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Old 01-17-2009, 08:29 PM
Location: Silver Spring, MD/Washington DC
3,450 posts, read 8,139,317 times
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The WMATA (Metro) Franconia-Springfield station is south of the DC Beltway, so theoretically you could get to it on Inauguration Day. However, traffic is going to be so horrendous, plus many people from north of Richmond but south of DC will use that station that I wouldn't even try it.

Here's an outline of transportation options:

*Take Amtrak from Staples Mill Road Station (if tickets are still available) - this is probably your best bet if you want to avoid traffic entirely. Staples Mill Road Station is a few miles north of downtown Richmond. An alternate for one of the morning trains would be to take Amtrak from Main Street Station, which is located just to the east of downtown Richmond. Main Street Station isn't served by as many trains as Staples Mill Road Station.

*Take the VRE Fredericksburg Line from Fredericksburg (if tickets are still available) - you'll have more schedule flexibility with this option than you would with Amtrak. The negative of course is you need to drive to Fredericksburg and may encounter some traffic (though likely nothing near as bad as what you'd expect north of Fredericksburg). As noted above, the GRTC (transit provider in Richmond) does have a bus that connects downtown Richmond with the Fredericksburg VRE station.

*Take Greyhound from Richmond (get there well in advance of your bus) - this option is actually both better than it appears at first glance and also one that may not be very appealing. With Greyhound, you'll get a gamut of riders, many of whom are a much lower demographic than what you'll typically encounter on Amtrak. You also run the risk of getting caught in DC area traffic, though the Greyhound buses have the advantage of being able to use the HOV lanes in Prince William and Fairfax Counties. On the flip side, because the buses can use the HOV lanes they should be able to go faster than the general traffic. The Washington Greyhound Terminal is located a little less than 1/2 mile north of Union Station and a little less than 1 mile from the U.S. Capitol, so you'll also be within walking distance of where you need to go if you use the bus. The Richmond Greyhound Terminal is located on the Boulevard about 3 miles northwest of downtown Richmond, across the street from the Diamond (baseball stadium).

*Drive on I-95 to US 301, take US 301 to US 50, and then take US 50 west to the New Carrollton (Orange Line), Largo Town Center (Blue Line), or Branch Avenue (Green Line) WMATA stations. If you need to drive, you'll want to avoid I-95, and using US 301, which effectively bypasses Washington to the west, is your best bet. US 301 intersects US 50 at Bowie, MD, about 10 miles east of the DC Beltway, and from there you can drive to one of the end-of-the-line Metro stations. There will be traffic on US 50 going towards DC but that traffic will be nowhere near as bad as the traffic on I-95. New Carrollton would be the easiest to reach (stay on US 50 at the I-95/I-495 interchange and then follow the signs) but Largo, Branch Avenue, or even Greenbelt (Green Line northern end) would also work.
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Old 01-18-2009, 11:47 AM
1,046 posts, read 4,453,475 times
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The Washington Post's "Dr. Gridlock" is also posting regular updates on traffic and mass transit flow, crowds, shutdowns, bottlenecks, etc. at: Get There

If you know Washington well, it may help you navigate via the least backed-up routes.

Good luck!
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