After hiatus, casual carpool group for commuters restarts in Springfield

A design for the Springfield Community Business Center Community Parking Garage (via Fairfax County)

As more companies resume office work, Fairfax County commuters have started to revive habits that went dormant during the COVID-19 pandemic.

That includes the return of sluglines, a form of carpooling unique to the D.C. area where drivers pick up passengers so they can utilize high-occupancy toll lanes and ease the daily costs of commuting.

A group in Springfield arranged its first sluglines since March 2020 today (Monday) with four drivers and two passengers, organizer Nicole Miller said in an email, noting that a recent survey got support from at least 20 passengers and five drivers.

Sluglines Springfield, the Facebook group that coordinates the effort, has over 1,200 members.

The group has pick-up sites at Springfield United Methodist Church, which takes users to the Foggy Bottom area, and the Frontier Garage at Springfield Town Center, which goes to L’Enfant Plaza and Navy Yard.

Miller has worked with county officials to get the word out, and for the COVID-19 era, the rebooted effort has signage to separate groups of commuters based on their vaccination status and masking preferences. The measures are intended to accommodate people’s varying comfort levels and cautiousness.

“The slug line community have been great partners with the County and FCDOT as we work to complete the Springfield Community Business Center Garage at Old Keene Mill Rd. and Springfield Boulevard,” Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay said in a March 31 email newsletter.

Previously expected to begin work in March 2020, the county didn’t break ground on the garage until October due to “additional requirements to modify construction documents that adhere to federal bidding and construction regulations,” according to the project page.

Located at 7039 Old Keene Mill Road, the new garage is expected to be completed in the spring of 2023, providing 1,000 parking spaces on six stories, seven bus bays, and two dedicated loading zones for commuter slug lines.