Most cities are really good at rush hour. By which I mean, they’re good at providing more buses, trains, and other such things for incoming traffic in the mornings and outgoing traffic in the evenings, Monday through Friday. Typical workday stuff.
In the recurring theme of cities neglecting nightlife though, they fail to take into account “drunk rush hour.” It’s the evening and weekend traffic that happens in places with lots of bars and music venues and other such nightlife destinations. And yet, despite the number of people who seem to be going to these destinations, they insist on running a regular evening schedule through these hotspots as they do through other places in the city.
DC is trying to make one tiny step toward solving the problem. The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) has announced that they’re running a pilot program in one of the district’s biggest nightlife corridors, Connecticut Avenue. They will be eliminating parking spaces between Thursday night and Sunday morning to create drop-off zones for Ubers, Lyfts, and taxis. This will hopefully prevent them from doing what they were doing before, which was double and triple parking against the parked cars to do drop-offs and ensnaring traffic flow up and down the avenue.
It’s a pretty small change, but cities are also starting to rely more on ride-hailing services as a legitimate part of their cities’ transportation infrastructure. If this small change can provide a real impact and help DC service its nightlife better, it could catch on in other cities, and it could also spur DC to make more changes to benefit nightlife.
Really, this should be an easy problem to solve because “drunk rush hour” is much more concentrated geographically versus regular rush hour, and it happens less often. It’s just a matter of getting city leaders to realize that there’s this whole other constituency in their town. Maybe they want to grab a drink and see a show tonight?
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