The only reason I travel to Washington, DC a few times a year is because I have a child who moved there a few years ago. It has given me an opportunity to begin learning about another major cosmopolitan area of my country, along with the history of the region. While I certainly have visited many of the sites popular with visitors to Washington, DC, much of my perspective is shaped by experiences had alongside a local; the often mundane and sometimes very exciting life of a young professional living in DC. So without compromising the privacy of my child, I thought I would begin this thread to document some of the day to day types of things. Commuting to work. Shopping. Survival in the big city. Though I haven't mentioned it specifically, and most likely won't in the future, some of the places I've reported on in the past have been directly related to my child's work from a job in the heart of the city.
One of the things I like best about Washington, DC and the metropolitan Virginia area is the well-developed, mass transit system. I love being able to get around using public transportation. This is one of the items at the top of my list when thinking of places to move, so it makes it even more appealing as a possible future residence for me.
The heart of public transportation in the DC metropolitan area include the metro rail and metro bus. The system works a lot like that in London where it costs more to travel during peak times, than it does during the middle of the day and on weekends. This is an incentive to keep visitors off the lines before workers can get into the city, thus helping with congestion. Cards/passes are tapped in and out, both as one enters and leaves the commuter system.
Since many city workers commute quite a distance to downtown DC, there are large parking lots next to metro stops on the outer fringes of the metropolitan areas. However, as you get closer into the city, and parking becomes more of a premium, residents must first walk or take a metro bus to the metro rail stops. My child's more recent commute, for example, involved first a 25 minute bus ride, a transfer to the metro rail, and then a mile walk to work. A move to a new location will add a short walk at the beginning of the commute, but will fortunately eliminate the bus ride.
Of course, though parking is costly, many choose to drive into the city every day, and participating in highway congestion in the mornings is not a fun experience. Once inside the city, there is a bike program and I've seen many locals taking advantage of the system, though Washington, DC is also a very walkable city.
My commute for a DC/Virginia visit will involve a flight into Reagan National, a metro ride from the National metro stop, and about a fifteen minute walk. Simple and easy to do, particularly since I have a metro subscription and keep my card updated. From my Virginia base, armed with my google and DC phone apps,I can easily travel to many of the interesting locations in the area without having to depend on a car or having to inconvenience my child.
A rare sight, a deserted Smithsonian Metro station during the government shutdown.
The red bicycles in the nwxt two photos are part of the DC bike share program.
In regards to the recent "random thought" conversation, here's a USAirways flight waiting to take off from National. The glimpse of water you can just see in the foreground marks the shoreline of the Potomac River. The airport sits at the edge of the river and appears to me almost like a peninsula.
Thank you, Tod. No, the somebody who wanted the Eiffel Tower photos is sitting next to me right now (in Florida) preparing to go to the movie theatre to see a, no doubt, scintillating children's film about dragons. I have two grandchildren living near me, and the rest live in Arizona.
Not at all! Well, not at all unless you count the squirmy feeling of incompetence & laziness you might provoke in others with the lovely well-crafted threads you produce even while on vacation. But don't you worry your pretty little thread-making head about that!
I actually took a "gypsy cab" between Washington National and Dulles once during some sort of strike (taxi strike? transit strike? I don't remember.). There were four of us who got into the car, so I figured we could always beat up the driver if he tried to cheat us, which he didn't.
We touched down at Reagan National at 11. I was on the metro by 11:20, and walked in the door to be greeted by the dog at 11:40, all via walking and public transportation. Too bad it's such a novelty in my part of the U.S.
Yes, I like National for its ease of public transport.
We get a kick out of the Metro woman's voice that says, "Doors opening! Doors closing!" in that sweetly emphatic way. We feel that she really does not want us to get hurt.
My mama wants me to help her find least expensive tickets to DC to visit my nephew, but it must be Dulles since they're out in Fairfax, can't be too early AM or too late arrival, she sounded a little particular about which airline.... I had to tell her she'll probably have to pay the $323 round trip she had found herself.
Taking off this morning from my local regional airport was exciting. The pilot came out into the waiting room and got on the loudspeaker to announce the toilet facilities on the plane were out of order, so everybody should go before the flight. He then went on to inform us of his own eminent trip to the men's room. The joys of small, regional airports......
After two uneventful flights, changing planes in Atlanta, I landed on time at Reagan National. Here's the view out the right side of the plane as we came in to land. I believe this is Roslyn, Virginia, just across the Potomac from the Lincoln Memorial.
It was an easy walk through the terminal and I was soon on the metro.
Since it was the middle of the day, the cars were practically empty.
There are a lot of rail lines in this area. Here we are paralleling both a freight and a passenger line.
And here's the train station at Old Town Alexandria with passengers waiting.
Directions given to me by my Washington, DC Professional child (WDCP) were very thorough, so finding my way from the metro to the new place was quite easy and quick. I arrived to find a slew of large boxes, lots to do everywhere I looked, and nothing for lunch. I see a trip to the grocery store is in order, too.
Lola, $323 is probably pretty good, assuming she's flying from your part of the country and that's roundtrip. It would have cost me twice that to fly roundtrip from north Florida if I had to pay full fare.
I see beer. I see salsa. Whatsa problem – no chips?
And, yes, there was a bag of those tasteless,scoopy kind of chips, but I don't care for commercially made salsa and if I'd had the beer I would have needed a nap instead of working at decluttering. Now I can head off into the city with my camera tomorrow. I'll have a clear conscience, knowing I've earned a respite. It may be the only day out I get to take.
My late morning metro ride into DC felt like riding a Disney train, as it was full of map holding tourists. They were mostly headed to the Smithsonian exit, so none got off at my stop.
I would really like to meet up with this woman at the end of the day to ask how her cute shoes - the total opposite of her family's sport shoes - held up while walking the National Mall.
I was headed to meet my young WDCP for lunch, but since the rain had stopped I went to the Farragut Square area to take some pictures. While you can run into a few tourist-types here, you'll mostly find professional office workers. The food trucks were already lined up for lunch, and restaurants were open for business as well.
There are also a very large number of seemingly homeless people who frequent the park.
Fortunately I wasn't on the metro early this morning, but WDCP and packed cars of passengers were forced to wait it out for at least thirty minutes as all traffic on lines traveling through the Pentagon station came to a standstill due to smoke from a small fire near the tracks. The fire, which was in a trash receptacle, was extinguished and traffic resumed, but there were a lot of unhappy commuters who were now running late for work.
Lovely, vibrant photos, Htmb. Love the spiffy line of bikes & the elegant old building reflected in the shiny new one. Is the statue in the penultimate picture at an arts center?
Your photo and remark on the homeless in the park caught my attention. I follow a person on Flickr who recently moved to the DC area and who has been posting photos of and commenting on the homeless there. He has particularly noted what seem to be older veterans around the monuments and near hospitals.
Despite the holdup this morning on the metro, I couldn't help but think how much more annoying & polluting are traffic stoppages when thousands of commuters are traveling in their own automobiles.
Unfortunately, I don't know much about that statue, Bixa. It was in an open-air corridor of an interesting, and newish, building I walked through on the way to lunch. WDCP had never noticed it, but I thought it a lovely find.
Yes, I could imagine many of the homeless I saw as being veterans, and I was only a few blocks from at least one hospital. If I had to estimate, I'd say there were at least twenty homeless-looking individuals in Farragut Square late yesterday morning.
Very true about the traffic, but of course those automobiles are there, on the highways, the beltway, on all the roads leading into DC. I can't imagine what it would be like if all computers taking the metro suddenly had to drive in. It would be absolutely impossible.
All deliveries have now been received, my responsibilities are done for the moment, so I get to go explore Old Town.