Commute from Leesburg...Please any info!! (Alexandria, Reston: townhouse, safe neighborhoods, to buy)
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My fiance and I will be moving to VA sometime around September 2007. We really want to buy a home over a townhome and have been looking into information on Martins Chase, the new subdivision in Leesburg. Neither one of us are quite sure where exactly we will be working but it is narrowed down to four areas. I am hoping somebody can tell me what the average commute times from Leesburg are during rush hour and non-rush hour as well as when typical rush hour is? Please any information would be greatly appreciated!!
The areas are:
I am guessing the last two (esp. Alexandria) are horrendous but am hoping the first two are more bearable.
This can of course vary wildly due to accidents, road closures, weather or other situations. The brunt of rush "hour" (quite the misnomer) is from 7-9AM and from 4-6PM, however, traffic can be brutal for an hour's window of these times (i.e. 6-10AM and 3-7PM).
The timeframes in the previous post look about right, although I may have lost count a lot of the times as I sat in traffic and slowly went numb, listening to WTOP over and over again, LOL. And definitely add even more time during rush hour when it's raining or snowing.
Also consider that there are really only two major roads coming out/going into Leesburg from the eastern suburbs - Rt 7 and the Dulles Toll Road. Rt 7 has become a complete nightmare during rush hour from Winchester on in (Winchester is even further out than you in Leesburg). It's full of lights and subdivisions and is gridlocked from about 6am - 10am for the morning commute and 4pm - 7pm for evenings.
The Toll Rd went through an interesting expansion some years back. The state operates it from Tyson's Corner to Ashburn (before Leesburg), then a private company extended the Toll Rd for 14 miles west of Ashburn (the extension is called the Dulles Greenway) and they charge an arm and a leg to drive on it one way. I believe when it first opened it was around $2 one way, and now it's over $3. If you do go this route, I would strongly recommend getting Smart Tag/EZ Pass for the Toll Rd & the Greenway.
Northern VA is famous for not having any viable back roads, so there are really no good short cuts through any of the neighborhoods, which is why everyone is parked on 7 or the Toll Rd.
Thanks for the information. So, if there are two routes are the approximate times you gave me for 7 or the toll road? Or are they about the same time for both? I am used to Los Angeles traffic in which it can take me 1 - 1 h. 15 min to get home from work (8 miles) so from the sounds of it Northern Virginia traffic isn't quite as bad (based on mileage and approximate times you mentioned). Thanks again and any additional input is greatly appreciated? Does anybody have anything to say on the Leesburg area (good or bad)?
I'd say the times given are for both major routes. One will of course be better than the other if the other has an accident or some other delay. Having gone to LA many times within the last 5-10 years, I'd say traffic there is much worse, but DC is catching up quickly. There is no end to the influx of people coming in for jobs.
Downtown Leesburg is charming with Colonial-era architecture. It's very walkable and has restaurants, antique stores, and some art galleries. It's congested a lot of the time due to growth and even tourists in summer. The surrounding areas have grown tremendously over the last 13 years I lived in the area - lots of sprawl and seas of townhouse developments. Developers there tend to build homes really close to each other and the common areas are minimally landscaped, so do try to find the ones that are done better than others when shopping.
Leesburg used to be in the middle of absolutely nowhere, and now it's growing so fast the long-time locals complain as if it's turning into Alexandria. Lots of chain restaurants and stores are moving in. The Prime Outlets off Rt 15 & Rt 7 are nice, and I believe there are plans to build major movie theatres and such. In the last few years they've added a Home Depot and a Costco, and that was great for the area if only so that residents didn't have to drive 10 or more miles into Sterling for that. You will have to drive in for more restaurants and shopping, if that's your thing, but the good news is the area will become more and more desired by people who want something more affordable that's still within commuting distance of the eastern towns.
One thought - there are a lot of hi-tech employers and associations clustered around the Dulles, Herndon, and Reston areas. If any of those are your industries, it would be a much easier commute for you than having to go inside the Beltway.
I live in Leesburg, and often have to travel in the morning rush to Sterling, 10 or so miles east - that along 7 alone can take 45 minutes. I often go in the evening rush to Alexandria, which can take up to two hours (although I did it in an hour the other night and was very pleased with myself - and that's against traffic, as more people commute from Leesburg east in the morning/west in the afternoon than vice versa. There is a commuter bus system that runs from Leesburg toward DC that is very well regarded, but to commute to Alexandria during east in the morning/west in the evening rush hour - I honestly think 90 minutes is much too conservative of an estimate (you either have to take 7, which completely blocks up at Tysons Corner, or the toll road, which is expensive and can completely block up at the exit to get on the Beltway. Then when you return, you're stuck either crawling on 7 or crawling on the Greenway).
A friend lived in Leesburg and commuted to Reston on the toll road. If she waited until 10:00 to leave, she could do Reston in 35 minutes; otherwise it was at least an hour.
Another Leesburgite checking in.
Hubby drives to Tysons area in McLean every morn. usually on Rt 7 if he gets out before 7am the drive isn't too bad 60min. Rt7 is really bad between 7:30-9am. Evenings are worse, it seems people will vary there times into work but most want to leave by 5PM. Once you hit sterling in to McLean it get really bad because Rt 7 goes down to 2 lanes and same with the way home, once you reach Sterling it's not so bad.
The toll is give or take...some days it's faster somedays not. So why pay $$$
BTW I can get to RESTON at 10am in 20min. on RT7. I go to Great FAlls 2x a week at 10am and can ususally make it in 25 min.
That being said I really love it "out here" affordable (lol by NOVA standards!!) housing, and a real "downtown" with a beautiful old couthouse. Safe neighborhoods and great schools. More house are comming on the market everyday. We bought 1&1/2 yr ago and had no choice in housing...the only house we could afford (in agood area) is in aplanned community packed too close together and all look the same!! But with 3 kids atownhouse wasn't an option.
The general rule of thumb I've found is for rush hour commutes to last at least 1.5 times as long as non-rush hour commutes...
Yeah, but I'd think the at least part would be the most important words there. I usually take the non-rush hour time and multiply by 2, then hope I can do a little better, rather than using 1.5 and knowing that it'll probably be worse than that. Either way, you come up with some pretty ugly numbers, though...
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