Monday, August 10, 2009

Transportation in DC

The Low Car Diet will soon be coming to an end. After having almost 30 days of focusing more on alternative modes of transportation, I thought I'd give a little summary of what's available in DC, and my personal opinion of each.

DC Metro - Being car free, the DC Metro is one of the most essential transportation modes. In DC, the metro has convenient locations, and is only 10 minutes walk from our apartment. However, it can also get really hot and crowded in the platforms, and delays can crop up. I think I like taking the metro most when it's more than a mile or so - too far to walk or bike.

DC Smart Bike - The DC Smart Bikes are my favorite mode of transportation. A lot of the time biking is the fastest way to get around DC. No waiting for a train, no getting stuck in traffic. It's nice and cool and you can enjoy the sites of the city as you get around. Jeff and I are especially lucky, because there is a Smart Bike location right on our block. Owning a bike could be nice, too, but I really like that we don't need to do any maintenance or storage, and you since you can pick it up one place and drop it another, you can even bike one way and use another mode of transportation to get back.

Walking - I think walking is my second favorite mode of transportation. You get to see the city and get some exercise. But for anything more than a mile or two, walking isn't usually practical.

DC Bus - DC also has a pretty extensive bus system. I think I might like taking the bus, because I like being able to see things as I travel around. However, I've only ever taken a Metro bus to and from Dulles Airport. Dulles is almost an hour from downtown, the bus is not particularly comfortable or well suited to storing luggage, and this route sometimes gets crowded, so there isn't always a seat. But it is a $3 ride instead of a $60 cab. At some point I think I'll try to learn more about the DC bus system and use it more often - for things other than getting to Dulles.

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