Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Driving In the District

THERE ARE ONLY TWO really big drawbacks to driving in the District of Columbia for a country girl like me. First, there's the hidden traffic camera now proliferating all over the city, one of the cruelest inventions every devised by mankind and law enforcement officers. So successful are these cameras in nailing drivers, the District is getting fat on millions and millions in new and increasing revenues this gadget brings into its coffers the past few years.
I'm happy to say, I was not one of its victims in 2008. But oh the year before: I got nailed on MacArthur Boulevard in NW Washington and didn't even know it until six weeks later when the "ticket" arrived in my mail box in Nashville. Needless to say, I was not enchanted to know I had been nabbed at a place I wasn't even sure I had been that day. OK, I probably had been there. Maybe.

But it's not the same as being stopped by a traffic cop and told I was breaking the speed limit. That way it's falways resh in your mind.

But this new way, all that happens is a citation arrives weeks or months later with a huge bill and return envelop. There is a procedure for contesting it, but it's very hard to make your case when you can't remember when or where it happened. In all fairness, I did contest somehow, maybe by phone, and got the penalty knocked down a few notches. But it still wasn't cheap. There

These cameras are only going to increase for these big cities looking for love and revenues in all the wrong places, so we'd best get used to it, lock up our wallets and drive the friendly way and avoid this first travesty.

The second drawback to DC driving is something we have Lady Bird Johnson to thank---the granite curb now installed all over the District.

I won't belabor the tire blowout I had several years ago when I swiped the curb in front of the French Embassy on Reservoir Road, but suffice it to say that I learned that granite is not nearly as soft and forgiving as limestone when it comes to bouncing off curbs in an effort to get around a line of traffic!

So be forwarned, if you're tooling around the District, you need to remember two things well: hidden traffic cameras that want all your money and granite curbs that want your rubber tires.

1 comment:

FJ said...

It's the radar speed camera's on America's most pot-hole covered freeways that hack me off the most about DC. If I have to pay for speeding, they should have to pay for my front-end re-alignments.