The Upstate Life
The Upstate Life

Thursday, October 07, 2004
Beltway Tactics

So during my short stay in Rockville thus far, I think I've developed a keen strategy to maneuver around on the dreaded I-270. If you come from the Rockville/Gaithersburg area and commute towards the Beltway, you know exactly what I'm talking about. My current residence (at least for the next 2 weeks) is off of Exit 8 on Shady Grove Road. If you don't know already, I-270 is divided into Local and Express lanes. TUL will provide a breakdown of his long, sometimes hectic commute that makes him long for the day he gets to move to Bethesda:

1) Start off on leaving from Exit 8 - Shady Grove, merge onto the local lane on 270 Southbound. 45 minute plus commute now begins.

2) Here's where it gets interesting: instead of going immediately to the express lane, I stay on the local side until I hit Exit 5/4. The local lanes seem to go faster up until this point.

3) Now, I head onto the express lane after passing that exit, staying to the left side of the highway closest to the HOV Lane. You can now glance to the right and notice the local lanes beginning to slow down to a crawling pace while you're at least doing 25mph.

4) A couple miles ahead, the Beltway and 270 now begin to merge. Problems present themselves once more.

5) The key here is to stay in the middle two lanes once you pass the Wisconsin Avenue exit as you have a lot of traffic trying to join the Beltway at this certain point. If you're stuck in the left lane, be prepared to let a million cars in while not being able to move over to the right since they're probably going 20mph faster than you.

6) Once you pass the Silver Spring/Georgia Avenue exit, it's clear sailing ahead. All the traffic seems to disappear at this point, allowing me to fully enjoy the posted speed limit and them some until I get off at New Hampshire Ave.

Well there you have it, an interesting but useful take on my commute and how I've familiarized myself on how to get to work on-time while trying ever so hard to squeeze that last minute of precious sleep into the picture without being late. I've mastered a fine craft my friends.

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