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Old 03-23-2010, 08:43 AM
 
Location: Loudoun County, VA
1,148 posts, read 2,360,229 times
Reputation: 396

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I got an offer to work in DC (downtown) this summer. On most mornings I'd be driving to Fairfax (near 50/FFX Co Pkwy) to drop off my son to his nanny's house and then commuting from there. I'd be on the road probably by 6:30am, some mornings even earlier. What would be the best way to go? Should I drive to DC, drive to a metro station or is there a commuter bus? Thanks in advance.
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Old 03-23-2010, 08:58 AM
 
Location: Nova
486 posts, read 962,937 times
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I used to live around that area off of 50. I was offered a job in DC, but turned it down because the commute was too long for me. I tried it a few times thought. You have a few options for getting into the city. You can take 66 to 495 to 50 into the city, or 50 all of the way, or 66 or 50 to the Vienna metro.

I have tried all three and actually found that taking the metro was the longest and most expensive. Taking the metro took me about 1.5 hours to get into the city by 9am. Parking in Vienna at that hour is time consuming because the open lot is all full; you have to go to the garage which is a short walk, but adds to the time a little.

Taking 66 to 495 to 50 versus taking 50 all of the way into the city were almost the same length in time when I did it. It took about 1 hour to 1:15 minutes. Just remember, before 9am it's HOV-2 inside the beltway on route 66, which is why you have to go south on 495 and pick up 50 east.

And I think it depends on where you will work in the city too. Working in Georgetown is a different commute than working on the Hill. I worked on K street and just getting out of the city from K street was a pain, but better than working all the way on the Hill (which I did that commute too a few times in the morning and evening).

The summer commute could be somewhat lighter though, which would be a positive, as children aren't in school. You might be able to shave 5-10 minutes off of the commute during the summer hours.
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Old 03-23-2010, 09:03 AM
 
Location: Home is where the heart is
15,400 posts, read 18,084,474 times
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I don't know have any advice, just wanted to say congrats on the job!
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Old 03-23-2010, 09:26 AM
 
Location: Loudoun County, VA
1,148 posts, read 2,360,229 times
Reputation: 396
lilou, thanks for the very helpful post!! If I end up taking the job (it's just for a few months but an awesome opportunity), I'd have a very flexible working schedule so I'm not *too* worried about rush hour traffic itself. I've looked at the metro fare etc. and it looks like it might actually make sense to drive in from Fairfax. I'm not too crazy about the metro (I'm a bit claustrophobic) but would be ok taking it every now and then. So maybe I'll try the 50 commute one of these mornings and see how long it would take. Thanks again.

I found an old thread about this same topic and someone said they just drive to the Burke VRE and take the VRE in. Is the VRE usually on time?

Normie - thanks!
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Old 03-23-2010, 10:45 AM
 
309 posts, read 525,995 times
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Why not go to one of the park and rides off the Fairfax County Parkway?(since you'll be in that vicinity anyway) Alternatively check out VPSI to find a vanpool going to the area where you'll be working.
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Old 03-23-2010, 11:39 AM
 
Location: Washington, DC & New York
9,393 posts, read 15,994,245 times
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At 6:30, you will have just missed the cut-off for I-66, since you need to be on the TR Bridge by 6:30 if you're non-HOV. However, traffic is not that horrible at 6:30, so you could conceivably take Route 50 in, crossing the TR Bridge. Coming from the west, Route 50 can sometimes be very heavy, especially from Fairfax through Falls Church, but is not too slow through Arlington (and there is a way around this through Fairfax). If Memorial Bridge could work for you, though, you could take I-66 to The Beltway and then the GW Parkway, avoiding the HOV requirement.

The worst part will be the drive home, however, since traffic builds early on I-66. Route 50 has some slow spots, but will move along, and there are ways to get through Fairfax without staying on Route 50 the entire way, which can be a real pain.

You could easily get a parking spot at Vienna Metro at that hour, so it might not be a bad way to commute, especially if you don't have dedicated parking at your job site. And, as it's the first station on the inbound train, you have a greater chance at getting a seat.

How far downtown do you need to go? And, do you have dedicated parking at the job site? The other consideration is whether or not you need a car during your work day. If you don't, and you're in an area that's easily accessed by Metro, it might be an easier proposition.
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