So, I just got back from a quick conference in Washington, D.C. It's always fun walking around a new city, particularly a big one, because having come from Boston I'm never really sure on the rules regarding pedestrians versus cars. Is this a city where pedestrians just walk into the street at will, and cars actually stop? Or is it a city where not walking in the crosswalk will actually get you a jaywalking ticket?
You know how, when it's your turn at the crosswalk and the little while LED man lights up on the traffic light, sometimes you'll get a counter to let you know how long before the light changes? I've always appreciated those. It lets you know, when you're approaching an intersection and the countdown says 1 second left, that you may want to think twice about going for it. In Boston you get maybe 8-12 seconds total, so you don't get much time to think about it.
Guess how long those countdowns are in D.C? 45 seconds! To get across the street! We were commenting how we felt obligated to take our time and make it a nice leisurely stroll. In 45 seconds we could have stopped completely and had a nice cup of tea on the yellow line.
Maybe that's why our politicians never get anything done, they're spending the better part of their day just waiting for the light to change.