A Comprehensive Guide to Traveling and Commuting in Washington, DC

  1. Avoid the Red Line at All Costs.
  2. Unless you're in some sort of Brewster's Millions competition to spend money rapidly and with no return, avoid using taxis. Uber is 25% cheaper and reliable in the district, and if they long haul you (take a longer route than necessary to jack up the fare) you can leave a review and Uber will refund you. If you don't have Uber, get it. If you don't have Uber because you don't have a smartphone, get a smartphone.

All legitimate travel complaints can be answered or avoided by points 1 or 2.

Traffic

Traffic is not a problem. Traffic is a consequence, in this case the consequence of living near other people.

I was just in West Windsor, NJ for the holidays. They had no traffic. Do you know where West Windsor is? Did you have to Google it? That's probably why.

But.

Random outages and road closures are also a consequence of living around people. Things that get used a lot break in more places more often. Things that get used a lot that break need to be repaired, inconveniencing the people who use it a lot, but obviously not as much as it would inconvenience them to not have the thing in the first place.

But New York! It's a Grid!

New York is not a grid. Manhattan island is a grid, and an imperfect one at that. Brooklyn is not a grid. Queens is not a grid.

I was driving through Astoria last week and passed 23rd Place, 23rd St, 23rd Terrace and 23rd Avenue. All in succession. As if that made sense. The 22's (because you might as well lump them together if you're going to snake through them over and over again)? Different order.

Downtown DC has letters, numbers, and arteries. The arteries are all named after states. Letters cross numbers, and count up from the Capitol building, which is the big white building impossible to miss from a bunch of places. They wrote a law saying that nothing can legally be taller than it in the District. You've seen it on TV and on T shirts.

After the letters run out, streets go back to being named after people and places. They also run alphabetically.

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