Tuesday, April 12, 2011
The problem with having DC plates on your car is you can't really use the excuse "I'm not from around here" when you get lost on the crazed winding roads of the DC area. Part of the region's road problems stem from the Civil War. See, both the Union and Confederate Armies tended to get a bit invadey around here, so locals responded in the most passive-aggressive way possible--make the road system completely confusing so that no invading armies could find their way anywhere. This is why Arlington Boulevard becomes Fairfax Boulevard, coupled with Lee Highway, and also called Route 50--and WE'RE TALKING ABOUT THE SAME ROAD. This is also why West Ox Road exits from said Route 50 are marked "North" and "South" when they clearly run east and west. This is the bitter legacy of the war between the states. Yesterday's commute home was exacerbated by this as well as the fact that nothing is clearly marked. I'm taking the 110 from I-66 towards 395 North, so as to take the 14th street bridge, and for the first time I can remember the 110 is completely jammed (and the I-phone indicates it wills stay jammed, as pure red is all the way to the bridge). I decide to take the first exit, which is Columbia Pike, hoping to find another way to one of the four bridges that cross the Potomac (I don't count the Wilson Bridge because that's bullcrap). Somehow, I end up on Washington Boulevard, and see that I'm approaching Memorial Bridge. Successmanship! Ok, so I cross the bridge, and remember that Constitution is a total mess for the next month or so due to construction and tourons, so I figure head to the right at the Lincoln Memorial and I should be good for Independence Avenue. Or so I thought! Of course, there is no real sign saying where Indy is, and I mistakenly take the first right, onto Rock Creek Parkway going northwest! Eek! I'm about to head into the fancypants part of town, where traffic is the worst! Somehow, I manage to get off of that and back to the circle around the Lincoln, but can't go all the way around and yes goddammit I'm back on Memorial Bridge--heading back to Virginia. Grrrr! Fortunately, bridge traffic was light, and I manage the circle at the other end by the Cemetary, and am back over the bridge towards DC again. This time, manage to get onto Indy, which was done entirely by feel because of course it's not marked at all. A few burst blood vessels later and I'm home. This awful marking of roads and confusing setups makes little sense for a longtime DC person (who admittedly stuck to very basic routes over the years), but how the hell are tourons expected to find their way around?