Friday, June 30, 2006

Observations from a vsit to Washington, D.C. during the big rains:
1. Mass transit should be built with emergency service in mind. If a community is subject to floods, earthquakes, whatever, designers of light rail and trains should take that into account. Don't put electrical junctions and switches and light rail stations too low, where they may flood. If they do flood, always have backup systems. Sending every available bus and bus driver to saturate an area will clog roads more. Count on quality private-enterprise cab drivers as backup too. Where ARE all the good cab drivers in my town?
2. The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden is above ground and does not flood. Ditto the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum. Why are we storing our National Archives in a building that floods? ("Sorry, folks, the Declaration of Independence got washed away in the last big rain...")
3. Alexandria is a jewel as beautiful as Charleston. M Street in Georgetown is like going to SouthPark mall in Charlotte, but with decent restaurants. Get off the main roads if you want to see unique stuff. That "Blue Highways" book was right.
4. My daughter and I walked the same halls at Georgetown University where researchers developed the HPV vaccine. That's inspiring.
5. Public transportation must be accessible to the handicapped and elderly, including those temporarily handicapped. Those folks often depend on it.
6. If you plug in to your Ipod while on the Metro, you miss all the interesting conversations everyone else is having on their cellphones. They do manage to talk on their cellphones, despite the tunnels.
7. One cab driver said they were changing the White House into an Ark, but they weren't going to allow any donkeys in.
8. World Cup soccer breaks the ice with any cab driver.
9. My hometown newspaper stacks up well against "The Washington Post" in providing useful information quickly, especially in emergency situations.
10. It's good to be home, and dry.

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