Time lapse videos have always fascinated me, particularly the ones showing traffic (like this one). These types of videos give the impression of incredible speed, even if the cars aren’t going that fast. To capture the essence of a time lapse video in one still photo is easier than you think; generally all you need is a decent camera, a tripod, and some traffic. But it’s also almost impossible to know exactly what you’re going to get. With long exposures you generally have to open the shutter and then figure out what photo you took. To get an interesting photo that’s more than just lines, you have to get lucky.
Take Kevin’s photo above. First there is the standard white/yellow colored headlights from oncoming traffic, giving the sense of movement. But what is that blur of multi-color in the middle? It’s a bus, with it’s front displays causing that play of light. Notice how the greenish-yellow coloring slowly fades as the position of the bus changes, relative to the camera. It’s the same with the red highlight lights, where they suddenly come into existence and just as suddenly stop. I can bet Kevin didn’t know exactly what he was going to get when that bus showed up along Pennsylvania Ave, but I’m also sure he wanted it in this shot.
courtesy of Paul Frederiksen
A good long exposure makes for a great picture. And if you take the shot in the right light, it can become magical. Take Paul’s long exposure of traffic along the George Washington Parkway. We see traffic coming and going; the white of the oncoming lights and the red of the receding ones. But in addition to the artificial light, there’s the wonderful purple and oranges of the evening sky. Such a mixed lighting situation can be difficult to capture in a photo, because the lights of the traffic are not as bright as the light of the sky. But Paul used a neutral density filter, which reduced the overall light of the scene and allowed him to keep the lens open longer. Thus those near perfect lines of traffic and a gorgeous sky. Well done!
courtesy of Fedward Potz
PSA: If you play chicken with a firetruck, you’ll lose. This was at the corner of 18th & L NW this morning. You’ll note the sheet metal from the car’s door is still stuck to the firetruck’s bumper.
I hope everybody is OK.
Good morning, Georgetown! As promised, construction work is to begin on the Thomas Jefferson Street bridge over the C&O Canal, and the bridge is now closed to vehicular traffic (though pedestrians may still cross as of 9:00 AM).
courtesy of ‘philliefan99’
Through a very lucky break I’ve had a free parking pass for my office building over the last month. It’s given me a chance to drive into the office on a regular basis, and to compare that commute to my regular Metro commute. The things I do for you fine readers!
First, let me make it clear: I think that a viable public transit system has to be at the heart of any reasonably sized community. We just cannot afford another half-a-million cars on the road.
Having said that, from time to time (at least once a week) when I ride Metro, I get the urge to drive again. Every time I look at Metro’s site and see “delayed” (as I write this, the Orange and Blue lines are delayed) I want to get in the car and go.
‘Water Main Breakage’
courtesy of ‘maxedaperture’
The 3600 block of King Street is closed in both directions due to a water main break early this morning. All traffic is currently being diverted onto a service road in front of the Bradlee Shopping Center; commuters are urged to use alternate routes.
A spokesperson for Virginia American Water told WTOP the break occurred in a main underneath King Street near North Dearing Street around 4 a.m. Repair crews have shut off water in the area of the break, affecting service to approximately 200 homes in the area. There is no estimate on how long it will take to make repairs.
courtesy of ‘NCinDC’
Starting Friday, March 26 at 8pm and weather permitting, Chain Bridge will be closed to all traffic (this includes pedestrians and bikes, and traffic from both the DC and Arlington side) until Monday, March 29 at 5am. The weekend work hopes to continue the reconstruction work already begun on the bridge deck, approaches and structural steel beams. Crews will be pouring new approach slabs, replacing expansion joints, installing a catcher beam system and upgrading streetlights on the bridge.
Canal Road traffic will not be affected, but motorists will not be able to turn onto Chain Bridge. DDOT advises motorists to use alternate routes and river crossings including the American Legion, Key, Roosevelt , Memorial and 14th Street Bridges.
The proposed 8 month long repair work started in June 2009 and was supposed to be completed this past January. Unfortunately, the Snowpocalypse, SnOMG, Snoverkill, etc. are to blame for a derailed schedule and, therefore, the weekend work. DDOT now anticipates all of the lanes on the bridge will reopen by May 31. Additional work beneath the bridge is scheduled to continue through August 2010.
courtesy of ‘Ghost_Bear’
“FANS: As you leave the arena, please be considerate of our neighbors and use your horn only as a necessity. Thank You.”
The Capitals are having an immensely successful season, and as Ben noted earlier this morning, the squad just locked up their third straight division championship. Much of the success has been at home; until a shootout loss earlier this week, the Caps had enjoyed a double-digit win streak on home ice. The hometown crowd has certainly been enthusiastic in the Phone Booth, but some neighbors are now asking that the raucousness stay inside.
WTOP.com reported that the sound of constantly honking cars after Caps wins at the Verizon Center have moved nearby parking facilities to ask fans leaving to not lay on the horn so much to celebrate. The above warning can now be seen on signs in the garage under the facility, and we’ll see how well it works come late-April now that the men in red are about to set off on another playoff campaign.
courtesy of ‘gadgetdude’
At around 4am last night, a truck loaded with bananas overturned on the Northbound portion of Interstate 270. Traffic was briefly closed between the Capital Beltway and Old Georgetown Road and was reopened in time for today’s rush hour. The southbound portion of 270 was unaffected.
If you’re driving by this section of 270, you’ll spot the truck on the shoulder, as the truck and it contents will be removed after rush hour.
‘M Street from Roof’
courtesy of ‘Julie Fraker’
If you’re wondering why there’s a ridiculous amount of traffic along M Street, it’s because the DCPD and DDOT are bulldozing the snow build up on Key Bridge. When I passed about 10 minutes ago, the removal was only affecting the traffic heading towards Virginia, but I’m assuming they’ll tackle the east bound side later. No westbound traffic was being allowed to cross the bridge and all traffic was being directed towards Canal Road.
If you have an alternative route, I suggest you take it because the traffic looked horrendous.
courtesy of ‘DaveFayram’
We all love to complain about our commutes– by Metro, by car, and by bus— and we all think that we have it worse than most people. Well, the folks at Bike Arlington think that biking is usually the most efficient way to get around in the city, and they’re willing to put it to the test.
If you start or end your commute in Arlington, tell Bike Arlington about it– where you commute, what mode of transportation you use, and how long it typically takes– and they’ll tell you if it’d be faster to bike to work. They’ll ride your route on bike, time it, and tell you if it beats your current commute. How great is that?
I’ve always wondered if biking would be faster than a typical Metro commute, and this is the perfect opportunity to try it out without having to figure out a route for yourself. Stay tuned for updates on Bike Arlington’s twitter page, and keep an eye out as a WeLoveDC author puts her hellish commute to the test!
courtesy of ‘Samer Farha’
I just came from the Whole Foods in Clarendon, where they had two police cars and two cops in the parking lot, in addition their usual fleet of staff, to direct traffic.
While a steady stream of cars was passing through, all is calm (and very bright), and one of the cops seemed more interested in watching people walk in and out of the store than in watching the traffic.
All this makes me wonder.
Does it say something about the demand for all-natural, organic food? Or about the kind of behavior we might reasonably expect on Christmas Eve from the people who like to buy it?
Happy holidays, everyone!
Update: More details on the accident from WashCycle.
I walked by this scene at 31st and M in Georgetown last night: squad cars and yellow tape around a Washington Flyer taxi, its windshield badly cracked, a mangled bicycle under its tires. Vnangia tweets that the accident was fatal. MPD had officers directing traffic around the scene (which got a bit confusing for drivers and pedestrians alike as the traffic lights were still running at the time, nearly causing more accidents), and M Street was backed up significantly. (But then, when isn’t it?)
Also mentioned on Georgetown Metropolitan. No mention on the MPD-2D mailing list. Anyone else see what happened?
courtesy of ‘C Hale’
By the time Wednesday afternoon rolls around, you’ll probably be ready to head home for Thanksgiving, just like most other DC-area residents. While we’re all hoping that traffic is flowing as smoothly as in the image above, chances are you’ll be stuck in some congestion along the way. Luckily, the Washington Post has a list of back-up routes to help you avoid the backups on I-95 and I-66. Some tips: consider an alternative route to avoid the great hated state of Delaware (from the article: “So much driver anger against such a small state!”), take the scenic route to avoid I-66 traffic, and most of all, just stagger your travel times. Consider coming back to town on Saturday if possible to avoid Sunday traffic– plus, you’ll get out of one more day of forced family time!
‘Typical Beltway traffic’ courtesy of ‘brianmka’
Just like death and taxes, transportation woes never seem to go away around here.
The annual Texas Transportation Institute traffic study released today shows that while traffic is lighter in every other major metro area, it’s only increased our misery here. The DC area continues to rank second to LA in congestion, wasting about 62 hours a year as we crawl along our major routes. That’s an increase of 3 hours over the previous year, by the way.
Sitting in traffic around here has cost us nearly $2.8 billion and 90 million gallons of gas. The data is from 2007, by the way, so next year’s study may (hopefully) show a decline due to increased focus on transit options after soaring gas prices last year.
‘Stuck in Traffic.. 218 3rd St SE, Capitol Hill’ courtesy of ‘KrS-NrY’
In case you haven’t noticed, gas prices continue to rise. Which means commuting costs are going up again for those who choose (or have no choice) to drive to work each day.
Which of course, leads to Beltway congestion. And then the inevitable “who’s got the worst drivers” discussion, often yelled between cars with exclamatory sign language.
Who needs that?
Starting this fall, the Commuter Connections Work Program will begin paying people to carpool. That’s right. PAY YOU MONEY. Specifically, $2 a day.
‘Typical Beltway traffic’
courtesy of ‘brianmka’
What a mess– two incidents are making for some long commutes this morning. First, around 5 AM this morning (thanks for the wake-up text message alert at 7 AM, Washington Post), an accident at the 3rd Street Tunnel entrance caused some major delays. And I mean major– according to WTOP, traffic is backed up for 24 miles (!) along 95 and 395.
In a separate incident, service on the Camden Line of the MARC commuter rail in Maryland has been suspended after a train hit a pedestrian. Police are investigating. In the mean time, Metro will honor MARC tickets from Greenbelt, and MTA is providing bus service from Dorsey, Savage, and Laurel stations to Greenbelt.
Did you get stuck in any of this today? Let us know in the comments.
‘W.H. Taft (LOC)’ courtesy of ‘The Library of Congress’
Did you know that vehicle registration in the District has dropped?
According to a new report being presented today, registrations dropped almost six percent between 2005 and 2008, from 258,100 to 243,200. The drop is significant in that when compared to U.S. Census data, the population in DC increased 1.7 percent.
As a comparison, Maryland and Virginia communities around the DC metro area increased between 3 and 6 percent.
What’s not known is why the drop has occurred, though there are theories.
’12th Street Corridor’
courtesy of ‘maxedaperture’
We all love to complain about our commutes here in DC, but what if traffic congestion isn’t such a bad thing? The Smart Growth Speaker Series continues on Tuesday the 14th with a lunchtime presentation at the National Building Museum on how transportation projects can be successful even if they don’t tackle congestion. Ellen Greenberg, former Research Director for the Congress for New Urbanism, will discuss various ways to measure success in transportation that don’t necessarily make cars move faster. It’s often difficult to get support for transportation projects if they can’t promise fewer traffic delays, but a lot of things that make good urban places (like narrow streets and pedestrian crosswalks and bike lanes) don’t really improve congestion. The event is free and open to the public.
courtesy of philliefan99
It seems to me that the first two months of 2009 have been a commuting nightmare. The morning traffic report on NPR is always citing a series of major delays on the metrorail, metrobus or the DC Metro area roadways. In recent days it’s been an Orange/Blue line derailment and traffic ridden lane closures on Route 50, not to mention the havoc caused by Monday’s Snowpocalypse. Even for those of us on foot, the congestion and hecticness of navigating the DC streets seems to have multiplied in 2009. Pedestrians and drivers are more irritable, hasty and almost reckless with their decision making. Yesterday, I saw a jaywalker hastily cross the “Vortex of Doom” (aka the Farragut North junction) without looking both ways and he quite nearly got creamed by a double decker bus. Could the state of the economy and the accompanying angst be trickling down into the state of our daily commutes?