Peter Jones sits in his car behind a long line of other vehicles waiting for construction crews to wave drivers through. “I can’t drive anywhere is this city anymore!” exclaimed Jones. “All I want to do is drive around the corner to pick up my free ‘People Not Cars’ t-shirt. Is that too much to ask?”
Jones’s frustrations are echoed throughout Takoma Park, where lately it seems like every single road is closed for construction…because they are.
After last weekend’s Climate Emergency Town Hall forum, City officials in Takoma Park wanted to take action. When experts testified that the most impactful way to tackle the city’s greenhouse gas emissions is reducing dependency on cars, the city council considered a proposal to ban all vehicle traffic within city limits. Unfortunately for proponents, the measure failed in a 4-3 vote earlier this week.
“It was probably doomed to fail from the start,” said the ward 4 city council person. “People in this city lost their minds over converting a single parallel parking space into outdoor seating, so how could a vehicle ban ever have a chance?”
The legislative setback, however, did not deter the city council. They merely shifted their focus to a less direct means of accomplishing their goal. “If we can’t ban driving outright, then we’ll go for the next best thing,” said the Mayor. “We’ll simply make driving in the city so infuriating that residents would rather vote for a Republican than to drive even a single block.”
Working with the city staff and Public Works Department, the Mayor helped plan a secret operation to create major construction projects on every single city road, all of which would commence immediately and run simultaneously for an undefined period. From Flower Avenue to Piney Branch Road and all the way down New Hampshire Avenue, virtually every square inch of asphalt is being torn up, and orange cones litter the entire city.
Residents were not pleased. “I can’t even pull out of my driveway,” stated Gail Lovell. “The flag guy controlling traffic has been in front of my house so much that he might as well be a part of our family now. He ate dinner with us last night, and one of my kids has started calling him ‘Daddy’.”
For legal reasons, the City did leave exactly one path of travel for cars to get from one side of the city to the other. To do so, one must navigate from detour to detour, make several u-turns, and, at one point, drive on the sidewalk. The full route requires traversing 46 miles and takes 4 hours to complete.
“Totally worth the wait,” stated Maggie Dewberry. “My plug-in hybrid can handle that range, so I can drive guilt-free.”