What do you do if you have the second worst traffic in the nation? How do you fix it?
First, the problem…
The metro Washington area is one of the least fun places to commute to work. Although we have an excellent, clean Metro (subway) system, there are lots of places it doesn’t go. A lot of those places are the home office of several hundred thousand civilian federal workers, military personnel and contractors. Many people still drive to work – round trips of 50 miles, between the ‘burbs and the Beltway, are not unusual. Within the Maryland-DC-Virginia metro area, traffic in Northern Virginia is by far the worst. Especially in the traffic-choked area around Ft. Belvoir.
You order 6,400 Defense civilian workers, now housed in and around the Crystal City, Virginia area to move to the traffic-choked area at Ft. Belvoir and the new Mark Center. Crystal City, home to many federal agencies, is served by the subway system that also connects to the Pentagon. Ft. Belvoir and the Mark Center are reachable only by car, a very limited bus system or by bike, or on foot. Rep. James Moran (D-Va.) represents many of those who are due to be transferred as part of a long-pending BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure) move. He says it will create a permanent traffic “disaster” that will be compounded by near-permanent construction and repairs in that area. Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell (R) says the state doesn’t have enough prep time to meet the tentative BRAC-move deadline.
If the solution doesn’t make a lot of sense to you, welcome to a very large and growing club.
This week Federal News Radio and sister station WTOP will air a series of reports on the BRAC moves in and around Washington, including Ft. Meade, in nearby Maryland. Several thousand BRAC workers have been, and will be, moving in the crowded Ft. Meade area which also houses the huge, high-security headquarters of the National Security Agency. We’ll take an in depth look at what the moves will mean to the community, commuters and impacted neighborhoods, government operations and to you and your daily routine.