January 12th, 2011 Categories: Buying
There’s at least a hundred great reasons to live in Montgomery County. Commuting isn’t one of them. The Metro D.C. area has some of the worst traffic in the U.S., so you need to think about your commute when choosing a home here. Here are the top 6 things you need to know:
The Potomac River. Yes, I know, you don’t plan on paddling a kayak to work, but the Potomac River shapes the basic road system in Montgomery County. Glancing at a map you’ll see that Montgomery County shares a border of over 30 miles with Fairfax County in Virginia. Yet with only one bridge crossing the Potomac River – the American Legion Memorial Bridge on the Beltway – Northern Virginia can be quite a daily drive. Closer-in locations in Potomac and Bethesda are the most commuter-friendly locations into Northern Virginia.
The Capital Beltway I-495. One can live ‘Inside the Beltway’ and not be a politician or lobbyist. Large employers like NIH, the Federal Government, Marriott and others pull commuters in from the suburbs every day. So if you work inside the Beltway, living inside the Beltway in Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Silver Spring, Takoma Park or Kensington will result in a much quicker commute. Your challenge: find a home here you can afford. As a rule, homes ‘closer in’ are generally smaller, older and more expensive. What’s more important to your quality of life: a larger home and a longer commute, or visa-versa?
I-270. I-270 runs parallel to the Potomac River through the center of Montgomery County. This is the only interstate in Montgomery County going into Washington D.C. and the closer-in suburbs, so it’s packed during rush hour. If you drive into D.C. or Bethesda, then your proximity to I270 – and your entry point onto I-270 - determine how quick you’ll get to work. As a rule, the farther out you are, the more affordable housing becomes. Here’s the areas closest to I-270 generally going from more-expensive to less-expensive: Rockville, Gaithersburg, Germantown and Clarksburg.
Metro Red Line. “Hey! I thought that Metro D.C. commuters were all enlightened subway riders?” Most of us drive to work, but we do have an awesome subway system called The Metro. Both end-points of the Red Line of The Metro are located in Montgomery County. Homes in Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Kensington, Rockville, Derwood, Aspen Hill, Silver Spring and Takoma Park have easy access to stops along the Red Line.
Metrobus and Ride-on Bus. So you’re loving the idea of riding the subway into work, but you can’t find a home that’s walking distance to a station. Don’t despair. Check out the Metrobus which is managed by Washington Metro Transit Authority (which also manages The Metro), and Montgomery County’s Ride-on Bus. Many neighborhoods have bus stops that can quickly deliver you to a subway station.
The Intercounty Connector. The interstate system here is like a giant wagon wheel with all main roads radiating out of Washington D.C. into Maryland and Virginia with the Beltway circling D.C. A drive across the County currently requires a drive down to the Beltway, across the Beltway, then an exit to go north. Trust me – this is horrible. That will all change with the opening of the ICC. The first sections of this toll road are opening in 2011. Eventually, it will connect I-270 to I-95 in Prince George’s County. Depending on where you work, this could make many neighborhoods a quick commute. See details and the progress of the ICC on their website.
If you are relocating to the area, contact us and we’ll help guide you to the best commuter friendly neighborhoods that match your job location and budget.