Metro to stay open late for Monday night football at FedEx Field


The Blue Line’s Morgan Boulevard station will be open late on Monday night for fans leaving the game at FedEx Field. (Robert Thomson — The Washington Post)

Metrorail’s Morgan Boulevard station will stay open late on Monday night to accommodate football fans leaving the Redskins game with the New York Giants.

Kickoff is at 8:30 p.m. Monday. The late start on a weeknight is a rarity for football at FedEx Field in Landover, so let’s review some of the transit and traffic issues.

Transit

Monday evening’s Metrorail rush hour is likely to be extra crowded, particularly on the Blue Line as fans head to the game. Afterward, the subway system will remain open till about 1 a.m., but this is just to get the football fans home. (And the extra service is funded by the Redskins.)

Here’s how it will work:

Fans heading south from FedEx Field to the Morgan Boulevard station should get there in time to catch the last Blue Line train headed toward Franconia-Springfield at 12:25 a.m., and the last Blue Line train to Largo Town Center at 1:33 a.m.

Make the connection to the Orange Line by transferring at Stadium-Armory. Line to the Green and Yellow lines by transferring at L’Enfant Plaza, and get to the Red Line at Metro Center.

Entrances at all other Metro stations besides Morgan Boulevard will close at their normal times. But the riders on the trains will be able to exit at all stations during the added hour of service.

Morgan Boulevard is the closest station 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.

Driving

Get there early. The Monday night start time means that fans will be mingling with commuters on the roads around the stadium in Landover.

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.

Football traffic 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.

Looking elsewhere around the Beltway, there’s no night work scheduled at the Northwest Branch bridge construction zone in Silver Spring.

The SHA will have extra traffic patrols out as it normally does on game days to help clear any traffic issues that may arise during peak travel times to the stadium. Travelers can check for traffic updates by using Maryland’s 511 information phone system — from a hands-free device, please — or by going to www.md511.org.

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.

Drivers who park at the Morgan Boulevard or Largo 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.

Early arrivals may find these Metro parking areas more crowded than usual because of commuter parking.

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 29, 2012