Redskins play Eagles in Landover on Sunday

November 15, 2012

There may be a little extra highway traffic to FedEx Field this Sunday, but it’s the Metro single-tracking that fans really need to watch. (Robert Thomson – The Washington Post)

 Bundle up for Sunday’s 1 p.m. Redskins game at FedEx Field, the Capital Weather Gang says. The gang’s forecast calls for little if any sun and a brisk breeze.

There could be some additional traffic coming down Interstate 95 onto the Capital Beltway as the Philadelphia fans shuttle southward. There also could be a little bit of extra volume as we start Thanksgiving week, but that shouldn’t be a major factor

Those who take transit will want to watch out for Metrorail’s single-tracking on parts of the Blue, Red and Orange lines on Sunday. I’ll detail that below in reviewing our travel tips for getting to the game.

Driving

Get there early. The FedEx parking areas in Landover 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 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.

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.

Parking

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.

Transit

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.

Here’s the track work schedule for Sunday only. I’ll have the full track work schedule in a separate posting.

Blue Line: Trains will share a track between Stadium-Armory and Addison Road. They will operate every 20 minutes. If going through the work zone, add about 20 minutes to normal travel time.

Orange Line: Trains will share a track between East Falls Church and West Falls Church. They will operate about every 20 minutes between the ends of the line at Vienna and New Carrollton. But add about 15 minutes to normal travel time through the work zone.

Red Line: Trains will share a track between Forest Glen and Takoma. They will operate every 20 minutes from the ends of the line at Shady Grove and Glenmont. From 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., more trains will be in service between Shady Grove and Fort Totten, so in that zone, trains should reach platforms about every 10 minutes, Metro said. Add about 15 minutes to normal travel time if going through the work zone.

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 until two hours afterward. Metro doesn’t allow tailgating in its parking areas.

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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Robert Thomson · November 15, 2012