The Redskins are back to play the Atlanta Falcons at 1 p.m. Sunday at FedEx Field, the team’s second home game of the 2012 season. The Capital Weather Gang foresees a raw day, cool with a good chance of showers.
Here are some travel tips for those heading to the game, or just hoping to avoid the game day traffic congestion.
Get there early. The FedEx parking areas open four hours before game time, and the stadium opens two hours before games.
Before and after stadium events, traffic surges on Landover Road, Central Avenue, Baltimore-Washington Parkway, Southeast-Southwest Freeway, Interstate 295/D.C. 295 and the eastern side of the Capital Beltway. Traffic in the Landover area will be at its worst in the two hours before kickoff.
Three Beltway interchanges at Landover Road, Arena Drive and Central Avenue offer access to FedEx Field. As game time approaches, the Landover Road and Arena Drive exits tend to be the most crowded. Central Avenue, the southernmost of the three exits, is the one that the Maryland State Highway Administration recommends to minimize delays.
The highway administration also suggests that drivers going west on Central Avenue consider bypassing the right turn onto Brightseat Road and turning right instead on Morgan Boulevard to reach their permit parking areas.
Drivers who take the northern arc of the Beltway will again go through the work zone on the Northwest Branch bridge in Silver Spring, but the traffic pattern is different: Three lanes go right around the work zone barrier, and one goes left. One thing hasn’t changed: There’s still a speed camera in that area, and the speed limit is still 55 mph.
On the Beltway in Landover, through traffic should stay as far left as possible. The right lanes will slow. Approaching the stadium area, Beltway drivers will notice a solid white line separating through lanes on the left from the collector-distributor lanes on the right that lead to off-ramps and on-ramps.
As drivers get onto the roads nearest the stadium, they will see overhead arrows and color-coded markers indicating lanes leading to the permit parking areas. Pay attention to the traffic directions from the stadium staffers out in the roads and in the parking lots.
The lots closest to the stadium are open to permit holders only. The permits cover one parking space and can’t be used for additional tailgating room.
There are several cash lots off Jericho City Drive, to the southeast of the stadium, and one north of the stadium just west of Brightseat Road and south of Landover Road.
Metro has eased up on the maintenance program originally scheduled for this Columbus Day weekend, but riders on the Red and Orange lines still will experience delays.
On Sunday, Red Line trains will be sharing a track between Judiciary Square and Fort Totten. (The Green Line service on the lower level at Fort Totten will not be affected.) Orange Line trains will share a track between Stadium-Armory and Cheverly.
The Blue Line’s Morgan Boulevard station is the closest to FedEx. The stadium is a little less than a mile north along a sidewalk. The walk to the stadium is slightly uphill. Largo Town Center station, also on the Blue Line, is the next closest. Make sure you have your SmarTrip card or paper Farecard loaded for a round trip so you won’t have to wait in long lines at fare vending machines after games.
Parking is generally free on weekends at Metrorail lots and garages, but there are special rules for the Morgan Boulevard and Largo Town Center stations during FedEx Field events.
Drivers who park at the stations to go to FedEx must pay $25 with a SmarTrip card. The reusable cards cost $5. The premium fee for parking is in effect from three hours before the game till two hours afterward. Metro doesn’t allow tailgating in its parking areas.