A Modest Proposal: We Should Shut Down The Entire Capital Beltway

This was a recent news item (boldface mine):

If you felt like traffic around the D.C. area was particularly awful Wednesday, it really was: The effects of a fatal crash on the Woodrow Wilson Bridge rippled throughout the Capital Beltway.

Traffic around the Beltway slowed considerably after a deadly collision between a tractor-trailer and several other vehicles ignited a blaze around 11 a.m. on the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, shutting down a portion of the bridge for hours. The driver of the tractor-trailer was killed, and thru lanes reopened just before 11 p.m.

Local lanes going from Virginia toward Maryland reopened by 2 p.m.

So, how could a crash that happened in the morning still impact the evening commute?

“I can’t explain why things are the way they are,” said Bob Marbourg in the WTOP Traffic Center. “We had the Wilson Bridge accident, but there are more people on the road at once going nowhere than normally would be.”

There were many forces that acted against drivers on Wednesday.

Those “many forces” were other drivers. But I digress.

When a fire happened on the D.C. Metro–which killed a person–the entire area was scandalized. Local politicians wanted to know why Metro was failing. The batshitloonitarian contingent argued that this was yet another reason why we should abandon public transit completely. And Metro was told to prioritize safety above all else, despite affecting service, even as the Metro is far safer than driving.

Yet, when an automobile driver does the same thing, no one calls for dramatically lowering speed limits, and restricting the number of lanes and cars. Politicians are not outraged, and the batshitloonitarians are mysteriously quiet. So I’ll do it! I propose that, until we can get the Beltway’s safety issues under control, it should be restricted to one lane each way, with a maximum speed of 25 mph. Until the area departments of transportation can fix these problems, it’s time to place safety first. Above everything else.

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4 Responses to A Modest Proposal: We Should Shut Down The Entire Capital Beltway

  1. mosingal
    Comrade Misfit says:

    I well remember two truck fires on the Cabin John Bridge in the mid-`80s. I lived on the VA side and worked on the MD side. On one fire on the inner loop in the morning, I got to work at 2PM. For the other fire, on the outer loop, I got home at 8PM by way of the Point of Rocks Bridge (the ferry had a two hour wait).

    Good times.

  2. kaleberg
    kaleberg says:

    What, no double standard?

  3. I remember several years ago driving back from Dulles, bumping into a long line of traffic stopped for hours — turned out that a small flock of geese had crossed 66, which backed up that highway, which the backed up the Dulles access road and 267 for miles — and I only wanted 495 to get back to Bethesda! The point is that we have a butterfly’s wing problem on roads like ours: even a small delay backs up everyone for hours.

  4. Bern says:

    They won’t solve world hunger, but there’s a lot they WILL solve…

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