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Monday, February 18, 2008

Inscrutable Weather, Traffic Design

I biked out to Target in Falls Church this afternoon to get some things that are hard to find in my neighborhood -- at least until we get our own suburban strip mall, folded and stacked into an urban footprint, which looks finished enough that it could open in a couple months.

The errand was spurred in part by the fact that it was over 70 degrees and sunny this afternoon. This was jarring because yesterday afternoon at frisbee it had been chilly with a little drizzle. I hadn't checked the weather for today, so I was genuinely shocked when I went outside. The weather continued to be disorienting, because between when I left at 1:30 and when I returned at 5:00, the temperature dropped more than 20 degrees and it clouded up and started raining. (I took Metro partway back, and a couple people looked at me weird for having a cookie sheet and compact flourescent light bulbs in my bike basket.)

I generally don't like the Northern Viriginia suburbs very much, even compared to other suburbs. They sprang up long enough ago to be worn around the edges, yet are for the most part too recent to have any sort of charm. It also happens that they were built at a time when there wasn't much attention to urban planning -- or, at least, we weren't very good at it yet. Witness the suburban commercial hub I went to today:

View Larger Map

It's called Seven Corners, because there are, in fact, seven corners to this intersection of highways. That's seven arterial roads converging on a single point. (To be fair, it's technically only five roads, since two of them pass through, but it's still ridiculous.) It is pretty much the disaster you might expect it to be, especially if you're on a bike -- I had to choose a somewhat circuitous route to avoid certain death. (It might look like I took I-66 with my bicycle, but I was actually using the bike trail that runs alongside it.)

Anyway, it was worth it, because I will be happily toting my vegetable soup to work tomorrow in a ceramic mug with a spillproof plastic cover, fresh from Target.

5 comments:

Trent said...

Just so you know, The Columbia Heights mall is opening march 9th with at least Target and Lane Bryant not sure if any other stores will be ready.

Here is a post about it.
http://dcist.com/2008/01/07/columbia_height_2.php

hannah said...

SEVENTY DEGREES!??!!!?? Holy crap, Teague. It was 70 degrees colder than that here today. I can't even remember what weather that warm feels like.

teague said...

Thanks, Trent -- I had briefly looked for that info, but obviously my looking wasn't very effective.


Hannah, yesterday I was telling Zach that there's nothing quite like that first 50 degree day in the spring in Minnesota. Sure, it's nice that we get 70 degree weather occasionally during the winter here in DC, but there's nothing like the euphoria of that first release from real winter...

gastropodblue said...

oh man, part of my driving test years ago involved navigating Seven Corners. Man, that sucked.



...though I still passed. :)

teague said...

Wow, kudos for passing -- that's not where I would have wanted to take my driver's test. Especially since the first time through I failed the written exam. (Hey, is there anyone out there who does know how many points you get on your license for running a red light? I thought that maybe "I'm not planning to run any red lights would be a choice, but it wasn't.)