Drive or metro to DCA?
November 18, 2012 5:13 AM   Subscribe

Drivers of NoVA: Starting from the intersection of 123/Ox Rd. and 286/Fairfax County Parkway, picking a friend up from DCA/National Airport, flight arriving at 7am this Wednesday. Should I drive the whole way, stop at Franconia-Springfield and take the metro, or some other plan C? What will traffic, parking at F-S, and metro crowding be like and how early should I leave? What effect will the holiday have?
posted by anaelith to Travel & Transportation around Washington, DC (11 answers total)
I'd have them take the metro and meet you at the station while you wait at the kiss and ride.
posted by zephyr_words at 5:27 AM on November 18, 2012

Response by poster: My friend is coming just to visit me over Thanksgiving... Telling him to meet me at kiss and ride isn't completely out of the question but I'd rather meet him at the airport (unless the traffic and metro crowding at that time of day is just going to be impossible).
posted by anaelith at 5:47 AM on November 18, 2012

Best answer: Traffic won't be that bad at 7am, I'd just drive.
posted by empath at 6:17 AM on November 18, 2012 [2 favorites]

Rush hour traffic on Wednesday should be much lighter than normal, as many, many people will take Wednesday off.
posted by COD at 6:30 AM on November 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I don't think the drive should be too bad, just check to see what 395 is like. If there's an accident, then an alternate route or just leaving earlier might be necessary. (I'm assuming 286 to 95 will be no problem.)

That said, remember that the cell-phone parking lot at DCA is just a joke. There have a been a few times where I've paid the $4/hr to park in hourly parking just to avoid that slice of Hades on earth.
posted by Fortran at 7:18 AM on November 18, 2012

I agree with others, I don't think you'll run into too much traffic between the combination of how early it is and the holiday. You're likely to run into more traffic on the way back home, I'd guess, but presumably you won't mind as you'll be enjoying chatting with your friend! I'd probably leave around 6:15am, that'd give you a fine cushion...
posted by msbubbaclees at 8:19 AM on November 18, 2012

Agree on driving it (assuming you know your way and won't get lost in that nightmare of connecting roads around there, and def check to see if there's an accident causing gridlock - WTOP radio would tell you). Tons of people will take Wednesday off, it's early, and that's a really early flight. The metro is going to take you longer to get all the way over from Franconia and back. Worst thing that could happen is you're a little delayed and your friend has to chill out at the airport for a while. Which (personally) after a flight, I would still prefer to having to lug all my stuff on the metro and travel a half hour just to get to the car.
posted by citron at 9:45 AM on November 18, 2012

I would definitely drive (with a good GPS if you can to indicate accidents, etc) and I'd prob leave around 6 or 6:15 just to be on the safe side. I don't think the drive will be bad though.
posted by brilliantine at 10:48 AM on November 18, 2012

Response by poster: Looks like the consensus is to drive so I will go with that, good point about checking the traffic before I leave. Thanks everyone!
posted by anaelith at 2:16 PM on November 18, 2012

Response by poster: Never mind, his flight departed early and he missed it. New arrival time: 11am.

Thanks, everyone.
posted by anaelith at 2:43 AM on November 21, 2012

Response by poster: Final update: I drove in to pick him up Wednesday and then we both took metro in on Saturday evening and had dinner in the airport before his flight out.

The cell phone waiting area at National was completely full, which is unsurprising considering that there were only about 20 spaces. However, if you could find a spot then it was very conveniently located to the terminal. (This will be a bit of a shock if you're used to the waiting area at Dulles, which is far away but has about a million spaces.) Plan on doing laps or paying to park.

The metro ride wasn't too long and the Kiss & Ride waiting area is very convenient (although I can see it easily filling up in the afternoon hours), so we may do that next time.
posted by anaelith at 12:29 AM on November 26, 2012

« Older How do you stop a self-sabotage spiral?   |   Draw my mind Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.