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Dr. Gridlock
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Posted at 10:13 AM ET, 05/04/2012

Nationals, Capitals, Cinco de Mayo and Metro: the weekend and beyond

This is a big sports weekend in D.C. Unfortunately, it’s also a big weekend for Metro repair projects. There’s a chance of thunderstorms today, the Capital Weather Gang says, but the rest of the weekend should be very pleasant, which is likely to draw out more local travelers.

The Washington Nationals and the Capitals will provide the main events, but Saturday also is Cinco de Mayo, and folks will be out for the Cinco de Mayo Festival on the National Mall, the Curbside Cookoff at RFK Stadium, the Running of the Chihuahuas on the Southwest Waterfront and the Wine and Food Festival at National Harbor.

Here are some of the traffic and transit challenges that travelers will face this weekend in the D.C. region.

Metro weekend delays

Track work is scheduled to start at 10 p.m. Friday and continue through the rail system’s midnight closing Sunday. These are the basics.

Green Line: This work is likely to have the biggest impact on travelers, especially those heading for the games at Nationals Park and Verizon Center.

Free shuttle buses will replace trains between Greenbelt and Fort Totten. The stations at Greenbelt, College Park, Prince George’s Plaza and West Hyattsville will be closed. Trains will operate on their normal weekend schedule between Fort Totten and Branch Avenue.

Metro now is estimating that using the shuttle bus service will add about 50 minutes to normal travel times.

Yellow Line: Because of the Green Line work, weekend Yellow Line trains will operate between Huntington and Mount Vernon Square. They normally continue north to Fort Totten on weekends.

Orange Line: Trains will share a track between Eastern Market and Stadium-Armory, and between East Falls Church and West Falls Church.

Throughout the weekend, Orange Line trains are scheduled to operate every 20 minutes, but add about 10 minutes to your travel time through the work zones, Metro says.

Blue Line: As with the Orange Line, trains will share a track between Eastern Market and Stadium-Armory. Throughout the weekend, Blue Line trains will be scheduled to operate every 20 minutes. But add 10 minutes to normal travel times through the work zones.

Red Line: Trains will share a track between Forest Glen and Takoma, and between Van Ness and Dupont Circle. Metro says that trains between Shady Grove and Glenmont will operate every 24 minutes throughout the weekend. But add 20 minutes to normal travel times to get through the work zones.

Between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, extra trains will operate between Farragut North and New York Avenue. That should provide service every 12 minutes in downtown D.C.

Getting to the games

This weekend is special because the Nationals play the Philadelphia Phillies, division rivals who have plenty of fans willing to drive south on Interstate 95 to attend games at Nationals Park, and because the Capitals are in playoff action with the New York Rangers at Verizon Center.

The Nationals games are at 7:05 p.m. Friday, 1:05 p.m. Saturday and 8:05 p.m. Sunday. The Capitals play at 12:30 p.m. Saturday.

Special issues: On Friday night, fans will reach the Nationals game as usual on Metro, but probably will be going home after the disruptions listed above have started at 10 p.m. On Saturday, there’s likely to be late-morning/early afternoon crowding on the roads into D.C. and on Metro, since both the Capitals and Nationals start play in the early afternoon. The Sunday game is late because the Nationals and Phillies are on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball. Metro service is scheduled to stop at midnight. So far, Metro doesn’t have a deal like the one it has with the Caps, in which the team picks up the tab for overtime service. So watch the clock at Nationals Park.

Driving: Many fans who normally take transit will consider driving this weekend, because a trip on almost any Metro route will be longer — sometimes much longer — than what they’re used to experiencing.

Fans who plan on driving, especially if they’re driving to the game for the first time, should add some buffer time to however much time they expect the trip to take. D.C. street parking restrictions are in effect on Saturday, and those rules are very restrictive around Verizon Center and Nationals Park.

There’s more off-street parking than there used to be to the north and east of Nationals Park, but the area around South Capitol and M streets; the Southeast-Southwest Freeway; the 14th, 11th and Douglass bridges, and I-295/DC 295 are likely to be crowded with cars before and after games.

Metro: Fans who normally park at stations like Greenbelt on the north side of the Green Line should consider other options, such as the Orange Line’s New Carrollton station or the Branch Avenue and Anacostia stations on the south side of the Green Line.

Transfer stations are going to be very crowded before and after games. That means Gallery Place, L’Enfant Plaza, Metro Center in particular.

Gallery Place is the closest station to Verizon Center, but some fans will find it easier to use Metro Center, Judiciary Square or Mount Vernon Square and walk a little.

Navy Yard is the closest station to Nationals Park. But fans could walk down New Jersey Avenue from the Capitol South station, on the Blue and Orange lines.

There’s plenty of bike parking around Nationals Park, including Capital Bikeshare stations and a bike valet in the garage on the northeast side of the stadium. The D.C. Circulator bus stops at the New Jersey Avenue entrance to Navy Yard station and travels past the Eastern Market station on its way to Union Station.

See our guide to Nationals Park.

Dulles Toll Road

The eastbound Dulles Toll Road is scheduled to close overnight Friday at Route 7. Eastbound traffic will be detoured onto the Dulles Airport Access Highway.

The lane closings, part of the construction program for the Metro Silver Line, are scheduled to begin at 8 p.m., with a full closing of the eastbound Toll Road lanes by 10 p.m.

New York Avenue Bridge

From 5 to 11 a.m. Saturday, only single lanes will be open in each direction on New York Avenue NE between Penn Street and Florida Avenue. This is the work zone for the District Department of Transportation’s New York Avenue Bridge rehabilitation project.

D.C. expressway ramp closing

The D Street ramp from the 12th Street Expressway (the short route north of the Southeast-Southwest Freeway and south of the National Mall) will be closed for road work from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday.

Traffic will be directed through the 12th Street SW tunnel to Constitution Avenue NW, then right on Constitution Avenue to Seventh Street NW and right on Seventh Street to D Street SW.

Constitution Avenue NW

There’s no work scheduled for this weekend as part of the National Park Service’s roadway rehabilitation project. Drivers sometimes ask about this as they plan their routes to weekend events in D.C.

Beach Drive lane closing

One lane on Beach Drive in Rock Creek Park will be closed between Wise Road and Sherrill Drive NW from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday for maintenance work.

This is in the area normally closed to motorists on weekends. One lane will remain open for recreation users during the road work.

Chesapeake Bay Bridge

The annual SpringFest celebration in Ocean City may add traffic to the Bay Bridge this weekend.

The Maryland Transportation Authority could go to two-way operations on the westbound span to ease the traffic flow heading east toward Ocean City.

Also note that because of preservation work on the bridge, the westbound span is scheduled to be shut overnights, with two-way traffic on the eastbound span, on Friday and Saturday. The eastbound span is scheduled to be shut, with two-way traffic on the westbound span, during the overnight hours on Sunday.

By  |  10:13 AM ET, 05/04/2012

Categories:  Weekend Work, Events, Metro, Bay Bridge, Driving, Biking | Tags:  DC transportation, Metro, WMATA, Virginia Department of Transportation, District Department of Transportation, Maryland Department of Transportation, Nationals, Capitals

 
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