Dear PoP – What’s the best way to get to Bethesda from Georgia Ave, NW?

Photo by PoPville flickr user jimbographer ⓓⓒ

“Dear PoP,

Much to my chagrin, my employer is moving offices out to Bethesda, right by the metro stop. So my commute from Georgia Ave is going to increase from fifteen minutes to…well, I don’t know how long. I’ve been toying with a lot of different transportation option but can’t seem to come up with any good, efficient ones. I would like to avoid using the car, but I’m afraid it might come to that. Does anyone have any suggestions?”

Assuming this is the section of Georgia Avenue from Park View or Petworth how would you suggest the reader get to Bethesda – bus, metro, bike – combination therein?

58 Comment

  • Seriously?
    “Dear POP, I don’t know how to read a map…”
    “Dear POP, Which hand should I use to wipe my ass?”

  • If you have a car and have parking at Bethesda, just driving will probably the fastest way with the least headache. If you’re near the GA Ave. metro stop, and don’t want to/can’t drive, probably just taking metro rail the whole way will be the fastest, despite the round-a-bout route. I think dealing with changing modes from bike or bus or rail will be longer than going rail the whole way.

    • Agreed– sometimes you just have to suck it up and drive. I’d love to take public transit every day, and I do it occasionally, but the shortest route takes and hour and a half and involves a bus, two trains, and a shuttle. And it’s a lot more expensive. Unfortunately, you have to structure your life around the public transit system if you realistically want to take advantage of it every day. Otherwise, it’s a huge hassle and expense and you’re likely to give up and drive after a while.

  • mass transit: h series to cleveland park, metro up the red line. if you time the bus right, it’s really not too bad.

    bike: down to the capital crescent and up is nice but long. probably your best bet would be to take 14th up to kennedy and then cut through the park and up to like tennyson and then working through the backstreets of chevy chase.

    i’ve done the ride from columbia heights to rockville a bunch, but never in a way that i needed to work right after (sweating a lot and rambling was ok).

    driving: really easy. if you have a car and your employer gives you a spot, this would be pretty good. there are a million ways to get up to where you need to go.

  • Scooter.

    Get a good helmet and registration/license. Take a motorcycle safety course first. Get a heavy chain lock. You can ride year round with a good coat/gloves (the ride is short enough). You might have to bus/metro a few days a month when there is heavy rain or snow.

    I’ve been doing it for 3 years and LOVE IT.

    • Just curious– if the person already has a car then what would be the advantage of getting a scooter?

      • Cheaper parking, less gas, lower carbon footprint, easier to navigate in traffic, lower insurance costs…to name a few.

        The original poster mentioned they would like to avoid using the car, they may have to pay for parking.

        They aren’t for everyone though.

  • I would do the 79 bus (Express) up Georgia to Silver Spring, then catch the J2 bus to Bethesda. There’s also Ride On buses there but I am not familiar with them. This would be about a 45 minute journey I think, max. Since you’re going against the rush hour flow (out of the city in the morning) traffic should be less of a problem. Alternatively, a cross town bus to Van Ness, then hop the Red Line up to Bethesda.

    Basically, use the trip planner at and find the best options. It is a nuisance of a commute though…

    • you are not going against rush hour from SS to Bethesda – sorry – it gets pretty slow at the intersection of Conn and MD410. All in all it’s a pretty good route and the J buses run pretty often

  • During rush hour, Green to Red shouldn’t be terribly painful. Figure, oh, 45 minutes Petworth metro to Bethesda, tops, if you don’t have to wait more than a couple minutes per train.

  • I live on upper GA Ave and work in Bethesda and take the E bus (E2,E3,E4) to the Friendship Heights metro and then take that up one stop to Bethesda. Pretty easy.

  • I feel your pain. My employer moved about a year ago from Silver Spring to Rockville. My 15 minute drive upped to 45+ it’s rough, but getting to the upper end of the red line from Petworth is a little painful in my opinion (though I do miss the “me” time for reading!)

    Military Rd. to Connecticut Ave. is a live saver when it comes to getting across town fast.

  • I second taking Military Road but I take it all the way to Wisconsin and go through Friendship Heights. I suppose it depends where in Bethesda you’re going. I can usually make it from Park View to Bethesda in about 30 minutes or so.

    When I Metro, I take Georgia Ave. up to Fort Totten and switch to the Red instead of dealing with the mess at Gallery Place.

    • another alternative is to taken Military to a right turn onto Connecticut Av. Cross into MD and turn left on Bradley Blvd which will dump you out on Wisconsin Av just a few blocks from *downtown* Bethesda. Beats the traffic and lights in Friendship Hts…just watch out for the speed cameras in Chevy Chase Village.

      • Bradley Boulevard @ Wisconsin is a complete nightmare in rush hour – about 2 cars get through per light cycle.

  • I do columbia heights to Bethesda everyday… and sadly i do it in my car… not only is it cheaper for me to take the car over the now over charged metro, its also faster… I takes me 20-25 minutes going straight up beach ave to east-west… its also a very pleasant drive throught the park…

    • Agreed. This is the way I go and there are hardly any cars going in your direction. Easy and enjoyable drive (if you don’t mind driving). I used to metro and as others have mentioned, it takes about 45 minutes.

      • I 3rd this. The car is the most efficient way, via Military Rd my commute is 20 minutes most days and there is never any traffic. If its a nice day and I’m feeling ambitious, biking to woodley park and metroing the few stops is also not so bad as other folks have suggested.

    • That is also my builiding in the background of the picture… HA

    • Why don’t you guys carpool?

    • AF / Absolutjam – Want to carpool?? I take a similar route everyday and the parking fees are killing me. If interested, leave me a comment and perhaps the PoP can connect us.

      • I would definitly be down for doing something along those lines, however, my work schedule is very erratic and my travel times, to and from, often vary. Some days i could probably align my schedule to match but not everyday. Either way it all depends on what other peoples schedules look like…

        • I typically leave the house around 7:30am to get to Bethesda by 8am. I could go earlier, but not much later. Coming home, I can usually leave the office around 5:30pm. Is this way off from your schedule?

          I’m open to keeping this very low key – so whenever it works out for both of us without a lot of advanced planning.

      • wtf name stealer

  • I live in Columbia Heights and I normally take the DC Circulator over to Woodley Park metro and head up the red line. Takes me less than 30 min.

    Alternately, get on green, switch to red at fort totten, get off at Silver Spring and take the J2. J2 from SS to Bethesda is roughly 25 min. in traffic.

  • I have been driving from Petworth (Shepherd and Rock Creek Church) to the Bethesda metro for a few months now and the drive is not bad at all. Typically 30 minutes or so. The parking in Bethesda is pricey – around $8 a day in most of the public lots, more for private lots. Metro isn’t that much cheaper though, almost $6 round trip.

    Anyone interested in carpooling??

  • I used to do this commute all the time. The fastest/most enjoyable route was to bike to the Adams Morgan / Woodley Park metro stop and take the train up.

    During bad weather H series bus to Cleveland Park was always reliable.

    Scooter would be awesome too.

  • I know it’s a long metro ride involving a transfer, but you have it easy if your home and place of employment are both walkable from the metrorail! The trains service so few neighborhoods that most of us don’t have that luxury.

  • By car…Up Illinois or Georgia to Jefferson St west into rock creek park, then Up beach drive, and then left
    Cut across on Jones Mill or Military.

    I’ve been sending metro my request for a new bus line. Ft totten/Grant/Sherman Circle down NH, through Columbia Heights, over to Cleveland Park, down to Woodley Park, over to Adams Morgan, to Columbia Heights, back to Petworth. That’s a circulator I’d use! Changing from the 64 to the H8 is a pain. Other option, extend the 42 to Petworth!

    • oops sorry, Kennedy, not Jefferson

    • I like your bus request. But let’s add Dupont in that loop!

      • Makes sense, though possibly a tad longer circulator route to be reliable! If you hit Dupont, why not Logan Circle and Shaw and U St and then up to Columbia Heights and back?

        Or they could just split the 42 line. Have the 42A run from Capitol Hill to Dupont and then 42B from Dupont to Petworth via Adams Morgan, Mt P, Columbia Heights. That way the clog down on the flats doesn’t slow up the buses up in the highlands.

  • I live in chevy chase, but i trek over to georgia ave all the time. If you just to get to ur destination fast, then definitely drive. As other people have mentioned, taking military road or going thru rockcreek ( I take park road/tilden) are the fastest. If you have time then do the e bus. I rarely take the metro this route. Buses tend to be more direct for this sort of trip. If u are coming from georga ave near silver spring, take the L1 or L11.

  • 79 express to the J1/J2/J3 local or J4 express at Silver Spring station to Bethesda station. This is really the best and cheapest way to do it.

  • If you live near the rail station, use it. If not, get yourself a bike and pretend you are strong and capable. Before you know it, you will be.

  • It looks like there are plenty of options that will get you there in under an hour. Pick one and count your blessings– most people in the DC metro area have commutes that are twice as long.

  • I get on Rock Creek Parkway at Arkansas, take Piney Branch to Porter Street and then right on Wisconsin.

  • I do this and driving has made my life considerably better. That being said I tried every combination (all metro, circlulator, other X town buses to Red Line, etc., and the 16th ST Express bus to the J2 was the best, not necessarily on time, but it was the least angst-ridden.

  • I’ve found the best, no hassle route to Bethesda, while not necessarily the shortest, involves taking Van Ness and merging with Mass Ave then past the circle to Little falls pkwy and into bethesda thru the back door.

    Wisconsin/old Gtown can be a shitshow.

    • This one is good too. I still use it to visit family in Glen Echo. When I lived out that way, I also took Little Falls into Bethesda and would use Van Ness to Porter to visit friends in Col.Heights.

  • I had that commute until I changed jobs…both by car & by scooter. No biggie, except the scooter is faster. Nothing I did hasn’t been mentioned. I usually went down Kennedy, cut through the park, onto Military, cut through to Chevy Chase on Broad Branch to Brookville to Bradley. 25-30 minutes.
    Coming home, I would occasionally take East-West to Beach but not in the AM since East-West in the AM going towards Bethesda is a cluster.

    FREE scooter & motorcycle parking in Bethesda public garages too. Even the pay on foot ones without meters…they let you ride around the barriers.

    The bus that goes down Kennedy to the Friendship heights metro looks like the next best option, since you only have one metro stop to deal with and it’s against the heavy traffic going towards town.

  • By car, Kennedy Street to Beach Drive is a beautiful commute.
    You could also grit your teeth and take Fort Totten all the ’round and read a book on the Red Line until the Purple Line goes in.

  • Ride a bike. It’s not far to Bethesda from GA Ave. Would be helpful if there was a place for you to shower and store your bike at work.

  • An alternate driving route not yet mentioned is taking Upshur to Blagden (via Mathewson) into Rock creek Park. You can take Beach but I prefer Ridge Rd. Hop on Military for a second and then take Utah to Western and snake through Chevy Chase as other suggested (I turned on Primrose to get to Conn and then left on Bradley)
    The bonus of this route is not speed but the preservation of sanity and spirit by spending a few minutes driving through the park. You see deer everyday and they are less likely to cut you off or swerve into your lane.
    This route easily translates into a biking route as well.
    That being said I Metro’d for a couple years changing at Gallery but in a pinch used Ft Totten as an alternate.

    Good luck!

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