So Close, So Far

Stop wondering why the chicken crossed the road. I have a funnier story about why I was too chicken to cross the road.

Allow me to set the scene. It was a hot day — of course — in early August. I’d taken the Metro out to West Falls Church, bused to the Tysons-West Park Transit Station and walked nearly a mile along noisy, smelly streets to get to my destination.

Or rather, a few feet away from my destination, Vienna’s Sheraton Premiere hotel, which claims on its website, “There are many reliable ways of arriving here.”

Considering the horrendous traffic in Tysons, I’m not exactly sure which ways the hotel could possibly be referring to, but none of them are on foot. Although I’d passed a few stoplights on my way along Leesburg Pike, there wasn’t a single crosswalk, and as I headed toward the next intersection, I couldn’t find a walk signal there, either. I can sprint pretty fast, but there was no way I was going to dash across six lanes of traffic and a construction zone.

The roadwork, part of Metro’s Silver Line project, is intended to eventually make the area more walkable. (Seriously, not a hard goal to reach.) In theory, this means I could show up next year and prance across Leesburg Pike no problem.

Unfortunately, I’d left my time machine at home, so I had to consider my remaining options. One was to trek back to the Tysons-West Park station and wait for another bus with a route that would take me to the other side of the street. The other was to head into Koons Tysons Toyota — which I’d kept walking past as I pondered my predicament — and ask if there was a secret way to make my move. I picked option B.

My parents taught me never to trust a car salesman, but I definitely believed the folks there who said I was sunk. When they offered me a lift in the dealership shuttle, I went for it. Even in a van, it wasn’t a speedy drop-off. Between congestion and the construction, it took almost 10 minutes to drive right across the street.

The irony is that my destination was the DCAC Fitness Convention, where hundreds of exercise pros learned different ways to get people excited about activity. Boot camp and Zumba and Spinning do it for some people. But the most accessible exercise is walking, and until our landscape is redesigned to accommodate it as a form of transportation, we’ll be standing still as a society.

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