Scenes from a Brutal Commute Home

by Prince Of Petworth January 21, 2016 at 9:25 am 36 Comments


One reader (of unfortunately many many others) reports her trip:

“I had a 5 hour commute from tysons to Adams Morgan. Here are a few highlights of traffic and stuck vehicles….

Rockcreek Parkway – they basically shut it down. Got stuck at the turn going northbound less than a mile before the Calvert Street exit. Cars here: a ford 150 (left), BMW, corvette and an old school truck in the back. At one point oncoming traffic still was coming and the two northbound lanes were bumper to bumper.”


  • TW

    2 hours from Tenleytown to Columbia Heights. It took one of my friends 7 hours to get from Reston to Crystal City. Terrible.

    • K

      Jeez! You could walk from Tenley to CH faster than that.

      • HaileUnlikely

        Yes. In the 2010 or 2011 storm that hit at rush hour after the rain had washed all of the salt away, I walked home from downtown to Takoma, as vehicles stuck on the uphill parts of 14th & 16th Streets between just south of Colorado and just north of Military Rd had effectively shut down both streets. One of my coworkers spent the night in her car on 16th St.

  • dtsb

    90 minutes from H St NE to Park View on the X2 and 70 buses at 6:45pm. Should have taken the metro! Though 90 minutes doesn’t seem so bad compared to other stories I’ve read!


    Yeah last night was pretty awful. It took me 3.5 hours to get form Georgetown to Brookland after class last night…sounds like I got off easy. Despite RIA being a snow emergency route – last night it was a complete S-show with sheets of ice.

  • andy

    Left office at 5:30 on 50s bus, felt happy to get home 5 minutes after snow started. I had no idea that it devolved so badly after that.

    • ah

      +1. I was in the home stretch of my drive home, and it turned bad quickly. Fortunately traffic hadn’t gridlocked yet, just slowed to a crawl up hills.

    • anon

      Heh, yeah last night it paid off that I get in at 7am and leave at 4:30 (also on the 50s line). I was 2.5 miles into my evening run when the snow started and had no idea what was happening as I went about my evening.

  • caroline

    I bailed on by UBER after 10 minutes between china town and Petworth. He has no idea how to drive in the snow it was scary. Walked the rest of the way and saw so many accidents. Mostly mild but I hope people are warned and stay off the streets this weekend.

  • Formerly of Capitol Hill

    So glad I live in the unhip suburbs. Once I got across the 14th street bridge and down onto the surface streets in VA I made good time at 15 miles per hour. Suburban VA jurisdictions had treated their roads with brine over the last few days. Back to DC this morning, where a big truck slowed the inbound commute across the bridge by dumping inches of rock salt in one of the lanes – too late and created more traffic problems than it solved.

    • Caroline

      Really? I got a call from my girlfriend around 10:30 at night, saying she was spending the night at her mom’s because the roads were such a mess in VA. It took her five hours just to go a few miles. Where were the roads actually treated there?

    • eva

      Yeah, unless all of my NOVA colleagues were lying there are huge chunks of road out there that were never treated (or not effectively treated). They were all going on and on about their 4-5 hour commutes this morning. I’m kind of amazed they had the fortitude to go at it again this morning.

      • Caroline

        When that happened to me in 2011 I took the next day off work. My whole body was aching from sitting tensely in the car for so long.

      • I can attest that several roads in VA were untreated. Left work at 6:30 and slid around and found my way to a pool hall in Fairfax (in a league there) then left there at 9:30 and it still took me till midnight to find my way back to Park View.

        I cannot believe that I-66 was completely untreated – it was every man for himself. Traffic helped keep accidents down to a mimimum for awhile (aside from the initial ones) but after cars broke free of traffic they drove too fast and caused new accidents.

        I saw a real-wheel drive BMW try to weave between me and another car and completely lost it into the guardrail (they were trying to do about 30mph). It wasn’t severe, just a messed up bumper, but that made the entire nightmare worth it… the bad driver who is probably an asshole driver at other time too, got what they deserved… hehe.

    • Jobe

      Yea, no idea where you were driving, but NOVA roads were awful–anywhere there was a hill (most places in Arlington) was impassable. Arlington Blvd and 66 were in complete gridlock for most of the night. This morning, the major roads were cleared but there were abandoned cars everywhere. And the side streets are still sheets of ice.

      • Anon

        Columbia Pike was too! I looked out my window around midnight and traffic was jammed. The side streets, which are very hilly, were a total mess and cars were skidding everywhere.

    • jcm

      According to the Post, VDOT didn’t pretreat at all:
      In Virginia, state transportation officials did not pre-treat roads because forecasts called for temperatures so low that the treatment might freeze on roads, making them more hazardous.
      “It only takes a little bit of ice to create a very serious situation,” said Jennifer McCord, a spokeswoman.

    • d

      Was thinking just the opposite as I walked home last night. The gridlock resulting from one inch of snow is one reason I will never live in the DC suburbs.

    • Formerly of Capitol Hill

      You could SEE the pretreating stripes on the roads in Alexandria this week, so I know they treated. I finally escaped from 395 onto Quaker lane around 8:15 PM, and once I got off the highway it was not nearly as bad. Took Quaker lane to King Street down into Old Town, and from there the GW Parkway to Mt. Vernon. A bit icy in my neighborhood, but I got through OK. FWIW, I was driving a Mazda compact, automatic, with new tires.

    • eggs

      Arlington Blvd/Route 50 was a HUGE mess last night, people started ignoring the lanes and it went from a three lane road down to a two lane road. Most of the roads near me (between Route 50 and Ballston were still totally untouched this morning.

    • d

      Just read that I66 was bumper to bumper after midnight last night! Horrible.

  • Kathleen

    Wow! I got off easy. Left work in SW at 6, went to the P St. Whole Foods, and was home in Shaw by 8. There was still bumper to bumper traffic on Rhode Island Ave when I went to bed at 11. Yikes.

    • Sydney P

      But you walked of course, so it was a beautiful, pleasant evening, right? Car dependency has its costs.

  • Anon

    This is one of those times that I’m so glad to have the metro and a short walk home. I’m sorry for everyone who was forced to drive last night – it looked absolutely awful.

  • madmonk28

    We go in just before it started snowing and it was a regular commute, later we took the dog for a walk and it was just chaos out there.

  • just me

    Porter was an absolute [email protected] last night. For it being such a steep hill and a fairly big enough throughfare, you’d think someone would treat it, just in case. This happened last winter too.

    • emvee

      Yeah I know a couple folks who gave up on their H buses and just walked the Porter portion yesterday. I think I was on one of the last H buses to make it through that Rock Creek bit without any issues, right when the first flakes were falling.

  • YouThinkItsBadNow

    The Mayor just apologized that the city did such an awful job with one inch of snow. Just think what 2 or 3 feet will do to the area (if it actually happens)!

    New Thread: What have you done to prepare for the storm? A: Bought a 13 lbs briskets, canned soup, water, pizza, sandwich stuff, veggies, charged all my batteries; will fill several buckets with water. I’m confident I could go 5 or 6 days on current supplies.

    • KSamps

      I stocked up on PB&J fixings, canned soup and chili, tuna, crackers, chips and salsa, trail mix, chocolate covered pretzels, wine, and beer. I also ordered a portable charger for my phone, batteries, a lantern, a battery powered radio, and hand warmers on Amazon.

    • Caroline

      I honestly can’t think of anything in particular I need to do.

  • eggs

    WHY are you driving your Corvette in the snow, Corvette owner?! This is not a car that can handle snow.

    • Anon

      Stuntaz gotta stunt 24/7. Don’t ever change, my summer tire rocking stuntah

  • KSamps

    Two hours from Farragut to Brookland. It was a hot mess.

  • Sarah

    2 hours from tenlyrown to home at 14th & T. Thought I’d have to leave my car! Never driving my rwd in snow again

  • sassygirl711

    who in hell drives a corvette in the snow?
    …or a beemer? (maybe it’s possible with blizzaks, if you know how to handle rear
    wheel drives.).
    are they insane, poor or just plain clueless?

    • Blithe

      “Poor”? Meaning that they only have one car and can’t switch to one of their more-appropriate-for-the-snow cars? My guess is that most people don’t have multiple car options and are likely doing their best with whatever car they have. Maybe others can weigh in and comment on the “insane” and “clueless” parts. I’d appreciate getting “clarity” about the “poor” part, though, since with “beemers” and corvettes in the mix, my definition of “poor” might not overlap a whole lot with yours.


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