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Possible routes from Warrenton to downtown DC.

Possible routes from Warrenton to downtown DC.

MetroTrainVRE TrainCar

Letter to the Editor: Worried from Warrenton

A loyal reader who lives west of the Beltway writes: I have been offered a position by a company that will have me working on Pennsylvania Avenue. Before I accept it, I’m trying to guess-timate how my commute will stack up. I already know how to ride the VRE in, stop at Union Station, and Metro or walk over. Not an issue.

But driving…. that is where I’m not sure.

  • I see that I-66 now has inside-the-beltway tolls… so with my E-ZPass, I can get to DC (for about $15, one-way).
  • But if I were to get there, then parking seems to be sparse, and probably not free.

So what do people do? I know that WMATA wants everyone to ride Metro, Bus, etc… but there are cars in DC. LOTS of them!

For this next position on Pennsylvania Avenue, VRE will be about 1 hour, 15 minutes, and the Metro will be just two stops at 10 minutes. So if this is accurate, I can get to the new location faster than the Pentagon (which previously took two hours one-way).


Worried in Warrenton

Dear Worried,

The nice thing is you have plenty of options, but none of them are perfect.

I-66 tolls for sole occupancy driving can get a little stupid, by design. Remember, VDOT is trying to get more people to share rides and take cars off the highways. The prices can be painful for solo motorists (for the morning rush hour, up to $30-40 one way from I-495 to District limits). You can start slugging, picking up passengers along your route into the District. There’s also been talk of imposing tolls for westbound traffic for the afternoon rush hour. Join the I-66 Sluglines group on Facebook. Lots of people are finding slug rides using online venues such as this.

If you decide to drive, parking will be painful. I suspect your future office will offer a permit or could hook you up with a rental space. But that also gets expensive in DC — hundreds of dollars a month. Forget about street parking… too few spaces, signs are too confusing, sometimes you walk so far you might as well just Metro into the District.

You can also sidestep VRE and use only the Metro park-and-ride system — park your tank of an F-350 (or whatever) at the nearest Metro station and avoid the transfer.

Good luck!

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