The weekend and beyond

A Post reader shared a photo of fall colors on the National Mall. See more foliage photos from readers.

Don’t let Friday’s clouds and showers discourage you. The Capital Weather Gang says the weekend will be beautiful. And it’s a good thing: In the D.C. area, many outdoors events are scheduled for both Saturday and Sunday.

If you’re up for a road trip, this should be a great weekend to take in Skyline Drive and Shenandoah National Park. Front Royal, Va., is about an hour and a half to two hours from D.C., mostly along Interstate 66. The Capital Weather Gang has some advice on fall foliage trips in Virginia and Maryland.

If you want to stay closer to home but still get the autumn experience, visit the National Arboretum, at 3501 New York Ave. NE. Look for a display of bonsai trees called “Beautiful Transitions,” 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., now through Nov. 4.

There’s college football in the area this weekend, as you’ll see below. In our only local major league game, D.C. United plays the Columbus Crew in RFK Stadium at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

For more weekend activities, see the Going Out Guide. Here are some of the events that will create traffic and transit concerns — or even some opportunities — this weekend and beyond.

Best Buddies

The cycling, running and walking events for the Third Annual Audi Best Buddies Challenge start with opening ceremonies at 7 a.m. Saturday. Sponsors note that Metro doesn’t open till 7 a.m. on Saturdays, and recommend that participants park at the National Place Parking Garage, 1331 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. (The entrance is on 13th Street, between E and F streets NW.)

D.C. police list these street closings, with estimated closing times: Clara Barton Parkway, Chain Bridge Road to the Glen Echo access to MacArthur Boulevard NW (closed 6 to 9:30 a.m.); Canal Road from 36th Street to Chain Bridge Road NW (closed 6 to 10 a.m.), M Street NW eastbound from Reservoir Road (closed 6 to 10 a.m.); Reservoir Road from V Street to Canal Road (minimal access to Fletcher’s Boat House, follow police direction); Whitehurst Freeway NW (closed 6 to 10 a.m.); M Street eastbound from Canal Street to Key Bridge (closed 6 to 10 a.m.); Ohio Drive SW (access to Potomac Golf Course only); Memorial Bridge NW (closed 6 to 10:30 a.m.); Independence Avenue from 14th to 23rd Street (closed 6 to 10:30 a.m.); 17th Street from Independence Avenue to D Street SW (closed 6 to 10:30 a.m.); 15th Street from Maine Avenue to E Street SW (closed 6 to 10:30 a.m.); 15th Street from Independence Avenue SW to Constitution Avenue NW (closed 3:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.); Third Street from Constitution Avenue NW to Independence Avenue SW (closed 6 to 10:30 a.m.); 14th Street from Independence Avenue SW to Pennsylvania Avenue NW (closed 6 to 11:30 a.m.); Pennsylvania Avenue from Third Street to 15th Street NW (closed 6 to 11:30 a.m.); Jefferson Drive from Third Street to Seventh Street SW (closed 6 to 10:30 a.m.); Madison Drive from Third Street to 15th Street NW (6 to 10:30 a.m.); East Basin Drive I-395 South ramp to the river side of Ohio Drive SW (closed 6 to 10:30 a.m.); Buckeye Drive from I-395 North to the river side of Ohio Drive SW (closed 6 to 10:30 a.m.); Constitution Avenue NW from 23rd  Street to Third Street NW (closed 6 to  10:30 a.m.); I-395 ramp to Maine Avenue SW  (closed 6 to 10:30 a.m.).

 Howard University Homecoming Parade

The annual homecoming parade along Georgia Avenue begins at 10 a.m. Saturday on the main campus of Howard University, then goes south past the Howard University Hospital into LeDroit Park and Bloomingdale. The Bison play Morgan State at 1 p.m. in Greene Stadium.

Here’s the parade route. Streets along the way will be closed starting at 9:30 a.m. and should reopen by 1 p.m.: North on Sixth Street to Fairmont Street NW, west on Fairmont to Georgia Avenue NW, south on Georgia to Florida Avenue NW, southeast on Florida to Fifth Street NW, north on Fifth to T Street NW, east on T to Anna Cooper Circle NW, southeast around the circle to Third Street NW, north on Third to Elm Street NW, east on Elm to Second Street NW, north on Second to Bryant Street, west on Bryant to Fourth Street NW,  north on Fourth to the campus, where the parade disbands.

The District’s Janney Elementary School is holding a 5K event that will close some streets along the route to vehicles starting at 8 a.m. Saturday. This is the route: West on Albemarle Street to 42nd Street NW, south on 42nd to Van Ness Street to 46th Street NW, then north on 46th to Albemarle Street NW, west on Albemarle to 49th Street NW, where the runners return along the same route back to Janney.

 Army 10-Miler

The annual run known as the Army 10-Miler will close streets and cause traffic congestion on Sunday morning. The roadways along the course are scheduled to be closed temporarily from about 7:30 a.m. to noon.

The run starts at 8 a.m. on Washington Boulevard (Route 27) near the Pentagon, then goes across the Arlington Memorial Bridge into the District before ending back near the Pentagon. In the District, the run goes along Henry Bacon Drive, turns east on Constitution Avenue NW, north on 19th Street NW, west on Virginia Avenue NW, south on Rock Creek Parkway NW to Ohio Drive SW, east on Independence Avenue SW, northeast on Maryland Avenue SW, south on First Street NW, west on Independence, then south on 14th Street NW and across the 14th Street Bridge.

To accommodate the race, Metrorail opens at 5 a.m., two hours early. Runners should use Pentagon station. There will be extra service on the Blue Line between 6 a.m. and 8:40 a.m.

 Metro weekend delays

The Metrorail maintenance program will affect service on the Red, Orange and Green lines from 10 p.m. Friday through the train system’s midnight closing on Sunday.

Red Line: Free shuttle buses will replace trains between Grosvenor and Friendship Heights. From 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, they will operate every 10 minutes, Metro said. At other times, they’ll be on their regular weekend schedules. For trips through the work zone, add about a half hour to normal travel times.

On Friday and Saturday nights, the last train from Shady Grove to Grosvenor will leave at 1:58 a.m., 32 minutes earlier than normal, to make the shuttle bus connections. On Sunday night, the last train will leave Shady Grove at 10:58 p.m.

Orange Line: Buses will replace trains between East Falls Church and West Falls Church. Add about 20 minutes to normal travel time if you’re going through the work zone, Metro said.

Outside the work zone, trains will operate on normal weekend schedules. But on Friday and Saturday nights, the last train from Vienna will leave at 2:05 a.m., 20 minutes earlier than normal. On Sunday night, the last train will leave Vienna at 11:05 a.m.

Green Line: Trains will share a track between Greenbelt and College Park. Every other train will use College Park, rather than Greenbelt, as its terminal. Outside the work zone, riders should find trains running on their normal weekend schedule. But add about 10 minutes to normal travel time between Greenbelt and College Park.

Beltway/Telegraph Road

If at all possible, try to avoid the weekend construction at the Capital Beltway’s Telegraph Road interchange that is likely to result in significant traffic delays. Here’s what’s going on:

From 9 p.m. Friday through 9 a.m. Sunday, Telegraph Road is scheduled to close at East Drive. Drivers on Telegraph Road should take Franconia Road, make a right on Norton Road and take that to Burgundy Road or Elmwood Drive. Drivers trying to reach Telegraph Road should use Norton Road, then go left on Franconia Road.

Westbound Huntington Avenue will narrow to one lane at 9 p.m. Friday and completely close at midnight between Kathryn Street and Telegraph Road.  One lane will reopen at 7 a.m. Saturday.  Both lanes will reopen by 9 a.m. Sunday.

From 7 a.m. Saturday till 9 a.m. Sunday, the ramp from Telegraph Road North to Duke Street East will be closed. Drivers should take the ramp to westbound Duke Street, then the service road, and make a left on Roth Street and another left to return on Duke Street East.

George Washington Parkway

The northbound GW Parkway is scheduled to close from 8 p.m. Friday through 5:30 a.m. Monday between Spout Run and Chain Bridge Road for the National Park Service’s rock stabilization program.

Baltimore Washington Parkway

The Maryland State Highway Administration plans to close a section of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway at the West Nursery Road overpass near BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport overnights this weekend and next. 
The plan is to quickly replace the two West Nursery Road bridges over the parkway.  Workers are building the bridges in the median and will demolish and replace the bridge decks during the closings. Here’s the timetable:
Fridays, Oct. 19 and 26 — At 8 p.m., one lane closes in each direction. At 11 p.m., all lanes close in both directions and remain closed until 6 a.m. on the two Saturdays.
Saturdays, Oct. 20 and 27 — At 8 p.m., one lane closes in each direction. At 11 p.m., all lanes close in both directions and stay closed till about 8 a.m. on the two Sundays.
Traffic will be detoured along a single lane using the ramps from West Nursery Road, but there probably will be significant delays, and it would be best to find an alternative route.

New ramp at 11th Street Bridge

The District Department of Transportation has opened the new outbound ramp from the local span of the 11th Street Bridge to southbound I-295. Several weeks ago, DDOT opened the inbound ramp, leading from northbound I-295 onto the local span.

The local span is the southernmost of the three new spans. These new ramps should be particularly helpful to drivers trying to make connections to the neighborhoods on either side of the Anacostia River, particularly to Capitol Hill and the Navy Yard and Anacostia.

While this is going to be a big improvement, it usually takes drivers a few weeks to adjust to new ramps and traffic signals, so use extra caution around the 11th Street Bridge.

Rockville Pike

The Maryland State Highway Administration plans to close the two right lanes of southbound Rockville Pike near Tuckerman Lane for paving from 9 p.m. Friday till 2 p.m. Saturday.

 I-95 express lanes

Construction of the express lanes to replace the I-95 HOV lanes in Northern Virginia will permanently close a ramp onto southbound I-95 in Newington starting this coming week. This will clear room to build a reversible flyover ramp for the express lanes, scheduled to open late in 2014.

The ramp that is closing brings traffic from Alban Road, Boudinot Drive and Backlick Road to I-95 South near the Fairfax County Parkway. (Motorists on Backlick Road who are used to making a left turn onto the southbound ramp won’t be able to do that anymore.)

Traffic will be directed into a pretzel-shaped detour that includes Fullerton Road and Boudinot Drive, then onto the parkway and right to southbound I-95.

Glebe Road bridge

The Virginia Department of Transportation has finished off a project that replaced the Glebe Road bridge at Route 50 in Arlington County. The new span is 27 feet wider than the old bridge, VDOT said.

Improvements include a northbound left-turn lane to Route 50, which planners hope will make trips easier for buses. For right turns from Route 50 to Glebe Road, the sight lines should be better. And there’s now a 17-foot path for bikers and walkers on one side of the road and an 11-foot sidewalk on the other.


Robert Thomson is The Washington Post’s “Dr. Gridlock.” He answers travelers’ questions, listens to their complaints and shares their pain on the roads, trains and buses in the Washington region.



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Mark Berman · October 19, 2012