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Old 08-02-2011, 08:13 AM
 
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My husband and I are considering a move to NoVa--I have a job offer in Ballston. We're looking at Reston, but I'm hoping to keep my commute <45 min. I'm finding mixed information on the commute. What's the least painful way to commute from Reston to Ballston and vice versa, how long does it take? Thanks!
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Old 08-02-2011, 09:25 AM
 
Location: Northern Virginia
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When will you be commuting (hours), and how many people will be in the car? 66 inside the beltway is carpool only during main rush hours.
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Old 08-02-2011, 03:54 PM
 
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It'll just be me for starters, and I'm willing to drive and/or bus + metrorail. I can leave as early as 7, gotta be to the office by 9 (but hope to not take 2 hours and to leave as late as possible!). Would appreciate any pointers, thanks!
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Old 08-02-2011, 04:02 PM
 
Location: Fairfax, VA
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I don't think you can count on less than 45 minutes. I did this commute for years and it took about an hour one-way. I would park at the park and ride and take the fairfax connector to west falls church metro, then metro to ballston. Yes, the HOV restrictions will cut down on your car options unless you are willing to pick up sluggers (well, actually, not officially sluggers, but people used to drive up to the park and ride and ask for people to hop in so they could use HOV rather than wait for the bus) I did drive it for a while, and I would take 7 to towlston and then hit old dominion into arlington.

The metro will be here VERY soon, though, and that should cut the commute by quite a bit.
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Old 08-02-2011, 04:03 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kerioke View Post
It'll just be me for starters, and I'm willing to drive and/or bus + metrorail. I can leave as early as 7, gotta be to the office by 9 (but hope to not take 2 hours and to leave as late as possible!). Would appreciate any pointers, thanks!
If it's a normal day on the Toll Road and Metro, you can probably do the commute within your desired 45-minute timeframe. Figure 25 minutes, maybe less, for the Fairfax Connector to get you from Reston to the West Falls Church Metro station, an average five-minute wait for an Orange Line train to arrive, and then six to eight minutes to go the two stops to Ballston. You would of course also have to factor in time from your home to the bus stop and from the Ballston Metro to your job.
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Old 08-02-2011, 06:25 PM
 
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This is great, thank you hilsmom and ics67! When do the park and ride lots usually fill up? Is there a time after which it's impossible to find a parking spot? Is there a time when the toll road gets really bad? Does traffic on the toll road slow down the buses? This is so helpful!
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Old 08-02-2011, 07:37 PM
 
Location: Fairfax, VA
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well, the park and rides have changed since the beginnming of metro construction. Hopefully someone with more recent experience can answer this question - I have only gone downtown during work hours a couple times in the past 3 years! The big one at Wiehle Ave is closed now, and they opened a temp one off of Sunset Hills between the Town Center and the Target. My husband has used that one a couple times, and I think he has been able to park after 8 am. There is also a park and ride in Herndon off of Sunrise Valley and 7100 - I have used that one many times.

Depending on where you live, you MIGHT be able to avoid park and rides altogether. If you live close enough to the Town Center, there is a Transit Center there that you could walk to. Many of the other Reston communities have bus service nearby, as well.

You can check out the bus service and schedules at North County Route Schedules and Maps*- Fairfax County, Virginia
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Old 08-02-2011, 08:08 PM
 
Location: In the woods
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If you can catch a bus from Reston to West Falls metro, it's only a few stops to Ballston.

Driving is doable but if you leave early in the a.m. There's a "shortcut" through McLean (since you cannot take 66). But the construction around the Tyson's area is really a nightmare right now.
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Old 08-02-2011, 09:08 PM
 
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I agree with South Jersey Styx that traffic right now is even worse than usual due to the simultaneous construction of Metro's Silver Line and the Beltway HOT lanes, all of which creates traffic back-ups on the Dulles Toll Road and the Dulles Airport Access Road (two parallel but separated highways) by the Beltway entrance and Route 123 that you have to get past to reach the West Falls Church Metro station. Hopefully this won't last forever; sometimes it just seems that way.

Even before such construction began, the eastbound toll road throughout the a.m. rush was usually pretty congested -- but I took one of the few, if not the only, Fairfax Connector buses that used the toll road as opposed to the airport access road. You'd have a better commute taking the Connector buses that use the airport access road, at least until you get towards the Beltway and Rt. 123 (both the Dulles highways have merged by that point).

I haven't done the commute in several months, but I did notice when passing by the temporary park & ride off of Sunset Hills recently that there were numerous spaces open in mid-afternoon, before commuters coming home had presumably left work. The Reston South park & ride at the intersection of Lawyers and Reston Parkway never fills up. The 585 bus from there to the West Falls Church Metro station is for all intents and purposes an express bus, with only another four stops or so along Reston Parkway before getting onto the Dulles Access Road and the straight shot to West Falls.
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Old 08-02-2011, 10:16 PM
 
Location: Reston, VA
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See if you can take a Fairfax Connector bus from your neighborhood. It really saves time over driving to the park and ride. I'm doing that these days and it takes me 65 - 70 minutes to get from the South Lakes Area of Reston to Federal Triangle in DC. Should be less to Balston - use the Trip Planner on Metro's site to see how long your commute will take. Metro - Rider Tools - Trip Planner
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