Archive for the ‘Union Station’ Category

Bagel Day

September 11, 2010

Tuesday was Bagel Day at the software development center. I favored Bagels & Baguettes near Stanton Park. There was a line when I got there, around 8:30 AM. The shop is near Senate office buildings and the Heritage Foundation, and the TV is tuned to CNN to keep news-obsessed customers occupied.

By the time I got my two dozen hot bagels, the damnedest thing was on the television. An airplane had crashed right into the middle of a World Trade Center tower in New York, and the building was on fire. It was September 11, 2001.


Welcome, DC Commuters

February 10, 2009

Welcome DC Commuters

Rich Green of Arlington, Virginia is upset. He drives his car across the Potomac to his job in Washington, DC five days a week and there are potholes in the road.

“Most of the potholes seem to stick around for months, and they can get to be more than six inches deep,” he wrote to the Washington Post. “Who is responsible for this section of road, and why don’t they repair the potholes …?” he asked.

Mr. Green did not ask who is responsible for causing the potholes or suggest who should pay for repairs.

Others fill in these potholes lacunae in Mr. Green’s complaint:


Celebrate Inaugural Security!

January 25, 2009

Celebrate Inaugural Security!

This year’s National Bollard Festival® will salute the brave men, women, and sniffer dogs who protected two million people during the Presidential Inaugural festivities, say producers of the Washington, DC event.

Crowds will gather on the chilly National Mall and give a standing ovation to members of the U.S. Capitol Police, Secret Service, Federal Protective Service, National Park Police, FBI, DC Metropolitan Police Department, Senate Sergeant-at-Arms and dozens of security corporations with federal contracts. The exact date and time of the event is being withheld for security reasons.

The Purple Ticket Mass Choir will give an a cappella doo-wop concert in a tunnel under the Capitol grounds. “It’s standing room only,” said a U.S. Capitol Police officer, “but there’s a great echo.” The rest of the program is available on a need-to-know basis.


Livable, Walkable Community Award Nominations

November 19, 2008

Livable, Walkable Community Award Nominations

DC Councilmember Tommy Wells has opened nominations for the 2nd Annual Livable, Walkable Community Awards. “What does livable, walkable mean to you, and who best represents what it takes to make it a reality?” asks the Ward 6 representative.


Trick-or-Treat Taxis

November 1, 2007

Trick-or-Treat Taxicabs 

Results of The Big Halloween Taxi Strike were as questionable as a tourist’s zoned cab fare. At Union Station, where the organized feeder system requires lots of down time for cab drivers, early morning taxis were rare, but the volume is said to have picked up by 2PM.

Large hotels had arranged alternative transport for the lucrative airport runs, so drivers didn’t bother with hotel cab stands.

Striking D.C. cabbies have no idea how many cabs were working – few live in the District.

The fact that no one knows how many cabs were actually on the street says a lot about the state of taxicab transportation in the District of Columbia.

Meters can’t come soon enough.


Image by Mike Licht, plus a rush-hour surcharge, plus a bag charge – hey, can I pick up this other image? It’s going to a blog nearby.

Recycling Plan

October 28, 2007

All businesses in the District of Columbia must submit a recycling plan to the Department of Public Works Office of Recycling every 2 years

I managed a software development facility where two dozen people cranked out code and drank coffee and Coke ten hours a day. The center was near Union Station, and DC Government decided to require recycling plans from small businesses.

We already recycled paper.  Spring water coolers were on all floors so there were no plastic bottles and there was no glass trash. Developers use lots of caffeine, though, and most of ours switched from our free coffee to twenty-five-cent cans of Coke at about 10AM, so we had lots of cans.

I called the guys who hauled our trash and paper. Those bandits wanted us to buy a new trash bin and pay them a monthly fee so they could sell our cans to a recycler. I slammed down the phone, convinced there must be a better way.

Walking to work the next morning, I saw a short, thin man in a ball cap and T-shirt pushing a supermarket cart full of cans down Massachusetts Avenue. He stopped at a public trash can, looked inside, reached down, pulled out a couple of cans, put them in the cart.


Time and Honor

October 21, 2007

All aboard . . . sometime or other.

On the wall of Washington, DC’s Union Station between Alamo Flags and the Discovery Channel Store hangs a gaudy gilded plaque honoring William Frederick Allen (1846 – 1915), railway magnate and civil engineer, for his role in establishing our national system of Standard Time. The ornament’s aesthetic value is questionable; so is its historical merit. Should this tribute have gone to Canadian engineer Sir Sandford Fleming (1827 – 1915) or Charles F. Dowd (1825 – 1904), a girl’s school principal in Saratoga Springs, N.Y?

When railroads multiplied after the Civil War, U.S. clocks still ran on local “sun time.” Noon in New York was 11:55 a.m. in Philadelphia, 11:47 in D.C., and 11:35 in Pittsburgh. Railroads used different standards so reconciling schedules was confusing, and at least five train wrecks a year were due to time discrepancies.