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Old 07-02-2016, 01:32 PM
 
2 posts, read 1,199 times
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With the potential recent issues with Metro, I wanted to get some advice on commute options to Metro Center from either Ballston or Pentagon City. I'm moving down to D.C. for a new job and have heard both are good neighborhoods with easy commutes to the city. I know Ballston has service every 3 minutes in the morning with both the Silver/Orange lines, but are the separate tracks with the Blue and Yellow lines a better choice for getting downtown?

Are transfers at L'Enfant Plaza and Chinatown pretty quick and relaxed at the morning rush or should I expect chaos and packed cars at that point? Also, are the blue line cars as packed as everyone says they are during the morning rush (with the 12 minute gaps)? Thanks!

(reposted from elsewhere, sorry for the annoyance)
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Old 07-02-2016, 03:49 PM
 
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I'd call it a wash and pick the area you like better. Both are about 15 minutes. It's not chaotic, but it's busy. I would read about Safetrack if you haven't already and the trains are more like 5-6 minutes apart best case scenario, not 3.

Ballston would be easier as you have two trains to choose from that both go through your destination without having to switch. Pentagon City might be faster if you plan on going out in DC as the Yellow will get you to L'Enfant or Chinatown pretty quick, but for your commute if you miss a blue it's either wait ten minutes or take the yellow and switch.
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Old 07-02-2016, 03:52 PM
 
Location: Reston, VA
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You are much better off in Ballston with the Silver/Orange lines. Blue and Yellow line service does not run as often and if you have to change trains at Chinatown - you are probably better off leaving the station and walking rather then waiting for a red line train to take you to Metro Center.
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Old 07-02-2016, 04:29 PM
 
Location: New-Dentist Colony
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Another option is the 38B bus line or the 3Y, which goes down Lee Highway to McPherson Square. I took the latter for years, and it's great. Plus the apartments and condos on Lee Highway aren't as pricey as those near the Metro station.
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Old 07-03-2016, 10:22 AM
 
Location: West Hollywood, CA from Arlington, VA
2,770 posts, read 2,702,672 times
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Blue line trains are pretty crowded but I would never take it unless it just happens to pull up. Yellow line to Chinatown and walking is just more efficient.

A lot of people who don't even take Metro will try to scare you about how terrible it is. However, I commuted everyday on the Orange/Silver Line (from Ballston-VA square) for years and was fine 97% of the time. Metro Center is a good place to get on too because the trains won't be as crowded as further down like at Faragut West and Foggy Bottom. I would also add: the earlier, the better. I left at 7ish and 430, so I rarely ran into issues. More issues happen later in rush hour because there are more people trying to fit on trains and breaking their doors.

And as Carlingtonian noted, the bus options are a great option especially outside of rush hour when Metro can become a mess with 20 minute train waits. Actually I take the 38B more than the Orange Line these days because I know the bus will be well air conditioned and I won't have to deal with stupid tourists.
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Old 07-03-2016, 01:10 PM
 
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Thanks for the suggestions!

With the silver line addition, just how bad is the overcrowding on the Metro. In an ideal world, I'd like to have the shortest door-to-door commute possible with the highest likelihood of getting a seat (for emails, etc while commuting) if I leave by 7:00.

A old neighbor who lives in D.C. currently suggested Pentagon City would be better in case of metro failures around Rosslyn, but if the train is fine more than 90% of the time, Ballston sounds like it would absolutely fine with me to only have one line into the city. Worst case scenario I can always grab the 38B or an Uber in a pinch.

Also, if I were to transfer would it be complete chaos or does heading outbound on the metro make it pretty simple?

Last edited by MMBarq; 07-03-2016 at 01:22 PM..
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Old 07-03-2016, 01:29 PM
 
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Have you ever actually been on the metro yet? If not, I think you need to just take the metro when you move here to best answer your questions. It's not overcrowded, but it's busy - you likely aren't getting a seat because there are 5+ stops of people before you also going into DC.
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Old 07-05-2016, 07:46 AM
 
39 posts, read 27,312 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MMBarq View Post
With the potential recent issues with Metro
What potential issues? If you mean Safetrack, it isn't likely to impact either of the two commutes you mentioned after mid-July.
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Old 07-07-2016, 07:02 PM
 
Location: West Hollywood, CA from Arlington, VA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WildParrot View Post
What potential issues? If you mean Safetrack, it isn't likely to impact either of the two commutes you mentioned after mid-July.
You're right. Actually Safetrack has INCREASED reliability in the inner burbs like Arlington. There are fewer trains so fewer issues. IIRC, Metro said that there was 89% on time performance in June and my fiancee can confirm this. Safetrack sucks for those out in the burbs but it's barely affecting Arlingtonians.

This is what I'm talking about when I say don't listen to the surburbanites who never actually ride Metro.
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Old 07-08-2016, 10:58 AM
 
Location: Metro Washington DC
13,104 posts, read 19,944,979 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gomason View Post
You're right. Actually Safetrack has INCREASED reliability in the inner burbs like Arlington. There are fewer trains so fewer issues. IIRC, Metro said that there was 89% on time performance in June and my fiancee can confirm this. Safetrack sucks for those out in the burbs but it's barely affecting Arlingtonians.

This is what I'm talking about when I say don't listen to the surburbanites who never actually ride Metro.
What about my friend who lives in DC and uses the Blue line to get to work? He's no suburbanite.
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