From Transportation

Transportation_WhiteHouse_Bike_1886

Other Transportation Options

This post is a combined effort between Hannah Fischer and Claudia Guidi. Thanks to both!


In the previous post, we took at look a public transportation options in Washington, D.C. In this post, we will be taking a look at other transportation options for getting around Washington, D.C., including via bikes, taxis, ride sharing services — and even Segways and pedicabs!

Bicycles
Transportation_WhiteHouse_Bike_1886
“Smartly dressed couple seated on an 1886-model bicycle for two,” United States National Archives, at https://goo.gl/c3X67N.

Biking can be a great way to see the city and avoid traffic jams at the same time. Washington, D.C. was the first U.S. jurisdiction to launch a bicycle sharing program in 2008. Since that time, the largest bike sharing program, now called Capital Bikeshare, has taken off, and the program is now owned by various local governments. Find out more about how it works, a station map, and pricing at its website.

You can also rent bicycles by the day (rather than by the half hour, as is the case with most Capitol Bikeshare rentals). BikeWashington.org has a list of resources to help you do that. In addition, guests at one of the conference hotels, the Capitol Hill Hotel, have access to that hotel’s own bike program.

No matter where you get your bicycle, you can turn to Washington D.C.’s Department of Transportation page to check for information on bike paths (as of 2015), bicycle and pedestrian safety, and bicycle laws.

The Washington Area Bicyclist Association also has information on bicycle routes, including apps that may help you find your preferred path. They also have pages on key points of bicycle laws in the area, biking visibly, and on what to do if your bike is stolen.

Transportation_BikeRace_PennAve
“Bike race on Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C.,” Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Collection, at http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2011632658/.

Do you want to bring your bike onto Metro? Here are the rules for bringing your bike onto Metro rail and the rules for bringing your bike onto a Metro bus.

If you’re serious about biking and want to get out of the city, here is a webpage with the local longer-distance bike paths.

DC also offers many options for tours on buses, Segways, and even pedicabs, particularly in and around the National Mall area.

Taxis and Ride sharing Options
Transportation_Heated_Taxi
“Heated Taxi Cab,” Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Collection, at http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/hec2013010061/.

Washington, D.C. also has many options for taxi and ride sharing services. The D.C. government Department of For-Hire Vehicles has this list of for-hire vehicles that can be dispatched either via phone or digitally via your smartphone. In addition, this AboutTravel.com page has information on taxis in D.C. (including pricing information).

Taxis in D.C. now mostly have a red-and-grey pattern; you are allowed to hail them from the street, and you should tip the driver at the end of the ride. By contrast, ride sharing vehicles will not have a standard look; they must be hailed using your smartphone device; and the tip is usually included in the price.

Let us know if you have any questions about transportation in the comment box below — or if there are any modes of transportation we didn’t cover that you would like to use (hot air balloons?).

"DC Circulator at the Washington Monument," DC Circulator Press Photograph, at http://goo.gl/fq6ina.

Public Transportation

The Washington Metro System
Metro_CapitolSouthpmrush030911-201
“Capitol South Rush Hour,” WMATA photograph by Larry Levine via WMATA’s Photo Gallery page, at http://goo.gl/mGNjOA

Washington, D.C.’s public transportation system is named Metro. You can find a map of the Metro rail system here, and you can search for the station nearest your location here.

The price of your trip on Metro varies based on the length of your trip; this is the Metro webpage  showing Metro rail fares. You will need to purchase a Metro SmarTrip Card to ride either metro trains or the Metro buses; you can purchase SmarTrip Cards at any Metro rail station or at these locations. Once you have a SmarTrip Card, you can load any U.S. currency amount onto it. When you enter and exit a Metro rail station, you will need to pass your SmarTrip Card over the magnetic “reader” at the turnstyles; as you exit, the reader will deduct the appropriate amount from your SmarTrip Card depending on how far you have traveled.

Train Naylor Road Fall 110609-24 WMATA Photo by Larry Levine 11-06-24
“Train Naylor Road Fall,” WMATA Photo by Larry Levine via WMATA’s Photo Gallery page, at http://goo.gl/mGNjOA

Metro is in the process of a year-long rail maintenance effort called SafeTrack.  SafeTrack affects different parts of the city at different times, and we are fortunate that the part of the SafeTrack project that will be taking place during IFLAPREatLOC is unlikely to affect delegates’ travel plans. Nonetheless, slowdowns due to SafeTrack, as well as more general maintenance projects on Metro, can delay Metro trips at any time. You may want to visit the Metro homepage and check their “Service Status” section before embarking on a trip via Metro.

DC Circulator
"DC Circulator at the Washington Monument," DC Circulator Press Photograph, at http://goo.gl/fq6ina.
“DC Circulator at the Washington Monument,” DC Circulator Press Photograph, at http://goo.gl/fq6ina.

Another public transportation option in Washington, D.C. is the DC Circulator bus. The Circulator has six routes around the DC area and into Rosslyn, Virginia, and costs $1 to ride. You do not need a SmarTrip card to ride the Circulator.

The most relevant route for our delegates might be the Union Station/Navy Yard Circulator Route, which runs every 10 minutes between Union Station and Navy Yard and has a stop directly outside of the Madison Building of the Library of Congress. If you were to continue from Union Station and head east past the Library of Congress, you would also pass the Eastern Market and Barracks Row neighborhoods, with plenty of restaurants and shops, and you would end your journey in Navy Yard, which also boasts a number of restaurants as well as a river-side park and the Nationals’ baseball stadium.

We look forward to welcoming you to Washington, D.C., and if you have any questions about transportation around the city, please ask us in the comment box below.

ModelPlane

Travel to Columbus, Ohio


Though we will be sad to see everyone go at the end of our pre-conferences, many of us will be excited to be re-united again in Columbus, Ohio. But how are we all going to get there?

Fortunately, there are several options.

Flying


America's youth builds and flies model planes on miniature flying fields. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Collection, http://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/cph.3c34560/.

Flying is the fastest choice. This article gives advice on finding the best flight search services for your needs.

For those people traveling from abroad, if you haven’t purchased your tickets to and from D.C. yet, you can chose between two options:

*** Purchase two sets of round-trip tickets — one set for travel between your home country and Washington, D.C., and then a second set of round-trip tickets between Washington D.C. and Columbus, OR

*** Fly from your country into Washington, D.C., take a one-way flight to Columbus, and then fly from Columbus back to your country. 

Both approaches have their pros and cons. (For even more details on this, go to your conference page, click on "Tours & Travel" and then click on "Washington, D.C. and Columbus Travel Options." Here is an example page from the IFLAPARL conference.) It can be more expensive to fly in and out of different airports, but it can also be more expensive to purchase round-trip tickets to and from Columbus. You may have to do a little searching around to find the route that’s right for you.

Right now, one-way tickets from Washington, D.C. to Columbus cost around $90-$240, with Saturday being generally more expensive than Friday, while round trip flights are between $200-270.

Keep in mind that Dulles Airport is about 30 miles from the Library of Congress, and a trip there can often take an hour or more, depending on traffic and metro service. A trip to Dulles can also be expensive, between about $29-$85 for a shuttle service or a taxi. 

Reagan National Airport is closer to the Library of Congress (about 5 miles away), and takes about 20 minutes via taxi or metro. (Though check metro service before leaving due to track work that is ongoing this summer.) The cost ranges between $4 for Metro to about $15-$30 for a shuttle service or a taxi.

Driving


Men working on Ford Model A automobile upon rack in garage. Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Collection, http://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/ds.00238/.

By car, Columbus is approximately a 7 hour drive from the D.C. area or 425 miles (650 kms). Rental car charges are per day ($100+ per day) and usually for unlimited mileage. Auto insurance is required and an International Driving Permit issued in your home country may also be required. For further information see this page on the rules for foreign nationals driving in the U.S. Unless you are driving one-way and turn the car in when you arrive in Columbus, you will also incur daily hotel parking fees. 

Trains

There are no commercial train services between Columbus and Washington , D.C.

Buses

Greyhound Bus Lines runs between Washington and Columbus; however, the trip lasts over 10 hours and may not be cheaper than an airplane flight. This article compares the different bus services.

Enjoy your journey, and we’ll look forward to seeing you in Columbus!