A Good Walk Spoiled, Happy Thanksgiving Anyway

22 Nov

A Good Walk Spoiled

Last week when I started my first conference, which was located in Georgetown, I looked at the map and decided the quickest way was to take the N6 bus up Mass Ave. get off at the 34th Place stop and then walk along Observatory Circle to Calvert and on to Wisconsin. Sunday afternoon, when the opening get-together was scheduled, I did this and it worked fine. And I got a bonus of sorts because I was on the 4 pm bus and finally met one of our local icons–John Wojnowski, the man who protests against priest pedophilia at the Vatican Embassy. Since that was his stop too, we got off together and he engaged me in conversation about his cause. I can say he is by far the most polite and well spoken protestor I have ever met. So I took his literature and wished him the best.

Then I crossed street and started my trek on the Observatory Circle sidewalk. Although it was getting dark and was a bit cold, it was a truly nice walk and I met a number of other walkers taking the same route. Looking in the direction of the Observatory, I saw beautiful autumn colors on the trees and vowed to bring my camera the next morning and take a few shots. Since the next day was Veterans’ Day, I imagined the walk would be even better and in the morning I could get the sun coming through the trees.

But the holiday was a different story entirely. There were still a number of pedestrians using the walk, which looks wide but really only allows two persons and maybe a child to walk side-by-side. In fact some walkers had a child with them, some were walking dogs, and some were just ambling along like me. But, on this holiday–with light traffic even on Mass Ave at 9 a.m. and virtually no auto traffic coming along Observatory Circle–the plague of sidewalk bicyclists returned. In a 10 minute walk to my destination, I counted 10 sidewalk bicyclists, 4 coming from behind without warning. They were coming both ways, weaving through the pedestrians with a vengeance. During that short walk, I noted only one bicyclist using the virtually empty street. When I got past the children’s park near Calvert and Wisconsin, I saw a Capital Bikeshare stand. But only one of the guys I’d seen riding recklessly on the sidewalk was riding a Bikeshare bike. On the way back that holiday I noted similar sidewalk bike traffic, one even almost cutting down a woman with a small kid in hand leaving the park. On the way back, my count was 12 on sidewalk and 2 on the street, an one of those on the street was a Bikeshare biker. Needless to say, Tuesday and Wednesday were even worse. with bikes going both ways on the sidewalk and almost running into each other. And while Mass Ave. traffic was greater, the traffic along Calvert and Observatory Circle was light and slow. I would have been safer walking in the street.

No New News on Relief

Sadly, I still have no response to my FOIA request. And a pilot project to wean bikers off the sidewalk, with which a number of groups in and out of government are involved, has stalled. Oh, and still no response to the Dupont Businesspersons letter, 10 months and counting.

With this lack of hard info to provide you and the holidays coming up, a little more quickly than I’ve prepared for, I’ve decided that maybe we all need a little break. So during this season, I’ll only post if I can give you something of value besides my own diary entries. But don’t let that stop you from commenting on your own incidents or on providing info I haven’t covered.

And between cooking and attending holiday parties, I’ll try to get organized to follow up with everyone who hasn’t responded and try to do some new research on other cities’ solutions.

So, Stay Alert, Stay Alive, and Happy Thanksgiving and Holiday Season to you all.

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