Live More, Commute LessLive More, Commute Less

Jun
6

Get on the SafeTrack! 

header_NewMLogoThe latest on Metro station closures, single tracking, and other service disruptions is just a click away at www.wmata.com.  And while Metro improves the system, let DATA help improve the commute for you and your employees.  Contact Lynn Bostain at lbostsin@datatrans.org for innovative and cost-effective transportation alternatives.

Apr
28

Living In Northern Virginia Without a Car – A Personal Testimonial

By Bobby Johnson

Life has a funny way of providing insight into the next step to take in the journey.  In April 2014, life provided me inspiration to try something different; so I sold my car and have been taking public transportation ever since.

Fortunately, our public transportation network is easy to learn, and fairly straight forward, so I quickly became acclimated to the system. With the addition of the Silver Line I can even make trips to Tysons and Reston; two of my favorite destinations in the area.  I’ve found that nearly all of my favorite places to visit are accessible by public transportation.  If the destination isn’t directly accessible via transit, then most destinations are with the  use of  Uber.  For points farther away, AMTRAK has been extremely beneficial and enjoyable.

I grew up on a farm in central Virginia and we drove everything from ATVs to tractors and everything in between; so I loved to drive. When I owned a car I would often take spontaneous trips to the majestic Virginia countryside or visit one of the many wineries for an afternoon.   Needless to say, I don’t do that now.  In lieu of a long drive through the hills and valleys of Virginia I now take long walks on one of the well groomed trails and walking paths here in the DC Metro area.

For me, there are three major advantages to being car-free; first it is great exercise.  I typically log somewhere between 12,000 – 20,000 steps per day. This is mainly because I take public transportation on a daily basis.

Next, I don’t have a car payment, which means that I also don’t have car insurance. The extra income allows me the flexibility to experience more of the world. Ironically enough I’ve done more travelling to points outside of Virginia without a car than I did when I owned a car.

And finally, I’ve noticed that I visit places that I would not have normally visited in a car.  Recently, Metro has experienced delays, shutdowns etc.  Due to the frequency of my Metro ridership, I get caught in a delay from time to time.  When that happens, I don’t panic, I just exit the affected station and explore the neighborhood(s) above ground.   I’ve discovered very cool areas that, until I became an avid WMATA user, were just dots on the Metro system map.

Two years into being car-free, I am enjoying the experience.  I certainly plan on having a car again. However, I think I will continue to live without a car for the next couple of years.

Apr
28

The Cycle Continues

I’ve talked about my move to the Dulles area before and as my time in the region comes to a close, I’ve been doing some reflecting on how my attitudes and habits have changed in the last three years. As I’ve mentioned before, I come from the sprawling, car-centered Southwest where walking to the store 3 blocks away is unheard of and riding the bus is the back-up plan to the back-up plan of commutes. However, living in an area where driving not only eats away more than 24% of our annual income (greatergreaterwashington.org) and, on average, 6 hours per week of valuable, precious time (WMATA), has changed my perspective.

I’ve been reflecting especially about my biking experience as Bike to Work Day approaches and as I realize how much I miss my bike after selling it a couple of weeks ago in an effort to move across the country in nothing but a hatchback sedan.

About 5 months into my “Dulles Corridor Resident Experience,” I hit the Craigslist ads hard and found a bike that would get me to those places just out of walking distance but closer than a bus trip’s worth. A hundred and seventeen bucks later (I haggled the guy a whole 8 dollars down from his listed price), I had a set of wheels that didn’t confine me to the back-ups at stop lights and got me to all my usual walking spots in a fraction of the time. It was zippy and fun and I felt pretty cool pedaling that powder blue baby. I rode it to work and got my blood pumping; I’d feel excited and ready for my shift and I didn’t even mind having to tame my unruly curls after taking my helmet off. I was free.

Fortunately, I know how to ride a bike (thanks, Dad). However, bikephobes rejoice! If you don’t know how to ride, there are tons of resources for you. Try local bike shops, REI stores, WABA.com, or your county government for classes, clinics, and workshops.

 

Y Sigue el Ciclo

He hablado de mi traslado a la zona de Dulles antes y como mi tiempo en la región llega a su fin, he estado reflejando sobre cómo han cambiado mis hábitos y actitudes en los últimos tres años. Como he mencionado antes, vengo del sudoeste donde expansión, centrado en el coche donde ir a pie a la tienda a 3 cuadras es algo incomprendible y viajar en autobús es el plan de respaldo para el plan de respaldo de la conmuta. Sin embargo, vivir en un área donde la conducción de carro no sólo come a más de 24% de nuestros ingresos anuales (greatergreaterwashington.org) si no tambien 6 horas semanales de tiempo valioso y precioso (WMATA), ha cambiado mi perspectiva.

He estado reflejando especialmente sobre la experiencia de andar en bicicleta como el dia de ir en bicicleta al trabajo (Bike to Work Day) se acerca y como me doy cuenta de lo mucho que extraño mi bici después de venderla hace un par de semanas atrás.

Hace dos años, busque cuidadosamente los anuncios de Craigslist y encontré una bici que me llevaría a esos lugares de poca distancia pero más cerca del valor de un viaje en autobús. Doscientos diecisiete dólares despues, tenía mi propia bici que no me limitaría a los atascos

en semáforos y me consiguió a todos mis lugares habituales en una fracción del tiempo. Fue enérgico y divertido y me sentí genial pedalear a esa bici color azul quierida. La montaba para el trabajo y me consiguió mi bombeo de corazón; Sientia emocion y me ponia lista para mi turno y no me importaba tener que domar mis rizos rebeldes después de quitar el casco. Yo era libre.

Afortunadamente, sé cómo andar en bicicleta (gracias, Papá). Sin embargo, anti-ciclistas se alegrarán! Si no sabes cómo montar, hay toneladas de recursos para usted. Trate de tiendas locales de bicicletas, tiendas REI, WABA.com o su gobierno del condado para clases, clínicas y talleres.

Apr
28

County CVBs Offer Biking Tips for Visitors

Whether exercising, com-muting, or taking a leisurely ride, biking is a great way to explore the local area. In Northern Virginia, there are endless opportunities to explore if one knows the best places to look.

Arlington, Virginia is a great place to get around by bicycle. From scenic trails and dedicated on-street bike lanes to the chance to bike along the Potomac River for dazzling views of the Capital skyline, bicycling is an excellent op-portunity for visitors to see Arlington in a whole new way. Arlington features more than one hundred miles of multi-use trails as well as on-street bike lanes and designated bike routes to make it easy for cyclists to get where they need to go. In fact, the “Arlington Loop,” a 17-mile route around Arlington, offers the chance to see all of Arlington’s top attractions via two wheels. What’s more, visitors don’t need to worry about finding a bike, as the region’s Capital Bikeshare program offers more than 80 stations throughout Arlington (and more in the D.C. area), making it simple to hop on a bike almost anywhere. And for those looking to delve a little deeper, Arlington’s BikeArlington organization has put together a series of neighborhood bike routes to let you explore the area a little more. Whether sightseeing, shopping, or just looking to explore in a new way, biking is an excellent way to get out and discover Arlington.

For visitors who’d like to explore more of Northern Virginia, the Washington & Old Dominion Regional Park Trail is the perfect way to see it all on two wheels. The trail, affectionately known as the “skinniest park in Virginia,” starts in Arlington and runs 45 miles west through Fairfax County and into Loudoun County. Pass by horseback riders, joggers, and fellow bikers, or make a pit stop at one of the many restaurants and local breweries situated along the trail.

With more than 5,000 miles of roadway and 900 miles of trails, biking in Fairfax County is becoming an increasingly popular way to navigate the diverse terrain, from paved roadways and mountain bike courses to both paved and off-road trails. Urban areas of the County like Reston and Tysons are embracing initiatives such as Capital Bikeshare (coming this fall!) to encourage residents and visitors to try new and convenient ways of getting around. For a more scenic and leisurely route, riders can take the Mount Vernon Trail along the Potomac River to the home of America’s first President at George Washington’s Mount Vernon. Alternatively, the 40-mile Cross County Trail is a beautiful way for riders to see the various stream valleys that dot Fairfax County’s eclectic landscape. Mountain bike enthusiasts can try their skills at the MTB Trail at Fountainhead Regional Park, a multi-use course that is known as one of the best in the Mid-Atlantic. For more information on trails and biking resources within Fairfax County, be sure to pick up a copy of the Fairfax Bicycle Map or get it on your mobile device.

Visit www.fxva.com and www.stayarlington.com for more destination information.

Apr
28

25th Annual Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival – An Art Experience!

The Greater Reston Arts Center (GRACE) will present the 25th annual Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival for two days, rain or shine, Saturday, May 21 and Sunday, May 22 at Reston Town Center. The streets will be transformed into an eleven-block art walk filled with more than 200 artists from across the nation with original paintings, photography, mixed-media, sculpture, jewelry and fine craft, plus dance performances, free art-making activities for families in the Pavilion, music, and more throughout the weekend.

Flynn MixedMedia 3D Art.

Flynn MixedMedia 3D Art.

As a highlight of the year in the DC region, this event offers authentic art and experiences for all tastes and ages, attracting more than 30,000 attendees over two days. The 2016 Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival is open from 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 21, and 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 22 at Reston Town Center, 11900 Market Street, Reston, VA 20190. A gate donation of $5 to GRACE provides a festival program and dining certificates for local restaurants. Parking is free at Reston Town Center’s seven multi-level garages.
The Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival offers the highest quality fine art and craft to the public in the easily accessible venue of Reston Town Center. Festival artists are selected on the basis of quality, originality, and craftsmanship by a panel of expert jurors. Among this year’s selected artists are ten Award of Excellence winners from the 2015 festival. Find more festival information, including this year’s selected artists, on the GRACE website, www.restonarts.org. Connect with the event at Facebook.com/NorthernVirginiaFine
ArtsFestival, and by following GRACE on Twitter.com
@restonarts.

GRACE is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization located at 12001 Market Street, Suite 103, at Reston Town Center. In addition to its GRACE Art program that serves more than 40 schools in the DC region, GRACE offers changing exhibitions of contemporary art at its gallery, open free to the public, as well as a diverse schedule of educational programs all year round.
For more information, call GRACE at 703-471-9242, email info@restonarts.org, and visit their website, www.restonarts.org.