We all have our own ideas of luxury: a slow bite into dark chocolate, curling up with a good book in a favorite room, an evening out at the theater.
I enjoy the feeling of decadence one gets when coasting through the new E-ZPass express lanes downtown.
While the transponder service has been active on the Downtown Expressway for years, the even expressier express lanes opened in August, offering westbound E-Z Pass drivers even faster plaza-free exits out of the region's core. There's just something to be said for the feeling of opulence an express lane gives you as you leave cash-payers in the dust, laughing maniacally as they fade in the rearview.
At least one local outfit has taken a cue from E-ZPass: The Richmond Flying Squirrels offer a "Bypass Lane" app for ordering concessions (read: beer) from your seat with a smartphone. But there are plenty of places around town, as well as some other transportation arteries, that could benefit from the convenience that express-lane technology offers. Imagine the possibilities:
• In line at Sweet Frog, six kids in front of you are loading several pounds of cereal and candy toppings onto their froyo. You spot a first-timer who doesn't understand the scale-based payment process. Your treat is slowly melting. Wave a pass, skip the line. Plus, you could call it Freezy Pass.
• An express lane in the Monument Avenue 10K that allows runners to finish in record time, potentially beating the elites for a cash prize.
• A widened Lee footbridge to Belle Isle, allowing walkers, joggers and bikers to pay a nominal fee in order to avoid passing that vicious looking guy with the even viciouser looking mutt.
• Moving through VCU's campus during rush hour, cars with appropriate transponders would be allowed to drive on Main Street sidewalks from 5 to 6 p.m. Students will be rerouted to specialized texting-while-walking lanes and listening-to-those-giant-headphones-and-not-paying-attention-to-traffic lanes.
• Long lines at Metro, Hardywood or some other beer-friendly establishment? No E-ZPass lane necessary. There are, like, plenty of other options within walking distance.