Thursday, June 11, 2015

Four Corners at 2:30 AM

Back in March, I went for a walk around Four Corners at 2:30 AM.  I just finished watching the new season of House of Cards, but I didn't feel like going to sleep yet.  I decided to walk up to the intersection just to see what it looked like at such an unusual time of day.  This was a Wednesday morning, and since it wasn't a weekend night, I figured there wouldn't be much traffic out, and there wasn't.

When I got up to University, it was eerie how empty it was.  I walked down the travel lanes of the road simply because there were no cars and I could.  One I got to the shopping center and the intersection, it felt like a ghost town.  Aside from the occasional passing truck or car, the only other people I saw were a guy smoking a cigarette outside of 7/11, and two people unloading a box truck in front of the shopping center (and they left a couple minutes after I arrived).  I stood in the middle of the intersection between the 7/11 and the shopping center for about 2 minutes straight before a car approached, just because it's something that you can normally never do without obstructing traffic or getting hit.

It was a pretty cool experience, since I was seeing a place that I know so well in a totally different light.  Below are some unedited pictures of the intersection and surrounding area at that time of night.    

Looking west on University Blvd from Williamsburg Drive.  All photos by the author.

Looking east towards the Beltway.  

None of the shopping center businesses are open at that hour.

The sign and center tunnel. 

Looking north on Colesville Road from the corner with the small professional building.

Looking north from between the two shopping centers.

Looking south from the same spot.  No traffic except a lone semi headed towards the Beltway.

The Beltway from University Boulevard.  No traffic in sight.  

A few things I noticed during my early morning stroll; 
  • People drive really fast at this time of night.  Most cars that passed by me on either Colesville or University were going at least 50 MPH (one car on University Blvd passing Williamsburg Drive must have been going at least 70 MPH as it went by).  Since there is no one else around, this isn't really dangerous to anyone but the drivers, but it isn't a good idea.  
  • Lots of truck traffic.  During my 20 or so minutes thta I was up around the intersection and along the two major roads, about 10-15 semis and other large trucks passed by, out of only about 30 vehicles total that I saw.  Trucking companies must schedule deliveries at this time of night, which is smart since there is little traffic.
  • Sound travels far at this time of night.  During the day, there are so many competing sounds that it can be hard to pick out one from the other.  But at this time of night, sound seems to travel unusually far, as you can hear a car coming from very far away yet it sounds close.  There were several times when I was out in the middle of the intersection taking pictures and I thought I heard a car getting close, but it was over on the Beltway.  The sound traveled so well that it seemed like it was about to pass by me, but it was half a mile away.  I heard several vehicles on Colesville Road approaching the intersection well before they even came into view, which was kind of eerie.     
What do you notice about the pictures (aside from the lack of cars)?  If you've been out and about at this time of night here in Four Corners before (I think most people have at some point), what did you notice?


  1. Glad you didn't get run over! People drive really fast when there's no one else around!

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