An essential part of your housing search in Northern Virginia is a clear strategy for dealing with the traffic that you will encounter on a daily basis. I have to confess; I hear many things from clients but virtually everyone who visits here comments about the volume of cars they see on the roads all day long.
We need to discuss where you are going to work, if you have kids in soccer or who take piano lessons, local schools, where you like to go to the grocery store, and your willingness to get in the car and drive. Keep in mind that most of Northern Virginia’s master plan was designed using a classic 1960’s suburban design formula.
And the one constant in that Northern Virginia formula is the automobile.
Many of the roads have been improved over the past decade, like Beulah Road in Vienna or Braddock Road in Fairfax. The Wilson Bridge and Mixing Bowl projects are done, and the Fairfax County Parkway is ever closer to completion.
But bottlenecks still abound and that is why having a discussion about you lifestyle is essential. Again, living in Fairfax requires a car even if you take the Orange Line from Dunn Loring to D.C. like one of my neighbors does every day. She needs to get rolling by 7:15 to get to the parking lot or it will be filled. So it is essential to know that the Vienna Metro has two large parking garages, and Dunn Loring has a parking lot.
Interstate 66 has issues to and from the Beltway to Route 50 because they have not replaced the 1960’s overpasses at Route 123 and Jermantown Roads. This is a daily nightmare in either direction due to a predictable, documented high accident zone… so you need to get a handle on alternate routes.
The Dulles Toll Road will be a construction zone for the next three years, The Dulles Greenway is super-expensive, and the Capital Beltway or 495 from Tyson’s Corner in McLean to Braddock Road in Springfield will also be under the shovel.
And I hear stories from my clients about co-workers who overlooked this step when buying their “bargain” homes, and they pay the price everyday.
Fear not home shoppers… there are ways around the chaos!
Your success simply will require a little strategic planning when picking the right house.
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- Dude, Where’s My Car? (online.wsj.com)