The weekend and beyond: Veterans Day events, traffic and transit delays

The color guard makes its entrance at the 2010 Veterans Day ceremony at the National World War II Memorial. (Dayna Smith – For The Washington Post)

[This post has been updated.]

We’re starting what for many will be a three-day weekend, with the Veterans Day holiday observed on Monday. Coming just before the Thanksgiving holidays, it’s not a big getaway weekend for the D.C. area. Meanwhile, there are many local activities honoring veterans.

Some of the local road and transit work will be on a special schedule to take advantage of the three days of relatively light travel. The weather, on the other hand, will settle into a fairly stable pattern. The Capital Weather Gang forecasts high temperatures in the mid-60s with just a few clouds.

Sounds like a great weekend to be outside, for something other than leaf-raking. Let’s look at some places you will try to get to, and some you will try to avoid.

Veterans Day activities

While Monday is a holiday for many workers, the real Veterans Day is Sunday, and that’s when the ceremonies will take place. The one at the Arlington Cemetery Memorial Amphitheater is scheduled for 11 a.m. The nearest Metro stop is, of course, Arlington Cemetery, on the Blue Line. (There’s no Metro maintenance scheduled for the Blue Line this weekend, but check below for delays on connecting lines.)

At 9 a.m., a special event honoring veterans of all wars will take place at the Mall’s World War II Memorial. The memorial, on 17th Street NW is more difficult to reach. There’s no Metro station very close by. You probably will want to use the Smithsonian station on the Blue and Orange lines. There’s some very limited parking at the memorial for people with disabilities. Street parking in that area is very limited.

The ceremony at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, 22nd and Constitution Avenue NW, is set for 1 p.m. At the nearby Vietnam Women’s Memorial, storytellers will talk about the wars in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with a break for the 1 p.m. ceremony. The Vietnam Memorial is a downhill walk from the Foggy Bottom Metro station, on the Orange and Blue lines.

Honoring Veterans Day, the National Parks, including those in the National Capital Region, will offer free admission.

Weekend Metro delays

This three-day weekend, Metro is planning work on the Orange, Red and Green lines from 10 p.m. Friday through the rail system’s midnight closing Monday.

Red Line: Trains will share a track between Grosvenor and Friendship Heights. Throughout the weekend, trains will operate about every 20 minutes between the ends of the line at Shady Grove and Glenmont.  Between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and Monday, additional trains will operate in the middle of the line between Friendship Heights and Glenmont. In that zone, trains should reach platforms about every 10 minutes. If you’re traveling through the work zone, add about 10 minutes to normal travel time.

Orange Line: Free shuttle buses will replace trains between East Falls Church and Clarendon. In addition, trains will share a track between Vienna and East Falls Church. If traveling through the shuttle bus zone, add about a half hour to normal travel time. If going through the single-track zone, add about 15 minutes to normal travel time.

Green Line: Trains will share a track between Greenbelt and College Park. Every other train will begin or end its route at College Park, rather than Greenbelt. Between College Park and Branch Avenue, trains will operate on a normal weekend schedule. Between Greenbelt and College Park, add about 10 minutes to normal travel time.

George Washington Parkway

The National Park Service says that all northbound lanes of the George Washington Parkway in Rosslyn will be closed this weekend. The lanes north of Spout Run are scheduled to be closed from 8 p.m. Friday till 5:30 a.m. Monday for work on the rock stabilization project.

Beltway/Telegraph Road

The Wilson Bridge project continues work on its final major phase at the Capital Beltway/Telegraph Road interchange. From 9 p.m. Friday through 9 p.m.Saturday, the outer loop LOCAL exit to Huntington Avenue will be closed. From 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, the outer loop LOCAL exit to Telegraph Road South will be closed. And from 7 a.m. to noon Saturday, the inner loop LOCAL exit to Telegraph Road South will be closed.

Route 50 in Merrifield

From 4 a.m. to noon Saturday, the Virginia Department of Transportation plans to close one of the two westbound lanes on Arlington Boulevard (Route 50) between Prosperity Drive and Stonehurst Drive. The workers will be milling and paving the right lane.

Baltimore-Washington Parkway

The big project in Maryland this weekend is the second phase of the bridge replacement on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway near BWI Marshall Airport. The parkway and West Nursery Road will be closed overnights Friday and Saturday. Each night, the closings start at 8 p.m. and continue till 10 o’clock the next morning. Alternative north-south routes: I-95, I-97, Route 1 and Route 29.

Beltway Northwest Branch bridge

The Maryland State Highway Administration is continuing work on the last major phase of the two-year bridge rehabilitation on the Capital Beltway’s Northwest Branch bridge in Silver Spring. Saturday through Monday nights, the left lane of the outer loop will be blocked at 9 p.m. The two left lanes will be closed starting at 10 p.m., and then three lanes will be closed at midnight. All will be open by 5 o’clock each morning.

Beltway/Central Avenue

On Sunday night, crews will begin resurfacing the Beltway’s outer loop over Central Avenue. The lane closing pattern is the same as with the Northwest Branch bridge. The left lane will be blocked at 9 p.m., then the left two lanes will be closed as of 10 p.m. and drivers will find three lanes closed at midnight. They will all be open by 5 a.m. Monday.

L Street bike lane

Some drivers are unsure how they should relate to the new bike lane that the District Department of Transportation has been installing on the north side of L Street NW downtown.

Not all elements — like the signs — were installed at the same time. Maybe that’s why some drivers were parking in the lanes or getting confused about how to make left turns on this one-way street.

There’s no parking any time in the new bike lane. Anticipating turns, drivers should look for black and white signs that say, “Begin Left Turn Lane — Yield to Bikes.” An arrow points to a gap in the white bollards. That’s where drivers should cross over the bike lane and get to the curb, so they can make the left turn.

Be extra cautious. Before crossing over the bike lane, make sure no cyclists are approaching. And be wary about following drivers, since you will have to slow way down to get through the gap.

Restoring Route 29

The Maryland State Highway Administration is wrapping up work on the Route 29 bridges over Route 40 and Frederick Road in Howard County. Southbound Route 29 is back in its normal configuration. All the work that began in March should be done by the middle of the month, a lot earlier than the original target of summer 2013. Drivers won’t see the orange construction barrels or the speed enforcement cameras.

Transit on Monday

Because of the Monday holiday observance, the District will suspend rush hour parking restrictions and will not impose the reversible lane patterns.

Metrorail will open at 5 a.m. Monday and close at midnight, the normal hours for a weekday, but the trains will run less frequently. Off-peak fares will be in effect all day, and parking will be free at the lots and garages operated by Metro.

Metrobus will operate on what the transit authority calls a Saturday supplemental schedule, meaning that some routes on the weekday timetable will not run. MetroAccess will offer regular service, but subscription trips are canceled.

MARC and VRE will not operate.

Parking fees will be enforced in Anne Arundel and Howard counties, but not in Montgomery and Prince George’s, with these exceptions: the New Carrollton garage and National Harbor. In Virginia, the HOV restrictions will be lifted, and holiday parking rules will be in effect for Arlington County and Alexandria.

Mark Berman posted a full list for Monday’s transit services on the blog. Also see The Post’s list of Monday closings.

495 Express Lanes

I’ll have more about this in my Sunday Dr. Gridlock column, but watch for workers around the new Beltway lanes and the interchanges that will connect with them. They are getting ready for the scheduled opening of the 495 Express Lanes next Saturday morning, so they will be working on signs, removing barriers and activating signals all week long.


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 · November 9, 2012

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