Commuting - Want to commute to Alexandria VA, where to live?
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11-21-08, 08:35 PM
I will be moving to the Washington DC area soon to begin work at the USPTO in Alexandria. I need to find reasonably priced 2 bedroom apartment for the family. Where would be a good place to look that would provide good bicycle commute and public transportation commute to the USPTO? What are the key commute routes to / from Alexandria?
11-22-08, 07:33 AM
sent you a PM
Pretty much anywhere. Depends on the lifestyle you're looking for. Old Town is nice and right on a series of world-class routes, but a bit expensive.
In addition to great trails, you can take a bike on the metro durign certain hours.
Have a look at this ride I took, starting from Alex:
PM me if you want more info -- happy to help.
11-23-08, 03:07 PM
I worked at the Hoffman Center from 2004 - 2007 and I lived in Quantico. 1.5 hr commute on the train one way - but I chose to go south for the schools. The metro station at King St has bike lockers and the buses have bike racks. If I were you I would park my bike inside the building. I don't know how prices are since the bubble burst but I would look at living in Alex. I just wouldn't commute on a bike inside the beltway - to dangerous.
11-23-08, 06:14 PM
There are a bunch of apartments around the USTPO, but they would be pricey. There is easy bicycle access up Eisenhower avenue, but not a whole lot of housing in that direction. Less accessible by bicycle but more affordable is the Belle View area. Its easy access to Old Town via the Mount Vernon Trail, but from the Mt Vernon trail to the PTO taks a bit more work (although not too bad). Crystal City has a diverse mix of apartments (from depressing to gleaming) but they are a bit on the pricey side. Bike access to Old Town is easy, but like Belle View, getting from the Mount Vernon Trail to the PTO will tak a bit of on street work. Also investigate the Cameron Run area. Keep in mind that affordable can be sketchy in this area. See http://www.alexandriava.gov/uploadedfiles/localmotion/info/bwmap.pdf
11-24-08, 12:43 PM
From the great information provided by BF members I think that Falls Church maybe a good place to locate. This seems to allow commute by bicycle via W&OD trail/ commonwealth or by metro connecting through Rossalyn. Do you guys think this is workable? Anything I should know?
11-24-08, 02:00 PM
You should know that the Orange Line from Falls Church to Rosslyn is the most crowded Metro commute in the city. It can be frustrating trying to change trains at Rosslyn at rush hour, the trains pull in and they're already packed, and you have to wait for the next one... a little patience, though, and you're on your way.
Definitely workable, and the bike commute will be nice.
11-24-08, 02:47 PM
There are several areas of the Falls Church/Arlington/Alexandria corridor you could consider as well. When you say family, do you need to be considering schools? This area has excellent public schools. In addition to the Blue/Yellow lines Metro Station almost across the street from USPTO, there are a couple of long haul Metro bus lines (http://www.wmata.com/) that go there from points west and northwest. Each of these buses has a front mounted rack that will hold two bicycles. I have only ridden from Eisenhower past USPTO over to the Mt Vernon Trail on weekends, so I don't feel competent to advise about normal weekday traffic, but the roads in the area are good. The Mt Vernon Trail is not lit so the commute home after work during winter hours is in the dark. Also depending on the direction you would travel, there are several long wooden walkways over wetlands that are very slippery when wet. Alexandria (http://www.alexandriava.gov/localmotion/) and Arlington County (http://www.arlingtonva.us/Departments/EnvironmentalServices/dot/planning/bike/EnvironmentalServicesBicycling.aspx) both have good maps of bike lanes, multiuse paths and suggested cycle routes. Fairfax County's is still developing (http://www.fabb-bikes.org/map/FairfaxBikeMap.pdf) and there is a regional (http://washcycle.typepad.com/map.html) as well as DC (http://ddot.dc.gov/ddot/cwp/view,a,1245,q,629849,ddotNav,|32399|.asp), although I don't think I'd bother to cross the river from DC to get to Alexandria.
BTW if you are going to be buying, which is probably not a good idea in this market, avail yourself of http://novabubblefallout.blogspot.com/ The people on the board can also give you some other ideas of places to live.
11-25-08, 05:34 AM
Why is it not a good time to buy a house in the DC area?
I used to live in Mason Hall apartments, just off the GW Parkway, north of Old Town proper. It's a four story apt. complex with reasonable rates and close to the MV Trail, Old Town, Potomac Yard, Del Ray, etc. I knew a guy who lived across the street and rode to the Patent and Trademark Office after they moved from Crystal City; it involved city streets almost exclusively, but once you hit Eisenhower Ave it should be pretty quiet. I'd imagine that it would be a 3 to 4 mile ride.
11-25-08, 07:31 AM
From Falls Church to the USTPO will be the better part of 12 miles each way via the W&OD/ Four Mile Run Trail. It also involves riding on surface streets through parts of Old Town. Getting over 395 will be a pain until the MUP underpass for 395 is completed. The W&OD has quite a few stop lights and stop signs so speeds are not as high as the Curtis Trail. Lastly, the W&OD and metro aren't really that close until the East Falls Church metro station. So you'd want to live near the N. Sycamore St/ I-66 area. I would expect this commute to take the better part of an hour each way. The Metro would only be slightly faster.
I'd advise living as close to Alexandria as you can afford. Falls Church is where we take our cars for service, so I do spend some time riding there and back. It's not too inconvenient, but there is no reason I would want to live way out there. Old Town has a lot more to do and would be less hassle.
11-25-08, 08:41 AM
WOD riders - i had advised about the dangerous road crossings but I can't remember exactly where those are, are the worst ones east or west of Falls Church?
I read somewhere that the 395 underpass will be done in spring 2009. It looks like it's coming along pretty fast anyway.
11-25-08, 12:25 PM
The road crossings are not too dangerous on the part of the trail we are referring to. The busiest is Columbia Pike, but it has a signal and the MUP is seperate from the vehicular lanes. There are a number of signals and crossing just west of Shirlington along Four Mile Run Drive, but these are reasonably safe as long as you mind the vehicles that cross the MUP while turning right. After crossing 395, there are a number of smaller intersections that must be navigated. My least favorite would be the intersection of East Glebe and West Glebe roads. Heading east, you end up avoiding crossing any streets. But heading west, you end up either on the wrong side of the road, or you end up crossing East Glebe using the pedestrian crosswalk (which doesn't really exist). This section will be completely removed from the route once the underpass is complete.
Spring 2009 seems realistic for completion of the underpass.
Lastly, I wouldn't choose to live in Falls Church for the reasons cited above. I live in the northern section of Old Town which makes most commuting (by car or bike) a breeze.
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