Washington D.C. (including Baltimore) - commute from bmore to dc?
arthur -- flyer wanna be
Mar 23, 11, 6:13 pm
i've heard of many cases where people live in dc and commutes to bmore, wondering if the vice versa is true...
just took a job in bmore and looking for a place to stay... one of my options is to stay at my sister's place in georgetown and commute, but not sure how long the commute would be or if it's worth it...
any advice helps... thanks :)
Mar 24, 11, 4:21 am
Getting across town from G'town to Union Station can take a while in the mornings, but there's MARC commuter train service northbound (see MTA Maryland's website), and light rail, bus, and subway once you get to Baltimore. On the whole, I'd rather be spending the weekend in DC than in Charm City, so if you can swing it, I'd try it for a month or two. If you're planning to share her rent, you can find more affordable housing in B'more, so you'll have to factor in the trade-off of commuting costs (both financial and opportunity costs) against the benefits living in DC.
Mar 24, 11, 5:38 am
Baltimore is a pretty big area, so where in Baltimore? Car or public transit? Presuming usual rush hours (something like a 9-5 M-F job)?
Without further info, I'd say 1 hour is the minimum under ideal conditions (not likely to occur often), 2 hours on a bad day (but not worse case--figure 3 hours if driving and a major accident occurs on I-95), so maybe 1.5 hours on average each way or 3 hours total per day for commuting.
For the record, I know of nobody who lives in DC and commutes to Baltimore, though I'm sure that a few people do it. I know a number of people who live out that way (whether Baltimore, Annapolis, or small towns out there) and commute into D.C.
Mar 24, 11, 8:49 am
i made that commute for almost 20 years. both of my factories were near one of the expressways. one near the stadiums and the BW pkwy, the other on caton ave near 95. i live 4 miles south of the wilson bridge. takes under(but close to) 1 hr. i played squash on cap hill 3 days a week, and left 45min for that trip.
crossing from gtown or driving into central balt during rush hours are separate hells. there is little efficient public transport in and out of gtown.
commuting the other way is impossible. takes close to 2 hrs each way.
the only consistent problem is tree trimming on the bw pkwy, and arrangements must be made to drive around that problem.
hellow alan, now you know someone who back commuted balt-dc.
Mar 24, 11, 9:15 am
I know of a number of reverse commuters to Quantico, Ashburn, and Annapolis from DC, and Baltimore is not much farther and has better transit options.
First, is it worth it? Baltimore is not necessarily bad, though it is noticeably different from DC. DC is more transient, nerdier, more sophisticated (and more pretentious). Baltimore has local character, down-to-earth people and venues, and much lower rents. I would probably rather live in Baltimore than in St. Louis, Sacramento, or Milwaukee… but I would rather live in DC than Baltimore. I will say that if you're interested in city life, pick one or the other. There is nothing in between but suburbia.
If your job offers a transit subsidy, getting a monthly MARC pass would make the commute possible. You'd need to get to Union Station in DC and from BWI or Penn Station in Baltimore, and that is the tricky part— Union Station is not in a residential area (and at the opposite end of city from Georgetown), so you'll need to walk, bike, bus, or Metro there. Penn Station, similarly, is not in downtown Baltimore, so you'll have an extra connection to make on that side.
Depending on your hours, driving might be possible, but keep in mind that they are not exactly twin cities; downtown-to-downtown is about 40 miles and with the only major corridors being I-95 or the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, traffic is atrocious. Even the reverse commute will not save you here, as there are many people driving out to jobs in Greenbelt and Fort Meade which lie in between.
Mar 24, 11, 9:41 am
You'd need to get to Union Station in DC and from BWI or Penn Station in Baltimore, and that is the tricky partó Union Station is not in a residential area (and at the opposite end of city from Georgetown), so you'll need to walk, bike, bus, or Metro there. Penn Station, similarly, is not in downtown Baltimore, so you'll have an extra connection to make on that side.
There are residential areas within a few blocks of Union Station. Plenty of people live just east of the station. But OP was talking about living in Georgetown. From there, the easiest thing to do is the Circulator bus. I'm not sure how long that route takes.
And, while Penn Station is not quite downtown Baltimore, it's not very far and, depending on where one were going, could even be walkable.
I'd expect the biggest issue to be that the train schedules are more geared towards people coming to DC from Maryland, not vice versa.
Mar 24, 11, 10:39 am
Trust me, I live across the river from Georgetown and often work at a client site near Union Station. The Circulator bus may be "easy" but it is not a crosstown commuting option, especially when you are following it up with an hour-long train ride to Baltimore. It will easily take 45 minutes to get across town during rush hour (I think the D5/D6 Metrobus would be a similar story). Somewhat better might be to take the bus to Dupont Circle and try to board the Red Line there.
Actually, I forgot that there is also the MARC Camden Line. The schedule is much more limited (only 2 southbound trains in the late afternoon, 5:15pm and 6:10pm), but it might be feasible for someone working a traditional schedule near the Inner Harbor.
arthur -- flyer wanna be
Mar 25, 11, 6:01 pm
thanks for all the insight... let me try to clarify my situation a bit better....
i'll be a federal govt employee, so i believe i'll receive some form of transit subsidy, even if it doesn't cover the whole cost (i currently receive it here on the west coast)
it looks like my work place will be within one block of the charles center metro station of the baltimore subway lines... not sure if that makes connection to the marc stations any easier?
my biggest concern is not about rent but rather now complicated/long the commute would be... 2 hours would be the max i'd want to spend door to door (public transit)... is that doable?
Mar 26, 11, 8:28 am
from the southern part of gtown to charles ctr WITH PARKING SPOT easy in 1.5 hrs leave 7 am to 8:30 am. don't know about from upper gtown. one would jhave to drive through gtown to get started.
will also depend upon the disruption created by the replacement of the 11th st bridge.
the east cap st bridge is an alternative, but they are creating a real backup with 11th st shutdowns and i think that to last through 2011.
the only way i can think of to get out of dc is I295.
you could catch a taxi to union sta, train, then cab back to charles center.
Mar 26, 11, 8:42 pm
I'd avoid lower G'town/M Street and take one of the G- or D- Metrobus routes through upper G'town to the Dupont Circle Metrorail station. Take the Red Line to Union Station, then MARC north towards Baltimore. You can then transfer to the MTA light rail system at BWI Airport Station or Penn Station. Check www.wmata.com and www.mtamaryland.com for specific information regarding schedules and fares. Yeah, you can do it in about two hours, but that assumes you'd make all your connections. And right now the Federal subsidy is $230 a month, subject to annual Congressional appropriations.
Mar 29, 11, 10:17 am
If you are going to do this (which I would not recommend, and I have done more than my share of crazy-long transit reverse commutes), you'll want to get Transitlink cards, available from commuterdirect.com--those are unlimited monthly passes for MARC that also provide unlimited trips on Metro and most local bus systems (though a lot of the bus drivers have never seen one before, so expect to have to argue that point a lot). One that covers the Union Station to Penn or Camden Station trip will cost you $277.
Be aware that Baltimore's subway (which is not the same thing as its light rail system) does not link directly to MARC; you will need to take a bus transfer or walk about half a mile to the nearest subway stop. Your best bet is probably to ride Union to Camden and then walk directly to your office from Camden; it should be about a mile. Otherwise you're looking at Bus->Metro->Commuter Rail->Bus->Subway, or something ridiculous like that, and with that many points of failure something is pretty much bound to go wrong at least once a week.
May 10, 11, 6:00 pm
Also, there is a cap on the transit benefit that federal government employees receive. The cap was raised temporarily because of the Recovery Act (to $210/month I think) but I'm not sure if that has expired. The normal cap was $180, I think.
I think that your transit costs are going to exceed either cap...If you take the circulator bus from Gtown to Union Station to catch the MARC train, it is $1 one way. Normal one-way fares on MARC trains are $6, although I'm sure the per ride cost for a commuter pass is less.
May 16, 11, 3:57 pm
Depending on where in G/town and where in BAL this is possibly doable. If you live near a Circulator stop, it is about 25 mins to Union Station where you catch the MARC train to Baltimore Penn Station (abt. 55 mins). From there, depends on where you work whether you walk, bus or light rail. Thus, allow 1:20 + the local Baltimore commute in each direction. Note that MARC service is limited in the evenings, non-existent at night and weekends. Amtrak covers the same route, but it's exceedingly expensive (for commuting).
As I recall from my days working and living in and near DC, a lot more people commuted from Baltimore to DC than the other direction due largely to lower housing costs in Baltimore. Yes, it would be a pain, but some find their time on the MARC train relaxing (depending on the exact hour, and the commute time still doesn't compare with that for people who commute by car from, say, Fredericksburg, or by train from Harper's Ferry. When I lived in Silver Spring, it took me about an hour to commute to my job in DC, by a combination or walking (and sometimes commuter bus) and Metro rail. I recall hearing of people who bragged about their short drive time to work in DC from points such as Warrenton, but then learned they left home by 5:30 a.m.
Georgetown, of course, did not want a Metro station. Taking a bus, or a combination of walking and Metro trail (from George Washington Univresity/Foggy Bottom station), to Union Station and MARC train from there to Baltimore, and then maybe bus or light rail to get to your job, sounds like a long commute. But you'd save on housing costs and would be living in Georgetown, which I certinly was never able to afford.
You want to go where?
Jun 17, 11, 10:23 am
Time of day will be critical for this commute. Assuming that you are taking the Circulator/MARC option, it will be particularly helpful to get out of Georgetown before 7:30. Any later and your commute time to Union Station will be both significantly longer and much more unpredictable.
The return is even more subject to the vagaries of traffic. Traffic from Union Station to Georgetown in evening rush hour is often horrendous. This is when finding a decent metro option - if you can walk from Foggy Bottom, Rosslyn, or Dupont Circle, it will really help.