Critics of the Department of Defense's new Mark Center building say the 6,400 workers scheduled to start working there in September could add an extra two hours of traffic for commuters on I-395.
Northern Virginia Congressman Jim Moran (D) has been urging the Department of Defense and Congress to delay the move for at least a year. But some organizations already headquartered in the area are trying to make sure their workers won't be stuck in traffic jams whenever the new facility opens.
Maren Kelley works for ASCD, an education trade organization located practically in the shadow of the towering new Mark Center Defense building at the intersection of Interstate-395 and Seminary Road.
Kelley lives in Fredericksburg, and she used to commute to the area using VRE, Metro, and a shuttle bus, which took five hours each day.
"Then I started using the slug lines, and because there's no entrance to the HOV on Seminary Road, I had to go down to the Pentagon which is an extra hour and half," she says. "Then I tried a carpool, and that didn't work either."
Now Kelley drives, and she has shifted her work schedule so she can come in before rush hour, and work from home more often. With the prospect of more than 6,000 new employees coming to the same area for work each day, she and her coworkers are bracing for traffic even worse than what they already face.
ASCD's Shelly Geary spent the past year planning for more ASCD employees to work from home or adjust their schedules to avoid traffic.
"I still think it's going to be an issue, but we hope it's going to be less of an issue because we're going to have 80 people that are then going to have the option to telework," Geary says.
ASCD is also training employees who telework to make sure they stay productive.
Kelley says it doesn't take a cubicle or an office to get things done.
"Working from home I'm actually more productive because there's fewer interruptions and I can get my work done," she says.
ASCD says by the fall, 80 of its 200 employees will work from home one to five days each week.