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Friday Question of the Day – How Much Longer Has Your Commute Gotten Since SafeTrack Began?

by Prince Of Petworth — November 17, 2016 at 10:22 pm 61 Comments


In yesterday’s discussion about how bad traffic had gotten at Dave Thomas Circle, worse than usual, La Mano Coffee Bar mentioned:

“If anyone wants to know, it takes almost 1.5 hrs to take the Safetrack shuttle from Fort Totten to NoMa during rush hour!”

So I’m curious, no matter how you commute – bus, car, metro, etc. – how has your commute changed, if at all? For those whose commutes have gotten longer – how long did it used to be and how long is it now? Any details you can share like where you’re commuting from and where to would be helpful. And obviously what mode of transport? Have you changed modes? If so, is it longer than your normal mode was before Safetrack?

  • Tsar of Truxton

    I drive and nothing has really changed. Maybe 5-10 minutes more on a bad day coming home, but that is maybe once a week.

    • ah

      I drive as well, usually Mass Ave and Rock Creek Parkway, and the traffic is noticeable denser in the morning and definitely worse in the evening. That said, it doesn’t add a huge amount of time – maybe 5-10 minutes onto what was a 20-25 minute commute. But I’d say that added time is more like every day, not just once in a while.

      • Ross

        That’s more likely attributable to the Rock Creek closure than SafeTrack?

      • Anon

        I drive and also feel like traffic is noticeably slightly worse in the morning, and noticeably much worse in the evening. I used to hit very few slowdowns if I left work after 6:45. Now I feel like traffic is terrible until 7:30 at least. Realistically my commute went from 18-20 min to 20-23 in the morning and 15 to 20-23 in the evening. Nothing to cry over, but frustrating, and since I’m on a bike I’m especially vulnerable to other drivers who make quick movements due to lost patience.

  • ananananonononon

    I drive – I reverse commute out of Washington. The morning trip is fine, usually 35-45 minutes. The evening trip back into the city has become an utter nightmare, usually taking close to 2 hours.

    Yesterday, I took the metro and a taxi to and from work; it ended up costing me about 40 bucks in total, but it was so nice to be able to leave work when I was done instead of waiting around for traffic to die down.

    • anonymous

      +1! The evening commute back into the city has become insufferable hell (even leaving early to finish my day from home, and I get caught in 1.5 hours of traffic at 3pm some days).

  • Richo

    Percentage would make this poll more useful.. for instance my commute (Arlington to NOMA) almost doubled from 20 minutes to about 40 minutes, 20 minutes if a blip on this poll but pretty significant to me and a large percentage increase. Then again I bought an ebike and haven’t looked back.

    • HaileUnlikely

      I disagree that percentage would be more useful. Increasing a 10-minute commute by 100% adds ten more minutes spent commuting. Increasing a 45-minute commute by 100% adds 45 more minutes commuting.

  • dcd

    The time spent commuting hasn’t changed, but I (i) drive, (ii) on a route that isn’t near either the Beach Drive closure or the eastern spur of the metro that is closed, (iii) pretty early in the morning (I generally leave the house before 7:00. I have noticed traffic is much heavier, and at least early on it was obvious it was novice commuters – people who don’t know the little tricks of a particular morning drive.

  • Quotia Zelda

    I’m on the western end of the Red Line, so except for the 2 weeks when there was single tracking on that end, the timing of my commute hasn’t really changed. Trains are definitely more crowded when SafeTrack affects the eastern end of the Red Line, but it doesn’t take me any longer to get downtown.

  • Nonna

    I live near Ft Totten and work downtown near Farragut Square/Foggy Bottom. My commute is normally about 35-40 minutes. With safetrack affecting the red line these last few weeks, it’s gone up to anywhere from 60 to 90+ minutes. So my commute time has basically doubled. I feel like I’ve been wasting my days away sitting on public transit. Luckily my office allowed for extra telework days during safetrack, so I’ve definitely been taking advantage of that!

    • also anon

      This is my situation too. Switched to the green line from Fort Totten but crowding, extra walking to the green line downtown and occasional green line issues has made my usual 45 minute red line commute up to 1 hour and 20 minutes. It is terrible. When I finally do get to the green line downtown the trains all the way to Green Belt are usually full so I have to wait a few trains before I can even get one. The ones turning around at U St are basically empty.

      • Nonna

        The U St trains drive me nuts! Especially with all the extra riders these last few weeks – is it really that hard to just go the few extra stops to Ft Totten??

        • divebar311

          Speaking of which I presume this a new thing instead of these trains turning around at Mt. Vernon Square?

          • CHGal

            This started maybe a month or two ago with no real communication. I thought it was just a temporary issue, but it doesn’t seem to be. Glad I changed jobs (and commutes) before the red line shutdown.

        • also anon

          I have no idea why they started it but it’s annoying and makes no sense. You would think WMATA would have a logical reason especially during the red line shutdown but I wouldn’t be surprised if they just want to make everyone a little extra miserable.

  • Anon

    My commute used to be 30 minutes, SW to NE on metro. It is now about an hour. So a good 30 minutes extra each way. It’s been tough but not terrible. I thought it’d be worse, given that I work two jobs, I don’t have flexible arrival or departure times, and can’t ever work from home – so I was pretty worried. So far, no major issues and the red line segment is set to open up next week that’s been closed so I think I’ll gain 20 minutes back not being on a bus!

  • kgw

    I drive a reverse commute, and it has been a more congested on the roads, but not a 30 minute impact.

  • jumpingjack

    I commute Takoma to Farragut. I’ve been mostly avoiding Metro and taking Uber/Lyft or driving. I try to leave before 7:45 or after 9:15 in the morning and after 7 pm in the evenings, so it’s only added 15-20 minutes to my commute. But the aggravation and uncertainty of driving, or sitting in a car with strangers, has increased my stress-level considerably. I really really miss that 25 minutes a day when I can just plug in my headphones and tune out.

    • I do Takoma to Metro Center (normally) and the shutdown really hasn’t been that bad. Catching the red line at Takoma to Ft. Totten and then transferring to the green/yellow line downtown has been fine for me. (But I get up early and catch the train around 7:00am, before it gets too crowded.) I’ve been getting off at Archives and walking. (I suppose you’d have to transfer again at L’enfant or Chinatown if you wanted to get closer to Farragut.)

      • jumpingjack

        I’ve taken Metro once in the morning and twice in the evenings. It wasn’t bad – added 15 minutes to my commute – but I was traveling during slightly off-hours (7:40 am and after 7 pm). A neighbor who has been doing the same Metro commute regularly, leaving at 8:15 am, said that it’s adding 30-45 minutes to his commute time.

      • HaileUnlikely

        Maybe I should have tried this. I usually do the same commute as you (but later), but I’ve been taking the S9 instead, and it has been painfully slow (I live further west, right off of Georgia Avenue).

  • Ann

    I take the 16th St busses from Brightwood to downtown, and my commute has gone from 45 min to over an hour. The creep started with safe track, but closing RCP has led to bumper to bumper traffic the whole way, morning and evening.

    • GBinCH

      Same for me. Safetrack didn’t effect my commute as I drive, but closing RCP has added at least 30 minutes to my commute. Some nights though, like Tuesday earlier this week, it probably took me an extra hour getting home (I heard there was a protest by the white house that snarled a lot of traffic).

  • U neighbor

    I drive, reverse commute. Noticeable difference with safetrack, and beach drive closing turned it reliably into a nightmare if I don’t leave work early.

    • Cleveland Park runner


  • Pixie

    My commute used to be 30 minutes, now because of the red line Safetrack it’s 1 hour and 15 minutes and involves three transfers. I can’t wait until this is over.

  • Anon

    Mine actually got better. I go from NOMA to Rosslyn and the only time I run into a problem is coming home. Metro Center is quite crowded (as are the incoming trains) but it hasn’t been as bad as the normal schedule.

  • psoccer55

    I drive from DC to Tysons (reverse commute), and its noticeably worse, but not horrible. I would say an extra 5 minutes or so in the morning and 15-20 minutes in the afternoon. Get backing into the city has become ridiculous.
    Most noticeably though, the summer “lull” in traffic just never occurred.

    • U neighbor

      +1 about the summer lull

  • domrep

    I’ve probably added an extra 20 minutes to my commute. I live 5 minutes from Glenmont metro but b/c I would have to switch trains we drive about 15 minutes to White Flint and take it from there.

  • JohnH

    Wouldn’t this in theory be different for each phase? When it’s orange/blue, I notice a big difference vs. when it’s work on the red line. I think overall, more people are driving. It’s not bad in the morning, but the evening commute has seemed to be worse.

  • CPT_Doom

    I’m lucky in that I walk to work. it’s about 3.2 miles each way (Petworth to just south of Logan Circle), so just about an hour each way. It’s actually a wonderful way to commute, even though I have to bring a complete change of clothes with me in the summertime, because I can decompress gradually after work and sort of build up to thinking about work in the mornings. In bad weather I can take either the 63 bus or the Green Line, but have noticed the buses are really messed up these days, and a coworker told me the trip on the 63 has increased by 15 – 20 minutes each way for her because of traffic. Interestingly, my commute has gone up by 2 – 4 minutes each way, because heavy traffic means I can’t jaywalk at as many intersections as I’ve been able to in the past.

    • rachel

      I also have a 3 ish mile commute (Columbia Heights to downtown) and I typically bike, but in bad weather I take the Green Line to archives (or occasionally the 14th St bus, but only if I’m not traveling during rush hour for some reason). Because my metro experience is limited to bad weather days, it might not be typical. But I would say the metro seems way more crowded than I remember (like sometimes I have to let trains pass me and wait for the next one) even on green. I typically try to bike through the winter but realistically I take the metro a lot more in January and February — not at all looking forward to that.

  • I’ve driven since the 2009 crash when they started driving the trains manually – my motion sickness became unbearable. These last weeks with RCP closed have killed me – it takes me over an hour to do my 4.5 mile drive home from Foggy Bottom to north Petworth. I might have to start walking to work again. Too scared to bike in this city.

    • flieswithhoney

      You could take the RCP multiuse trail for quite a bit of your commute, I think. Hope your commute gets faster soon! I too used to get very motion sick when I rode metro.

  • Nathan

    Roughly the same. I reverse commute from Shaw to Silver Spring. This last safe track has added some time, particularly in the evenings as red line trains from Silver Spring to Fort Totten are much less frequent.

  • Emmaleigh504

    When Safe Track shut down portions of the yellow line it added about 30 minutes to my commute. Now that it’s on red line I take yellow line rush plus which adds about 15 minutes to my commute.

  • Josh

    Ft. Totten to L’enfant. There’s a lot more bike and foot traffic on the met branch trail these days. Can’t say that’s a bad thing. Green line is almost uncomfortably crowded in the morning now. It’s like they should run more trains on it or something…

  • Alex

    I “reverse commute” from near Union to Brookland and going home via car has gone from 15 minutes to 45 minutes. Thank god for a bike

  • HaileUnlikely

    I commute from just south of downtown Silver Spring to Metro Center. I usually walk to the Takoma metro station and take the red line from there to Metro Center. Door to door it would be 35 minutes on a good day, 50 or so on an unusually bad day. During the current phase of Red line work, I’ve been taking the S9 from Georgia & Alaska to Franklin Square, and door to door it is 60-90 minutes depending on traffic and on the adequacy of bus service (sometimes there are buses every 5 minutes; sometimes I wait almost 20 minutes for a bus). Also worthy of note, I get on at the 2nd stop from the beginning of the line, and there have been a couple of days when the bus is already too full for everyone to board at that stop at 7:30-7:45 AM.

  • IDontGetIt

    No change but I work from home and I am glad we don’t use the video conferencing option for meetings!

  • Belinskaya

    I generally have excellent metro luck – when Orange/Silver were under SafeTrack, my commute ended before the crazy portions. Then I got a new job that is downtown and requires no transfers (and weirdly doesn’t seem to save me much time or money – thanks, metro).

    I live on the eastern side of the Red Line, so this segment has sucked, but only in terms of crowding until this week. There isn’t the capacity for all the red line riders and all the green line riders, so when a train goes down or there’s a sick passenger (two days this week), everyone is screwed. The other day I had to bail out at U Street because the physical crush of people was making it hard to breathe, and Metro wasn’t running the extra trains out of U Street, so it was 15 minutes before I could get on another train. In hindsight, I could have just walked, but in the moment, you think there’s another train coming. It’s added a bit of time in general, how much depending on if I just miss a red line since they’re at 10 minute intervals, but being twenty minutes late twice in a row this week was nuts.

    It’s still faster than taking the bus, and there’s only two more days of it. And then that’s it for me. So I do count myself lucky because it could have been so much worse.

  • sg7

    I take the H1-2-3-4 lines/42-43 from Columbia Heights to Dupont and I’m very surprised that the bus attendance hasn’t changed much. I thought especially with the Brookland Metro closed that we’d see an influx of bus riders, but happily that’s not been the case. Fingers crossed.

    • Raya

      I take H2 or H4 every day and was surprised – but relieved – about the same thing!

  • Anonymous

    I most often ride metrobus/rail, Petworth to Farragut. Generally SafeTrack has not noticeably increased my commute time, though in the past couple weeks with the red line SafeTrack the commute has been slightly more unpredictable.

  • flieswithhoney

    Longer by 5-10 min and more dangerous b/c of new inexperienced cyclists and drivers that usually take metro and don’t look for, or freak out around, bikes.

  • MM

    Columbia Heights to Metro Center and the commute is longer by 15-20 mins (affected by closing RCP as well as SafeTrack). I avoid taking 16th St buses because the traffic is terrible both morning and evening. 14th St buses are generally faster although in the evening traffic starts to crawl near Columbia Heights. I get out a few stops early and walk.

  • MadMax

    I started walking to work about a month ago. It might be just a little bit longer than taking the bus, but it’s so much less stressful. I gave up on the subway long ago.

  • CG

    Before SafeTrack, metro from Takoma to Federal Triangle was 30-40 minutes door-to-door going in and leaving.

    With SafeTrack, the commute in varies wildly, 45-90 minutes. The commute back is a solid 1-1.5 hours. I took the bus a few times, but it was 80 minutes both ways. I now go to Archives to go home. Stupid WMATA has 2 of every 3 trains stopping at U Street. The Greenbelt and Rush Plus trains are only 6 cars and are JAM-PACKED. The U Street trains? Deserted.

    Metro. Ugh

    • Pixie

      All those trains terminating at U Street during the PM rush are so annoying. It would make more sense to have those U street bound trains turn around at Fort Totten instead during this safetrack surge so red liners can make their connections.

  • anonymouse_dianne

    I get on the Branch Ave train at U street. Monday I work from home. Tuesday and Wednesday I had to get on a Greenbelt train to Ft Totten to even get on the train. I had a 9:00 meeting on Wednesday and I was in the station before 8 o’clock. I had to ride to Ft Totten and didn’t get to work until 9:30! What a mess. Today I waited until after 9 to get on the train and I still had to stand for 3 stops. I could drive but I work at Census and as a fed I have to chose between Metro and free parking. It’s just awful. Also I have been getting home too late to catch the local news, mostly due to yellow line trains crossing over.

  • Welshi

    Biking takes around the same amount of time getting to downtown from Mt.P, but 16th street (and, it seems, everywhere in general) is definitely more congested since the RCP closure. I never noticed a change from safetracking, but I don’t think inside DC was very affected.

  • divebar311

    My metro commute from Columbia Heights is relatively unchanged but significantly more crowded with the recent Red Line surge. The worst has been the S and 52/54 bus lines. I used to take the S bus home on Fridays because my allergist is around 17th Street but the last time I did it took an HOUR to get from 16th and P to 16th and Spring Road. The Beach Drive closure has created even bigger nightmare in Columbia Heights and traffic in general north of U Street along 14th and 16th Street has been especially terrible.

  • Dognonymous

    I’ve only really been affected by the red line closure, which has meant a lot of 80 buses to Ft. Totten to take the green line downtown. For the past 3 weeks, my commute’s been anywhere from 20-40 minutes longer than usual. The rest of safetrack hasn’t had an impact, because I work at L’Enfant. Choosing between Metro Center or Gallery Place for my transfer to avoid safetracking on green or orange has been easy.

  • ANON

    I think Safetrack is not helping things, but living by the park and the closure of piney branch section of rock creek has definitely added to the pain.

  • bruno

    I don’t ride Metro, so not affected.

  • abdc

    The 63/64 bus lines have been really affected by safetrack and RCP closure. Sherman Ave used to be a breeze apart from a dense window around 830… Now my commute has been about an hour or longer to get downtown. I’ve started getting up an hour earlier just to make it a bit more manageable.

  • jenster8dc

    I commute from Van Ness to Tyson’s via Metro. The morning hasn’t been too bad during the RL shutdowns, as I leave at the crack. But the evenings have definitely been longer. Some evenings I go to Glover Park to my kettlebells studio, taking the bus from Foggy Bottom. During this current spate, that’s been a shitshow, between Safe Track and the RCP shutdown. It can take me almost an hour to get from GW Circle to Glover Park.

  • Kathleen

    My commute from Shaw to Waterfront hasn’t changed that much, but Green Line trains are much more crowded between L’Enfant and Shaw, and on the days I drive I notice more northbound traffic in the afternoon. The backups at the Mass Ave exit off 395 are pretty bad, I find myself bailing at D Street and driving up 6th more and more frequently.

  • JC

    My commute has gotten about 20 minutes shorter because I bought a car when Safetrack started. I take Rock Creek Parkway as part of driving between home in Adams Morgan and work in Arlington, and it’s still better than metro even with the Beach Drive closure delays. Not going back to metro for my commute.


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