Foggy Bottom, The Daily Feed, WTF?!

SUV vs. Traffic Island

Snow. It turns us into adventurers. Some of us bundle up to walk the chill, white, stormy landscape like Arctic explorers, braving wind and cold for photos or milk and bread.

And others among us get adventure by roaring out of parking spaces and skidding over slush so that our big black Nissan Pathfinder SUVs end up jumping service road traffic islands in Foggy Bottom, skidding further to straddle the traffic islands like a large, obnoxious, diagonal monorail, before finally triumphing over traffic regulations and common sense.

Snow. It also turns some of us into bemused spectators.

All Politics is Local, Downtown, Foggy Bottom, Life in the Capital, Night Life, The Daily Feed, The Hill, WTF?!

D.C.’s Big Beer Ban

Participation Lager… Originally uploaded by dharmabumx

Well folks, it seems, much like the application of parking rates, D.C.’s leadership have painted with a large brush in order to solve a detailed problem. On February 9th, the D.C. Council enacted, at the behest of of several ANC members, a ban on the sale of single bottles of beer in several wards in D.C.. The Washington City Paper has an excellent write up on the issue. The local beer aficionado and brewers list (which includes many of the brewers for local brew pubs in the area, local breweries and others), DC-Beer, has lit up discussing the issue. 

In short, to paraphrase the City Paper, too many people in certain areas of the city have been pissing in the wrong people’s yards after a night of drinking and revelry. So far Ward 2 (Georgetown) and 6 (Capitol Hill) are directly affected (can anybody say “staffers”) but has the unintended affect on those who drink beer for taste rather than rote consumption. A number of specialty stores (or those who actually stock something other than the corn-fed varieties, such as Budweiser) are left shipping their stock to the basement to avoid penalties while trying to get responses back from unresponsive commissioners and councilmen. I ask, dear readers, have you been affected by this issue, or have an opinion?

Foggy Bottom, Food and Drink, We Love Drinks

We Love Drinks: 51st State Tavern

51st state

When I worked in Foggy Bottom, I found it practically impossible to find a bar in Foggy Bottom proper that wasn’t overrun with George Washington and Georgetown students. Too bad I didn’t find The 51st State Tavern until now, because it’s the answer to my happy hour prayers.

Situated in a two story former row house (like oh so many bars in DC) 51st State is the perfect place to grab an incredibly affordable drink with a friend. Located where Penn meets L street, near 26th at that super funky intersection, I finally found the perfect Foggy Bottom/West End after work spot. It’s not crowded, nor is it overrun with frat boys and the girls that follow (at least during HH), and has the perfect short beer list with something for everyone. Continue reading

Foggy Bottom, The Daily Feed

Rock Creek Parkway Crash

Car Crash on Rock Creek Parkway

Vehicular crash on Rock Creek Parkway at Virginia Ave NW, down near the Watergate. Emergency responders are on the scene; looks like at least one person was injured enough to need rolling-away on a gurney. Fortunately GWU Hospital is right around the corner. The intersection is blocked so you can’t turn onto Virginia Ave NW from the southbound lane, but Parkway traffic is flowing smoothly otherwise, with minimal rubbernecking.

Foggy Bottom, The Daily Feed, WMATA, WTF?!

Metro Zamboni Strikes Again

The Metro Zamboni is back, this time at Foggy Bottom! This isn’t quite as crowded a platform as before, and at a slightly later hour, but while it’s not entirely clear in this fuzzy mobile video, he does plow straight towards a crowd of tourists standing by the escalator. I’m surprised these cleaners haven’t pushed anyone off the platform yet.

Crime & Punishment, Foggy Bottom, The Daily Feed, The Great Outdoors, WTF?!

MPD Divers in the Potomac

Police Divers in the Potomac

What was up with those MPD scuba divers in the Potomac just off Washington Harbour this morning? Did someone throw evidence into the river? Or was someone sent to sleep with the snakeheads in cement shoes? In any case, thanks to the officers for letting me go pseudo-paparazzi on the diving action this morning and indulging me in a bit of scuba talk. No way I’d dive in the cold, muddy Potomac River right by a sewer outlet in December — unless the city was paying me for it.

Foggy Bottom, The Daily Feed, WMATA, WTF?!

The Eternally Receding Horizon of Metro Escalator Repair Deadlines

Still Broken

I don’t even remember what date WMATA originally put on the repair notice when they closed the middle escalator of Foggy Bottom back in summer. I just knew that there was a 100% chance of them changing that date as soon as it came close. Sure enough, they changed it to Nov 29th. And when Nov 29th rolled by, naturally the repair deadline became Dec 19th. Will they make that deadline?

Of course not. Watch for when they bump that date to late December or early January, as the on-again-off-again nightmare of Foggy Bottom traffic bottleneck management continues.

Foggy Bottom, The Daily Feed, WMATA, WTF?!

Foggy Bottom Metro Line

I post about this altogether too much, but here we go again: epic lines to enter the Foggy Bottom Metro Station because of a rush hour escalator bottleneck. Of three escalators, one is closed for repairs till Nov 29th, one seems to be up-only, and the remaining nonworking one is split between down and up lanes. The result: a forked pair of lines stretching down the block in either direction.

I skipped the scene altogether and walked to Farragut West instead.

Foggy Bottom, The Daily Feed, Travel, WMATA

Fill out your Metro survey!

Metro Survey I was on my way home on Friday and I received a very exciting piece of paper at foggy bottom! The 2008 METRO SURVEY! . Now I know this is so incredibly, shamelessly, totally geeky, but I love surveys, you can visit here if you want to make yours. I think it stems from my background in PR, I just love collecting and understanding market data. It’s useful in so many ways, it is helpful in planning new communication, deciding fare increases, acquiring station data, and so many things that will help Metro out. But more than that, this survey gives YOU, oh Metro commuter, a voice! You hate how crowded metro is? FILL OUT YOUR SURVEY! You wish there was a station at Tyson’s Corner? FILL OUT YOUR SURVEY! Is the proposed Purple line is the best idea ever? FILL OUT YOUR SURVEY! There are few better ways for Metro to know how to improve than to run a survey and get back well-rounded results. Even if you’re a tourist, fill out that survey! They need this data – I promise you! So dig it out of your purse, the trash can, your back pocket, and fill that sucker out! And best part? It’s free! postage paid! And with 17 questions it’s not the most laborious thing you’ve ever done. So you literally have no excuse. You can return it at any metro station, or stick it in those convenient blue mailboxes on practically every corner in the city. Here’s a mailbox locator link just for you, dear reader, because I want you to fill out your survey so badly. Metro Survey Questions (And no, I don’t work for WMATA, or any part of Metro. I just am truly this passionate about surveys, and in particular the Metro survey!) Images courtesy of Flickr user Needlessspaces.

Crime & Punishment, Foggy Bottom, The Daily Feed, WMATA, WTF?!

Metro Arrest

This was the scene at Foggy Bottom Metro this afternoon as Metro Transit Police personnel pulled a guy from an Orange Line Vienna/Fairfax train and detained him, for what offense I do not know:

Larger video here.

The suspect appeared to be asleep when I first saw him, but awoke with some poking from an officer, and left the train peacefully. It was when they started to put handcuffs on him that he began struggling, so he was forced to the ground, where the apprehension — and struggling — continued. Then my train arrived and I had to stop shooting video with my cellphone.

Foggy Bottom, The Daily Feed, The District

And GWU is Going Deeper Still

washington dc by wayan
Photo by Wayan

Remember the construction-related blasting of July that shook the Foggy Bottom area? It seems the contractors digging the foundation for the new GWU building are still going deeper.

While a shortcut to China is still far off, there drill rigs say more china will rattle in the near future.

Here is thanks to the contractors for letting us see the show. And no thanks to the busy-body cop who threatened jaywalking when I went to take this photo.

Foggy Bottom, The Daily Feed, WMATA, WTF?!

Foggy Bottom Metro Escalator Alert

It never ends. It only gets lulzier! We are in receipt of the following alert from Transportation Incident. Disruption at Foggy Bottom-GWU. (All of the station’s entrance escalators are out of service due to mechanical difficulties. Shuttle bus service has been established. The station’s elevator is operational, the station remains open).

We already knew all the escalators were out but if only one is open (not clear from the alert) then that means a possible line outside the station at rush hour like we had on Monday. Click through the jump to see a map of alternative ways home if you want to skip the shuttle bus.

Continue reading

Foggy Bottom, Talkin' Transit, The Daily Feed, WMATA

Metro Escalator Update – Foggy Bottom and Capitol South

Quick update on the Foggy Bottom Metro escalators: Friday’s mess was the result of a passenger’s footwear getting stuck on the middle escalator that afternoon, closing it down in addition to the already-under-repair first escalator, so that only one escalator was left open to serve as stairs. As of today, two escalators are open but shut down, both serving as stairs. Continue reading

Foggy Bottom, Talkin' Transit, The Daily Feed, WMATA, WTF?!

Foggy Bottom Metro Escalator Mess: AGAIN

Foggy Bottom Metro escalators have done it again, this time at the height of the Friday afternoon rush, and I have once again gotten video of the mess:

Last time this happened, only one escalator was barricaded, so desperate riders could at least scamper up the opposing escalator. Today, two were blocked, so only one shut-down escalator was available to serve as narrow stairs for both ascending and descending foot traffic. The result: crowds above and below. Epic fail once more.

Metro police and station personnel were on hand to do what little they could, but that didn’t seem to do much to thin the mass of people. And, as before — after taking this video, I didn’t bother waiting in line; it was faster to just walk the two blocks to Farragut West Station.

This is pretty bad, WMATA. Why have escalators at all if your contractors can’t even maintain them?

Foggy Bottom, The Daily Feed

Killing Trees at GWU

Cut trees along 23rd Street NW

Cut trees along 23rd Street NW

For being a university, I’m often surprised at how callous George Washington University can be to its Foggy Bottom neighbourhood. Just check out its most recent transgression.

In building the mixed-use commercial space on “Square 54“, all the trees along the massive construction site, have been cut down. A 23rd Street clear-cut.

And its not just the removal of the trees that peeve – its the killing of tress on public property. Trees that my tax dollars paid for. Trees that I’d love on my block. Now dead.

Thanks GWU.

Foggy Bottom, The Daily Feed

Foggy Bottom Yard Sale

I stopped by this little yard sale in Foggy Bottom this morning to chat with the lady of the house and give her terrier a pat. (833 New Hampshire Ave NW if you want to check it out) She has one every year to clear out junk, and there was extra cool stuff this time around because her newlywed son had just moved. We got to talking about how nice the neighborhood is, and how home prices have swung, and how they used to cook everything in gelatin and aspic back in the 60s.

The weekly Foggy Bottom Farmers Market will be there too this afternoon, so you might want to drop by. I snagged a couple of books.

Foggy Bottom, Talkin' Transit, WMATA, WTF?!

Foggy Bottom Metro Escalator Mess

Big mess at Foggy Bottom this morning. Watch this video:

Foggy Bottom is the singularly worst-designed Metro station I’ve used in the system: only one exit, twin escalators going up together from platform to mezzanine, and just a single escalator going down to the platform, no stairs, traffic bottlenecks all over the place. The situation was made worse this morning when only one of three mezzanine-to-street-level escalators was working — going down. The middle escalator was closed for repairs, and the escalator going up was open but off, serving as stairs. I’ve seen it like that before, but throw in a rush hour crowd in a time of “high” fuel crisis ridership, and you get a foot traffic disaster.

I didn’t even bother joining the line; it was faster to go back in, double back to Farragut West, and walk from there. When I got back to Foggy Bottom to get some video of people emerging from the system, a few daring riders had resorted to running up against the down escalator — to cheers from the crowd, surprisingly.

WMATA, This is intolerable. You have reached a new level of EPIC ESCALATOR FAIL this morning — even worse than on epic multifail day.

Update: I was on TV today for this video: Fox 5 News Edge story, featuring a quick interview with me outside Foggy Bottom station this afternoon. Washington Post’s “Get There” blog also covers the story: No Way Up at Foggy Bottom, and Clearing Out Foggy Bottom.