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Thread: I'm moving and I can't commute by bike anymore. Help me find a solution?

  1. #21
    dasgeh's Avatar
    dasgeh is offline Queen of Family Biking & All Things Kidical
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    Lots of good suggestions. I'll just add that in Arlington, unless there are signs, parking is free all day (I think technically they can tow a car if it's been there 48 hours, but I think that is very rare).

    For example, in my neighborhood (Cherrydale, just west of Spout Run/Kirkwood & Lee), most of the parking is totally unrestricted. The exceptions are along Lee and sometimes one block in, and near the HS and ES. But in almost all cases where there's restricted parking, there's also unrestricted parking within a block. And most of it is unused. The Custis Trail runs along the southern border of our neighborhood, and Quincy, which becomes Military and eventually gets you to Chain Bridge, runs right through it. Though, you can park for free much closer to Chain Bridge.

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    Yeah, you're in a pretty horrible spot in fairfax county for anything bikey. For recreational off-road riding you're not too far from the cross county trail, but that's close to useless as a commuting route, and there are actually a number of trails for local errand-running trips/kids, but those tend to be pretty slow and annoying if you have to go any distance. Even in the moderate-long-term plans you're going to be pretty far from any high speed/long distance infrastructure.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sunyata View Post
    Not the shortest, quickest, or most comfortable route, but I can get you from Burke Center to Brandymore Castle (East Falls Church) without too much traffic. If you are confident taking the lane, this route should be fine (I ride from my house to Wakefield park all the time, so am familiar with the roads from Annandale to Falls Church). https://ridewithgps.com/routes/29846643

    I am not sure where in Bethesda you are, but the quickest way there is through Chain Bridge, which from EFC Metro is about 5.5 miles. From there, the Bethesda Metro is about 6.5 miles. So all in all, you are looking at about a 26 mile one-way commute. (Eek! Perhaps that e-bike is not such a bad idea.)

    If you wanted to shorten your commute, there are a few streets in Falls Church that are not timed or permit-based parking. In fact, my street is one of them.
    One modification I'd recommend northbound is taking a right off of Americana Dr. onto Patriot Dr. to get to Heritage Dr. That puts you on the right side of Heritage for the crossing of Little River Turnpike and avoids the need to navigate around the median.

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  5. #24
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    Thanks everyone, this is a lot of very useful advice!


    Quote Originally Posted by lordofthemark View Post
    So I assume you will be commuting by transit (since you are locating next to the VRE station) and the transit commute will be Burke->VRE->UnionStation->Marc->Bethesda? I guess you could take a folding bike and get off the MARC early and ride the rest of the way (I guess easier than riding the folding bike to a closer in VRE station?) Ride the folding bike, or a CaBi around Union Station between rail legs?
    Quote Originally Posted by DrP View Post
    The VRE does allow bikes on some of the trains (last three of the morning and last three of the evening), although there are limits in the number of bikes allowed. You would need to talk to folks who do that to see how truly viable it is. You can then VRE to Crystal City or Union Station and bike from those locations (or find somewhere near those places with bike parking you can use? Not sure how possible that is).
    There is a parking lot in Reston along the W&OD for commuters. A former coworker drives there and either takes the bus to Crystal City or bikes (frequently it is bike one way and bus the other). That lot expects you to be there all day (and he has returned after the metro closed too). Reston Station, I think. That is a long ride to Bethesda, however. Depending on how multimodal you want, you could drive there, bus to Pentagon, Crystal City or wherever else they have the buses go to (Rossyln?) and then bike - they allow the bikes on the buses in some manner (it might be underneath). The metro is near there too and that is now an option. There are other lots too for metro, so perhaps drive to one and take your bike.

    I hadn't really considered that VRE even though it is close primarily due to the daily cost. I also go in super early, and I would have to go buy a folding bike because the early ones have no full size bikes allowed. I mean, I COULD consider a folding bike.....


    Quote Originally Posted by semperiden View Post
    I have seen someone who commutes from Burke and parks on the w&od at merrifield. He parks here. I believe it is totally legal.
    This is definitely a candidate for parking and this mode of moving. I'm won't be far from Merrifield

    Quote Originally Posted by n18 View Post
    Strava heatmap.

    Parking along the W&OD:

    http://www.wodfriends.org/accessibility/parking/

    If you want to park at Metro, West Falls Church Metro is the last metro station to park at to avoid HOV-2, as far as I know.
    Thanks for these links! I was also looking at the heatmap earlier in the week. Interestingly I started thinking, I saw saw routes that are 'warm' but then I wonder how many ride have to happen along a route to give it the warm indication. If it's rarely traveled by bike, and maybe 2-3 brave souls use it a month (on a weekend perhaps) how much does this skew the heatmap to perhaps give a false sense of safety/usage.


    Quote Originally Posted by trailrunner View Post
    Welcome to Fairfax County, where the biking infrastructure is poor. I live in Springfield and have likewise struggled to find good commuting routes.

    One multi-modal option is to take a bus to the Pentagon (maybe the 17x or 18x, depending on your exact location) and riding from there. I often do something similar. Another bus option is the Fairfax Connector buses.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    I'm looking into the buses. I did see that it takes about 50 minutes from Burke to Pentagon, then form there to Bethesda would be close to another hour. It might be a lot of time, but definitely a useful option. Thanks!!


    Quote Originally Posted by Sunyata View Post
    Not the shortest, quickest, or most comfortable route, but I can get you from Burke Center to Brandymore Castle (East Falls Church) without too much traffic. If you are confident taking the lane, this route should be fine (I ride from my house to Wakefield park all the time, so am familiar with the roads from Annandale to Falls Church). https://ridewithgps.com/routes/29846643

    I am not sure where in Bethesda you are, but the quickest way there is through Chain Bridge, which from EFC Metro is about 5.5 miles. From there, the Bethesda Metro is about 6.5 miles. So all in all, you are looking at about a 26 mile one-way commute. (Eek! Perhaps that e-bike is not such a bad idea.)

    If you wanted to shorten your commute, there are a few streets in Falls Church that are not timed or permit-based parking. In fact, my street is one of them.
    Quote Originally Posted by huskerdont View Post
    I second Steve O's suggestion to you personally, Ian, because you are cool, but I'm a bit bitter he pointed it out in public. It's been my go to spot for years for when I wasn't up to the whole ride (e.g., 3 days after my knee surgery).
    Quote Originally Posted by dasgeh View Post
    Lots of good suggestions. I'll just add that in Arlington, unless there are signs, parking is free all day (I think technically they can tow a car if it's been there 48 hours, but I think that is very rare).

    For example, in my neighborhood (Cherrydale, just west of Spout Run/Kirkwood & Lee), most of the parking is totally unrestricted. The exceptions are along Lee and sometimes one block in, and near the HS and ES. But in almost all cases where there's restricted parking, there's also unrestricted parking within a block. And most of it is unused. The Custis Trail runs along the southern border of our neighborhood, and Quincy, which becomes Military and eventually gets you to Chain Bridge, runs right through it. Though, you can park for free much closer to Chain Bridge.

    All of these points, and Steve-O indicated this to me as well, is that you don't have resident parking restrictions in Arlington. This is HUGE. In Alexandria, you definitely have city regulations that discourage all day parking on city residen streets. Parking along the route is something I'm leaning towards. You're cool too huskerdont!! Thanks! Also, thanks Sunyata for the Ride With GPS link!!!! That will come in handy!

    Quote Originally Posted by mstone View Post
    Yeah, you're in a pretty horrible spot in fairfax county for anything bikey. For recreational off-road riding you're not too far from the cross county trail, but that's close to useless as a commuting route, and there are actually a number of trails for local errand-running trips/kids, but those tend to be pretty slow and annoying if you have to go any distance. Even in the moderate-long-term plans you're going to be pretty far from any high speed/long distance infrastructure.
    This is good to know, I see the CCT on the map, I thought it was a paved route. That's disappointing.

    Thanks again for all the suggestions everyone. I'm sure I can work something out!

  6. #25
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    I used to live in Kings Park West, not far from the VRE. I can also give you a route through Fairfax City, past the Vienna metro, and up Tapawingo to the W&OD. It's a bit further than Sunyata's route, but doesn't include any gravel.

    Here's Fairfax City to the W&OD https://www.strava.com/activities/2316355771
    and here's Kings Park West to Fairfax City https://www.strava.com/activities/822125702

  7. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by ian74 View Post
    Thanks for these links! I was also looking at the heatmap earlier in the week. Interestingly I started thinking, I saw saw routes that are 'warm' but then I wonder how many ride have to happen along a route to give it the warm indication. If it's rarely traveled by bike, and maybe 2-3 brave souls use it a month (on a weekend perhaps) how much does this skew the heatmap to perhaps give a false sense of safety/usage.
    Strava heat map link that I posted includes all activities(Bike/Run, Etc.). Strava won't let me link to biking-only heatmap, it redirects to all activities if I try. Please click on the Bike symbol on the left to see only biking activities.

    Quote Originally Posted by ian74 View Post
    I'm looking into the buses. I did see that it takes about 50 minutes from Burke to Pentagon, then form there to Bethesda would be close to another hour. It might be a lot of time, but definitely a useful option. Thanks!!
    VRE, as you probably already know; takes 35 Minutes to Crystal City, and 43 Minutes to L'Enfant. Metrobus 17L takes 45 minutes to the Pentagon.

    One area Fairfax County excels at in term of transportation is their Fairfax Connector line. Whenever they replace a Metrobus line, they increase the frequency, sometimes double, or even triple in some cases. You can see their whole map here(Click on the first link on the right). Their 495 bus as the name suggests; goes along I-495, from Burke Center to Tysons Corner area. It takes 30 Minutes to one block from Tysons Corner Metro. I wish it goes all the way to MD, perhaps you can contact them, they do listen. There is a big need for a decent route between Tysons and MD, perhaps a bridge next to I-495. The only option now is a steep hill along Chain bridge Rd(when coming from MD into VA), and it's not cyclist friendly, roads too narrow, and no shoulder.

    WMATA has a bus map for the whole area, so you don't miss anything, but their Trip Planner is really good, and it covers other bus systems, but it wouldn't necessarily tell you all the options. At this link, scroll below the map to "Bus maps", and click on Virginia. The map is not updated frequently, so you may not see all the routes, especially other bus systems in the area.

  8. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by n18 View Post
    Strava heat map link that I posted includes all activities(Bike/Run, Etc.). Strava won't let me link to biking-only heatmap, it redirects to all activities if I try. Please click on the Bike symbol on the left to see only biking activities.
    The Strava Route Builder page (select "My Routes" from the Dashboard dropdown menu, then "Create New Route" to get started) on the computer web site (not available in phone app) has an option to let you use the global heat map to select the most heavily ridden way between the points you lay on the map. You might have to push it a bit not to include the CCT and the mountain bike trails in Wakefield Park as you try to build candidate commuting routes, however.

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  10. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by ian74 View Post
    This is good to know, I see the CCT on the map, I thought it was a paved route. That's disappointing.
    There's some paved streches but also lot of gravel and fair weather/low water crossings that can wash out badly in the rain or get buried under inches of mud. It's definitely worth exploring, and can be fun, but its utility depends heavily on which stretch you're looking at. (It's pieced together from a bunch of pre-existing trails so it varies widely along its length.)

  11. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by huskerdont View Post
    I'm a bit bitter he pointed it out in public.
    Not to worry, the people who would be inclined to park there are not reading this forum. Except, perhaps, Ian.

  12. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by n18 View Post
    The only option now is a steep hill along Chain bridge Rd(when coming from MD into VA), and it's not cyclist friendly, roads too narrow, and no shoulder.
    He speaketh of the exalted 41st Street. Actually, crossing Chain Bridge and riding up the hill is entirely cyclist friendly...except for the "hill" part. 41st St. is not a through street, so there are no cars on it. In the several years I commuted up and down 41st Street, I encountered a car perhaps 4-5 times. Do not, repeat DO NOT, ride up Glebe Road. (Riding down is okay, because you can go as fast as the cars, but there's a tricky crossing at the bottom to get on the sidepath. I preferred to go down 41st at the cost of more frequent brake-pad changes.)
    Chain Bridge has a separated sidepath. So all good.

    Options to cross Canal Rd. to get to the CCT are either the frogger option (happy to help you figure this one out; it's what I did) or go down to the C&O and schlep up the stairs at the trestle.

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