🐦 Toll roads are driving us all crazy.

Also: You can legally eat roadkill now.

Welcome to Just Outside DC — the only newsletter that’s more enlightening than finally grasping the plot of Interstellar 🪐 

Today’s factoid of the day is: In 19th-century Ireland, jack-o'-lanterns were carved out of turnips instead of pumpkins.


Toll roads were already hurting my wallet. Now they’re hurting my brain.

the incredibles traffic GIF

Is driving on toll roads in NoVA making us all crazy?

Research suggests it might be.

Buckle up everyone, because we’re about to break down all of this NoVA highway havoc.


A recent study found that toll routes are giving road ragers some new things to be mad about:

  • 72 percent of EZ-Pass users avoid toll routes due to high costs (up to $20 per trip these days!)

  • Only 44 percent of NoVA drivers understand HOV lane requirements.

  • Just 5 toll operators manage over 100 miles of road in Northern Virginia.

Jim Carrey Snl GIF by Saturday Night Live

So, what's causing all this confusion?

  • Inconsistent signage: Apparently, deciphering toll signs is genuinely difficult for a significant portion of the drivers that were surveyed.

  • Complex road design: Limited entry and exit ramps make drivers feel like they're in a real-life game of Frogger.

  • Dynamic pricing: These days, the toll amounts change faster than you can say “I-95”.

And that’s not all.

The state's contracts with toll operators are tighter than rush hour traffic. Some even prevent Virginia from improving nearby roads without paying penalties.

So, what's the solution?

Officials are exploring everything from expanding rail services to standardizing toll contracts. But for now, it looks like Virginia drivers will need to keep their wits about them and their GPS apps at the ready.

But hey, at least we're all in this traffic jam together, right?

Driving Road Rage GIF by BuzzFeed

Bulletin Board 📌 

Reader Restaurant Recommendation: One of our readers, Brian, recommends you guys check out George’s Steak n’ Things in Fairfax Station.

It’s a family owned spot, and according to Brian, they’ve got the best cheesesteak south of Philly itself.

If you want us to give you, your town, and your favorite NoVA restaurant a shout out in the newsletter, just use this fancy little form.



  • Friday Night Live | the DC area’s best outdoor concert series continues with a performance by The Rockets + Uncle Jesse!

  • Shreya Ghoshal is performing at Wolf Trap this weekend.

  • Rock the Block | Scorpion Rose is performing at Old Town Square in Fairfax on Friday. 

  • Take a Break Concerts | Texas Chainsaw Horns is performing at The Farm at Halley Rise in Reston tomorrow.

  • Thursday Night Live | Hand Painted Swinger is doing an outdoor performance at The Plaza at Mason Square. 

  • The Fly Birds are performing on Saturday for Creative Cauldron’s summer concert series.


  • Mount Vernon Independence Fireworks | a colonial-themed evening celebrating the founding of the United States on Friday. See ice cream get made the 18th century way! 

  • Lake Fairfax Fireworks | the annual celebration is back with food trucks, music, and fireworks on Saturday at Lake Fairfax Park 

  • McLean Community Center is hosting an early Independence Day celebration with fireworks, music, food trucks, and more

  • FireWorks 2024 | one of the region's largest pre-Independence Day events is back at the Workhouse in Lorton on Saturday.


Speaking of driving, check out this topical meme someone sent us the other day. If you’ve ever tried to avoid that 1-95 traffic after work, you know the struggle lol.

If you’ve got a cool/funny/interesting pic or vid from around the NoVA area, feel free send it our way via email or Instagram and we’ll put it in the newsletter!

Thank You!

Thanks so much for reading today’s issue of Just Outside D.C.

If you enjoyed this one, consider sharing the newsletter with someone you know.

Was this issue forwarded to you?

Wow, you’ve got some cool friends. You can sign up here btw.

Interested in featuring your business in the newsletter?

Here’s our media kit.

What'd you think of today's newsletter?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.