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Snowy commute: Was returning to work worth it?

Even though fewer people are traveling than during a normal rush hour, the main commuter roads and Metrorail are very crowded this morning. Read more on the Get There blog.

By Jodi Westrick  |  February 12, 2010; 10:06 AM ET  | Category:  Local Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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My parallel parked car is stuck and the Metro isn't going close enough to the office. One more day of telecommuting...

Posted by: redmeansgo | February 12, 2010 11:13 AM

My commute this morning was a nightmare. There's not enough trains running, each train is packed to the brim, trains stop running entirely, and worst of all - and this is a consistent failing on Metro's part - there's no communication to alert commuters to these problems, and no communication to let commuters know when these problems may be resolved!

I arrived at L'Enfant an hour after I boarded my train (for what would normally be a 35 minute ride), and was greeted at the blue line with a dark train. I come to find out from one of the station workers that the trains were stopped there for storage and that the blue line was single tracking. Right, so why was it that the blue/orange line going in the other direction was still being displayed on the screen next to the stored trains, leading commuters to believe that the train was simply malfunctioning and would be moved?

Posted by: GreenRoom | February 12, 2010 11:53 AM

Well, since I couldn't actually get to the office because the Orange Line and 38B bus were both overflowing, I am at a Barnes and Noble sipping coffee and listening to pleasant music while I work. At least I am no longer snowbound in my house!

Posted by: sciencegrrl | February 12, 2010 11:53 AM

Does metro pay attention to reports that federal employees are going in 2 hours late? It does not appear so or they would have extended the rush hour schedule to 11:00. At 9:15 a 10-12 minute wait for the train in Silver Spring which was packed. I felt sorry for all the commuters trying to board from Ft. Totten and all other stations coming in to downtown. Metro, I would be fine paying the fare increase if you could provide better service. Also, when the trains are full, the driver needs to pay attention to how hard he/she is braking.
Now, with the derailment at Farragut North, how bad will the ride home be?

Posted by: hershhouse | February 12, 2010 12:01 PM

Three hourse to get to work. At Gallery Place, after the derailment, we could not find out whether to wait for a red line train towards Metro Center or not. I didn't mind walking at all, but if I could get to Metro Center that would shorten my walk to Woodley Park. I took a bus from Chinatown to go to upper northwest. The traffic wasn't moving for over 20 minutes and the driver would not let us off. Finally, many of us asked again to be let off. I crawled over a wall of dirty snow over into about 4 feet of snow and crawled out through to the sidewalk. The intersections for pedestrians are not safe. I walked the rest of the way and saw two car accidents, three people slip and fall and many near hits. I am exhausted and should have stayed home. I don't know which is more stressful-- stuck in the house or the nightmare commute. I am glad I was not on the train that derailed and no one was seriously injured. But, how will we get home? Will the red line be running later?

Posted by: shejoy | February 12, 2010 12:56 PM

Wow. Decision to bike to work today: maybe the best ever. Relatively fewer cars on major surface streets (Conn Ave from Van Ness through Dupont) and 14th. Only 4 usable lanes (three and one with the rush hour schedule), but not too much trouble. Made it to work like normal, a little wet from the slush. Glad I am NOT on the metro.

Posted by: HerrSlam | February 12, 2010 1:03 PM

This mornings commute.....A "Slow Train to Nowhere".. 2 hours to get from Eastern Market to Ballston. Snow plows Mayor Fenty? I beieve DC should revolt and shovel all of the snow back into the streets.

Posted by: hultgren01 | February 12, 2010 1:18 PM

I want to know what was said in the conference call last night between OPM/METRO/ and the Council of Governments? And I, as a taxpayer/citizen should have that information freely given.

Posted by: linda_521 | February 12, 2010 1:19 PM

I actually had a great commute in this morning ... the Blue Line came right through - was not overly packed ... I was off to a good start :)

Posted by: DCMAC | February 12, 2010 1:24 PM

As annoyed as I am by Metro, I can't blame only them. OPM knew roads weren't clear--even the ones that are labeled "clear" are often one-lane messes with ice and slush all over. And they knew that Metro was struggling to get back on its feet, after two major snowfalls. There was no rational reason to open the federal government offices today, for the 5 hours of work that people might be able to do in the office that they couldn't do from home.

Posted by: dkp01 | February 12, 2010 1:38 PM

My commute started out ok but steadily went down hill fast. I was surprised when I saw the bus running in my neighborhood because it generally doesn't run when the roads are a mess (I live on a very steep hill). After the bus came to a sliding stop I got on and rode to the Brooklyn/CUA Red line station. So far so good thought I.

Once at the station my luck ran out. I arrived at the station at 9:15 am and did not get on a train until 9:55 am (the trains were packed to the doors) going in the direction of Shady Grove.

I finally get to my destination at Farragut North at 10:12 am (ironically I had just gotten off of the train that derailed when it was departing the station). I make it into work finally and now we will be dismissed early.

So I've had a very frustrating day and I am ready to go home and not come out until the spring thaw.

Posted by: DCtechie | February 12, 2010 2:14 PM

I would also urge pedestrians to remember to look up and keep your ears open. I have never seen so many damaged trees in my life. Almost every tree has dangling, broken branches. Some areas have tried to call attention to this with yellow caution tape, but please consider your own safety first.

Posted by: Raiche58 | February 12, 2010 2:23 PM

I had no trouble getting to work today, in fact, I got here earlier because traffic was lighter and I left earlier. I commute from Annandale, VA to Ft. Belvoir. I can see how the commute might be bad for people working in downtown DC or those who had to ride the bus or subway, but for those of us who drive in the suburbs, it was not that bad. My side street had been recently plowed but it was still pretty snowy, yet once I made it up my hill and got onto the main street, all the main roads and highway were plowed and dry. No problem. It costs millions for the government to shut down each day, yet, it might have saved a lot of grief if it had been closed another day. I was surprised that everyone in my office, including a lady who lives in Front Royal, VA, made it to work on time!

Posted by: VAfan | February 12, 2010 2:46 PM

VRE was smooth sailing on the way in. We'll see about the way out.

Posted by: Handsome_John_Pruitt | February 12, 2010 3:02 PM

You can get metro alerts by subscribing to Alert DC. I think it was a mistake to have the Federal and DC governments open for just one day when there were still unplowed streets and narrow main roads. One extra day plus the long weekend would go a long way to cleaning up the mess. People should stop complaining though. It has only been one week since this all started.

Posted by: quilter1 | February 12, 2010 3:04 PM

I thought my commute was awful until I started to hear about the Red line. I waited on an iceberg on Lee Hwy. for a bus for about 10 minutes. It was very slow going on Lee Hwy., so the bus driver took a detour up to Courthouse for anyone that wanted to get off there rather go all the way to Rosslyn. The platform at Courthouse was crowded but after about 5 minutes a completely empty train showed up and everyone was able to get on. My ride to Smithsonian was slow, the train stopped frequently and for about 10 minutes each time but I got to work in about an hour, which is about double my usual commute.

Posted by: lcchristensen | February 12, 2010 3:24 PM

It took me 2.5 hours to get from Old Town to my office today starting at 9:30 a.m. -- an hour from my origin to the 14th Street Bridge (double the usual, but oh well), and then another 1.5 hours to get to my office on 19th and L. Police had blocked L and Connecticut for the Red Line accident, and then people crazed that we weren't going faster did the rest. Guess we should have rented space further from potential derailment sites....

Posted by: ChaosGirl | February 12, 2010 3:29 PM

They cannot open the federal government when Metrobus and Metrorail both are not operating at 100%. That includes snow removed from parking lots.

Posted by: blasmaic | February 12, 2010 6:57 PM

Commuting was out of the question for us. Our road was impassable until after 9 AM, which meant we missed the last bus to Bethesda which was where the nearest (18.5 miles awsy) open Metro station was. MARC wasn't running either. So I telecommuted and my wife, whose office doesn't allow telecommuting, burned a vacation day.

The OPM chief defended the decision as saying that the commute was deemed "safe." Sure, it's safe to be sitting and not going anywhere. But was it safe when emergency vehicles are also consigned to sit in gridlock?

Posted by: Tenmile1 | February 12, 2010 10:20 PM

Today's GRIDLOCK... could have been MAN MADE??? Sometimes you wonder - was on Red line this morning, offloaded from train on Dupont Circle and Metro employees would not tell to any of the customers what to do or where to go. I walked from Dupont Circle to Farragut West to catch the BLUE line, got off on Metro Center Station and the one and only Metro employee on the station platform was really RUDE to people asking for directions. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. PLEASE MAKE THIS KNOWN TO LEADERS WHO WILL LISTEN, PLEASE!

Posted by: rquintanilla | February 12, 2010 11:32 PM

Very poor judgement to open Federal Goverment offices today. What motivated that decision? I thought the decision is supposed to be based on safety of workers, without undue difficulties in coming to and returning from work. I don't believe that was what drove the decision. Instead, PR and politics came into play. Terrible. Thumbs down to the new OPM director.

Posted by: lts222 | February 12, 2010 11:36 PM

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