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Learning to Get Around in a New City

Ross Matters
Ross Matters November 27, 2017 Ross is a former Planning Specialist with the Property and Development Services team.
ATP Takeaway: The DC metro area offers a vast array of transportation options. Learning them all is easier than you might expect, and the rewards are well worth the effort.

In the space of a few weeks, I have quit my job, started a new career and moved to the DC area from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Needless to say, this has forced me to learn a lot of new things. Some have been difficult (the scanner in my new office is like a Rube Goldberg machine), but thankfully, understanding my commuting options has been a breeze.

I have quickly come to find that Arlington has an amazing amount of options for getting around town along with a host of easy-to-use tools to help plan the best routes.



Understanding My Options

When living in Wisconsin, my transit options were somewhat limited. This led to me always commute by bike. Even through the sub-zero temperatures of a Wisconsin winter, I could be seen pedaling away to get to work. Now that I live in such a transit-friendly region, I can choose from several different options. All I need to do is figure out the best choice for different situations.

Thankfully, a variety of resources exist for planning routes both in and around Arlington. The County supports both CarFreeAtoZ and Car-Free Diet, which are great tools for starting to plan different routes and options, as well as understanding the benefits of avoiding a car-dependent lifestyle. The CarFreeAtoZ app has recently launched, which makes planning on the go quick and easy. See our full list of recommended transit apps for your phone here, to help you on your way.

Planning My Commute

For my typical commute, I bike to a nearby Metro station and take the Blue Line to Rosslyn Metro Station, followed by a quick walk to the office. This allows me to have a slight bit of exercise as part of my commute and earn my morning bagel. I also get to do some reading on Metro and, overall, arrive to work relaxed and ready.

Whenever the weather presents an obstacle for biking, I can take a bus to a Metro station instead, and arrive in roughly the same amount of time. Finally, for those days when everything has gone wrong and transit doesn’t seem like an option, a Lyft Line or uberPOOL costs me about $10 and takes slightly less time than my normal route.

Take Advantage of Your Choices

Coming to the region as an outsider has allowed me to look at the area with fresh eyes. Moving has also forced me to think about a lot of changes in my day-to-day lifestyle. This has led me to creating different commute plans for different situations. I would encourage everyone to do the same. In fact, if you aren’t sure where to start or just don’t feel comfortable planning your route – reach out to Arlington Transportation Partners for a customized commute option going in or out of Arlington, VA.

There are a lot of tools and people to help, and breaking free of a car-dependent lifestyle can benefit everything from your health to your household budget.


Photo Credit: Sam Kittner/ for Arlington Transportation Partners

Tags: Bike, How I Commute to Work, Technology, Transit


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