BY MICHAEL S. JOHNSON
My Democratic friends and one very close relative often ask me why I’m a Republican. Another of the many reasons revealed itself to me recently from the window of a cab. I was traveling down historic Pennsylvania Avenue on my way to Capitol Hill.
Pennsylvania Avenue is America’s Avenue. It is a great corridor of history linking the nation’s Capitol and the White House, and then winding its way westward into Georgetown, the village on the Potomac River that predates Washington. On either side are the Treasury and Commerce departments, District of Columbia city hall, the Old Post Office and Evening Star buildings, the Canadian Embassy, the FBI, the Newseum, the Navy Memorial and the majestic Willard Hotel where Ulysses S Grant used to go for a cigar and brandy in the afternoons.
Pennsylvania Avenue is wide, four lanes going each way with a blacktop boulevard in the middle, where the trolley car tracks used to be.
The avenue is a sight to behold, an American treasure, especially in the golden hour of early evening when the orange and yellow hews of the setting sun turn the Capitol dome into one of the most beautiful American portraits you’ll ever see.
But I digress.
Part of Pennsylvania Avenue’s character was its lack of urban congestion. The only traffic jams on the avenue were those created by Presidential motorcades, the movement of important international visitors and Washington’s occasional snowstorms. Not so anymore.
That was until earlier this year when the Washington D.C. City Government, one of the most liberal, exclusively Democratic, and–dare I use the word–socialist-leaning in the country, decided to close off two lanes and restrict them to bikes only. The former motor vehicle lanes are now bike lanes going in each direction, complete with their own turn lanes and those brightly painted turn arrows and go-straight arrows.