Thursday, June 10, 2010

Peace out rush hour

Today, instead of biking home after work, I went to Cleveland Park to go to Vace's Italian market with Nikki and then happy hour with Inna. We went to Ireland's 4 p's then walked back to Van Ness. I parted ways with Inna and began my normal ride home from Van Ness just after 7. This is two hours later than I normally bike home. I very quickly noticed the difference in traffic. It is crazy what a difference two hours can make. The main roads were much less busy and daunting to cross. I was rarely passed by a car on the neighborhood roads. Call me crazy, but I even felt like I was breathing cleaner air, noticing the smell of exhaust far less than I usually do on that ride. The most noticeable difference in traffic flow was in Tenleytown right by Wilson HS. At 5 or 5:30, this area is chaos, with kids leaving school and after school activities. It is very crowded with buses and shuttles that carry AU students around the area. Tonight at 7:15 pm, these roads were so peaceful and pleasant to ride.

What I find most interesting about this is how different it is from rush hour on the metro. Of course, rush hour officially ends on the metro at 7pm but the difference in traffic patterns isn't half as noticeable on the trains as on the streets. This is something I likely wouldn't have noticed if not for the several "after rush hour" occasions on which I have brought my bike on the metro. This has been challenging as late as 9 pm, when I'd have expected the trains to have cleared way more than they had.

Bringing my bike on the metro is not easy when there are so many people on the trains. But neither is biking to work when there are so many cars on the roads. I have a vision of what this city would be like if all the drivers in those cars were on bikes. Packs of bikers just like Ragbrai. It seems a bit ridiculous but I like to think that it might actually be more efficient overall. It would be more peaceful and pleasant, that's for sure.

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