Friday, June 10, 2011

I quit

After nearly 16 years of struggle, frustration and sinking hopes, I am giving up a battle. I still believe it is worth the fight, but I'm too tired and frustrated to carry on.

There are many advantages to living in a city. However, it's one of the disadvantages that I have lost the will to fight even though it affects far more people than me.

I'm speaking of commuter buses that, on a daily basis, park on city streets (in my case on the shoulder across the street from our apartment complex) and idle for several hours, killing time waiting to retrieve their passengers from jobs in D.C. to return them to their suburban homes.

Like many longtime residents, I remember days, especially during the hot months, when skies were brown with inversions: a combination of heat and air pollutants. Breathing was painful and eyes watered. Thankfully, we've come a long way from those days.

Laws were passed to prevent the kind of behavior I've tried to tackle all these years. Busses have even been granted special parking areas while they wait to collect passengers. Tour buses are a serious problems for other parts of D.C., but I'm specifically addressing commuter bus companies -- Ehre, Maryland Transit Authority, Loudoun Country Transit and others.

I have phoned their dispatchers to remind them of the law and the fact that their drivers are also wasting a lot of fuel idling for hours on end. By nature, I'm not a combative person, so responses have ranged from "sorry, there's nothing we can do about it" to "thank you for calling - click."

Calling the non-emergency number for D.C. police is pretty useless because our cops have far more important problems to deal with. I finally found the right office to handle this problem the Public Works. Last year they even sent out an inspector - at my invitation - to sit on our balcony so he could witness the situation first hand. He and his supervisor were most helpful and sympathetic but eventually had to move on to other problems.

I started logging bus arrival and departure times to send in, but the weather turned cold and wet and I gave up.

Somewhere in all D.C.'s bureaucracy, there must be a fair solution to this issue. Commuter bus drivers don't return to their terminals because they might be late picking up their afternoon passengers. They need a place to park their buses, find shelter, a bathroom and maybe a place to eat and dump trash from their buses other than in our gutters.

Just caught these two, with a third I couldn't get into the picture, a few minutes ago. The other I took last week. Both days were unhealthy for young, elderly and people with breathing problems. We've also had record heat, so I can kinda underdstand the drivers wanting to sit in their air cooled buses -- but all three? Why couldn't they get friendly and all gather in just one bus to stay cool, killing time for their scheduled pick-ups? I've asked that question before, but get silence. I hope there is someone out there who is willing to pick up where I'm leaving off. Almost two decades of beating my head against a wall is all I can give.

1 comment:

Mark said...

I bet in a day or 2, when you've had time to think...you'll be on the phone again, trying to make a change.