Thursday, December 1, 2011

Headed To DC In Early January

No, unfortunately, not leading a tank column.  (Although they deserve it.)  I am going to an event that NRA is putting on, and I am hoping that those of you familiar with DC mass transit can give me some guidance.  From Ronald Reagan Airport to the Omni-Shoreham Hotel in DC--is there a way to get there on DC's metro system?  It appears from the Metro map and even more usefully, Google maps, that I can get there by taking the yellow line from DCA to where it crosses the red line, then take the red line to the Woodley Park/Adams Morgan station, and walking 0.15 miles.  This would be early evening--and I am guessing that this is a nice section of DC that does not require body armor or firearms.

I have a 7:00 AM flight out Monday morning.  It looks a bit nip and tuck to get to DCA by Metro without leaving at an absurd hour of the morning.  Would a taxi be a better choice?  It would appear that it is a 19 minute taxi drive at that hour, instead of an hour on Metro.  Any guess what the cost for a taxi is likely to be?

Google maps suggests that Metro from DCA to the Cato Institute (my first stop) even at 4:00 PM is 41 minutes by Metro, and 15 minutes by taxi.  Does this seem believable?  Even spending a bit of money on a taxi might make sense, to make sure that I get where I am going without getting lost.

UPDATE: Just found the DC taxi fare finder.  The guess is about $16 from DCA to Cato, and about $21 from Omni Shoreham Hotel back to DCA.  I'll take the Metro from Cato to the Omni Shoreham.


  1. Take the Metro FROM the airport. The route you describe is reasonable. That's a pretty safe area of DC. Take a taxi TO the airport. You're right, the first trains of the morning can be late. Take a taxi to CATO. It's six blocks to the nearest Metro, but a confusing maze of streets around there. CATO is at Tenth and Mass, as I recall. I met Otis McDonald and Dick Heller there; shook their hands. Quite a thrill.

  2. I grew up 4 blocks from the Shoreham and used to get my haircuts in their barber shop, but that was 40 years ago, and the last time I was in that neighborhood was in the late '80s. The Shoreham is on Calvert Street a block west of Connecticut Avenue. Conn Ave used to have some good eateries between Calvert St and Woodley Road (where the Wardman Park Hotel, later the Sheraton, now owned by Marriott); the Metro stop you mentioned is on Conn ave in front of the Marriott Wardman.

    The National Zoo is three long blocks north on Conn Ave, if you have the time. Going east on Calvert St across the Calvert Street Bridge from the Shoreham puts you in Adams Morgan, which used to be a war zone, but I've heard gentrification is proceeding (as kids we used to go to the theaters in A-M on Sat mornings). South on Conn Ave from Calvert St a few blocks gets you into the neighborhood above Dupont Circle; eateries and shops begin at about the Hilton (where Reagan was shot). Last I heard that area was becoming yuppiefied, so it's probably pretty safe. DC prohibits handguns, Heller notwithstanding, but there used to be no restrictions on knives.

    Treat your Metro farecard like gold - if the strip gets damaged and won't read you're out whatever money is on it until you mail it in and they fix it. Anything magnetic in your pocket or wallet will kill a farecard. Metro charges vary by distance traveled, so it's possible to get on a train with a low amount farecard but not be able to exit because the trip cost more than is on the card. Metro stations have "farecard buy/add value" machines so you can fix it.

    Taxi travel in DC is costed by zone, not metered (they may have changed by now..). If you really need to get someplace quickly a taxi is the best bet. FYI, at Regan National it's a long hike from the Metro stop to the terminal, a suitcase with wheels is handy.

  3. That part of DC (near your hotel) is pretty safe. Most of DC's crime occurs in the southeastern part of DC. The metro is very accessible from National Airport, and you can indeed change lines at Gallery Place.

    As for time, you can use the WMATA trip finder ( which has the bus & rail schedules plugged in (and in my experience, is pretty accurate for rail at least).

    A quick check seems to show Google is being rather pessimistic, WMATA thinks you should be able to take the yellow line from DCA to Mt. Vernon Square, trip time 15min, then a 1/3 mile walk. I'd also worry a bit about street traffic around rush hour (and 4PM is definitely within rush hour)

  4. I don't have anything to add especially after Sam's Hideout recommended the system's official Trip Finder, which in my mid-90s to 2004 experience was quite good.

    However one always wants to think about failure modes. The Metro is mostly double tracked and all sorts of things can slow or stop your train. If you take a taxi to catch your flight home you've got a lot more fallbacks.

    BTW, when I left Verizon provided cell phone service in the old parts of the underground Metro (not the newer Green Line), so if you use them you can do something connected while you're stuck in a tunnel ^_^.