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Today is Car-Free Day in the District of Columbia, which provided city politicos a chance to prove their ecocredentials during this morning’s commute.
Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells, who masterminded the holiday, rode his bike to work, as did City Administrator Dan Tangherlini. Council Chairman Vincent Gray and Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans took Metro. But several other councilmembers chose less purist modes of transport.
At-Large Councilmember Carol Schwartz, for instance, says she was picked up and driven by a staffer to a morning appointment. She cited a rather bulky briefcase for the chauffeur treatment. She did, after the appointment, walk the remainder of the trip to the John A. Wilson Building. Her trademark Jaguar remained parked at home, she says.
The biggest splash came from At-Large Councilmember Kwame Brown, who arrived with Wells atop a police-issue Segway he rode all the way from his Hillcrest home. LL suggested to Wells that the Segway was cheating, seeing as it has a motor that has to be charged off the electric grid. Gotta watch that carbon footprint, Kwame!
Wells defended Brown’s choice of wheels, calling them “in the spirit of the day.” Brown said his conveyance was inspired by a sense of empathy: “I wanted to see what it was like for the disabled.”
Ward 7 Councilmember Yvette Alexander chose not to eschew internal combustion for her commute: She showed up on a sharp purple Vespa Granturismo scooter. In her defense, she did manage to scooterpool: Friend and Hillcrest resident Darryl D. Rose piloted the petite vessel to the Wilson Building while Alexander held on behind.
“I drive a Land Rover,” she says. “I had to wean myself off.”
And it seems that Car-Free Day might turn out to be Car-Free Morning for the D.C. Council. At the Council’s pre-session breakfast meeting, discussions turned to transportation down to the Capitol for today’s Senate vote on District congressional representation. Gray offered use of his official car and a van to ferry councilmembers the 13-and-a-half blocks down Pennsylvania Avenue NW for the vote.