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Something to Like About a Commute?

We use this space to talk about the difficulties of traveling around our region and how to ease those problems. Today, I'd like to ask you to turn that world upside down and talk about the upside of your commute. Maybe it's one particular view that you enjoy each day, maybe it's a point marking the symbolic transition from work to living environment, maybe it's a point where you open a book or tune in a favorite radio show.

I think the obvious one for many of us would be that split second when we get our first site of home after a long day. But maybe there's a point on a long journey at the end of the day that tells you you're almost there and it's time to start easing down from the tensions of the commute.

Here's one such moment: As a Red Line train passes the Brentwood yards, the track ahead rises up, allowing riders -- if they're so inclined -- to imagine a plane taking off. The Capitol and much of downtown Washington come into view. Looks nice. It's also a symbolic crossover from the work city to neighborhood life.

Homebound drivers might look forward to reaching the 14th Street Bridge or peeling off New York Avenue onto the BW Parkway, or to the first chance to look down on the Potomac from the GW Parkway. (Well, maybe not now, with that construction up ahead at the Beltway. Sorry to bring up that one.) Maybe it's not the scenery, but the symbol: The highway off ramp that means you're five minutes from home.

For a walker, it might be crossing the wide street flowing with traffic that divides the downtown from the neighborhood. For a biker, could be the turn that takes you from a busy street toward a tree-lined trail.

Clearly, I'm focued on outward bound images, but perhaps in this region of over-achievers, there are plenty of people who look forward to the inbound moment that tells them the day has begun.

By Robert Thomson  |  May 9, 2007; 7:15 AM ET
Categories:  Commuting  
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Yes, I love my bike commute! And the best moment is in the morning, when I ride past the Lincoln Memorial, the reflecting pool, and then right past the monument. It's such a Washington moment!

Posted by: biker | May 9, 2007 8:27 AM | Report abuse

Right after I moved here in 98, I was talking to a friend who is a native and was telling him how neat it is to drive up the GW Parkway and see the Washington Monument and other memorials across the river. He said that he doesn't even notice them! I declared right then and there that if I ever hit that point, where I didn't notice it anymore, I needed to move. Well, I hit that point a long time ago after wasting hours upon hours upon hours in traffic due to the moronic designs forced by the selfish intentions of a few (you NIMBYs know who you are). Very sad.

Posted by: Nonnative | May 9, 2007 8:34 AM | Report abuse

When I used to commute by Metro, I loved sleeping. Now that I drive, I don't even care if I'm stuck in traffic because I can relax and listen to my tunes. Anything to avoid going to work.

Posted by: Fred | May 9, 2007 8:50 AM | Report abuse

I only have a 4 mile commute. But on the rate occasions I take the Metro somewhere, I (blushingly) love the smell of the Metro air coming out of the station. It reminds me of home (New York). Yes, odd I know, but smells just take you back, you know?

Oh, and the view of DC from the bridge over the Potomac when taking the Yellow line is nice!

Posted by: ChickieBaby | May 9, 2007 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Three summers ago I had an internship at the Library of Congress. I commuted on MARC to Union Station and walked up the street. I had always had a thrill while passing the Senate office buildings, Supreme Court, and seeing the Capitol as I approached the Library. (Of course I enjoyed strolling through Union Station and browsing in the shops before boarding MARC to go home)
Now I work in DC, still commuting from home. Only this time I take Metro. I like the short walk between my work and the Metro station. I'm in a good neighborhood so no complaints. Driving home post rush hour and listening to the radio, good way to end the day.

Posted by: elisa | May 9, 2007 8:56 AM | Report abuse

There's nothing I look forward to more than Garrison Keillor's "A Writer's Almanac" on NPR early in the morning. His soothing voice and interesting anecdotes make for a relaxing five minutes during an otherwise long--and sometimes stressful--commute.

Posted by: TGM | May 9, 2007 8:59 AM | Report abuse

I still love seeing the Lincoln Memorial every morning when crossing the Memorial bridge into DC - and again on my way home crossing back into VA. And yes the GW parkway is especially beautiful this time year with everything blooming and the trees green again :-) It does help ease my commute!

Posted by: Melanie | May 9, 2007 9:01 AM | Report abuse

One favorite is northbound I-395, in the HOV lanes -- when my bus crests the hill at the Navy Annex and I can see so many landmarks in one sweeping view, especially with the sun low in the sky, either hitting or silhouetting them just right. Then, in either direction, my Yellow Line train as it crosses the Potomac -- I can either see the sun glistening off the Rosslyn skyscrapers, rowing teams on the Potomac, planes taking off from National, or even the striking Wilson Bridge in the distance.

Posted by: JC | May 9, 2007 9:10 AM | Report abuse

The redbud trees in bloom in the spring between West Falls Church and Ballston. Every year I see them and know the misery of winter is over.

Posted by: Falls Church Commuter | May 9, 2007 9:22 AM | Report abuse

On mornings like today, when the weather is nice, I like to take the convertible out and put the top down. Even if the traffic is bad, I enjoy driving with the top down and it puts me in a better mood.

On the way home, if there's nobody in front of me when I exit the I-395 express lanes at that ramp just south of Duke Street, I quite enjoy taking the ramp at a full 55-60 mph so as to hit the apex on each of the two turns (it's a quick right-left combination).

Posted by: Rich | May 9, 2007 9:22 AM | Report abuse

I work in Tyson's and have to drive 66, there's not a good thing about it. The best view I have when I'm home is when I see my girlfriend, Spring. Then I know the stress is over and the relaxing may begin.

Posted by: Jarrod | May 9, 2007 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Not super-scenic, but I love the moment that the orange line train moves from tunnel to elevated rail after the Ballston station. Once we are back in the light of day, I know that I'm almost home.

Posted by: FallsChurch | May 9, 2007 9:27 AM | Report abuse

I take a commuter bus along Route 4 from Cawl-vert County. I have a 2-hours-each-way ride and spend 20 hours a week commuting, but the Keller drivers are wonderful and we have a good bunch of regulars on the bus. I use that time to read, nap, listen to books on tape, or just look out the window and meditate. Or chat -- we regulars all know each other and even had a Christmas party for our drivers at a fire house. Once we get out of the city (i.e., pass Andrews AFB) it's pretty much a straight shot down Route 4. No traffic lights until Dunkirk. Once we pass Wayson's Corner, it isn't long before I'm home.

No snarky cracks about the long commute. I can't afford to live closer and my house is right on the Chesapeake Bay. (Tripled in value since I bought it.) It's like taking a vacation each day when I leave work. Retiring in 18 months, not that I'm counting or anything.

Posted by: Southern Maryland commuter | May 9, 2007 9:34 AM | Report abuse

I mostly drive to the Metro now, but I used to love getting off the VRE and driving through Quantico Marine Base on my way home. The golf course on base has quite a few groundhogs/gophers. They have cute faces and their golden brown bodies glisten as little bumps scattered across the pristine green course.

Posted by: Triangle | May 9, 2007 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Taking the 25 or 22A bus routes to the Pentagon in the morning, there's a spot on 395 where all of Washington unfolds in front of you -- the monuments on one side, the Capitol on the other, and far off to the right the National Cathedral just barely visible in the distance. And in the near foreground, the Potomac glints and shimmers with rising mist in the summer.

When driving visitors from my house to the city, I always make it a point to show off my favorite view.

Posted by: AMH | May 9, 2007 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Zero-dark thirty inbound Loudoun bus - crossing the misty Potomac (maybe with the crew teams out there, maybe a solitary bird soaring over the river), the Kennedy Center to port/monuments to starboard, and finally a nicely-framed view down Pennsylvania Ave. to the Capital in the distance with lights twinkling accented by the rosy morning glow. At that point the bus driver rudely wakes me up with a "LAST STOP - REAGAN BUILDING", so I missed all that other stuff. But I'm sure it's mighty purdy.

Posted by: Rob Iola | May 9, 2007 9:41 AM | Report abuse

When I take the Yellow line, the view of the Jefferson and Washington Memorials and being over the Potomac. When I drive, seeing the Washington Memorial over the Pentagon. I'm a pacifist, but being able to see a symbol of our first and most recent generals at the same time is cool.

On the way home, the new Air Force memorial rising over 395 is stunning after dark.

Posted by: Amy | May 9, 2007 9:43 AM | Report abuse

I take the Manassas line VRE between L'Enfant Plaza and Rolling Road. The train ride is very pleasant, just 35 minutes of sleeping or reading in quiet. On the way home, I enjoy looking at the Potomac and monuments as we come out of the city; I also love to see Lake Accotink when I am almost home.

Posted by: Burke, VA | May 9, 2007 9:43 AM | Report abuse

From 2000-2002, I used to work at a non-profit that was technically in Foggy Bottom, but was only a block or so from the eastern end of Georgetown (a block or so east from where Rock Creek crosses under M).

The closest Metro station was Foggy Bottom-GWU, but between the hassles of the then-construction on the new hospital, the numerous college students, and trying to navigate Washington Circle as a pedestrian without becoming a casualty, I used to get off at Rosslyn instead.

In addition to getting some nice exercise, this meant I crossed the Key Bridge and then walked along the C&O between the Key Bridge and 29th. Most mornings at 7:15ish, this was a lovely walk (even with humidity, though I loved it most in the autumn when the weather turned cool).

You could check out the river and generally see a practicing crew-team. And once you got onto the tow-path, it was a different world. Traffic was white noise instead of something to be dodged, foot and bike traffic was light so I had it mostly to myself, and it all felt so hushed. It was a great, relatively quiet way to mentally prepare myself for the day.

The afternoons were busier and didn't have the same feel - I always liked the morning.

Posted by: Chasmosaur | May 9, 2007 9:43 AM | Report abuse

No need to talk about how beautiful the trail is from Falls Church to DC. But that's only the beginning. It's "my peeps" that make my ride coming and going -- the people I see every day: Porch Lady, Richard, Walking Stick Man, Stuart, Ellen, Jesse the WashPost vendor, and so many more. All have ready smiles and quick waves as we pass each other year in and year out. They are my world.

Posted by: Another biker | May 9, 2007 9:45 AM | Report abuse

I usually get off the Red Line at Judiciary Square and walk, bleary-eyed, almost directly into my building--except for some mornings, when I get off 2 stations early at Metro Center and take a 10 minute walk to the office through the town as it wakes up--stores opening, the smell of food already cooking for the lunch crowd, the occasional early-bird flock of tourists (usually with one very enthusiastic parent dragging the less-inclined behind them)--and, as the summer heats up, it's the one time I can stand to take a walk during the day!

Posted by: Rebecca | May 9, 2007 9:50 AM | Report abuse

The best part of my commute, besides the start of the trip home, is driving up Macarthur Boulevard on my way to Bethesda. Especially this time of year, it's so green and peaceful. It almost makes me forget I'm going to my job.

Posted by: bamagirlinVA | May 9, 2007 9:53 AM | Report abuse

I take the blue line from Arlington down to King Street Metro and I like 2 things:

Coming out of the tunnel after Crystal City to the airport and seeing the Monument..whether the weather is clear or cloudy it always looks beautiful.

The portion where the Metro is very close to the river and I can see the water sparkling.

Posted by: Christine | May 9, 2007 10:05 AM | Report abuse

The wonders of living in the city include finding new areas that you never knew were there and they quickly become your favorite.

My old apartment at Eastern Market, I loved getting off the Metro and walking across Pennsylvania Ave SE looking at the Capitol.

My new house on Rhode Island Ave NW, I walk to work when the weather is nice, straight down RI Ave into downtown and my new favorite block is the 1300 block of RI AVE NW, just west of Logan Circle. The houses there are AMAZING. I've tripped a dozen times on the brick sidewalk as I gaze at these architectural masterpieces, thinking to myself, "one day..."

Posted by: Ryan | May 9, 2007 10:06 AM | Report abuse

"maybe it's a point where you open a book or tune in a favorite radio show" I hope hope hope you mean while sitting on the bus/train/sharing a ride - PLEASE don't read a book while driving :/

Posted by: HP | May 9, 2007 10:06 AM | Report abuse

I take the Metro every day. I look forward to it every day, as a time to read. I've enjoyed so many fantastic books in the past year of metroing.

Posted by: Steph | May 9, 2007 10:07 AM | Report abuse

I'd have to second the books thing and the Between-NY-Ave-and-RI-Ave stations thing -- in fact if it's not too crowded and I have time I try to get to the very back of the train and sit in the backmost seat just so I can look at the pretty view on my way home to see the Capitol, the Washington Monument, and sometimes a plane coming out of Reagan Airport between them. :)

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Two things I like about my bus ride home to Charles County -- (1) watching for the "strawberries are ready" sign on Route 5 near Waldorf in the spring and (2) every time the bus route takes us past the new Nationals stadium.

Posted by: Troylet | May 9, 2007 10:13 AM | Report abuse

The best time of my commute home is when I get on Beach Drive from 355 north of the Beltway.

I've made it across the AM Legion Bridge, and past the River Road squeeze, dealt with the I270 traffic that moves into the right lane after River Road but needs to merge back before the left exit, past Old Georgetown Road and through the vehicles that ARE NOT exiting BUT are still in the exit lane that exits onto 355 south, waited through the four lights and the u-turn only to squeeze into two lanes on the bridge back over the Beltway.

My reward is the short drive through the park with a chance to see deer before I am again in traffic, winding thru neighborhood streets for the rest of the way home.

Posted by: Caravan Driver | May 9, 2007 10:13 AM | Report abuse

I love walking through Dupont Circle in the evening, particularly at this time of year and in the fall. It's thronged with people enjoying the evening sun and people watching. I even love whatever activists are out that night preaching at us. And when the brass band is out on Connecticut on the north side of the Circle it's pure magic.

I also love my walk down 19th Street and through the Circle in the morning, both on clear sunny days and on misty mornings. It's so peaceful.

Posted by: Lee | May 9, 2007 10:20 AM | Report abuse

I drive between Frederick and Falls Church everyday. I've been able to minimize my time on I-270 and the Beltway by taking the county roads to Montgomery County, and the Cabin John and Clara Barton parkways to Georgetown, then across the Potomac. The drive along the C&O Canal is always relaxing, and more so since WETA brought back classical music. Not only do I avoid the congestion, but I actually make better time.

Posted by: Dave in MD | May 9, 2007 10:21 AM | Report abuse

I live on Capitol Hill and work near Metro Center. My favorite commute? Those beautiful days in the Spring and the Fall when the weather is perfect for walking to and/or from work.

Posted by: Karen | May 9, 2007 10:21 AM | Report abuse

To be honest, I have made a number of good friends while sitting in rush hour on my bus. That is one of the best things about the commute - getting to know people and talk about life and work and community. I look forward to when I get to see those 4 friends I've made because that means it's time to catch up again!

I also enjoy riding over the Potomac River on the yellow line train. What a tremendous view!!!

Posted by: LV | May 9, 2007 10:43 AM | Report abuse

I live in Alexandria and work in Van Ness.

I love the days that I go in or come home late and get to take the Rock Creek Parkway. I get to wind through a beautiful urban wildernes, pass the Zoo, the Kennedy Center, the monuments and it usually takes time off my commute.

I am a lifelong Washingtonian and I still get a thrill at driving past all the monuments.

And a previous poster did mention that the new Air Force Memorial is very striking at night. I do look for it becaust that means I'll be home in about 5 minutes!

Posted by: Alexva | May 9, 2007 10:45 AM | Report abuse

I was coming back home one evening on the yellow line train over the Potomac and put my book down to watch the sun set over Virginia. The fellow next to me said "that's why we take the metro." I realized he was talking about the bridge traffic, I pointed out I was watching the pretty sunset.
I like watching the river, monuments, and all the views you can catch briefly going over the Potomac.
And then in early spring, depending on which train I catch, switching at King Street to blue and getting some sun on your face, or watching the sun rise above the fog as you stand above everything.

Posted by: DM | May 9, 2007 10:47 AM | Report abuse

On my 40 mile commute from DC to Manassas one of my favorite stretches is from 7100 to 28 where the Appalachians are in great view, especially on those clear days.

Posted by: Sivad | May 9, 2007 10:49 AM | Report abuse

When I got a job in Alexandria, I made the decision to move there, in order to be closer to work. My commute is a 20-minute bike ride, a 15-minute bus ride, or a one-stop metrorail ride. Driving my car is the least attractive option. Sure, its expensive to live here. But my commute is so easy that its well worth it. Life is short -- too short to spend any significant time commuting to and from work.

Posted by: LS | May 9, 2007 10:52 AM | Report abuse

When I started having to commute, I checked out recorded books from the public library. As long as the book's interesting to me, I'll stay awake. It's relaxing and I feel productive even while I decompress and make that transition from work to home. Some days it's the only time I get when no one can intrude and ask me questions! Recently I've started downloading podcast editions of some of my favorite NPR talk shows and listening to them during commutes.

Posted by: JP | May 9, 2007 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Just before getting on the Metro at Court House in the morning, I get an Express from John, who has got to be the most upbeat, friendly Express distributer in the Metro area. A "have a great day!" from him always gets my day off to a good start.

On the way home, I like to skip the nearest Metro stop and instead walk up Pennsylvania Ave., past the White House and through GW before catching the Metro at Foggy Bottom. The spring blooms are gorgeous, and seeing school groups, protesters, and tourists getting a kick out of visiting reminds me how great it is to live in this city and see it every day.

Posted by: Emily | May 9, 2007 10:59 AM | Report abuse

I have had a 12 minute Metro commute for about two years. I have not missed my car one day! I ride Metro every workday (peak and off-peak) and 99.9% of the time, they do a perfectly acceptable to above average job.

Posted by: Kevin | May 9, 2007 10:59 AM | Report abuse

I love the moment when we (my carpool) gets to route 29 in Warrenton, there are areas of elevation which offer incredible views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, reminding me that I am almost home, that is a wonderful feeling at the end of each workday.

Posted by: Kelly | May 9, 2007 11:01 AM | Report abuse

I live many miles from DC but do come to the area to visit my daughter in Alexandria. Driving down GWP is a thrill each time, seeing what I can of the city
and still keep my eyes on the road.
It is very nice to read so many positive
posts in regard to the commutes. Washington really is a city to be extremely proud of. Politics in disagreement cannot eradicate the history of the city and our good fortune of living in the USA.

Posted by: Weirton, WV | May 9, 2007 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Not sure of the name of this lake, but as you go down Macarthur Blvd from Georgetown toward Maryland, there's a military facility that has a gorgeous lake on the right. While it's surrounded by barbed wire, it's absolutely gorgeous in the morning sun, with the slightest ripples on the surface and ducks milling about. Wish I could fish it! Anyone know the name?

Posted by: Andrew, Georgetown | May 9, 2007 11:20 AM | Report abuse

I still get a thrill driving into town on Kenilworth and turning right on to East Capitol, when you suddenly see RFK Stadium. As a child coming in to town on special occasions, it was a sign that we were "here" and I have such fond memories of Redskins games there, and great concerts. Magical to this day.

Posted by: Maryland | May 9, 2007 11:23 AM | Report abuse

I have never met a bike commuter who complains about her or his commute.

I live in Arlington and have bike commuted to DC, Herndon, Reston, Silver Spring and other parts of Arlington at various times over the last 11 years. I used to think the best part was that it kept me in shape (I have to get to work anyway--kill two birds with one stone). Now I believe the greatest benefit is mental. The stress-reduction benefits transitioning from work to home by riding my bike are immense. One particular nice point: in the spring, I have always enjoyed the trees that bloom along the Custis Trail.

Posted by: Steve | May 9, 2007 11:23 AM | Report abuse

I also love driving home on the GW Parkway southbound in the evenings (when traffic is light); watching the rowing teams practice the Potomac, catching glimpses of the monuments through the trees, enjoying the scenery. I used to occasionally drive to D.C. in the mornings on the Parkway, and regardless of how bad the traffic was, it was calming to watch the sun rise over the Potomac and take in the fresh air coming off of the river.

I also love listening to the Junkies in the morning on my way to work. Even as a female, I find them hilarious. I don't think I could take the commute otherwise!

Posted by: cm | May 9, 2007 11:27 AM | Report abuse

Since I got XM radio, my 35-40 minute commute from Vienna to Arlington has been easier with Bob Edwards on XMPR in the am. Thanks Bob and Happy Birthday!

Posted by: cindy in arlington | May 9, 2007 11:27 AM | Report abuse

I commute from Arlington's Courthouse neighborhood to Rockville. When I drive, I particularly enjoy the ride home on the GW parkway from the Beltway to about 123 (where there is usually no traffic). The scenery is lovely. There's the view of Georgetown, Rosslyn, and the monuments as you approach downtown. Then, as I peel off the GW onto 50 west, the view of the Iwo Jima Memorial is stunning, especially when it's lit up at night. If only the ride in were as interesting, especially now that they're doing that annoying bridge work on the A-L bridge. What are they doing anyway?

Posted by: MikeyA | May 9, 2007 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Responding to Andrew of Georgetown:

"Not sure of the name of this lake, but as you go down Macarthur Blvd from Georgetown toward Maryland, there's a military facility that has a gorgeous lake on the right. While it's surrounded by barbed wire, it's absolutely gorgeous in the morning sun, with the slightest ripples on the surface and ducks milling about. Wish I could fish it! Anyone know the name?"

I'm assuming you mean the "lake" that's right after you pass Sibley Hospital, heading out into Maryland, right on the Maryland state line. That's the Dalecarlia Reservoir. I assume a major reason for the barbed wire is because it's a reservoir.

Posted by: Rich | May 9, 2007 11:34 AM | Report abuse

I take the VRE from Rolling Road to King Street. I always enjoy pulling into King Street in the morning and passing the construction going on by the Eisenhower Metro/Hoffman Center. Watching a new slate of buildings rise where previously there was just weeds and underutilized space keeps me hopeful of my Office area becoming more vibrant.

Posted by: PTO'd | May 9, 2007 11:40 AM | Report abuse

I like the walk from my house to the Metro. It builds some activity into my day and gives me a chance to un-wind at the end of the day.

I've made the acquaintance of several "attack cats" who lurk in the bushes and jump out at me. There is also a little dog in one yard that seems to wait for me to pass by so he can bark.

Posted by: RoseG | May 9, 2007 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Thanks Rich re Dalecarlia. Reservoir would make sense. Have to excuse my ignorance on that one. Simply liked the view...

Posted by: Andrew, GTown | May 9, 2007 11:53 AM | Report abuse

I like being able to read during my commute. I can't count the books I've read while riding Metro trains. And I can't imagine how much less I would know now if I had been sitting behind the wheel of a car all that time. I taught my preschool daughter to read when she commuted with me (she was in daycare at my workplace). She could read before she started kindergarten. Thanks, Metro!

Posted by: Dan | May 9, 2007 12:00 PM | Report abuse

I think the best part of my commute is once I get past that agonizing 30-minute choke point on Rt. 50 westbound between the Beltway exit and Prosperity Avenue. Once I FINALLY make it through that light at Prosperity, it's only 5 more minutes to my door.

Posted by: Fairfax, VA | May 9, 2007 12:11 PM | Report abuse

Since I started taking Metro, I actually get to read the magazines that used to pile up, half-finished, on my coffee table. I also get to finish the Post Sunday Magazine. When I used to drive (and occasionally still do), my favorite moment was/is catching the first glimpse of (depending on the route) the Washington Monument or the Capitol dome.

Posted by: jane | May 9, 2007 12:35 PM | Report abuse

I do not have a long commute but often have meetings downtown. When I cross over memorial bridge and see the monuments or drive home via GW Parkway or Georgetown Pike, it reminds me how beautiful a city we live in, how lucky I am to live near our Nation's capital.

The one thing I truly miss about working downtown is walking from Federal Triangle metro to my office at the Navy Memorial and looking up at the gave me a sense of pride.

Posted by: Herndonite | May 9, 2007 12:35 PM | Report abuse

I take Metro sporadically, depending on my schedule, clients and whether I have stayed at my girlfriend's in Virginia. But when I take it it is often for several days in a row and at commute time. I like it because I like being with all of those other people--just as I enjoy the crowds on the busiest of New York street--and enjoy watching the various people each morning or evening. I also find it a good time to read.

Posted by: Richard F | May 9, 2007 12:40 PM | Report abuse

My daily commute is the only time I can read and I always have an unread on the bookcase to pick up going out the door. It's my quiet time before and after work, sort of acts as a 'decompression chamber.'

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 12:49 PM | Report abuse

I bike to work each day (32 miles roundtrip) from near Mt. Vernon to D.C. It's the best way to get into the city - there's never a traffic jam, and I can take in the nature and scenery around me at all times. I enjoy the fresh air, the sunshine, and the sounds of nature. I enjoy the exercise and how my muscles flex and are strengthened. I enjoy both the suburbs and the city scenes. If the weather is bad, I still enjoy the challenge of getting to my destination. I also enjoy knowing it doesn't cost me much to bike (except for a few repairs during the year), and that I don't have to pay for parking, that I'm not polluting the air, and not spending nearly $3 a gallon in gas - and saving my vehicle at home from the wear and tear of a commute, so hopefully it'll last a long time! I enjoy also meeting and talking to various cyclists along the way, and sharing experiences.

Posted by: Charmaine | May 9, 2007 12:58 PM | Report abuse

I walk (or take the bus) across the Mall to work. On one side, the Capitol; on the other, the Washington Monument - the view never gets old! I love watching everyone jogging, paying kickball, etc., too.

Posted by: PQ | May 9, 2007 1:01 PM | Report abuse

I commute from the west end of Alex to Old Town. In the mornings, my favorite part of the 15-minute trip is, like Rich, driving my convertible with the top down along Seminary Road/Janney's Lane. The air is crisp there, with lots of trees and greenery. The slower speed limit of 25 on Janney's makes for a relaxing jaunt through an area with beautiful houses, mommas with strollers, joggers, and older men in suits waiting to catch the next Dash/Metro bus, newspaper and coffee at the ready.

On the way home, I relish getting the green at King/Russell/Callahan. It's like a get out of jail free card from the congestion of Old Town. As I head west up King Street, on several days there will be an unending line of cars heading east into Old Town, often extending up and clogging King Street all the way to Janney's. It might be the sadist in me, but I love knowing I'm heading AWAY from all that mess! I get the same feeling as I pass over the I-395 bridge at Seminary and see the parking lot heading south. Couple my happiness at not being stuck in the mess with the relaxing rumble of my convertible's engine and vibrating feel of the tires on the road, and I arrive home in an exceedingly good mood most days. My commute is just long enough to let me zone out of work and into home mode.

Posted by: CyanSquirrel | May 9, 2007 1:15 PM | Report abuse

I enjoy the early morning commute on my route (via backroads) from north Reston to I-495. Winding up Walker Road through Great Falls passing the open fields and farmland, then the trip in on the Georgetown Pike past the beautiful homes and farms, and through Great Falls Park, and past the horses grazing on the grounds of the Madiera School.

The drive is especially scenic now that the trees are out again. The clear and sunny mornings (yesterday) are just as beautiful as the chillier, misty ones.

As somewhat of an irony for Washington area commuters, I enjoy the courtesy and politeness of most drivers on Georgetown Pike, voluntarily stopping to let fellow commuters out of their driveways or intersecting side streets (River Bend Rd and Swinks Mill Rd. closer to the beltway come to mind specifically), or yielding to let a lone pedestrian cross the street at Great Falls Village Center.

Posted by: xyv1027 | May 9, 2007 1:33 PM | Report abuse

I am a slugger from Woodbridge. I enjoy crossing the two bridges- over the Occoquan reservoir and then the Potomac to start and end my journey each day.

Posted by: Hechingers Slug | May 9, 2007 1:50 PM | Report abuse

xyv, that IS a beautiful route. I've driven it on lazy Saturday trips to Leesburg for brunch, and I agree it's refreshing to see others taking it easy and being polite to each other. Georgetown Pike is particularly wonderful to drive! Lucky you!

Posted by: CyanSquirrel | May 9, 2007 1:54 PM | Report abuse

I agree with some of the commenters above. I ride the yellow line across the Potomac. I remember my first day of work in DC, which also happened to be one of the first times I've ever been on the Metro and the first time I was on the yellow line. As we crossed the Potomac going toward DC, the very crowded train stopped for a brief moment. I happened to be facing DC, and I looked out and saw the National Cathedral, the Jefferson Memorial, and the Washington Monument as the sun was rising. My fellow passengers groaned and grumbled about the very very brief stop, and I remember thinking how I hope I'm never like them. Two years later, I'm still not. It was (and still is) the best part of my day.

Posted by: KFA | May 9, 2007 2:13 PM | Report abuse


I always enjoyed the view of the North Shore, Oahu when driving home from Schofields Barracks. As I peaked the hill while driving north on Kam HWY away from the army base, pineapple fields on both sides of the car, and looking down the 2 mile hill to sea was, in a word, georgeos. In the winter you could see the gigantic big waves crashing on shore and the mist caused by the waves breaking. To the left was Keana point, to the right the Kahukus.

Beautiful! *hugs*

Posted by: SallieMae | May 9, 2007 2:14 PM | Report abuse

I take a RideOn Bus to the Metro to get downtown. The upside of my commute is seeing and meeting my neighbors at our corner as we wait for the bus. I have met quite a few neighbors, including a well known reporter, a former Ambassador, and some work colleagues. Of course, the peace and quiet of reading several newspapers on the Metro is also a nice benefit.

Posted by: Metro Lover | May 9, 2007 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Every morning I get off at Metro Center to walk to the gym. And nearly every morning, I take pleasure in the flowering bushes (azaleas?) on 13th St. between G and F. I don't know why, but those flowers make me really happy. They're a very cheerful shade of coral.

I also love the architecture I see as I walk from the gym to my office, a few blocks away. Some of the buildings are absolutely amazing - especially compared to the architecture in Tysons Corner, where I worked until recently.

I couldn't be happier to be working in DC again, even if it means getting up way too early and getting home kind of late!

Posted by: mcm | May 9, 2007 2:42 PM | Report abuse

I have a short commute from home to the University of Maryland (place of employment) and I usually bike to work. Most of my commute is straight along Route 1 - not pretty or pleasant in any way. However, as I turn off of Route 1 into my community the stress and sounds of Route 1 fade away. I love the large, old trees, the lush greenery of the gardens and yards, the old brick homes tucked amongst the trees and bushes. This time of year is particularly beautiful with the colorful spill of azaleas set against the airy white dogwoods and fresh green trees.

I just wish College Park would get its act together and do something about its stretch of Route 1.

Posted by: bikinghereandthere | May 9, 2007 2:47 PM | Report abuse

i take the MARC in from maryland, and i always enjoy seeing the college park airfield and the park right next to it (with the big lake).

and i like it when there are kids on the MARC train going home with their parents in the evening...they are bright spots from all the grumpy commuting adults all day.

Posted by: MARC commuter | May 9, 2007 2:48 PM | Report abuse

There isn't much I like about the drive to work along the Greenway and the TollRoad but I really enjoy the trip home. I have the radio or the ipod set to classical music, open the sunroof and stay in the right hand lane. That I can go the speed limit and enjoy the music and the scenery once I get back into Loudoun county.

Posted by: Sherry | May 9, 2007 3:26 PM | Report abuse

My commute is great! I can drive, bike, or even walk if I want. I live under 3 miles from my work, and enjoy every one of the 7 turns it takes to get there. I live close to "bikinghereandthere" and my short commute lets me get home, get outside with my 2 year old, and play outside around all the great trees. Live near your work, and you could do the same.

Posted by: live near work | May 9, 2007 3:29 PM | Report abuse

"live near work"

Yes, it is nice living near work, unfortunately a lot of us don't have that option, for various reasons.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 9, 2007 4:03 PM | Report abuse

I love my commute...I just cross the street and voila!

Posted by: diana | May 9, 2007 4:52 PM | Report abuse

I've commuted from Arlington downtown for nearly 20 years and never get tired of the beauty of the scene coming across the river in the morning.

Posted by: jc | May 9, 2007 4:56 PM | Report abuse

I love my commute - a 3 min bike ride or a 10 min walk. I have a lot of extra time each day due to my short commute. Time with my son, friends, and some excercise.

Posted by: Tom | May 9, 2007 5:34 PM | Report abuse

I commute to Calvert out Suitland and Route 4 and for me it is a phased in experience.

It's utter hell through Firth Stirling to Stanton Road, where DC DoT runs the most horribly timed lights in the entire city (and refuses to alter them--after all, commuters don't vote in DC). Thing get a little better passing Branch Avenue where I lose about 50% of my fellow commuters who head down Route 5. Then it gets more scenic to Andrews, and then after the exits on Route 4 just after the Air Force Base, and another 25% of the traffic goes away, things start to get rural.

And then, well, I just know I'm in a different place when the drivers on Route 4 actually shift lanes to the left lane to allow incoming traffic a 'free merge' from the exit ramps. I'm actually just driving then, no longer commuting.

Posted by: Down South | May 9, 2007 5:55 PM | Report abuse

I love my commute because I don't have to be at work at a certain time, so there's no stress about how fast or slow the traffic is moving.

I take Woodburn Road in Annandale and the part where it dips way down between a big field and the woods, cutting across a lovely creek, is beautiful and peaceful. I remember when it was a one-lane bridge.

I also love listening to Tony Kornheiser in the morning.

Posted by: TBG | May 9, 2007 7:42 PM | Report abuse

Maybe this is silly, but the hour to hour-15 I get in my car each day is the only time I'm truly alone. Honestly, I talk to myself. I rehearse speeches for the next day, cry if I've had a bad one, and sometimes, just talk about nonsense. Someday I'd like to write a novel, and so I spend alot of my commute rehearsing conversations, feigning expressions, etc. of the characters in my future story. I'm sure people in the cars around me think I'm crazy, but I could care less. I can't do it at home or the hubby would think I really was crazy.

Posted by: Laura | May 9, 2007 9:29 PM | Report abuse

I drive over the South River in Annapolis to get to my commuter bus lot. In the morning, the sun is just rising and everything seems to be awakening.

On the trip home, I see the boats, the sunset and the people at the seaside restaurants. Makes me glad I live in Annapolis.

Of course, in the winter it is dark when I leave and come home :-)

Posted by: Dan | May 9, 2007 11:05 PM | Report abuse

After taking metro for years I started driving (major knee surgery) to and from Union Station and Silver Spring. Driving has actually cut my commute in half and in the morning it is even less than that. In the morning, crossing Michigan Ave and seeing the Capitol dome, esp. now that the sun is just barely up. In the afternoon, I love the intersection of Blair and Cedar in Takoma Park where you have to veer to the right and then the left, always reminds me of bumper cars (not that anyone gets hit) and turning into my neighborhood and getting a wave from the kids next door as I pull past them.

Posted by: Silver Spring | May 10, 2007 7:47 AM | Report abuse

I take the Green Line to L'Enfant Plaza and transfer to the Yellow Line to the Pentagon. Crossing the water in the morning just as the sun is coming up, you get a crisp clean look at the city just waking up.

Posted by: Oxon Hill | May 10, 2007 7:59 AM | Report abuse

"I take Woodburn Road in Annandale and the part where it dips way down between a big field and the woods, cutting across a lovely creek, is beautiful and peaceful. I remember when it was a one-lane bridge."

That one-lane bridge was fun. I went to grammar school at Pine Ridge (which is now the police station on Woodburn Road, around the corner from St. Ambrose) and we used to love riding in the back of the bus there because the one-lane bridge approach was just steep enough to throw you into the air on a vehicle of that size. The road used to flood out a heck of a lot, too.

Posted by: Rich | May 10, 2007 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Favorite part of my commute is doing the crossword in the Express on my way home on the metro. Three stops just isn't enough to get it done though :-/

Posted by: Laura | May 10, 2007 2:17 PM | Report abuse

I live in Bethesda and work in Springfield. Beltway in the morning offers only the briefest - but unfailingly beautiful - glance upriver as you cross the Legion bridge (wish you could see through the barriers). Homeward bound up 395 and I never pass the Pentagon without thinking about the plane coming in low. Key Bridge is the major bottleneck, but I don't think there's a prettier place to be stuck for 10 mins. I still remember the wondrous cacophony of the cicadas on Clara Barton in May '04.

Posted by: Chris | May 10, 2007 6:28 PM | Report abuse

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