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Help Plan a Long Commute

Just got back from a two-week vacation and found a letter from a worried mom whose daughter is beginning a commute from Herndon to Hyattsville. I'll tell her what I found by doing the directions on Google, Mapquest and Streets & Trips. But I thought I'd also ask the group for advice on routes and timing. So please send me your suggestions.

Here's her letter:
"My daughter will be doing a field placement in Hyattsville, MD [Beltway exit #29 E, then University Blvd. to Sargent Road] We live in Herndon, VA, three miles from the entrance to the Dulles Toll Road at Reston Parkway. I am at a loss as to what time she should be leaving here to arrive in Hyattsville by 8 A.M. Some friends have said she will be going against the traffic. She will leave her job at 4 P.M. That could be a tough trip home."

By Robert Thomson  |  September 6, 2006; 11:24 AM ET
Categories:  Commuting  
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The commute to Sargent Road looks like a job for METRO. The destination will be near the Fort Toten station.
To drive it I would suggest going through the city. Cross the 14th street bridge, up 12 Street to Rhode Island, North on 13th Street NE which becomes Sargent Road.

Posted by: jhd | September 6, 2006 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Gee Dr. G glad you got the month off.

Feed your dog.Lassie has

Posted by: Anonymous | September 6, 2006 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Lassie has been out hunting for you in every
corner of the city.

Posted by: oops\submit error | September 6, 2006 2:14 PM | Report abuse

This commute is sheer lunacy, as it virtually commits to the Beltway crawl both ways. Going through town isn't an option either, given that 66 goes HOV at 630am and the GW Pkwy to the 14th St Bridge will be packed. How about leaving the car at home and taking a bus to METRO (Rosslyn or in DC), the METRO to work?

Posted by: bigolpoofter | September 6, 2006 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like she is stuck right dead square in the DC rat race!!

Work and commuting consuming what little life people in DC have!!

Good luck! She'll need the standard Beltway survival pack:
-Lots of gas
-Gas mask to shield from the car fumes boiling across the freeway
-LOTS of books on tape
-A doll with a string attached to reply to every obscenity yelled by drivers riding your bumper!!

Posted by: Got Sense and MOVED! | September 6, 2006 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Dr. G,

Please inform the woman to figure on slightly over an hour for her commute. The travel will be longer in the rain and snow.

Here are some ideas for this poor woman:
1. Get a job closer to home
2. Relying on public transportation;
3. Rent a place closer to the job site; and
4. Sleep in the car to avoid the commute.

Posted by: Sterling, Va | September 6, 2006 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Rent her a place close to her placement for that time. Put the car in the garage in Reston, and save the time and cost of using it.

Posted by: Jeff | September 6, 2006 3:12 PM | Report abuse

try riding into the West Hyattsville metro station and taking a bus from there.

Posted by: metro fan | September 6, 2006 4:02 PM | Report abuse

To echo Jeff's comment: Go to the University of Maryland's off-campus housing office at Look for a room she can rent during the weekdays. The off-campus housing office Web site is open to the public, and renting temporary "crash space" would be far safer than sleeping in the car.

Posted by: Greenbelt Gal | September 6, 2006 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Please! Listen to the suggestions for Metro! I commuted from Gaithersburg to Reston for 3 years, and from Frederick to Hyattsville for another 3. Two hours each way was not unusual - and if there is an accident, rain, etc. you can often add another hour each way. In those cases, all the alternates in the world can't help you. You can waste a lot of your life in the car that way. Maybe the employer will have MetroChek or other benefits to help out? It would save them $$ in parking. For a temporary position the rental idea is very realistic. We did that for my husband to take a two week class rather than the drive. I finally gave up and Florida.

Posted by: fpc | September 6, 2006 8:57 PM | Report abuse

If you're stuck on driving.... Not positive on this one, but I'd give .. through the city a try. I know.. sounds crazy... but the roadways around this place are totally conterintuitive compared to other cities. I think that going from silver spring to crystal city at the afternoon rush is ABSOLUTELY fasted to take north capital st > ny ave (rt 50) > 395.... It beats the beltway at rush hour anyday. For your speciic situtation, I'm not positive... probably gonna involve n. capital and rhode island ave up towards hyattsville or something... but yea, sounds crazy, but i'd definately try going through the city... the beltway is such a long way around that if you start hitting consistent daily backups, it can eat up your time real quick.

Posted by: PJB | September 7, 2006 12:30 PM | Report abuse

What happened to the entry on the Pentagon bus center closing? Last night was very frustrating, since from the time I got into Metro center until I got to the Pentagon, not one announcement was made, there were no signs anywhere and I exited at Pentagon without any metro presence warning that there was no bus service and I'd have to pay to get back on the line and go to Pentagon City. I understand they can't make constant annoucnments at the stations and can't have signs cluttering all the platforms, but I was on a blue line train on the way to the Pentagon -- shouldn't there have been annoucements there?

Posted by: Annie | September 8, 2006 8:51 AM | Report abuse

Don't you realize, that you are becoming the problem, not the solution? We wonder why traffic gets worse, air pollution gets worse, our time keeps getting sucked away. It is because more and more people don't think about the consequences of doing crazy commutes like this one. IF the public is going to promote (that is, not discourage) people from commuting like this, the only answer is more infrastructure (that includes mass transit AND roads) as we get more and more crowded.

Posted by: Becoming the problem | September 11, 2006 4:44 PM | Report abuse

Wow. Folks are paranoid.

I did Reston to Greenbelt for a while. It's not a bad drive. The worst part is the Toll Road. So avoid it.

Brown's Mill Road into Tyson's is pretty good. 20-30 minutes from Reston. Then the Beltway drive (get on from 123N), usually took 35-45 minutes. And that was to Greenbelt. So it may be a similar drive into Hyatsville.

It is against a majority of the AM traffic (though Ga Ave can be a bottleneck), and the widening of the Toll Road onramp helped a lot of the PM traffic. Though it can get a little dicey in the summer.

Posted by: Kim | September 12, 2006 2:56 PM | Report abuse

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