It seems that I haven’t made fun of my mom in a while, and she really misses it. She was in town this weekend; she left the DC area 14 years ago, and tells me she isn’t used to this kind of traffic anymore.
She tells me she got stuck on Rt. 66 (not the route 66) and I tell her that no one in their right mind would get on 66, ever. It is a parking lot. Then she tells me that she got stuck on the beltway while it was under construction. I was exasperated. Why would you get on the beltway? Not sure. I tell her the happy news that now that construction is complete we have toll lanes on the Virginia side of the beltway that totally rock. How much do they cost? I don’t know. I don’t care. It’s zapped from the little EZ Pass box on my windshield. What I do know is that if I pay to get on the toll lanes, I absolutely, positively will not come around a curve to find the beltway backed up for 6 miles. I can predictably get to a location, on time and everything.
Photo Credit: Transurban Development
Anyway, the traffic has gotten worse, but at least the solutions are getting better. Mom tells me she loves living at the beach, no traffic worries at all. Nope, she just zips around whenever she wants with no traffic worries. Here’s the thing—my mom lives on a long narrow barrier island. At its widest point, it is no more than a ½ mile, and there is one long road that goes the length of the island. One road.
The thing about the one and only road is that in the summer a gazillion people come to the beach to tan, eat crabs and get drunk. Well those are the top three reasons. And of course everyone loves the boardwalk, which just happens to be on the complete other end of the one road from where my mom lives.
So let’s say it’s June, July or August, and you decide to leave my mom’s place and go down to the boardwalk. To travel maybe three miles, you’re looking at a minimum of 45 minutes. Why? Because every car on the island is on the same road as you are. And one of the lanes is a bus lane, and one is always backed up from people making left turns and there are traffic lights every block and families meandering across the road after a day at the beach.
So it’s true, my mom has no traffic from September through May. But in June, July and August she lives right in the middle of a big parking lot. No complaints. At least where she lives you can jump out of your car and take a dip in the ocean. They haven’t built a beach next to the beltway yet, but it’s coming soon.