Home > b-more, Baltimore Washington Parkway, Beltway, Capitol Beltway, congestion, gridlock, I-495, I-95, traffic, Uncategorized > Washington DC Traffic Congestion: Several Problems

Washington DC Traffic Congestion: Several Problems

Yes, traffic has gotten much worse in the metro D.C. area.  There are several problems that we have that aren’t being sufficiently addressed:

We don’t have enough roads/lanes/infrastructure to meet the demand.  But there’s absolutely NO shortage of vehicles, though!

Our addiction to our vehicles has been neccessitated and fueled (pun intended) by urban sprawl due to out-of-control housing construction/expansion on every piece of land that is available. 

Many of us in the Washington, D.C. area are college-educated or better.  That means that the demand for white collar jobs is very high and ultracompetitive.  However, most of the decent-paying (white collar) jobs are located in only a few major hubs (i.e Herdon/Tysons Corner, D.C., and Bethesda/Rockville/Silver Spring).  This causes those of us who don’t also LIVE in these areas (because we can’t AFFORD it) to have to DRIVE to these areas in order to pay our bills because there are, oftentimes, no decent alternatives.

If more people had viable alternatives, like the option to telecommute, more schedule flexibility, convenient commuting/travel options, conveniently located workplaces, more affordable housing located closer to workplaces, expanded infrastructure, etc., we might really be able to lick this thing!

  1. Me
    August 10, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    I hate my commute! It takes too long! Like you said if I could work closer to my house it would greatly increase my quality of life. I would have so much time back in my day to use I see fit, not to sit in traffic for hours on end. The fed. govt. says the promote telecommuting, I won’t say they’re lying but the agency I work for will do anything actively support telecommunting. I’d be willing (not really) to stay in my current job if I didn’t have to drive in 5 days/week. I know some agencies push telecommuting but mine is in the Stone Age.
    Can we get some jobs in MD PLEASE!!!!! Outside of Montgomery County! I don’t work in MD but I live there. Why should anyone have to travel around the beltway pass the Temple and for some up 270 just to make a decent living? Hey y not lower the price of housing in Montgomery County? That would be a novel idea.

    • October 5, 2010 at 10:57 am

      Hi, Me. I hate my commute too! I totally agree – having a less stressful, shorter commute would be ideal in my book also. And I can attest that telecommuting does relieve the stress and anxiety of a long, stressful commute. My current job allows me to do this occasionally when needed, but I am not able to do this on a regular basis. If more government agencies allowed this on a regular basis, it would cut down on congestion to the degree that it is used.

      I understand your suggestion to lower housing prices in Montgomery County, MD, but because we both know that isn’t going to happen in our lifetimes, I would suggest bringing more high paying white collar jobs to Prince George’s County, MD. This would definitely help to cut down on the congestion traveling east-west and vice versa on I-495 and other routes. If people could afford to live AND work in the same county/area, and we had more convenient, safe, affordable public transportation options, it would significantly cut down on congestion all over! Win-win!

      Again, thanks for your comment, Me. Keep em coming!

      Nneka Jenkins

  2. Joe
    October 1, 2010 at 6:33 pm

    I am planning to drive from NJ to SC in mid October this year along I-95. Possibly driving through the DC area on Friday during the evening rush hour(s). Can someone recommend the best route around DC? Just stay on 95s? 95s to 495(western spur) then back to 95s? 295s (from Baltimore) onto 95s? Some other way?

    Thanks for any input!

    • October 5, 2010 at 10:48 am

      Mcgeggy, thanks so much for your comment! But I am so sorry to tell you there is actually no “best route around D.C.” because we don’t have a bypass like other metro areas (We need one – I plan to discuss this in a future blog post).

      Major routes are scarce in this area. And all major routes, I-95/495, 295, and Rt. 301 are heavily used by local commuters/residents because other modes of transportation do not currently provide the connectivity and convenience that is desperately needed.

      And unfortunately, Friday evening is the absolute worst time to be passing through. Traffic on Fridays is usually bad ALL DAY LONG. There may be a brief lull around 10:30AM-12PM (after morning rush, before lunch/evening rush), and if you are looking to pass through without too much interference from traffic, I would recommend that time. After that, you can forget it. Once the lunch rush kicks in, it becomes a monster-sized traffic jam that pretty much persists the rest of the day into the evening over the entire area.

      Hope this helps, and again, I appreciate your comment. Keep em coming!

  3. Joe
    October 8, 2010 at 7:38 pm

    Nneka, thanks for your advice! I think I am going to follow it and just wait till early Sat. (6am) to leave NJ. I would hate to make a long trip even longer and more frustrating by sitting still in traffic along the way (don’t want to end up with the last several hours of my journey taking place in the wee hours of the am!)

    Hopefully Sat. morning around 10am won’t be too bad getting around/through the DC area…

  1. November 1, 2011 at 5:43 pm

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