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Old 10-24-2009, 05:25 AM
 
43 posts, read 108,830 times
Reputation: 15

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Hello all,

I've been enjoying reading this forum. It's full of helpful information.

We are thinking of moving to Roland Park or perhaps a little further north (Towson, Lutherville). DH has a job offer in DC. Our kids would go to private schools in Roland Park.

DH has to be at his desk in DC near the White House before 7 a.m.

Will his commute to DC from Roland Park or Lutherville be unbearable? He's willing to commute for 90 minutes or so, but wants to take the train so he can sleep.

I'm worried about safety. DH will be leaving the house around 5 a.m.

From what I've read, it looks like DH's options are

-- light rail to Penn Station, take MARC to DC, metro to Center

-- drive to Penn Station, take MARC, etc.

-- drive to Camden Station, take MARC, etc.

What's the safest option that early in the morning? I've read light rail is not safe, and there's no parking, and that buses are even less safe.

If he drives to the station, would DH get a speeding ticket every morning (he has a lead foot)?

What's the quickest option?

Please be honest: Would this be a killer commute that would end our marriage, since DH would be so burned out and miserable after doing this every day?? He currently has a 25 minute commute by rail that he likes.

Suggestions most welcome. Thanks for your responses.

Another option we've considered is moving to Annapolis, but it looks like the commute to DC (drive to MARC) is even worse. A very slim possibility is Ellicott City, but I'd have to drive the kids to school in Roland Park during rush hour, which could take, what, 45 minutes or more?

 
Old 10-24-2009, 06:10 AM
 
Location: Cheswolde
1,962 posts, read 4,295,056 times
Reputation: 530
Default From an honest man

I'm sure I'll be flamed for this, but my advice is: Don't do it. And if you still want to do it, why on earth would you try to commute from Lutherville to D.C. Why not from York or Lancaster because what's another 30 or 45 minutes in a long commute anyway?
Here's my problem: I understand the Roland Park part. A great community at pretty affordable prices, if compared with D.C. But the scenario you sketch involves a lot of traveling and potential problems at every juncture (like no parking at light rail stations near Roland Park). On a good day you may be able to do it in three hours total. On bad days, who knows? And on those who-knows days when everything goes wrong, your husband will need a very understanding employer (do such animals still exist?) or, if his job is of any importance, he will be fired. Talk about stress.
Now there are people who presumably do this commute every day or on many days. Senators Mikulski and Cardin, for example. But they do it for political reasons, having been elected from a Baltimore base. (Joe Biden used to Amtrak from Delaware!) There may be others, but mostly just hardworking wage-earners trying to survive. As to sleeping on train, try it if you are standing up for the lack of seats. (Ask your husband to sleep on his feet at home for 30 minutes at home and se how he likes it).
There used to be a very important and grossly overpaid medical insurance lobbyist who lived in Roland Park when I met him two decades ago. At a party I asked about his MARC experience and he seemed shocked at the suggestion. "My chauffeur picks me up every morning, " he said. Riding a limo for him was work time.
That kind of car commute today would be undoable.
Later today I'll ask about another person -- another lobbyist, for a nonprofit -- who used to commute on MARC first from Lauraville (!) and later from Union Square. He said he didn't mind because being on a train gave him the only free time he had on any given day. If he still does it, I'll message you.
I used to do a MARC commute to K Street for about six month before I got burned out.
In summary, a reliable Baltimore-D.C. commute has become more and more difficult year by year. It can be done but at a heavy personal and professional toll. Anyone with more than rare evening commitments in D.C. should totally avoid such a commute because it's going to kill you.
If that D.C. job is important, find something in D.C. I wouldn't even recommend Columbia.
If Roland Park is important, find a job in Baltimore.
You asked for it, you got it.
As to Annapolis, nuts.
One last comment: I see that your previous comments are all over place. If it's not a farm somewhere, it's Fredericksburg that you are considering. My advice is for you and your husband to sit down and figure out what it is that you want in life, what is manageable and affordable. Good luck.

Last edited by barante; 10-24-2009 at 07:13 AM..
 
Old 10-24-2009, 08:07 AM
 
Location: Cheswolde
1,962 posts, read 4,295,056 times
Reputation: 530
Default MARC future

The following important consideration also occurs to me. With state and local governments facing worsening budget prospects, public transit is not going to improve. You should consider this very seriously if MARC is going to be the commuting mode.
We do not live in ordinary times. The whole country is undergoing a painful restructuring. Some societies can take it, others, like the former Soviet Union, crumble in perestroika.
 
Old 10-24-2009, 08:19 AM
 
Location: Portland, Maine
4,178 posts, read 9,269,753 times
Reputation: 1481
An hour or longer commute to DC is not uncommon at all. I personally wouldn't do it. But, if I had to, I would much rather be on the MARC train vs. driving. That is the reality of living in the DC area. There will variables playing into any commute. It obviously doesn't seem to bother many, many people around the country. My brother-in-law commutes from East Lansing to Detroit daily (over 90 minutes) and doesn't bother him a bit. I don't get it.
If I had the choice of commuting from Baltimore via Marc or metro via driving---MARC for me.
 
Old 10-24-2009, 10:12 AM
 
Location: South Shore of Boston
812 posts, read 1,505,740 times
Reputation: 449
I commute from Mount Washington to DC via the MARC train Penn Line. I either take the light rail from Mount Washington, get a ride to Penn Station, or drive to the West Baltimore station. The best (quickest) option would be getting a ride from Roland Park to Penn Station, which is right of I-83. It's only 8 minutes from my house. The Penn Line appears to be the most efficient of the MARC lines, and coming from Roland Park, the Penn Line makes the most sense. Your husband could catch the 5:25am train and wouldn't have a problem getting a seat. People getting on at stations south of Baltimore might have trouble finding a seat, but currently, there are no issues with that when boarding at Baltimore. That train arrives at Union Station at 6:23am, and your husband could catch the metro Red Line to Metro Center from there. It can easily be a 90+ minute commute door to door.

I've done this commute for 8 months, and overall the experience has not been too bad. The train is usually relaxing - I can sleep, read, email, etc. It's just when I get home, I realize how long my days are and it's difficult to think that I used 3 hours of my day to commute to work. The MARC train has been reliable about 90-95% of the time, but as others have said, when it breaks down, it is a disaster. One needs to have an understanding employer.

Given all this, I don't see myself being able to keep up this commute for more than a few years. Some people can handle it over many years, but many cannot. Eventually I'll either have to find a new job or move closer in. That is my perspective. Feel free to message me if you have more specific questions about the commute. Best of luck to you!
 
Old 10-24-2009, 11:07 AM
 
43 posts, read 108,830 times
Reputation: 15
What we want is to get out of the Middle West!! And DH has a job offer in DC! We've looked into DC extensively, and cost-wise, it just won't work. DH has to commute from somewhere, and Baltimore seems like the best place for now. Maybe when the economy improves he can find work in Baltimore.

Is there no parking at the light rail stations near Roland Park? What time do the parking spaces fill up? And is the light rail dangerous early in the morning?

What about parking at Penn Station? I thought that was available for about $10 a day on a monthly pass -- no? What time does it fill up?

I so want to live in the country, but now is not the time... sigh....

Barante I appreciate your honesty.
 
Old 10-24-2009, 11:12 AM
 
Location: Cheswolde
1,962 posts, read 4,295,056 times
Reputation: 530
Default Parking, etc.

There is no parking period at the light-rail stations at Cold Spring or Woodberry, the two closest to Roland Park. Also, the light-rail does not take you to Penn Station. To get there you may have to walk for 10 minutes or, if you are lucky, you may get a periodic train that goes there, but that may be an iffy proposition.
There is pay parking at Penn Station so that should not be a problem.
In general, you seem to be far too preoccupied by safety concerns at 5 a.m. That is not the problem. Basic transportation issues are the problem.
Look for a PM.
 
Old 10-26-2009, 06:48 AM
 
Location: South Shore of Boston
812 posts, read 1,505,740 times
Reputation: 449
Quote:
Originally Posted by beebelle View Post
What we want is to get out of the Middle West!! And DH has a job offer in DC! We've looked into DC extensively, and cost-wise, it just won't work. DH has to commute from somewhere, and Baltimore seems like the best place for now. Maybe when the economy improves he can find work in Baltimore.

Is there no parking at the light rail stations near Roland Park? What time do the parking spaces fill up? And is the light rail dangerous early in the morning?

What about parking at Penn Station? I thought that was available for about $10 a day on a monthly pass -- no? What time does it fill up?

I so want to live in the country, but now is not the time... sigh....

Barante I appreciate your honesty.
You could park at the Mount Washington light rail stop, but I don't think light rail trains run at 5am. The first one might come through there around 5:30 or 5:40. The closest light rail stop to Penn Station is University of Baltimore. If you're a fast walker, you can make it from the stop to Penn Station in 4 to 5 minutes.

I've never been able to get a straight answer on monthly Penn Station parking. There are rumors of waitings lists. All I know is it would be $14/day to park there.

Are you 100% set on Roland Park? Why not Howard County? Or Anne Arundel, close to the Odenton or BWI MARC train stops? Total commuting times would be more like 60-70 minutes, which isn't great, but it surely beats 90 minutes.
 
Old 10-26-2009, 07:03 AM
 
Location: Baltimore burbs
1,011 posts, read 1,219,709 times
Reputation: 1577
I did the Penn Station to D.C. commute for a few years. It really is NOT a big deal and can be done in under 1 1/2 hours. Safety is not an issue at Penn Station at 5am. From Roland Park it is totally doable. Never attempt driving from Baltimore to D.C. in rush hour--that is insanity. best of luck
 
Old 10-26-2009, 09:50 AM
 
Location: Medfield neighborhood of Baltimore City
181 posts, read 384,905 times
Reputation: 37
I think she wants the private schools in Roland Park for her kids.

Plenty of folks commute to DC from there. Generally speaking crime is a minor concern around Penn Station or in Roland Park.

Attempting to drive to DC, unless you live right next to it, inside the Capitol Beltway, is draining and mind-numbing.
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