Redskins fans will be out late Sunday

December 27, 2012

The Redskins play their final game of the regular season Sunday night against the Dallas Cowboys at FedEx Field. (Robert Thomson – The Washington Post)

Neither weather nor holiday traffic is likely to be a factor in getting fans to and from FedEx Field on Sunday night for the Redskins’ game with the Dallas Cowboys, though sitting inside the stadium in what the Capital Weather Gang forecasts will be “bone chilling” cold may be another matter.

Keep in mind that the post-game temperature will be below freezing, so watch for the possibility of icy patches on the roads.

While it’s the end of a holiday week, people have flexibility about scheduling their returns from the Christmas break, so it’s very unlikely that fans will be sharing the highways with many long-distance travelers. (Plus, there’s another holiday coming up on Tuesday, giving travelers even more flexibility.)

What’s different about this game — aside from the Redskins’ new position atop the NFC East — is that kickoff time has been shifted from the afternoon to 8:20 p.m., affecting the Metrorail schedule. Here are some tips for getting to and from FedEx, by car or transit.

Driving

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.

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 Morgan Boulevard station will be open late to accommodate the post-game crowd. All other station entrances will close on schedule at midnight Sunday. The last Blue Line train headed toward Franconia-Springfield will leave Morgan Boulevard at 12:25 a.m., and the last Blue Line train to Largo Town Center at 1:33 a.m.

To make connections with the Orange Line, transfer at Stadium-Armory; for the Green or Yellow lines, transfer at L’Enfant Plaza; and for the Red Line, transfer at Metro Center. Riders will be able to exit at any station.

The Redskins pay for the extra service under an agreement with Metro.

 

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 · December 26, 2012