Getting around town in Washington DC

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Welcome to our Nation’s Capitol.  If you are like most new residents, you have found one way to get to and from home and work. You probably have discovered a restaurant or two, maybe a few choice “happy hour” spots. Your problem is when you have move out of your comfort zone. It is a big city. Do not be dismayed, you can not get lost. The highways and bi-ways can be mastered. It just takes a little understanding. Take a moment and read (or print out)  You can not get lost in DC  . You may want to keep it as a reference guide until you have mastered getting from here to there.

The great thing about Washington DC is that you have so many options. You certainly can walk. If you have found the right neighborhood, you are just steps away from markets, restaurants, shops, bus stops, bike paths and a Metro rail station or a bus stop. There are also bike share racks and zip car locations located throughout town.

Let’s talk about walking. DC’s intersections that are controlled by traffic signals also have signals for pedestrians. Pretty simple to follow, but don’t make the mistake of crossing against a signal. You can receive a citation for jay walking and it will cost you $20.  Pedestrians crossing in a cross walk do have the right of way. Your best bet is to follow the old adage, look both ways before crossing. Some drivers are not paying attention.

Using a bicycle is very popular in DC.  There are Bike Share racks located around town (click the link, Capitol Bike Share) and the city has labeled lanes in many streets as bicycle friendly. DC is not unlike other big cities, many drivers resent, ignore and jeopardize those on bikes. That being said DC also has bike paths that can be used to travel all around the city. Bike Washington is a very good website and it has lots of good information for those that choose to bike DC.

If you need a car, for a minute (or an hour or more), Zip Cars have locations throughout the DC area. The Zip Cars website has all the information you need as well as the locations where you can pick up one of their cars. For those that do not wish to be burdened with the expense of car ownership but occasionally need a car, this is a great way to go. Don’t want to drive, we have taxis and Ubers. The DC Taxicab Website has a list of all licensed cab companies in the area. If you would rather have a bit more upscale ride, Uber has a DC office. The Uber Website allows you to create an account and have access to their drivers.

The DC Metrorail system snakes beneath the streets and connects most neighborhoods. The system uses color coded lines and your initial challenge will be to see how they interconnect.  There is a Metorail Website that offers all the information you might need.  Remember to buy a fare card, cash is not legal tender on the system. Fare card machines are located inside every station.

Lastly, there is the old reliable DC Metrobus system (with it’s kissing cousin the Circulator ). The Metrobus Website has schedules and routes and other pertinent information. The DC Circulator is another bus system in the city. For a buck, you can get around pretty well. The DC Circulator Website has their stops and schedules.

So you see, you have a lot of options available to you for getting around DC.



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