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Based on a recent article in the Washington Post I received an email from a Pimmit Hills owner asking where the secret shortcut to the West Falls Church Metro was located. The article had mentioned a planned upgrade to the path. I thought I knew the area pretty well so I scratched my head while trying to think of where such a path could be hidden…
The West Falls Church metro is close to Pimmit Hills when looking at the map. However, due to Pimmit Run, for residents in the community a trip to the metro includes a detour out on Rt 7 and then some weaving through various on and off ramps before getting there. Is there a better way?
The first part of the possible secret shortcut is to find the path to get you across across Pimmit Run at the southern end of the community. The existing path is a public right-of-way that starts off the sidewalk at the intersection of Pimmit Drive and Paxton. The path is hard to see – if you click on the Google Streetview image earlier in the article you can look around to get a better sense of the location (the path is straight ahead in the image – between the fences of the two homes.)
Using the path to cross the stream will send you into the Lemon Road Park. From there, make your way up the hill, past the school and up on Idylwood Rd. Halfway there!
Now, on Idylwood Road you now just have a housing development and the metro rail yard in the way of a great shortcut to the West Falls Church metro station. You could take a left, cross I-66 and go around that way but that will be a longer detour than just taking Rt 7 in the first place. So, when at the Lemon road school take a right towards Rt 7. If you keep walking and look to the left, you will soon see a road going towards the metro – that would be the entrance to the the metro rail yard (some construction going on there.) If you could go through there, you would be home-free as you would enter into the metro station from the commuter bus side, bypassing Rt 7 altogether!
Issue is, there are “Stop” signs and a guard shack at that entrance (see image.)
As it didn’t look like a very publicly accessible road to me, I called up the WMATA Customer Service. According to the nice lady I spoke to the rail yard is private property and I really shouldn’t go in there. Also, according to a 2008 article in the Washington Post, no public access is allowed due to safety and security concerns.
So, it appears there really is no shortcut to the metro at this point. Using the path past the Lemon Road school doesn’t really shorten the distance and you still have to get to Rt 7.
Update: I did some more digging after having written this post – see the A Secret Path To West Falls Church Metro Revisited post.