getting onto RCP probably spread down to Georgetown too.

      • I live in MtP and usually take Rock Creek home when returning from VA. I took the P street exit because Rock Creek was backed up starting at the P street bridge. It took me almost ten minutes to get up the hill to P street. I headed north to Q but it took me longer to drive from 28th and Q to 22 and Q than it took an elderly couple to walk. This was around 6pm. So yes, I do think this was mostly due to Rock Creek shutdown. Hoping we can all figure it out and reroute. (also hoping to get a job where I can bike to work….)

    • You guys can’t discount the traffic resultant from the Bad Boy tour at Verizon center. People still pay top dollar to see Puff Daddy and his ilk, right? (Also, I think Thursday’s are generally a higher-traffic day in general.)

      • Apparently there was also a big gala at the new African American History Museum last night. Which comports with what I saw when I drove my Vespa home last night at 640pm – cars traveling south were totally gridlocked and the northbound lanes of Connecticut in downtown DC were empty. In fact, CT Ave southbound cars filled the entire tunnel under Dupont Circle and were backed up past Florida Avenue. The southbound cars were blocking the intersections and thus screwing up everything for other drivers. It was total pandemonium downtown and MPD cops were just standing around on corners, not even attempting to bother to control traffic.

  • HaileUnlikely

    Does anybody have any special insight into whether this was mostly attributable to that portion of Beach Drive being shut down or whether this was something else entirely? I work by Metro Center, left work at 6:30 PM last night, and there was complete gridlock on southbound 14th and all east-west streets crossing 14th from Thomas Circle on south. At the same time, my wife was waiting for a southbound S2, S4, or S9 from near the Silver Spring line and none came for over 40 minutes, during which time there were scheduled to be about 5 or 6 buses, which presumably were stuck downtown. Was this all because of Beach Drive, or was there something else going on too?

    • We’ll find out tonight…

    • I was running through Rock Creek Parkway around 6:30 PM and there was northbound bumper to bumper traffic going up to Beach Drive all the way down to the Kennedy Center from the Calvert Street/Woodley Park exit. I make that run around the same time most nights and have never seen traffic that bad. The traffic is usually on the southbound side. I also saw a motorcade around 7:00 on Massachusetts around Dupont, but it seems like most of the traffic was from RCP.

      • It was bumper to bumper by 3:00pm northbound on Rock Creek Parkway. Was such a mess. Nice to be able to run on Beach Dr for portions until they actually start construction. 🙂

  • Clueless

    Ugh, last night’s commute was a total clusterfart.

  • the inefficiency of cars as the primary people mover in a city continues to astound. i get that some people are forced into a commute like this by real estate prices, but there doesn’t seem to be much of an impetus to rationalize the transportation system from the people most affected by it.

    • Yeah, cars are ridiculous in the context of a dense urban environment. I count the number of occupants per bumper-to-bumper car while I’m waiting for the bus on 16th street in the morning, and it’s maybe 1 in 10 that has more than one person in it.

      • maxwell smart

        This is taking a very narrow-view. First of all, DC is not really a “dense urban environment” – this isn’t NYC. Second, a large portion of the DC workforce is commuting from the outer suburbs. Yeah, it’s nice if you live within the city center and can walk/bus/bike to the work – that’s not the reality for a lot of people, especially with the growing cost of living within DC.

        • dc is still dense, even if it isn’t at nyc levels of density. and i think many of those single occupant cars are coming from closer in suburbs, which could and should have better transport options (improving metro is not the only way to fix this). plus, they do provide benefits to dc, but whether they come from the exurbs or the nearby suburbs, they also create negative externalities for the hundreds of thousands of people who actually live in the city in terms of safety, noise, pollution, etc.

        • I have a number of co-workers in my office near my Foggy Bottom office who drive in from Bethesda, Silver Spring, Arlington, etc. I don’t understand why. And then they bitch about traffic.

      • pretty sure the dense urban environment doesn’t extend more than a few miles away from K. Street. In reality, greater washington has millions upon millions of occupants in a sprawling mess of row houses and detached homes. The urban core is trifling. Until the zoning changes to allow the growth of true density in the core, we will always be overwhelmed by automobile users.

        • there’s also an argument that the suburbs should carry their true burden by allowing their own zoning changes. those detached homes didn’t get there by some accident of history; they were zoned that way. maybe the inner ring suburbs should allow more development, and then public transit would be more economical going out say 15-20 miles, instead of like 6.

          • maxwell smart

            Our public transit already goes out 15-20 miles, which is part of the reason it’s actually not that successful as it’s trying to be both a commuter rail AND a city subway.

          • exactly. a change in zoning for the suburbs would allow it to be more economical to run transit out that far.

        • That’s what Park & Ride is for. Drive in the suburbs, public transportation if you need to come into the dense urban bits.
          Of course, the public transportation needs to get a lot better for this to be practical.
          I read a quote, can’t remember who said it, nor the exact wording… The mark of a truly wealthy society is not poor people owning cars, it’s rich people taking the subway.

      • agreed with *** ! Not to mention those of us unfortunate enough to buy in the city and have our company decide to move out to the outer suburbs, or put us on a new government contract in the suburbs. I would LOVE to not be one of the people solo in a car, but unfortunately it doesn’t make sense to live near where I work when where I work changes based on the client every 6-12 months (and this is very typical for MANY people in the fed consulting industry). Every day I pray to be reassigned to a project downtown so I can go back to my 20 minute bus commute.

        • Agree. My house is totally walkable to the job I had 3 jobs ago. Also, I drive but my husband commutes by bike. We have 2 people with different jobs in different places. I love my job but hate that it’s in the far suburbs unreachable by transit. Life isn’t always as simple as live by your job.

          • maxwell smart

            Right. Also, maybe you just don’t like the area of town your job is at as a place to live. Personally, I have zero interest to live in DuPont / Logan Circle / Shaw area near my office.

          • You can justify your personal decision any way you like. But the fact that it takes an hour+ to drive 10 miles (or sometimes 3 miles!) is a clear sign that something is not right.
            Would you rather spend infrastructure dollars on more roads, or on improved public transportation? Seems like a lot of people are just determined to stay in their personal bubble of convenience no matter how bad it is for the region as a whole.

          • maxwell smart

            @wdc: Where are we getting these “more roads?”

          • Exactly. Very astute. So I guess we have to accept hour+ commutes over short distances, or invest in public transportation. And therein lies the problem. There’s no political will to make that investment because people are too attached to their cars. Around and around we go…

          • maxwell smart

            This is a much larger issue than transit. Availability of housing. Affordability of housing. Schools. Crime. Safety. People don’t willingly move to outer suburbs because they love to commute.

          • @wdc I totally agree we need more public transit. I guess my point (which was rambling) was that people may not choose to contribute to the solo driver situation. The DMV is sprawling and though someone may pick a place to live so they can participate in public transportation to their job (be it a 20 minute bus ride or an hour long metro commute), there’s not really a centralized business district in DC. Yes we have K st and the gov’t headquarters in DC, but businesses are also all over the DMV from Greenbelt to Herndon and because of the nature of many of the industries around here (also because people tend to switch jobs way more often than in previous generations), it’s very difficult for people to NOT contribute to the solo car congestion at some point. That’s all I am saying.

            Please please figure out a way to get the jurisdictions in VA, MD, and DC to decide they value spending on public transit the same, and I am all about a mix of commuter rails and downtown metro that makes sense and makes commuting throughout the sprawling region a lot more efficient.

    • Well it depends. Where is your office? On average, if you use public transportation, how long will it take for you to get to work vs driving yourself? Do you work shifting hours? Do you have kids?

      And that’s literally scratching the surface. There are so many reasons why cars are in fact the most efficient way to drive in the city. When public transport gets you somewhere in 30-40 minutes or it takes you 15-20, it is not insignificant.

      • But the bus commute *wouldn’t* take longer than driving if there weren’t so many damn single-occupant cars clogging up the roads. The buses take a long time because they’re stuck in the same damn traffic.

        • That assumes you have a single-bus commute. I live in Petworth and work near Union Station. I would have to take minimum 2, likely 3 buses to bring me anywhere close to a door to door commute (the 2 bus solution has me walking at least 1/2 a mile) and takes over an hour. I can walk to work faster than taking the bus, and I can drive in 20-30 mins (though I very rarely do, like 2x/year).

          • Sure. My point is that if there were less cars on the road, there would be less traffic for mass-transit like buses to get stuck in, and even complicated bus commutes like yours would take less time than they currently do. Dedicated bus lanes would also help with this, but that would require getting rid of a driving lane, and drivers would freak the f out.

          • maxwell smart

            There are, at best, a handful of streets in DC that could afford to lose 2 lanes (1 lane each direction) for a dedicated bus lane. Most streets in DC are 4 lanes, at best. In order to implement this magic dedicated bus lane approach, you would be reducing almost every street in DC to 1 lane each direction. Anytime someone needs to make a left – stopped traffic. Cab stops to pick up/drop off – stopped traffic.

          • i would assume you’d put the dedicated bus lanes on the very few wide streets (e.g., with 6 lanes) that carry the vast majority of commuters, not on like swann street. you could even do just one dedicated lane that changes directions with the rush hour. but yeah, it requires some thinking beyond, der, where will we put the cars?

    • maxwell smart

      You can’t be serious? Maybe if the metro wasn’t a crumbling dumpster fire and the buses actually ran remotely on time, people would use public transit. But the reality is that too many commuters have found that driving is more efficient and cheaper in many cases than gambling on if the metro is going to work.

      • yeah, my point was you’d think people would want to fix it, and even make it better, rather than sit in traffic for 2 hours every day. public transit isn’t rocket science; many cities without the resources available to dc make it work. but dc commuters seem to think, it sucks now, so let’s double down on more roads.

        • maxwell smart

          I think DC has been more than vocal about their disappointment in the metro. The increase in cyclists, drivers, and work-from-home and the decline in ridership to 10 year lows clearly indicates that people are voting with their dollars.

          • I don’t dispute that WMATA needs significant improvement, but not all of the decline in ridership is WMATA’s fault. The fact that gas prices now are about half what they were 10 years ago makes a big, big difference.

        • I think people realize that the problem is systemic. The metro is broken. Hiring more nonriders who drive to work to the board is not going to fix it. Until WMATA realizes that they need to prove changes are being implemented, ridership will continue to fall.
          And we haven’t doubled down on more roads. We have added more cars and people to the roads. The problem is that a lot of people do in fact need cars in urban areas. Automobiles are super important whether you think bikes are more efficient or not is of no point here.

        • I do not recall a time when public outcry ended a regime of corruption (ie. Metro). If you can give me some good examples, I may change my opinion.

          • i’m talking about public support for taking simple steps to improve transit. i’m pretty sure a public outcry led to that streetcar travelling in mixed-traffic, basically rendering it useless. i’m also pretty sure there are public outcries, mainly by businesses, any time its suggested to get rid of parking along connecticut and 16th and georgia. churches in my area have led public outcries when there have been suggestions of eliminating bus stops to speed up the trip downtown. so, yes, car commuters actively work against the simple steps that would help everyone.

      • I agree Metro disappoints, but those buses don’t come on time because they have to be in the same shi**y traffic as the cars. If the buses had dedicated lanes then they would become efficient. But then you’d have to take away a lane from cars (and parking) which isn’t politically feasible because drivers would scream bloody murder. So we just go back to the same crappy congestion we have now. I think that’s what dcpolis is taking about. Drivers need to quit complaining and get out of their own way; or live with the congestion and stop complaining. In a dense urban core you’re not going to be able to get the convenience of single-occupancy and lack of congestion, you have to pick one or the other.

    • Inefficiency means a lot of different things to different people. My commute in the morning via car is 15 minutes; by mass transit it would be around 60 minutes. In the evening, it’s 25 minutes by car to get home;, last night, even with that traffic, it was less than 40 (though I admit I was able to miss most of the traffic, other than a few blocks). Going home, the commute would routinely exceed an hour, and that’s by bus, the most convenient mass transit for me. Last night, with that gridlock, I have no idea how long the bus would have taken. The metro, with the walking involved, would be 75 minutes routinely.
      tl;dr – for me personally, single-passenger auto is unquestionably the most efficient commuting method.

      • yeah, but say bus only transit lanes were added and the amount of stops reduced. that could cut the bus trip in half. but to do so, you’d lose a lane of traffic, which would be unconscionable to drivers. my point was not that cars don’t make sense for you as an individual right in this exact moment, but that public transit is the better option in general, so we should work to fix it.

        • “but that public transit is the better option in general, so we should work to fix it.”
          I happen to agree with you, but it’s an opinion not a general truth. Many people would actually say “personal vehicle travel is the better option in general, so we should work to fix it.” Both options can obviously coexist, but there are also tradeoffs, since things like land and money are in limited supply. And as we’re seeing now, sometimes both can be challenging because you have to fix stuff occasionally.

        • “but that public transit is the better option in general, so we should work to fix it.”
          That, I do agree with. It’s unlikely, given the particular placement of my office and house, that it’ll ever be a better option for me, but it definitely should be fixed.

    • HaileUnlikely

      Obviously, something can be both very bad for society but very good for a few individual people.

      • This is true. Except if in respect to cars….I think you mean “can be bad for single, predominantly white, people who live in the city” but very good for “families as well as minorities who live more on the fringes and have to travel far for work”

        • No. The issue is how do we make public transportation good for all those groups?

          • All night bus service? More frequent buses to less served areas? Faster service from those underserved areas to where work is?
            But there are also problems that public transportation simply can’t fix. If you live in an underserved area and you have two kids that are toddlers. How do they expect you to go food shopping for the family? You expect to carry all the bags while also carting off the two kids? You need a car? Or what if you work outside the city limits and your kid gets hurt or sick and you need to pick him/her up from school/or the hospital? That public transportation might get you where you need to be….at some point. But having a car is far more ideal.

          • HaileUnlikely

            I’m not saying cars are evil, I’m specifically talking about driving to, within, and out of the downtown core. It might be beneficial for a given individual to do, but everybody else is worse off because so many people do it.

          • +1 to HaileUnlikely.

    • People arent necessarily forced to commute this way, some choose to do so. Once a week or more there are posts speaking to all of the problems with metro from over crowding, to crime. to just poor rider experience. Some people feel that if they are going to be inconvenienced, than you might as well do so in the comfort of your own vehicle where you can listen to your spotify or satellite radio, talk on the phone, and stop off if you need to. Different days and times of the day produce different traffic patterns. Mondays and Fridays are usually light do all of the teleworking

      • maxwell smart

        No one is forced to do anything, but WMATA has a huge surprise ahead of them if they think people are just going to come back in droves once SafeTrack is completed. Once people ditch public transit in favor of personal vehicles, it’s a tough battle to convince them to come back. Isn’t WMATA already saying something like “you’ll come back to us once gas prices go up!” as in, we’re not really going to make anything better, we’re just going to wait until economic issues con people back onto the metro.

        • If the Beach Drive project regularly causes gridlock like yesterday’s, I bet a lot of drivers will be eager to get back to metrorail when safetrack is done.

          • maxwell smart

            That’s putting a lot of faith that SafeTrack actually works. I don’t exactly have a lot of faith that SafeTrack is actually doing anything.

        • I took UberPool to work during the first Red Line SafeTrack surge. (I have a car but driving to work sounds like a nightmare.) UberPool was perfectly fine, but I was so excited to get back to commuting on Metro when the surge was over.
          I’m completing dreading my commute during the next Red Line surge.

  • I don’t think this was all from the Beach Drive closure, RCP, if you could get there, was not much heavier than usual. There were a bunch of street closures around the Mall, incl 14th between Independence and Constitution from 14th to 17th that I think are more to blame for the chaos of last night’s traffic. At least I hope that’s the case…

    • Rock Creek was slammed at 5:45 yesterday.

    • Rock Creek was a disaster, way more than normal. The difference in my commute at the exact same time on Wednesday to Thursday was an hour. All due to traffic on Rock Creek. The rerouting they did was awful!

    • Yeah that’s wrong, at least around 6pm. It was pretty easy for me to get from NoVA to the start of RCP (66 east to Whitehurst to Virginia Ave). RCP turned into a parking lot around the P Street exit/entrance and stayed that way until I got onto Connecticut. There were two women walking together at a pace that was not particularly quick. I saw them when I came to a stop on RCP; I inched forward at about the same pace they did, and we got to Connecticut at the same time.
      I imagine some of this is growing pains of people figuring out what works best for them. But some of this is pure congestion and trying to force so many cars through one-lane roads. This is going to be rough.

  • I’m glad I decided to go pokemon hunting and walk home last night.

  • It was unbelievably bad all over upper NW at around 3 when I had to drive to an appointment, and unless it’s a Thursday or Friday before a holiday weekend, it’s never even close to that bad at that hour.

    • +1. I leave work early-ish (4pm) and traffic was already bad, and getting worse by the minute, at that time. Traffic is usually pretty light at that time.

      • Yep. I take the L2 home from Downtown every weekday at the same time — 3 p.m. — and yesterday the trip up Connecticut took 15-20 minutes longer than usual. Keep in mind, this was before any motorcade made things worse. It was especially bad in the Woodley/Cleveland Park areas — i.e. the places where a lot of people usually abandon Connecticut for Beach Drive — before clearing up at Van Ness.

        If it’s going to be like this at 3 p.m. for the next however many years, DC is probably gonna have to extend rush hour restrictions on the front end of evening rush, like they did on the back end for Safetrack. Doubt that will happen, though.

        • maxwell smart

          It needs to be extend on the back-end too! The lane restriction currently ends at 6:30, which is WAY too early. I came through around 7:30 and it was still bumper to bumper, especially around Cleveland Park where all traffic has to crunch down to 2 lanes (thanks service lane).

          • I went for a walk around 7:45p on Conn Ave and was shocked by the traffic still leaving the city. I have been here 9 years and have never seen it that bad.

          • maxwell smart

            Honestly, in the last month the evening rush hour on Connecticut has gotten dramatically worse. I usually work until 7pm to avoid the congestion on my bike ride home, and lately even at 7pm and later, it’s still bumper-to-bumper from Woodley Park through Van Ness.

  • Was this really because of Beach Drive’s closure? It was gridlock from the 3rd Street tunnel/Judiciary Sq to Georgetown. Wowzer

    • A big problem with the Beach drive closure is there is has been no planning as to how to get people out of the park. Everyone now has to come up the hill to Calvert St, near Conn, and go where? Or onto Cathedral. To get onto RCP and go south, you also need to get on the Parkway there. The timing of the lights has got to be changed, there need to be traffic cops directing flow as well, at the merge on the parkway itself heading up and up at Calvert. I came through there last night (stupidly I admit) coming west on Calvert thinking I could slip into the Park there. Well I did but it took 20 minutes to get through the one intersection. There were indeed traffic police (?) there, but they were standing on the corner talking .. they must have given up. When I got down into RCP it was great heading south, but the entire northbound side was jammed all the way to the Kennedy Center.

  • I was told that it was also due to the Puff Daddy Bad Boy Family Reunion at 6pm last night . . . sure it didn’t help.

  • i was also wondering…i bike commute along RI Ave and THAT was also much more terrible than usual, at least in the morning. but that’s totally the wrong part of the city to be impacted by beach drive and i don’t think safetrack is currently impacting the red line…

    guys – if you can bike commute – do it. find a buddy who is comfy biking city streets and do a couple rides with you until you find your footing. especially if your commute is 5 miles or less, at least give it a shot!

  • Sitting on an S4 bus gridlocked at 16th & H Street for at least 10 minutes yesterday I did notice only 1 in 10 cars had 2 passengers, the other 90% were singletons. And every car I observed was a four-seater. There has to be as better way.

  • So much for Car Free Day….

  • I reverse commute and I decided to take GA all the way to Petworth rather than 16th, in case there was Rock Creek consternation spilling over. I ran into an accident on GA, got back over to 16th eventually, where it was practically empty in both directions, just before 7pm. It was weird.

  • One of the reasons why I chose to live in the city when I got a job in DC 25 years ago. From everybody’s comments I must be the only person who has had very few issues with Metro over the years–crowded cars being my primary complaint. If I weren’t so lazy, I could walk the 3 miles to and from work (and have done so on very rare occasions).

    • Me too. And for all the complaining about Metro it’s no worse than the NYC subways were when I lived there, I had an easy trip to and from work last night.

  • DC really need to clear the parked cars off CT Avenue and 16th Street for the duration of the Beach Drive + SafeTrack debacles. It’s just not sustainable to allow a few hundred cars to cause such a massively disproportionate back-up for tens of thousands of commuters, many of whom are trying to use public buses. I’m more than happy to sign a petition banning parking from the length of CT and 16th.

  • alissaaa

    It was definitely worse than usual yesterday. Usually there are DDOT employees out keeping the intersections moving/clear along 14th street and I only saw someone at 14th and Penn yesterday–and not at any of the other intersections, and it seemed way worse than usual traffic-wise, so I didn’t understand why they weren’t there. Part of the result of that was people acting stupid and trying to get through intersections and getting stuck blocking the box. This was around 4:15pm.

    On my way back into the city at 7:30 it was also a mess coming up 12th street from 395. My usual 30-minute drive home at that time took about 55 minutes.

  • I was driving home from SW to Logan, and the 12th street tunnel was completely full between Independence and Constitution. That doesn’t happen too often. WTOP reported that there had been closures of Constitution Ave earlier for “VIP”s but yeah I think there was more to last night’s mess than that.

    Also gird your loins for tonight. The first set of closures for the museum opening start at 7pm.


  • This had nothing to do with Beach Dr. It also started well before 3pm. WTOP was reporting a “VIP” closure along Constitution Ave and portions of 15th, 17th, and 18th streets. Those streets reopened around 430-5pm but Im sure the affects were felt well into the evening rush.

  • It’s ALMOST (but not quite) enough to make me negate my divorce from Metro which was finalized last year. But I live on the red line so next month’s closures would put me over the edge for sure. Only salvation is I telework 3 days a week and will probably increase that to 4 during Oct-Novif this insanity continues.

  • maxwell smart

    I doubt this was all the result of Beach Drive – but it just goes to show that all it takes is to add in something else – a motorcade, concert, etc – and the entire city turns into a parking lot. And given this is DC, where road closures for such things are a daily occurrence, this may prove to be the new norm for some time. There certainly was a number of drivers this morning on Connecticut who clearly were clueless where they were going. Hats off to the driver who made a right turn from the left lane and nearly t-boned me on my bike.

    • west_egg

      “all it takes is to add in something else – a motorcade, concert, etc – and the entire city turns into a parking lot”
      This is absolutely true, and people need to remember it the next time we get a few inches of snow. “Everybody called off work for THIS?!?!?!!” Yes, because normal commuting volume + a little white stuff = unmitigated clusterfart (thanks, Clueless!).

  • I will say that the lack of enforcement of people parking in rush hour traffic lanes is starting to get out of hand. 12th st last night was basically just two lanes instead of three.

  • I have a reverse commute coming from Arlington. To avoid downtown, I took the key bridge to Mst/Canal St in Georgetown. Then through cathedral heights, to Cleveland Park, to Piney Branch and eventually back to GA. Took 1.5 hours total, with 40 minutes to cross the key bridge. Awful.

    Did anyone take Chain Bridge coming from VA Yesterday??? Though it’s out of the way, I was hoping that would be a way to avoid the congestion and stand still traffic.

  • 7th St was backed up heading north from south of the National Archives. Someone on my bus said there was a problem with the 14th St bridge too. I wound up walking from Archives to NoMA and was largely beating vehicular traffic on northbound streets.

  • I complained to Mayor Bowser, DDOT, MPD, & Metro officials yesterday regarding the traffic nightmare and it took me 2 hours on the Metro bus coming from Metro Center to the Carter Barron. I tried sending this email to them, however, the word bastard is used in the link and D.C. Government computer system wouldn’t allow the word. Below is what came back from all the D.C. employees and mayor’s email addresses.

    Your recent message for [email protected] titled Attn: DDOT – About Sums Up Last Night’s Drive Home contains unacceptable words or phrases.

    Please contact OCTO Citywide Messaging for assistance or re-word your message.

  • My bicycle commute took me the same amount of time it always does. Seriously, I highly recommend it to those for whom bike commuting is at all feasible. I felt like I was getting away with armed robbery yesterday while I was zipping through that gridlock.

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