Today's Washington Post reported on the annual congestion rankings put out by the Texas Transportation Institute, and the DC area tied for 2nd with an average of 60 hours of congestion for peak period commuters.
What caught my eye, though was this tidbit:
"You feel helpless," an Arlington resident was quoted, who drives between Rosslyn and his job in downtown Washington.
Huh? Helpless?!? He DRIVES from Rosslyn to his office on 15th St. NW! I guess that's his prerogative (maybe), but then he has no right to whine about the traffic and claim that he's "helpless." He could freaking WALK to his office in 45 minutes or less. It's at most a 15-minute bike ride--maybe less. He could squeeze on a metro train for 6-7 minutes from Rosslyn to McPherson Square. He could also get a Metrobus to Farragut Square and walk a couple of blocks.
He complains, but he is also actually part of the problem. Remember, when you are sitting in traffic, you ARE the traffic, too. He's doing both himself and everyone else a disservice by not figuring out all his choices, which are many.
What more can we do? Here's a guy with half a dozen options who still chooses to sit in traffic for a 3-mile commute. No one's going to build a new bridge between Rosslyn and DC, nor add any more roads between the river and his office. Widening I-66 won't make any difference to him. The only thing that would improve his drive is if fewer people were driving. But if he's unwilling to get out of his own car, how can he expect everyone else to stop driving, too? He's his own enemy.
Steve Offutt, Arlington resident and Director - Arlington Initiative to Reduce Emissions (AIRE), Transportation Projects