Best Crosstown Shortcut

Franklin Street NE

It’s 4:30 p.m. on the Friday before a three-day weekend, and you’re shore-bound. The biggest obstacle between your downtown office and the pleasures of coastal Delaware are the approximately four gridlocked miles of New York Avenue between Mount Vernon Square and the District line. Here’s what you do:

1. Head north. If you’re on the west side of downtown, it’s 15th Street NW all the way. East siders go for 9th Street/Sherman Avenue, and if you’re on the Hill, North Capitol’s your route.

2. When you get to Harvard Street NW, hang a right and follow that down to the McMillan Reservoir, where you bear right onto Michigan Avenue. (If you’re on North Cap, you just turn east onto Michigan.)

3. Your first stoplight on Michigan east of North Cap is Franklin Street NE—crosstown throughfare par excellence. There’s little to no commerce to impede your progress, just blocks and blocks of Brookland bungalows.

4. After about two miles, Franklin turns into Vista Street NE, and you hang a right onto South Dakota Avenue NE a block later. (NB: Currently, construction on Vista means a painless two-block detour up to Hamlin Street NE.)

5. Cruise on down South Dakota about a mile, get on U.S. 50, keep right, and in less than 45 minutes you’re at the Bay Bridge. I don’t have any suggestions for avoiding that backup.

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