There’s been a lot of construction on Constitution Avenue in downtown DC this fall. Constitution is a 6-8 lane thoroughfare through the heart of DC that runs along the north side of the National Mall. It always has lots of traffic. A lovely section of Constitution is part of my ride home every day. These days there are at least 2 lane closures and slow moving traffic through most of the day.
When construction started I looked for other routes to avoid this really busy street with all the construction, but finally decided that it made sense to just do like I normally do and blend in with traffic. I was pleasantly surprised to find that riding through the construction zone was unusually pleasant. Basically I’m moving the same speed as traffic. I could move a lot faster, but I tend not to do that. I know it pisses people off. Nowhere I’m going is that important, so just blending with traffic and enjoying the day seemed to be the best way to be me.
I get great reactions. People roll down the window to ask about the cargo bike. They ask where I’m going and what I’m hauling. I get asked why I’m not riding on the sidewalk or weaving through traffic. Plenty of folks just roll by without reacting. I get a few people who playfully honk at the “Honk if You’re Horny” sign on the back of the bike.
The odd thing is that I’ve had no-one be particularly obnoxious. Certainly people always run the red light for turning left onto 15th. People will always do stupid things like that… I just relax and adjust.
After traveling about ½ mile on Constitution I turn onto Virginia Ave and all bets are off. Once people are out of the construction zone and are able to go back to their usual speed, they go back to their somewhat less pleasant and cautious driving. Most people speed and run lights. There’s lots of non-playful honking and generally an attitude that being at the front of the line is the most important thing. Basically things go back to the rat race. I just roll through and do my own thing… dodging cars, taxis and buses.
I now find that I enjoy the Constitution Avenue part of my commute. Hopefully they keep the construction going for a few more months. I like what it does to people… myself included. :D