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Old 06-05-2010, 09:16 PM
2 posts, read 8,226 times
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So I have an 8:20 flight out of BWI this Friday night. I work in Tyson's Corner. When should I leave work to be able to park and make my flight (no checked baggage)? It's on AirTran if it matters. Also, what route should I take?

Now, I do live a 5 minute walk from the East Falls Church Metro stop. Would it be much faster that time of day to take the Metro in to Union Station and then take MARC or Amtrak to BWI?

If it makes a difference, I'm coming back to BWI at around 10:30 Sunday morning.

Thanks so much for any help you can give!
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Old 06-06-2010, 07:17 AM
Location: Fairfax County
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I would take the train as traffic on Fridays on the Beltway/95 is awful.

Check the MTA website, but as I recall there is a Penn Line MARC train that leaves Union Station every 20 minutes or so starting at about 4:15 pm. It takes about 45 minutes to get from Union Station to the BWI stop, and then you can ride the shuttle to the airport.

I like to be early for flights, so I would be aiming to get to BWI around 6 pm or so. Therefore, working backwards, I'd allow an hour for the Union Station to BWI MARC train/shuttle, another 30 - 40 minutes for the Metro ride between East Falls Church and Union Station, plus the 5 minute walk from home, and 15 - 20 minute ride between Tysons and home -- so I'd leave work around 2:30 - 2:45 pm.
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Old 06-06-2010, 07:46 AM
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I would rather drive. Taking the train thru the city really sucks. You will be really tired.
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Old 06-06-2010, 08:06 AM
2 posts, read 8,226 times
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Originally Posted by VRE332 View Post
I would rather drive. Taking the train thru the city really sucks. You will be really tired.
So if I was going to drive, when should I leave and what route? I'm just worried it's going to take three hours in Friday afternoon traffic and I'll either have to leave work really early or miss my flight.

I'm a little riskier than Orangefish, so looking at the schedules I'd either take the 6:37 MARC out of DC to get to BWI at 7:16, or maybe the 6:13 that gets in at 6:51. For the 6:37, I'd plan on getting into Union Station by 6:20 to make sure I had time to get a ticket and what not. I can take as late as a 5:46 out of East Falls Church and get into Union Station by 6:19. I'll probably leave work at 5.
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Old 06-06-2010, 12:21 PM
Location: Washington, DC & New York
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Driving, it's the top side of The Beltway that will be horrible, and the delays can begin at Tysons. There's no real way to predict that, either, especially on a summer Friday, just that you will encounter traffic. Without traffic, you're about an hour to BWI, so with Friday summer traffic, I would count on 3 hours minimum, adding to that the compounding factor of Tysons rush hour, and I might be inclined to say that you need to leave no later than 4:00 to get there an hour ahead of your flight. BWI is the worst in delays at security, too, so I'd not cut it too close.

If the top side of The Beltway is a parking lot, avoid it. Take 123 to Chain Bridge; L on Arizona; L on Loughboro; R on Dalecarlia; stay on Western at the traffic circle at Massachusetts (basically straight from Western around the circle); Western to R on Chestnut (turns into Wise Road); L on Beach Drive; R on Kalmina to get on E Beach Drive; L on East Beach Drive; R on North Portal. Follow Portal to 16th, and cross 16th where it becomes Colesville Road, at the traffic circle, roughly straight across, 2nd exit (1st is 16th St. S). You can get on The Beltway at Silver Spring from Colesville.

If The Beltway is still bad, or if 95, and the B-W Parkway are bad, which is not inconceivable, follow Colesville Road under The Beltway. It will turn into Columbia Pike. Take Columbia Pike almost to Elicott City, turning off at Route 100 to head across to BWI. 100 East is a ramp, and you would follow to the B-W Parkway north; exiting at 195 to BWI.

Avoiding The Beltway from the 270 Split and going through Silver Spring and Columbia will take an hour and a half with few delays. At rush hour, it would be closer to two hours, given the lights and traffic in Silver Spring. So, two and a half hours might be reasonable on that route, depending upon the day. That would allow you to leave Tysons at 4:00-4:15, factoring time to park and get to the airport, but would be less risky than being trapped by the 270 Spur merge.

For the least hassle, I would drive to Union Station and take MARC. I have had the experience when I was picked up by a car service, who is notoriously early, and we were en route to BWI and the driver knew he could not make it. So, he diverted to Union Station and I was able to take the train and meet the plane. It's that variable some days, when even the professionals can't gauge it.
All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.
~William Shakespeare
(As You Like It Act II, Scene VII)

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