Road Conditions, Washington D.C.
DC taxicabs are a breed all their own. Unlike other cities, DC cabs do not use meters. Rather, they use an arcane 'Zone' system that is based on a series of zones the extend out from the US Capital.
I've lived in DC for ten years and my job takes me up to Capital Hill several times a week. Can drivers often try to over charge me. So keep in mind the following tips on Cab Fare:
1) Most Cab travel occurs downtown and travel between North Capital Street and 22nd street (East to West), and the Mall all the way up to Florida Ave/U street is Zone 1.
2) Fare for travel in one Zone should be about $5 or $6.
3) Cabs Charge a $1.00 more during rush hour
4) Cabs are allowed to pick up other pasengers if they are heading in your direction.
Feel free to email me for more info.
I just had to put this picture I took of a sign on one of the streets outside of Washington D.C. in with my D.C. pages. It is a true warning, to be aware of DUCKS CROSSING.
The many creeks and rivers in the area make for the right living conditions for ducks. So, it's not a pedestrian crossing, nor a deer crossing, but a warning that ducks are crossing the road in this area, so please stop and let them pass.
If you must drive in this city, allow plenty of time for traffic, and parking. Never expect pedestrians to get out of your way--it's they who have the right of way. And that's ALWAYS. This is enforced.
Diplomats, displaying diplomatic tags, tend to ignore parking meters and often park illegally. Their immunity protects them. The same privilege does not apply to others; unfortunately, everyone in this city acts like a diplomat.
Bottom line: Unless you have a handicapped traveller, or are hauling a lot of baggage, it's usually better to take the Metro. Even as a resident, I drive only about once a month. If coming from out of town, you can ride the Amtrak trains, busses, or catch a flight. Driving, one can go to the far end of a Metro Line (e.g. Shady Grove, New Carrolton, Greenbelt, Vienna, or Branch Avenue), and ride the train in.
The Springfield Interchange between I-495 and I-95/I-395 is known in much of the DC Metro area as The Mixing Bowl. Although this relates more to transportation, I do want to warn anyone who has to drive through this area. The interchange used to be absolutely horrible; you had to cross 4 or 5 lanes when coming down from I-495 to get onto I-95 south, and there were plenty of other problems, too. So around 2000, work began on improving this interchange, with a scheduled finish around 2008. Now it is 2006, and it appears they aren't far behind schedule; new ramps have been built and driving in this area is now somewhat easier (however, the immense amount of traffic still makes it a dangerous place to drive).
Motorists on the inner loop of the Capital Beltway will likely see major tie-ups near the Maryland-Virginia border this weekend while construction workers shift the interstate for construction on the new Woodrow Wilson Bridge.
Traffic engineers predicted that the closed lanes and detours could cause delays of up to 90 minutes and backups for as long as 15 miles. The changes will take place from 8 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday. The Beltway's inner loop will be reduced from four lanes to one between I-295 to U.S. 1. Closures will include ramps from the outer loop to Route 1.
Those headed toward Richmond, Va. or the Carolinas should take U.S. 301 south from U.S. 50 through Southern Maryland, officials said. For Washington-area traffic, they recommended using the American Legion Bridge on the west side of the Capital Beltway or Interstate 395 through the District of Columbia.
I have driven all over the world and i have to say D.C. has the stupidest drivers i have ever seen.People refuse to yield,allow anyone to change lanes.or even seem to understand the basic principles of using onramps and offramps.The traffic problems here are not due to the amount of vehicles on the road.They are almost exclusivley due to people driving as though they where the only ones who matter.Only a few very amazing times i have seen people allow cars to enter roads via onramps.When they did something amazing happened.TRAFFIC FLOWED AND CARS MOVED.DRIVING IS NOT A CIVIL RIGHT PEOPLE(THIS ESPEACIALLY GOES TO THE LADY WHO TRIED TO CUT ME OFF CROSSING A SNOWY INTERSECTION THAT WAS BLOCKED BY A DEAD CAR).
HERE ARE SOME TIPS.
1. when a car beside you is trying to change lanes don't speed up to try and cut it off...yeild or speed up!
2.If a car is entiring the freeway,yield(this means slow down,and even changes lanes as nessicary...)
3.Pay attention to the traffic around you.your not a racehorse using blinders.Be defensive and aware
4.Use the lines,they are there to direct you.your lane is the area between the white dotted lines.
5.Your not in mexico,Honking at every little annoyance is *** and causes more slowdowns.The horn is an emergency device
(the car in front of you not moving the instant the light turns green isn't an emergency unless your 5 years old)
6.Get the heck over when you see lights and hear sirens.remeber that they might be coming to help you someday,can you imagine how it would feel if your in trouble but the ambulance can't get there becuase someone refuses to lose there spot becuase they want to turn into mcdonalds? ...think about it.
7.Be considerate,selfish driving if the #1 problem with D.C. traffic.Stop causing your own problem.Remeber Driving is not a civil right!It is a privelage.
I couldn't find any reason to rent a car to tour Washington DC, the area is very well served by the metro, even into Arlington VA.
Some of the Vters were trying to drive from their hotel in Arlington to Crystal City, they had a nice tour of the Pentagon (2 or 3 times around in fact) before heading in the right direction. After spending some time in a car with Kentbein, I understood just how easy it would be to get lost in Washington DC.
We visited the Lincoln Memorial at night, but they wouldn't let you park next to it. So, I drove around and around until I found this little opening past the concrete barriers. My wife and I jumped out of the car, walked quickly up to see the memorial, then as we were coming back, the Park Police started coming by. We quickly got to our car and headed out of there! They would have impounded my car and I would have gotten a fine! Close one!
Drivers in and around Washington, DC have a "me first" attitude. They will cut you off indiscriminately. They will try not to let you merge. They will cut across two or three lanes at a time on the Beltway.
"IN THE FOURTH annual survey of rude driving, the Steel Alliance reports that Washington area drivers were the only ones to lower their rudeness grade over the past year. Which means they have a real chance of being as bad as the worst city, Miami.
- The percentage of Washington drivers who believe motorists in their city are ruder than those in other cities is almost identical to the findings of the 2001 survey (40 percent versus 37 percent, respectively).
- This year, 40 percent of Washington, D.C. drivers admitted to having committed four or more aggressive acts in automobiles during the month prior to the survey. In 2001 48 percent of drivers admitted to committing a similar number of aggressive acts.
- Twenty-seven percent of Washington, D.C., drivers say they have double parked, compared to just eight percent of drivers nationally. Failing to yield to merging traffic is another common offense in Washington, D.C. Nineteen percent of drivers say they fail to yield in the capitol city - more than twice the percentage of motorists (7%) who fail to yield nationally. "
Be careful driving on the beltway!!! This is an area of major traffic congestion, FREQUENT accidents. If you are not accustomed to driving in heavy traffic, avoid the beltway! Actually, just avoid driving - parking is limited and expensive. Stay in a nice suburban location like Rockville and take the Metro in to explore DC.
As a public service, DC has recently begun painting large red circles around the potholes( there are soooo many in DC). What an admission of defeat. It's like going into shark-infested waters and protecting yourself by painting 'Please don't eat me' on your behind!! These red circles are useless. They become visible about 10 feet from the front edge of the pothole, giving you just enough time to scream, 'Holy -- -- !' before your front end disappears with a thud that can be heard across the Atlantic. So watch out when driving in DC.
The beltway around DC has special qualtities ..
it is our version of a NASCAR circuit! So Buckle up! :)
Crime: Warning for anyone who is allergic to Bullits! DO NOT go to NE or SE DC. Enough said!
If you are driving, beware of the roads, especially the potholes. It seems the roadwork never ends in DC.
Actually the metro system is pretty good in DC. So if you are driving, it is advisable to stay in Virginia or Maryland and take the metro to DC. So you can avoid the bad roads and the expensive parking fees.
If you are driving-be careful of the streets-the lanes change according to the time of the day to get the traffic in and out of DC. Speaking of traffic-avoid rush hour.If you are on the interstate they have special lanes for cars with multiple riders-sure makes it faster to get out of the area if you are there in rush hours. If you are-good luck and I am from Chicago!
Driving in Washington DC is not advisable or necessary for the visitor. Why put up with the crowded roads when the subway is efficient and cheap?