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Old 09-13-2009, 05:36 PM
 
8,468 posts, read 13,604,567 times
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OK, forgive me if this question has been asked a thousand times before. I did a quick search and found lots of threads that talk about commuting in NOVA/DC, but nothing specifically addressing my situation.

I'm planning to move to NOVA sometime this year. As a single 30something without kids, I've decided that Arlington would be the ideal place to live, although Alexandria is probably more within my expected means. However, I work in IT and I know that many, perhaps the majority, of IT work is up by Tysons/McLean/Vienna and perhaps farther out in areas like Reston, Hernon and even Chantilly. Now some on this board have suggested that a reverse commute from Arlington/Alexandria would be pretty easy. Others have said it makes no difference which direction you're going because traffic in NOVA is just god-awful no matter where you live or work.

The ideal would be to land a job in Arlington or Alexandria and if not there, then in DC and take the metro in. But given that I'm in IT and don't yet have security clearance and don't know how long it would take to get it, the odds are that I'm going to end up with a job farther west, either in the Tysons area or perhaps Reston. I really would prefer to live closer in cause I know my social life will just be the pits if I'm forced to live in places like Herndon or Fairfax. But do you think I'd be making things a lot harder on myself by living in Arlington/Alexandria? Is the commute really that bad even if you head west against traffic? Assuming I don't have a flexible schedule and have to work 8-5 and therefore be on the road during peak traffic times, how bad would the drive from Arlington/Alexandria to places like Tysons, Herndon, or Chantilly be? If I do end up landing a job in these areas, do you recommend just living out that way, even though it would be farther out from DC and away from other single professionals?

Any advice is appreciated and if you can think of specific parts of Arlington or Alexandria to target in order to make this commute even easier, that would be a great help.
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Old 09-13-2009, 05:46 PM
 
2,728 posts, read 7,348,256 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DennyCrane View Post
OK, forgive me if this question has been asked a thousand times before. I did a quick search and found lots of threads that talk about commuting in NOVA/DC, but nothing specifically addressing my situation.

I'm planning to move to NOVA sometime this year. As a single 30something without kids, I've decided that Arlington would be the ideal place to live, although Alexandria is probably more within my expected means. However, I work in IT and I know that many, perhaps the majority, of IT work is up by Tysons/McLean/Vienna and perhaps farther out in areas like Reston, Hernon and even Chantilly. Now some on this board have suggested that a reverse commute from Arlington/Alexandria would be pretty easy. Others have said it makes no difference which direction you're going because traffic in NOVA is just god-awful no matter where you live or work.

The ideal would be to land a job in Arlington or Alexandria and if not there, then in DC and take the metro in. But given that I'm in IT and don't yet have security clearance and don't know how long it would take to get it, the odds are that I'm going to end up with a job farther west, either in the Tysons area or perhaps Reston. I really would prefer to live closer in cause I know my social life will just be the pits if I'm forced to live in places like Herndon or Fairfax. But do you think I'd be making things a lot harder on myself by living in Arlington/Alexandria? Is the commute really that bad even if you head west against traffic? Assuming I don't have a flexible schedule and have to work 8-5 and therefore be on the road during peak traffic times, how bad would the drive from Arlington/Alexandria to places like Tysons, Herndon, or Chantilly be? If I do end up landing a job in these areas, do you recommend just living out that way, even though it would be farther out from DC and away from other single professionals?

Any advice is appreciated and if you can think of specific parts of Arlington or Alexandria to target in order to make this commute even easier, that would be a great help.
I used to work on the corner of Gallows Road and Rt. 7. During rush hour it took me around 30-40 minutes just to up to speed on the beltway. I imagine you would be home quickly after that.
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Old 09-13-2009, 05:55 PM
 
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
30,101 posts, read 67,193,623 times
Reputation: 15748
I'll piggy-back here as well since I work in Tyson's Corner and I'm now interested in moving to the Ballston-Rosslyn Corridor of Arlington once my lease is up here in Reston. As you said it is "the pits" to live out in Western Fairfax County and have to drive so far IN all the time.
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Old 09-13-2009, 06:19 PM
 
Location: Arlington, VA and Washington, DC
23,565 posts, read 33,287,625 times
Reputation: 32116
Quote:
Originally Posted by DennyCrane View Post
OK, forgive me if this question has been asked a thousand times before. I did a quick search and found lots of threads that talk about commuting in NOVA/DC, but nothing specifically addressing my situation.

I'm planning to move to NOVA sometime this year. As a single 30something without kids, I've decided that Arlington would be the ideal place to live, although Alexandria is probably more within my expected means. However, I work in IT and I know that many, perhaps the majority, of IT work is up by Tysons/McLean/Vienna and perhaps farther out in areas like Reston, Hernon and even Chantilly. Now some on this board have suggested that a reverse commute from Arlington/Alexandria would be pretty easy. Others have said it makes no difference which direction you're going because traffic in NOVA is just god-awful no matter where you live or work.

The ideal would be to land a job in Arlington or Alexandria and if not there, then in DC and take the metro in. But given that I'm in IT and don't yet have security clearance and don't know how long it would take to get it, the odds are that I'm going to end up with a job farther west, either in the Tysons area or perhaps Reston. I really would prefer to live closer in cause I know my social life will just be the pits if I'm forced to live in places like Herndon or Fairfax. But do you think I'd be making things a lot harder on myself by living in Arlington/Alexandria? Is the commute really that bad even if you head west against traffic? Assuming I don't have a flexible schedule and have to work 8-5 and therefore be on the road during peak traffic times, how bad would the drive from Arlington/Alexandria to places like Tysons, Herndon, or Chantilly be? If I do end up landing a job in these areas, do you recommend just living out that way, even though it would be farther out from DC and away from other single professionals?

Any advice is appreciated and if you can think of specific parts of Arlington or Alexandria to target in order to make this commute even easier, that would be a great help.
I live on the West End of Alexandria (next to Landmark Mall) and whenever i did training in Tysons it took me about 30-40 min both ways. I took 236 W to 495 N to Rt 123. If you want young professionals with a sane commute to Tysons i recommend the West End of Alexandria.
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Old 09-13-2009, 06:40 PM
 
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
30,101 posts, read 67,193,623 times
Reputation: 15748
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alanboy395 View Post
I live on the West End of Alexandria (next to Landmark Mall) and whenever i did training in Tysons it took me about 30-40 min both ways. I took 236 W to 495 N to Rt 123. If you want young professionals with a sane commute to Tysons i recommend the West End of Alexandria.
Wow. That really sucks. It takes me less time to get to Tyson's from Reston, and I'm further out and going WITH traffic!
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Old 09-13-2009, 06:48 PM
 
3,155 posts, read 8,095,633 times
Reputation: 1977
495N towards Tysons is "with traffic" as well. Alexandria to Tysons isn't a reverse commute since there are lots of people coming up to Tysons from south of the Beltway.

I think Ballston-Tysons would be a better commute- at least it's 4 miles shorter.
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Old 09-13-2009, 08:19 PM
 
8,468 posts, read 13,604,567 times
Reputation: 7537
I get the impression that it doesn't really matter which way you're coming from if you're heading to Tysons. If that's the case, then I might as well live in Arlington or Alexandria. At least there, I won't be outnumbered by families the way I would be in Herndon or Reston.
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Old 09-14-2009, 06:44 AM
 
Location: Arlington, VA
1,430 posts, read 3,481,248 times
Reputation: 773
My company's main office is out in Tysons and I live in the Court House/Clarendon area of Arlington. Times vary significantly depending on where exactly one is going in Tysons Corner. A few extra stoplights out there can add a lot more time onto the drive.

My office is located off of Rt. 7 near the Beltway and Tysons Corner Center. The mornings from Arlington are usually 25 to 30 minutes while the evenings can be closer to 40. Those are usually the good days. Again it just really depends though because 66 and 7 are congested pretty much non-stop. There are a few back roads one can take but they are often jammed as well...believe me I've tried them! All in all though it isn't a bad commute in my opinion, especially for this area.
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Old 09-14-2009, 06:53 AM
 
8,468 posts, read 13,604,567 times
Reputation: 7537
My idea of a bad commute is anything over an hour. 30 minutes would be great, but 45 minutes is acceptable. Unless it's just to drive 5 miles.
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Old 09-14-2009, 06:55 AM
 
Location: Sometimes Maryland, sometimes NoVA. Depends on the day of the week
1,501 posts, read 10,749,887 times
Reputation: 1093
The trouble with Tysons is that its right on the beltway, and there is no such thing as a "reverse commute" when you are traveling the beltway. The reverse part of the commute would be taking the roads (e.g. 66) out to the beltway.

Also, to the OP, you mentioned
Quote:
don't yet have security clearance and don't know how long it would take to get it
Just to clarify, you can't get the clearance yourself, tou have to have a job (or at least an offer) and an employer who will sponsor you. You might already know this, but I've seen lots of people think they could just move up here and apply for the clearance on their own.
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