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Old 01-21-2010, 08:16 PM
 
20 posts, read 41,150 times
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Me and my friend have gotten a summer internship offer at NIH for 7 weeks. We are going to drive from Florida to DC with my car. My uncle lives in Fairfax area. We need to commute to NIH every day during summer. What are the options we have?

1) We can live in Fairfax and commute on 66E, 495 to Bethesda. The distance is like 28 miles or more. We can use HOV too. Since we can start the job early and leave early. Would it make sense to drive everyday before 7 am and leave Bethesda before 4:30 pm? I am estimating the commute to be like 40 mts each way. Would this be a good idea by using HOV?

2) Take Metro (Orange and red lines). Commute may take like 90 mts or more including parking etc. for each way. Is this worth it?

3) Rent a place near Bethesda and visit my Uncle place during weekends. More money and less traffic worries. I am leaning towards this now.


Please educate me if I am wrong here. Thanks for the help.

Last edited by mcotocjb; 01-21-2010 at 08:30 PM..
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Old 01-21-2010, 09:14 PM
 
Location: Washington, DC & New York
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Before 7am in the summer, the traffic should not be too bad at all from Fairfax to NIH. Summer season in DC means much less traffic congestion, once schools let out, but your return commute could be longer some days due to vacation traffic in the area.

If you're saving a good deal of money on rent, since Bethesda is not inexpensive, I'd be inclined to go with the Fairfax option, leaving early in the morning to get to work. I would pick option 1.
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Old 01-21-2010, 09:16 PM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, NC, formerly DC and Phila
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I would definitely do #1. No way should you do #2 unless you are desperate and have no car, which you do. #3 would be fine if you don't mind spending the money.

Your commute will not be that bad. I think about 45 minutes is right. The earlier the better especially in the afternoon. If you are young, which I am guessing you are, you will probably want to go out after work, and Bethesda is the perfect place for that. Lots of young, singles - tons of restaurants and bars, places to hang out. Then it will be a quick ride home since rush hour will be over. Summer traffic is lighter than the rest of the year (except Fridays) so you should be fine. I lived in Bethesda for many years and commuted from Vienna (next to Fairfax) to Rockville (next town up from Bethesda) so if you have any questions, just holler.
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Old 01-22-2010, 04:58 AM
 
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I would do option #1 and have some extra spending money while you are here for weekend trips to the beach!

I did a Fairfax - Bethesda commute at one time and found it OK. I feel it would be worse to do a Bethesda - Fairfax commute as leaving VA in the afternoon on the Beltway is very bad.

Hope you enjoy your time here!
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Old 01-22-2010, 09:47 AM
 
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Thanks guys. You guys rock. One othe rpoint no one talked about is using HOV from Fairfax to Bethesda. Is HOV available for the majority of the travel?
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Old 01-22-2010, 09:58 AM
 
Location: Virginia
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I'd stay on the same side of the river as the job. (Option #3). Bridge traffic can back up, and there just aren't many ways to get across the river.
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Old 01-22-2010, 10:36 AM
 
Location: Dudes in brown flip-flops
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcotocjb View Post
Thanks guys. You guys rock. One othe rpoint no one talked about is using HOV from Fairfax to Bethesda. Is HOV available for the majority of the travel?
HOV is available on 66, but not 495, so depending on where you are coming from in Fairfax, I would say no, it's not available for the majority of the travel. But 495N isn't too bad in the mornings once you are past Tysons Corner (the first exit N of 66 on 495).
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Old 01-24-2010, 10:24 PM
 
Location: outside Washington, DC
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I would say you are wise to estimate that on average it will take you around 45 minutes in the mornings to drive from Fairfax to Bethesda. On occasion it will be more (if there is an accident) and on occasion the traffic volume will be lighter, so you might be able to do it in as little as 35 or so.

I commute my son in the mornings from our home in Bethesda to his private high school in Fairfax and then have to drive back immediately, so I am going both ways in the mornings (and the afternoons). You will want to be aware that getting from Fairfax to 495 is probably the worst part of the morning commute. It literally takes me 15 to 20 minutes MINIMUM to get from his school off Pickett Road near Arlington Blvd in Fairfax to the Tyson's Corner exit at the beltway where the traffic starts to ease. This happens whether I try to get on the beltway via 50, 29, or God forbid right now, 66 (they are doing construction on the interchange where 66 lets out onto 495 and the exit ramp backs up all the traffic on 66).

Once past all the morning messes you can make good time over the bridge into Maryland, but you will want to get off right across the bridge at the Clara Barton Parkway and make your way into Bethesda from there, or you can go out to the Old Georgetown Road exit. Avoid the River Road exit heading into Bethesda during morning rush hour as it is basically a parking lot.

My experience driving around here the last few summers has been that the traffic volume really does not go down on the roads or the beltway, 270, or 66 as much as it used to. I don't understand why this is so but it is sadly not much better to drive in the summer than the rest of the year anymore.

You might want to go out with friends after work in downtown Bethesda and take advantage of all the great restaurants and nightlife before heading home after work. If you leave Bethesda after 8 pm, your commute home should not be bad at all.

Hope you enjoy your internship!
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