Sunday, December 19, 2010

Driving in DC #6

One of the things I have not talked about enough on this blog is the insane highway intersections common throughout DC.

Washington, DC doesn't believe in merge lanes.  They also don't believe in giving adequate warning when an existing lane is going away.  The 14th Street Bridge is a prime example of that:

I think with that picture alone, a lot of people are groaning collectively.  We've all been bitten by this, and probably more than once.

For those who may not know, the 14th street bridge is a major artery into DC:

There are only a few bridges across the Potomac into DC, and the 14th street gets you into central DC pretty quickly.  The problem is, the right-most lane of the 14th Street Bridge peels off to L'Enfant Plaza and 12th street, and hardly anybody ever takes that exit.  It may have been a nice idea during the planning stages of the city -- to have this beautiful Promenade with shops and offices and a pretty view of the Washington Channel.  But it didn't work out that way, and we're left with this enormous 2-lane exit to Nowheresville.

Neophytes to DC get nailed all the time.  In the above picture, the right-most lane forces you off the highway (with no "EXIT ONLY" warning or anything) and the second-to-right lane gives you the option of taking the exit or not.  It's way, way more capacity than that exit needs.  Or deserves.

Every morning, you can count on 1 in 3 cars making a crazy, desperate maneuver to not get unceremoniously dumped onto L'Enfant Plaza and the promenade.  And, perhaps once per week, you get a traffic-snarling accident here when someone's daring maneuver fails to account for the car in their blind spot.

Oh, the joys.

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