Washington, DC’s 3rd Gift to the World – Capital Beltway

This was a part of Metroblogging DC series about D.C.’s 20 gifts to the world

Castles had moats. Washington D.C. has the Capital Beltway. Few roads compete with the Beltway for cultural meaning. It figuratively represents American politics and government to the rest of the world. Typically, when someone from outside the region says “inside the Beltway” they are not saying out of admiration for the wonks, politicos, lobbyists, journalists and others that work in the nation’s capital. Inside the region, we think of “inside the Beltway” as a way to distinguish whether one lives in suburban sprawl or denser, old development with more mass transit options. Credit Mike Causey with coming up with the term in The Post in 1969, five years after the highway was completed.

Literally, the Beltway is a interstate highway that circles the District. President Eisenhower wanted a loop around the city for the military to circle around in case of an atomic attack. From a more practical perspective, it was designed to have through traffic bypass the city. It was completed in 1964 and christened I-495. Much of it was two lanes in each direction. By the mid 1970s, the explosive growth along it necessitated widening to four lanes each way throughout, with a few exceptions like the Wilson Bridge. In the 1970s, when I-95 (along with other freeways) was cancelled in the District, the Beltway also officially became the main street of the east coast with I-95 running along the southern and eastern portions. In 1989, the I-495 designation was returned to I-95 portion to reduce motorist confusion.

I suppose the gift of the Beltway to the rest of the world is handy way to refer to the politically powerful, with slang. For Washingtonians, the Beltway doesn’t usually seem like much a gift with the traffic. We can probably find something to appreciate about it, can’t we?

Oh and to those Americans who really dislike the powerful that reside inside I-495, remember that you helped send them here. If you ever voted for Bud Shuster, Jesse Helms, Jim Trafficant and Robert Byrd you lose all right to complain.

Actually, I kind of miss Trafficant.

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Kasten does another Q&A

Q&A with Nats president Stan Kastennationals.com
The Nats president talks about Alphonso Alfonso Soriano, free agency, Manny Acta and even Frank Robinson.


Nationals’ charity sues developer for pledged aidThe Wash. Times
A former bidder for the Nationals, developer Franklin Haney, is being sued by the Washington Nationals Foundation for not coming through on a $400,000 pledge. Mental note to self — don’t make any pledges to the Nats charity.

Have you seen the new ballpark logo yet?

What about the new slogan?

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Observations XIV: Was Bill Hicks ever wrong about music?

  • The last time I was in Pennsylvania I heard the song The Last Ten Years (Superman) by Kenny Rogers. He recaps all the problems of the last decade, along with some famous passings and all I could think about was why was Kenny Rogers the one who gets to write this song? Really, if a song like this had to be written, couldn’t it have been by someone that didn’t have The Gambler Part 17 on their resume?
  • Fritz’s blog has really hit the ground running. He has about ten movie reviews up already. T. William, he’s really cleaning your clock on what should be your bread n’ butter — you were class marshall for Film/Video.
  • Recent earworms: Ring of Fire – Johnny Cash, Under Pressure – Queen/David Bowie, You Were Meant for Me – Jewel
  • There was briefly a little controversy over the name of one of the Caps bloggers. Recently, Off Wing Opinion joked that DC Sports Chick was going to initiate litigation aganist DC Caps Chick. I had hoped to show video of two women’s hockey players fighting as a gag, but alas such video does not exist. In fact, fighting in women’s hockey may not exist. Also, DC Caps Chick dropped the DC and is just Caps Chick now.
  • Is there a good way to get from Arlington Memorial Bridge to Rock Creek Parkway via bike? I always wind up crossing the street in an awkward place.
  • Recent overplayed songs on DC radio: Do it Again – Steely Dan (Big 100), Feel Good Inc. – Gorillaz (DC 101). I also heard Aerosmith’s Dude Looks a Lady three times coming back from Happy Valley the last time. I also heard Man in Motion (St. Elmo’s Fire) twice.
  • Driving up N. Glebe Road the other day I realized that Marymount University probably has a pretty good view. I’ll stop by sometime and check it out.
  • I need to come up with something new for my countdown. It almost seems too early for the Outback Bowl to be used.
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