Take a Walk VDOT

It’s been a stressful week. I only rode to work twice as a result of little sleep. I reached out to a couple of friends and they gave me interesting advice about my stress. One friend, a single woman, whose father abandoned her family when she was growing up, told me to look out for number one. The other, a father with family issues that boggle the mind, told me that I need to put things in perspective, chill, and work the problem. As it turned out the problem worked itself and I was blissfully relieved of stress at 4 pm on Friday. Even my boss telling me that a project that I had worked on for months had all but crashed and burned didn’t phase me. I rode home with a smile on my face and a mild tailwind that felt like a gale.

Today was devoted to Christmas shopping. I ordered a few things online, then headed out to Potomac Yard to battle the crowds. I used my bikey knowledge of the roads to bypass most of the traffic. The parking lot was packed. I parked far from the store, walked in, and it was EMPTY. A sales clerk helped me pick out the stuff I was looking for and I was done in 10 minutes. I was all ready for some PTSD, but I left in a state of bewilderment.

I arrived home with time on my hands. The idea of riding for riding’s sake didn’t float my boat. What to do? I called Gold’s Gym to cancel my son’s idle membership. They said, “You have to come in and sign a cancellation form.” Really. You want to hassle me when I already told you I’m not doing business with you any more? Turning an annoyance into a plus, I put on my hiking shoes and headed out to Gold’s 1 1/2 miles away. I did okay for about a mile until I came to an intersection that was recently re-striped by VDOT. There were no crosswalks at all. Fail.

I ran across the street with another walker and his dog.

When I got to US 1 I pushed the idiot walk button and waited. I stopped counting the cars at 100 as they flew past me. And that was only in one direction.

Gold’s is at the back of a parking lot with no separate pedestrian access. If you want to walk at Gold’s you have to do it on a treadmill. Is this a great country or what?

After cancelling the membership, I retraced my steps. Rather than deal with the crosswalkless intersection I stayed on the far side of the street and walked a quarter mile to the nearest crosswalk.  Just before I reached the crosswalk I came upon this:


Are you kidding me? The switchbox for the traffic light was plopped directly in the sidewalk. Look closely and you’ll see that the post for the traffic light is also anchored in the sidewalk. VDOT fail.

Incidentally, this is about 50 yards from where my wife was run over by an SUV back in 2011. You’d think they’d get their act together. You’d think wrong.

6 thoughts on “Take a Walk VDOT

  1. Hey cut them some slack. Because people like you call them out on their “fails” they don’t have enough confidence to do their job properly. If you want to rebuild their confidence you could start by posting encouraging notes in public places. On the switchbox for example you could leave a note saying, “Thank you for barricading the sidewalk, now I have an excuse to drive my car to the store.”

    1. Thanks. Maybe,”Thanks for blocking the sidewalk. Can’t wait until you put one of these bad boys in the street.”

      Or maybe it’s part of VDOT’s new fitness initiative: The VDOT pedestrian obstacle course

  2. MVCCA has been fighting the sidewalk issue at least since 2010, when I first joined the Transportation Committee. Until there is a fundamental shakeup at VDOT, nothing will change…

    1. I agree. I complained that the automatic changing mechanism of traffic lights near my home could not be activated by a bicycle. VDOT told me it was not possible to do so! Just incompetent. I even sent them a weblink for their use. No change.

  3. At least you crossed at the crosswalk. I drove (sheepishly admitted) down Saturday morning to get some coffee from Peets. In between lights, this woman decides to just walk into the middle of the road (greens ahead and behind me) and hold up her hand to tell traffic to stop. Miraculously and somewhat surprisingly to me, people actually stopped; her seemingly suicidal tendencies would not have been greeted so nicely on say the GWP.

    Rt 1 and sidewalk obstructions is like the chicken and the egg. Further down by Sacamento, there is the spot where the sidewalk just ends with no curb cut and a solid 9″ drop before restarting. Then the sidewalk ends abruptly at the creek crossing. There is the nice MUP type path in front of the government center building that goes exactly one block. And further up between 495 and Beacon Hill, the sidewalk ends for 40 feet (westbound side), then repeatedly has poles in the middle of it, and then juts 10′ to a MUP right by Krispy Kreme. I really think Rt 1 is a lesson in how NOT to plan a road to accommodate anyone other than cars. (PS, Don’t get me started about people running the red lights at Collard and Popkins).

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