Rode into Washington yesterday with a couple of gaudy dragons, and that's no joke.
The dragons, the ones we otherwise see on Chinese New Year, were en route on a special Metro train between the ceremonies at Arlington's Crystal City and in Washington's Chinatown marking the opening of a 3-mile segment of the Yellow Line, which terminates at Chinatown.
Several politicians gave speeches at the Crystal City ceremony, but the one that riveted my attention, and that of several other listeners, was provided by Mayor Charles E. Beatley Jr. of Alexandria.
Chuck Beatley noted that the Yellow Line's bridge across the Potomac River puts the trains and their passengers higher than motorists on the parallel highway bridges.
Beatley--a retired airline pilot--had some listeners squirming when he observed that, as a train passenger, "you have the feeling you're part of the air traffic at National Airport," albeit at nearly right angles to it. One man near me, obviously remembering last year's disastrous Air Florida crash that clipped the nearby highway bridge, commented to nobody in particular that "if that's the case, I'm not sure I want to ride" the new Metro line.
Beatley was right. The Metro ride across the river, taken on a special train after the ceremony ended, provided a magnificent view of the Washington skyline and of East Potomac Park.
During the ride, the thought occurred that the new Metro bridge lacks a name. MetroScene offers a nomination: The transit authority's board would do itself proud by adopting a resolution calling it the Charles R. Fenwick Bridge and pressing for that recognition by other agencies.
Fenwick, Arlington's state senator who died in 1969 at age 68, was the closest person there is to Metro's "father." Bucking Virginia's legendary standoffishness from regional matters, the lifelong Arlingtonian engineered and pushed for adoption of the governmental structures that made the transit system possible.