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ravel ips

The Post's local transportation writers, Steven Ginsberg, Lyndsey Layton and Ron Shaffer, offer these tips on commuting in the Washington area.

Thursday, April 21, 2005; Page PG41

Steven Ginsberg covers roads and local airports.

• Leave extra time. It always takes longer than you think and when it doesn't, it's fun to marvel about how easy it was.

 Check the Web before you go. It's much more reliable than listening to radio updates. If there's a backup on your regular route, you can usually find another where at least you'll be moving. For example, the George Washington Memorial Parkway, above, is often a better route to Tysons Corner than Interstate 66. It's also prettier. (Andrea Bruce Woodall -- The Washington Post)

• Find the streets that suit your route. It's worth going a block or two out of the way if you can get on a street with timed lights or if you can find a left turn signal. Try a couple of different routes and figure out which make your commute work best.

• Work around obvious backups. Every day, and especially Fridays, New York Avenue NE heading from the District into Maryland backs up for a couple miles, and it usually takes over half an hour to get out of the city. It's pretty easy to avoid this if you just scoot over a block or two and take some other city streets.

• Get satellite radio. Sometimes music or talk without ads is the only way to improve your commute.

© 2005 The Washington Post Company