Sunday’s football playoff will add traffic in Landover area

January 4, 2013
FedEx Field
Many fans will have dim memories of playoff football at FedEx Field. Get there early Sunday. (Robert Thomson – The Washington Post)

To the delight of Redskins fans and, possibly, the annoyance of other travelers who don’t have a rooting interest in the football playoffs, there will be extra traffic in Landover area on this first Sunday of 2013.

The Capital Weather Gang’s SkinsCast suggests that fans huddle to stay warm at FedEx Field after the 4:30 p.m. kickoff with the Seattle Seahawks, but the chance of precipitation is slight.

Metro has weekend maintenance work scheduled on the Red and Orange lines, but not the Blue Line, the closest to the stadium.

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.

The Maryland State Highway Administration has a bridge replacement project planned for this weekend on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway near BWI Marshall Airport. The work will close all lanes of the parkway at West Nursery Road overnights Friday and Saturday. The lanes are scheduled to reopen by 10 a.m. Sunday.

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.

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.

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.

 

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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