Drivers Feeling Shunned by D.C.
City Less Welcoming to Suburban Cars
By Eric M. Weiss
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, July 6, 2008; Page A01
The District is escalating what some suburban commuters are calling its war against workers who drive into the city.
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The city has changed parts of Constitution Avenue NE from a reversible commuter artery back to a quiet side street and is considering removing the reversible lane on 16th Street NW, a key commuting route from Montgomery County.
Mayor Adrian M. Fenty's administration also is studying closing the section of the Interstate 395 tunnel that connects with New York Avenue NW, expanding the use of speed cameras and increasing parking fees and enforcement. Fees for encroaching on a crosswalk would increase from $50 to $500 under a pedestrian safety proposal.
The District is moving toward becoming "the most anti-car city in the country," said John Townsend, a spokesman for AAA Mid-Atlantic. "They see commuters as the enemy."
City officials say that the moves are part of a policy of putting the needs of its residents and businesses before those of suburban commuters and that they are trying to create a walkable, bikeable, transit-oriented metropolis.
Like New York, London, Stockholm and Portland, Ore., District officials said, the city is reclaiming its streets for the people who live there. With billions of dollars invested in the Metro system, there are plenty of ways for commuters to get into the city without bringing exhaust-spewing vehicles with them, officials said.