My daily commute to work takes me from my bedroom or breakfast table to my office upstairs in my home on Cobblestone Lane in Reston. No office space is provided for members of the Virginia House of Delegates or the State Senate, and the meager office expense accounts of members will not stretch to cover the expense of an office space in Northern Virginia. While the commute is convenient, there are some downsides. Having your office so close at hand can mean that you start to work very early in the morning, and it is easy to return to the office after dinner. I put in many long hours for what is considered a part-time job. Good thing that I really enjoy my work regardless of the hours. I have no space for group meetings so I meet people in public places or at their offices.
While my lifestyle has evolved for me over time, I realize that in Reston it may not be all that unusual. With telework more people work from home some or every day of the week. With transit-oriented development some Restonians are able to take the elevator from their apartment or condominium to the nearby Silver Line platform to speed off to work. When there is need for an automobile, a quick check of the Uber app is likely to reveal a driver nearby. Or rent a bike for the short trips around town or the recreational spin on the day off. Walking the Reston trails is mostly recreational for me, but I can get to the Wiehle Metro station in less than a half hour by taking the trails near my home. I use Metro whenever I have meetings in close proximity to the system in Tysons, Arlington or downtown. The blue bus to Dulles is also an economical and convenient service to the airport.
Winter commuting is very different for me. The General Assembly is in session from early January until late February or early March depending on the year. That is a two-hour commute one way if there are no accidents or road construction; too long to do daily. In Richmond I have an office provided in the General Assembly Building, but I have to find my own housing for the week. Fortunately, many of the older manufacturing buildings and warehouses have been converted to really nice loft apartments that can be leased furnished within the limits of reimbursable costs for the short duration of the session.
I recognize that my commuting experiences are very different from most of my constituents. I witness and have been told many times the stories of people who are limited in their choices of how to get to work. They have to go through congested streets and intersections for there is no other way to get to their destination. Much of my legislative activity is related to trying to improve the commuting experience of my constituents. Please pass along any suggestions you may have about transportation improvements, as I prioritize this issue. I am mindful of the needs of others as I read my emails in the converted bedroom that is my home office. Email is the best way to reach me: firstname.lastname@example.org.