Where to pick up a coworker in Washington D.C.
July 2, 2014 9:42 AM   Subscribe

I'm traveling from NC to PA and need to pick up a coworker in Washington D.C. Neither of us is very familiar with D.C.

I'll be on I-95 when I'm south of DC and need to get on 270 to continue to PA. I'll be passing through at about noon. My coworker will be staying near Logan Circle and will need to take the Metro or a cab to the meeting place. Ideally, a meeting place would keep my colleague out of the elements. Can you suggest a good spot that he could get to easily and that would keep me out of the worst of traffic?
posted by dmo to Travel & Transportation around Washington, DC (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I would recommend picking your coworker up at the kiss 'n ride at the Shady Grove metro station. It's very, very easy to get into and out of from 270 (you get on 370 and take an off ramp that goes right into the station), and all your coworker has to do is take the red line toward Shady Grove and get off at the end of the line.
posted by OrangeDisk at 9:45 AM on July 2, 2014 [12 favorites]

I'd meet at Tenleytown Metro station on Wisconsin Ave., then take Wisconsin to MD 355 (Rockville Pike) and then up to 270 from there. You'll hit some traffic in Maryland, but you won't miss your exit.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:47 AM on July 2, 2014

Best answer: Note that Shady Grove Metro is in Maryland and some miles north of Logan Circle. A cab would be prohibitively expensive, a Metro ride cheaper, but might take 45 mins to an hour, depending.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:49 AM on July 2, 2014

Best answer: To add just a bit to my answer -- The only thing you will have to be careful of is to not miss the exit for the Shady Grove metro. When you get on 370, get in the right lane and pay attention to the signs, otherwise you'll end up on 200, and not only is it a toll road there's no exit for a while. You will be looking for an exit sign for Shady Grove metro station, NOT Shady Grove road (you'll see signs for both).

Your coworker will get on the red line at Logan Circle headed toward Shady Grove road, and can wait at the kiss 'n ride, either in a bus shelter or even in the metro station tunnel. You'll drive in, pick her or him up, then drive out and take 370 back to 270.
posted by OrangeDisk at 9:49 AM on July 2, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Yup, Shady Grove is absolutely the right answer. It'll take him a bit of time to get out there on the Metro, but it'll take you twice as long to drive into and out of the city.

Now, if you are insisting on driving into the city because you're so nice that you're insane, it really won't matter where you meet, because traffic and life will suck, and you might as well just pick them up at their door.
posted by General Malaise at 9:56 AM on July 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Nthing Shady Grove. No need to go straight through DC. It's going to be hard enough getting around it on the Beltway, especially coming up the hellscape that is 95 from the south.

(Perhaps you'd enjoy paying extra money to Australians to drive in our special new hotlanes and buy your way out of many of the traffic problems we are otherwise incapable or unwilling to deal with because of... well, downstate Republican douchebags?)

Much easier, cheaper, faster, generally more pleasant all around for your friend to grab the red line up to the end and wait for you there. He can be out of the rain there, should there be any.

If you are going to do this, one question is whether you go around DC on the Maryland or Virginia side to get to 270. I'd go with the Virginia side.
posted by Naberius at 10:16 AM on July 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Shady Grove is a great station to get picked up from. I used to do from Logan Circle to Shady Grove to get a ride from a coworker once a week for years, and it's a very mellow ride.
posted by spunweb at 11:32 AM on July 2, 2014

Best answer: I agree that Shady Grove metro is a good answer, for being an easy-to-navigate suburban Metro station with lots of parking/elbow room and reasonably good signage, right off the highway, that keeps you out of the inside-DC traffic.

Your colleague could cab it to Farragut North metro station, which is on the Red Line, and then it will be a straight shot up the line up to Shady Grove.

(If you really wanted to reunite with him earlier in the drive, he could cab to Metro Center and get on the Orange Line to West Falls Church - and you could meet him there - but it is a slightly more inconvenient on/off highway place, and I don't think it's a significantly shorter Metro ride for him.)

If you're coming up 95 and want to go to 270, you want to go on the "inner loop"/around the west side of DC on 495. There has been various road work on the stretch of 95 just south of town, and it's always a good idea to check conditions before/as you go. Local traffic radio is 103.5 and they give traffic reports "on the 8s" - so, at 11:08, 11:18 and so on. If there is a major traffic backup on the highways, it can be worth it to bail out and try to make your way around it on surface roads. (I had to do this yesterday.) It's good you're coming at noon, because you do not want to be caught in rush hour traffic. It really is as bad as they say.

When you cross the American Legion bridge into MD, you'll soon reach a point where 270 (going north) splits off from 495 (which continues to the east). You want to be in the lefthand, or second-to-left, lane for that split.

(Naberius mentions the new "Fast Lanes" which are a parallel set of roads to 495 that you can pay an EZPass toll to use. IMO, the signage for them is confusing. As long as traffic is not too terrible, I say just ignore all signs for Fast Lanes and you'll be just fine.)
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:35 AM on July 2, 2014

Best answer: PROVIDED that your co-worker doesn't have time constraints and is OK taking the Metro from the Logan Circle area... (I'm not so familiar with that part of DC...)

Nthing Shady Grove Metro Station. It's very easy to get to/from there from 270, and a better option than Metro stations on the south side by 495, 395, and 95.

The station is the last stop on the (I think?) Red Line.

From 95, you'll want to take the exit to 495 toward Tyson's Corner. You can take the Lexus Lanes (officially "495 Express Lanes") if you want (you'll need an E-Z Pass or at least 3 people in the car), but at that time of day the regular lanes shouldn't be too terrible. Once in Maryland, you'll drive for just a little bit and then stay to the left for 270 (Exit 38); this split is VERY obvious with fairly large, idiot-proof signage. You'll want to get off 270 at 370 (Exit 9 -- I think this is where the HOV lanes on 270 end), following the signs for the Metro station. Don't miss the exit for the Metro station or you'll end up on Route 200 which is an all-electronic toll road.

Seconding 103.5 FM, although I still have trouble (after five years living in the area) figuring out what is the Inner Loop versus what is the Outer Loop. They're both referring to the Beltway, but in different directions. I *think* you'll be concerned about the Inner Loop, but don't quote me on that. (I have the added bonus of a commute from a Baltimore suburb to a DC suburb, listening to two traffic stations, and having to figure out not only what the Inner Loop vs. Outer Loop is but also whether "the Beltway" refers to 495 or 695. But you won't have that issue.)
posted by tckma at 12:23 PM on July 2, 2014

Best answer: Unless your coworker has tons of luggage, the walk from Logan Circle to a Red Line station should be fairly easy. Depending on where exactly in Logan Circle they are staying, they could walk to Dupont Circle, Farragut North, or Metro Center, which are all about a 15-20 minute walk away; or if they have tons of luggage they could cab it, which would be a really short/inexpensive cab ride.

The walk will be perfectly safe at that time of day (though perhaps a little toasty in the DC summer!) Once on the train it's a one-shot ride all the way out to Shady Grove, and the train should not be crowded if they are leaving DC around 11 am or so.

I would not drive into the city to Tenleytown, which is not particularly close to any DC-area interstate. The tangle of roads around the Lincoln Memorial to the Rock Creek/Potomac Parkway on the way there can be confusing for a first-time driver, and unless your colleague is extremely averse to a Metro ride Shady Grove is really the best bet.
posted by andrewesque at 12:37 PM on July 2, 2014

Best answer: Shady Grove has served a similar purpose for me in the past.

Just be aware, like many Metro stations, there are two sides, and they do not immediatly look different when you exit. At Shady Grove, the East side has the kiss and ride and a garage. The West side is a gigantic parking lot and bus shelters.

To get from one side to the other, you have to go back underground and out the other side.

And you'll also want to check out a map of the 270 spur before you attempt it. Plenty of people get confused. I take the inner loop, Virginia side up 270 as my daily commute. If you waffle at the split at the last second, I would probably let you in my lane, but I will grumble.

I really wish they would change the name from inner/outer loop to "clockwise" and "counterclockwise".
posted by fontophilic at 10:42 AM on July 3, 2014

Response by poster: Shady Grove was easy to get to for both me (by car) and my coworker (by metro). Thanks to all who suggested it!
posted by dmo at 4:36 AM on August 20, 2014

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