Redskins-Ravens rivalry to draw more regional traffic to FedEx Field on Sunday

December 6, 2012

Washington Redskins’ Anthony Armstrong gets held by Baltimore Ravens Tom Zbikowski at FedEx Field in August 2010. (Jose L. Argueta/El Tiempo Latino)

The traffic flow to FedEx Field in Landover may be slightly different this Sunday, but it’s all in the Maryland family as the Ravens visit the Redskins.

Kickoff is at 1 p.m. The Capital Weather Gang predicts the temperature will be in the 50s, and there’s a modest chance of a shower during the afternoon.

Drivers should not encounter any highway roadwork to slow them down in Maryland, but Metrorail has a great deal of maintenance work scheduled. Here’s some guidance on getting to the game.

Driving

Because the visiting team is from Baltimore, look for a higher than normal portion of the game traffic heading south on Interstate 95. Also, there may be more fans who are unfamiliar with the approaches to FedEx and the parking setup. It’s always a good idea to get there early, but it may be an especially good idea this Sunday.

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 tends to be 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.

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 Town Center Metro 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

Transit

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.

The weekend maintenance work begins at 10 p.m. Friday and continues through the rail system’s midnight closing on Sunday, so fans will be traveling through it. Five stations on the Red Line will be shut. The Green Line will be split in two. Part of the Yellow Line will be shut. Trains will share tracks around work zones on the Orange and Blue lines.

Red Line: Free shuttle buses will replace trains between Fort Totten and Glenmont. Takoma, Silver Spring, Forest Glen, Wheaton and Glenmont stations will be closed. Between Fort Totten and Shady Grove, the trains will be operating about every 10 minutes from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.

If you chose to use the shuttle buses between Glenmont and Fort Totten — and I can’t imagine why you would — allow about an hour of extra travel time.

Green Line: Shuttle buses will replace trains between Archives and Waterfront. There will be no Green Line service at L’Enfant Plaza. Between Greenbelt and Archives, trains will operate about every 10 minutes from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Between Waterfront and Branch Avenue, they will operate on a regular weekend schedule.

Yellow Line: No weekend service between Fort Totten and Archives. Instead, Yellow Line trains will operate about every 24 minutes along the Blue Line route between Huntington and Eastern Market.

Orange Line: Trains will share a track between Stadium-Armory and Cheverly, operating about every 24 minutes. Add about 15 minutes to your travel time to get through the work zone.

Blue Line: Trains will share a track between Stadium-Armory and Addison Road, operating about every 24 minutes. Add about 15 minutes to your travel time to get through the work zone. (And note as mentioned above that the Yellow Line trains will be operating along the Blue Line route between King Street and Eastern Market, adding service to that section.)

 

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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