Callander Drive is a nice, normal Bethesda street on which 14 families live. There's only one problem. Much of metropolitan Washington thinks Callander Drive doesn't exist.
The culprit is the Alexandria Drafting Company, creators of those booklet-style D.C. area maps that no cabbie or delivery driver can live without.
In its 1983 Montgomery County map, ADC spelled Callander with only one L. Some residents complained. ADC fixed the spelling in the 1984 edition, but wires got crossed somehow, and in the 1985 Montgomery booklets the street was deleted entirely.
Even though we are better than a third of the way into 1986, the 1985 maps are still in use at most companies and in most vehicles. So poor, dear Callander remains a street whose residents must tell refrigerator repairmen and daughters' boyfriends how to find them -- and then tell them again when the inevitable "I can't find Callander" call comes.
"It's extremely annoying," says Ruth Darmstadter, a longtime Callander resident. "Our street is small and difficult to find anyway. Now it has become impossible."
"It's not a national crisis," adds Kenneth Hammel, a neighbor. "But it's been a hassle."
To its credit, ADC has restored Callander to existence in the 1986 edition. Tracey Ford, an ADC researcher, says the company is sorry for the error. Mike Swauger, ADC's director of research, says it's a wonder more of them don't happen, especially in Montgomery County.
"Currently there are approximately 7,700 streets in Montgomery County," Mike says. "New changes could range from 200 to 800 streets a year. There could also be 1,000 changes that occur in other features -- schools, firehouses, police stations -- plus there are spelling corrections to be made."
For frustrated Callander-seekers, ADC has this suggestion, and it's more than a little self-serving: Buy the 1986 Montgomery booklet.
I'll save you the trouble, and the money. To find Callander Drive, go north on Massachusetts Avenue from the District line, turn left on Goldsboro, right on Rannoch, right on Pyle and (at last) left on Callander.
You know who you are, my bashful correspondent from Arlington, and you may think I'm a miracle worker. In fact, I'm just a lucky stiff who got a letter from you at the right moment.
My Bashful Correspondent dropped me a line in late March to wonder a good wonder:
Why is it impossible to walk safely and directly from Rosslyn to Roosevelt Island?
The last time he tried to get to Roosevelt on foot, M.B.C. writes, "we had to scamper across a busy access road to I-66 and then run across the George Washington Parkway -- no mean feat for young adults such as ourselves, and not recommended for the tour group from Dubuque."
Loaded with righteous indignation, Levey started pursuing Arlington County officials. But John Hummel, division chief for planning and engineering, made righteousness unnecessary.
He's doing exactly what M.B.C. wishes.
A pedestrian path and bridge has been planned, John said. It will run from Rosslyn Circle down the steep incline just southeast of Key Bridge and over the George Washington Parkway to the banks of the Potomac.
A pedestrian or biker can exit there, if he or she likes, to link up with paths that lead north to the Cabin John Bridge or south to Mount Vernon. Or the pedestrian or biker can proceed to Roosevelt Island via the bridge that's already there.
"This will really open the city to the waterfront," said John Byrne, superintendent of the GW Parkway. "It will also bring people from the Rosslyn subway to the Roosevelt Island bridge."
Construction is expected to begin in June, Hummel says. Completion date: next spring.
So there you are, M.B.C. No more darting in and out of traffic. Roosevelt will soon be easily accessible to those who don't drive. Good news. High time.
When two cars collide, sharp words are often exchanged. But do bystanders ever do any of the exchanging? It happened on Connecticut Avenue the other day, with startling effectiveness.
Rachel Winston was watching as a Buick smacked into a Mercedes near McKinley Street. The two drivers started bickering in the middle of the street. An elderly pedestrian eavesdropped for a while and became fed up. So she waded right into the middle of the dispute and said: "What are you two getting so excited about? It's just two pieces of metal. Besides, you're blocking traffic."
Rachel says it was as if two misbehaving kids had been scolded by their mama. The two drivers stopped arguing, pulled their cars to the curb, civilly exchanged insurance information and drove off.