Timing the Commute
Here's a good question from a commuter looking for a way around the traffic generated by the two-month shutdown of the District's Douglass Bridge. We've talked a lot the past few days about routes, but what about alternative times?
Dear Dr. Gridlock:
Does the back-up on I-295 dissipate significantly after the end of "normal" rush hour? If the northbound trip were made at 9:30 a.m. or so, would it be reasonably close to "normal"? (Same question for the southbound trip at
6:30 or 7:00 p.m.)
This information would be most helpful to those of us who might be able to alter our work hours a bit for part or all of the next several weeks.
(Trying valiantly to get from Southeast Alexandria to North Capitol Street and back.)
I haven't driven on I-295 after 9 a.m. since the bridge closed, but from what I could see of the traffic on that route and on the inner loop of the Beltway, it did not appear that the bottleneck around the detour route across the 11th Street Bridge would be gone by 9:30 a.m.
Travelers have generally been more positive about the afternoon commute than the morning commute around the shutdown, except for those who find themselves in the M Street backup for the 11th Street Bridge. That's a difficult merge onto I-295 outbound, expecially with the extra volume.
When Metro reported on Tuesday that the Anacostia Station parking garage, which normally has extra capacity, was filled by 7 a.m., I was curious: Why would drivers who had battled their way through the worst of the congestion on I-295 or Suitland Parkway stop to park and ride from Anacostia Station? "Woodley Park," a frequent commenter here, had a good theory: Drivers are positioning themselves for the homeward commute. They want to get a jump on that downtown traffic, stuck back on roads such as M Street.
Have any of you been working later than a 9 to 5 shift and experienced the commute around the bridge shutdown?
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