Rush hour nightmares

This is a fictional representation of rush hour traffic:

This is a real rush hour in London:

The rush hour in London was shot around the time I lived there. So at some point, I was on the trains, or crossing the Millennium Bridge or walking across London Bridge or on a double decker bus with the rest of the people in these shots.

This is rush hour on a bike in New York City:

I’ve done this, too, and the secret is, it’s always rush hour in New York City.

And this is rush hour on a bike in D.C.

I bike daily in Washington, and this guy is totally irresponsible. I know where he’s going and there are plenty of bike lanes, so he shouldn’t be weaving through cars and running red lights or hopping on the sidewalk.

And this is what I go through every day in D.C., because this is about a block from my office.

How’s your commute?

I’ve got to get to Stockholm

Just to ride the subway:

I’ve been on Metros in New York, Washington, Boston, Atlanta, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Montreal, London, Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Rome, Hong Kong and places I don’t even remember, and I’ve never seen anything as cool as this.

I’m ready to book a flight.

Passenger rail in the Northeast Corridor

Here’s something for all you train junkies to ponder over for a few hours: A map of all the available commuter rail service from Boston to Washington, D.C., and not just Amtrak. (Click to enlarge, because this is one huge poster)

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People use the rails far less in the U.S. than Europe, which is too bad, because when you factor in all the time it takes you to get from, let’s say, Midtown Manhattan to downtown D.C., a train will more often get you there faster than a plane will, because you have to add extra hours getting to and from airports.

But even with that, trains in Europe are faster.

Compare two cities: Brussels to Paris and New York to Baltimore. Both roughly the same distance from each other, about 185 miles.

It takes the Thalys in Europe an hour and 20 minute to get from one gare (station) to the other. But on Amtrak, it takes 2 hours and 20 minutes to cover a similar distance. I think we should do better.

Return to D.C.

Travel from New York to Washington D.C. is a pain to figure out. Flying is too expensive and not very efficient because it puts you miles away from Midtown. The bus is cheap, and plants you in Midtown, but it offers cramped seats and the constant possibility that you’re trapped for hours in gridlock on the New Jersey Turnpike.

That leaves the train, which is like paying to fly, but the accumulated time it takes to get from the middle of D.C. to Midtown Manhattan is slightly less.

So I’m blogging from the train. On the Acela Express, which is faster than the regular train, but still takes 2.5 hours.

I kill time by turning on my mobile device, opening Google Maps in a satellite view or Google Earth and watching a representation of myself flying overhead along the tracks looking down.

This Acela Express, by the way is really flying. But I also like hovering over the train station when we stop to pickup and let off passengers. A virtual representation of being Superman.

(But my X-ray vision doesn’t work when we go underground in New York, Philadelphia or Baltimore. Gotta work on that.)

Time Machine: The Wright brothers (1908)

Looking back in time, I’m just astounded how fast we got from this:

To this:

Really, this is just 106 years. I think I’m more confounded by the fact that we didn’t have flying machines a hundred years earlier.

By the way, the Wright brothers footage says 1903 on the frame, but it’s from 1908. If you paid attention in history class, you know the first flight was solo and went about the length of a football field. This is a two-man flight and it traveled a great deal farther.