For Monday’s Emancipation Day holiday, the District Department of Transportation plans to maintain its rush hour traffic rules. This is a change from previous policy and probably one for the better, because it should eliminate some confusion among drivers.
So on Monday, anticipate the typical weekday traffic pattern of reversible lanes on Connecticut Avenue NW between Legation Street and Woodley Road; on 16th Street NW between Arkansas Avenue and Irving Street; on Canal Road between Chain Bridge and Foxhall Road, and on Independence Avenue between Fourth Street SW and Second Street SE. The National Park Service also will maintain the usual rush-hour pattern on Rock Creek Parkway.
The District’s rush-hour parking restrictions will be enforced from 7 to 9:30 a.m. and from 4 to 6:30 pm. Vehicles that violate the restrictions are subject to ticketing and towing.
Cause for confusion
Because Emancipation Day is a one-jurisdiction holiday in a multi-jurisdiction region, the previous suspension of those rules led to some traffic congestion and some dangerous driving.
On the morning of Emancipation Day 2011, Mark Berman emphasized the then-current rules on his morning traffic report. Several of the comments appended to his blog posting reflected what happened among less savvy drivers while the rush-hour rules were suspended.
WashingtonDame wrote: “Everyone was driving on Connecticut Ave. NW this morning as if it were a typical weekday rush hour — 4 lanes S/B and 2 lanes N/B. I saw at least two of the ‘Use 2 lanes’ signs lit up as I drove north. I also saw 2 MPD patrol cars using the convertible lane southbound.”
1995hoo responded: “That sort of thing is why I always try to avoid Canal Road on these kinds of days (including Veterans Day or any other day where most of the private sector is working but the federal or city government is closed). Simply too much risk of people going on autopilot.”
Drivers either didn’t know it was a D.C. holiday or tuned out the electronic signs that mark the rush-hour travel lanes on some commuter routes.
The other rules
For those parking on the streets, the rest of the Monday rules may not be so plain. Here’s what you need to know:
On the holiday, the D.C. Department of Public Works generally will not issue tickets for expired meters, but there’s an important exception. Because the Washington Nationals will be playing home games Sunday and Monday, parking rules will be enforced in the neighborhoods around Nationals Park on both those days. Look carefully at the signs on the street poles and on the meters.
The other D.C. rules that govern parking in residential areas and on streets scheduled for sweeping will be suspended for the holiday.
Metro plans normal weekday rail and bus service on the holiday. Since the D.C. public schools will be closed, the school bus trips will be cancelled, but all other bus routes will be on a regular schedule.
The biggest impact on bus service may result from the holiday parade and festival downtown. Metro is working out midday detour plans for some routes. (Watch for announcements if you’re signed up to receive MetroAlerts , but we’ll also post them here on the blog.)
An Emancipation Day Parade is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday on Pennsylvania Avenue NW between Third and Seventh streets. A festival is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. at Freedom Plaza, along E Street NW between 13th and 14th streets.