Senator Leahy Learns That D.C. Traffic Sucks

Senator Patrick Leahy was an hour and 40 minutes late for a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing yesterday and when he finally arrived, he took the opportunity to rant about driving in the District of Columbia:

“We go through a city that will spend millions of dollars and enforce parking meters and get fines, and pay for speed cameras which mainly make out of town companies rich, and so on,” Leahy said after arriving at a hearing about 10 minutes late. “But they can’t coordinate their street lights when their street lights are broken.”

Leahy, while pouring himself water on the dais of the Senate Judiciary Committee, observed that “the main thoroughfares have a green light that will go on for one second and go 10 minutes red.”

That prompted Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) to joke: “Aren’t you sure the problem probably is that they purposely don’t coordinate?”

“I know the street lights are coordinated,” Leahy responded. “They seem not to be coordinated to the benefit of either pedestrians or drivers, so I’m not sure. Maybe there’s some other reason.”

Senator, perhaps you need to consult OTB’s guide to driving in the District of Columbia.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. ernieyeball says:

    The fact that this post (Traffic Sucks) and DC Traffic Guide came out on Friday the 13th must mean something right???
    “But they can’t coordinate their street lights when their street lights are broken.”
    Life’s a bitch and then you die.

    So does the good Senator drive himself around or take a cab?
    At least he manages to get around in one piece. It could be worse.

  2. @ernieyeball:

    Ha! I hadn’t even realized the date of James’s post from back in August 2010.

  3. al-Ameda says:

    Why didn’t he just take the Metro and walk – wouldn’t that have been faster?

  4. HelloWorld! says:

    I used to be an ANC commissioner in the district and I met with Gabe Lient, the former head of DDOT. He specifically stated that the goal was to make people not like driving so they would take mass transit or ride a bike. I told him that was an bad philosophy and that he should focus on make mass transit quicker and more conv. to get people to take it. I like what he did for bike lanes and green cars in the city but hate everything else. He is not the head of Chicago’s transportation.

  5. HelloWorld! says:

    Gabe Lient = Gabe Klein

  6. @al-Ameda:

    Metro is crap.

  7. al-Ameda says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Metro is crap.

    Admittedly, I’ve only used it as a visitor, and have stayed with friends out in Bethesda, but I found it okay. Coming out into the DC heat is never pleasant, so I can see where a long walk from a Metro station would kill you in the Summer …

    That said, Metro was okay, it got me where I wanted to go.