The Week Ahead: Cherry blossom traffic, home games for four D.C. teams and more


Fans walk from the Navy Yard Metro stop to Nationals Park. (Linda Davidson – THE WASHINGTON POST)

Just a few days after the Washington region bundled up against chilly temperatures, we’re essentially leapfrogging spring and approaching summer this week. The Capital Weather Gang forecast says that warm temperatures will persist until the weekend. Meanwhile, the cherry blossoms will continue to draw crowds on the Metro and to the streets around the Tidal Basin. (Here’s a map of the blossoms, in case you’re heading that way.)

Here’s what you need to know for this week:

Cherry blossom travel tips

Heading to the cherry blossoms this week? Here are some travel tips. (We’ve given many of these before, but if you’re making your first trip there they can be useful.)

Metrorail: Metro warns that ridership spikes during the blossom season. Expect more crowding than usual on Metro trains, particularly on lines that head to the Mall. And the reprieve from weekend track work continues until April 19, when two Orange Line stations will close. [UPDATE: In addition, the Judiciary Square station on the Red Line will close.]

Walking: Smithsonian is the Metro station closest to the Tidal Basin, but it’s a madhouse at blossom time. If you can manage a little more walking, consider the L’Enfant Plaza, Federal Triangle or Foggy Bottom stops.

Biking: Capital Bikeshare has multiple stations near and around the Mall. (You can find a map at www.capitalbikeshare.com.) If you bring your own bike, there is some parking near the Washington Monument and by the Jefferson Memorial.

Parking: Parking near the Tidal Basin during blossom time is extremely scarce, and traffic is heavy. Drivers can park at Hains Point and take a shuttle. Limited parking for people with disabilities is available near the memorials.

READ: More travel tips for cherry blossom season.

11th Street closure in Southeast D.C.

11th Street SE will close between M and K streets from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

The following detours will be in place during the closures:

  • Northbound 11th Street traffic will be detoured via M Street SE to 8th Street SE, then onto G Street SE and back onto 11th Street north of K Street SE
  • Southbound 11th Street traffic will be detoured to I Street SE, then to 8th Street SE and M Street SE to get back to 11th Street south of M Street SE.

This is part of the 11th Street Bridge Project, and additional closures are coming during the weekends of April 20-22 and May 4-6.

I-295 ramp closure

The exit ramp from northbound Interstate 295/Anacostia Freeway leading to 11th Street SE and Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE will close overnight on Monday and Tuesday evenings so that paving and other work can take place. The ramp will close at 8 p.m. and reopen at 5 a.m. the following day.

A detour will redirect drivers to eastbound Pennsylvania Avenue SE, then to Minnesota Avenue SE and Good Hope Road SE, to access Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE and the 11th Street local bridge.

This closure and the related detour will also occur on April 16 and April 21.

Major street closures in D.C. next weekend

Several events in the District will lead to major street closures and traffic problems on Saturday and Sunday. If you’re starting to make weekend plans, keep these things in mind.

Saturday

The Japanese Street Festival (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.) will close the following streets from 7 p.m. Friday until 11 p.m. Saturday.

  • Pennsylvania Avenue NW between 9th and 14th streets NW
  • 10th Street NW between Constitution Avenue and E Street NW
  • 11th Street NW between Pennsylvania Avenue and E Street NW
  • 12th Street NW between Constitution Avenue and E Street NW
  • 13th Street between NW Pennsylvania Avenue and E Street NW.

The Cherry Blossom Festival Parade (4:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.)

The parade’s assembly/rehearsal area:

  • 7th Street between Pennsylvania Avenue NW and Independence Avenue SW
  • Constitution Avenue between 6th and 9th streets NW.

The National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade road closures will start at 9:30 a.m. with the parade scheduled to run from 10 a.m. to noon.

  • Constitution Avenue NW will be closed from 7th to 23rd streets NW

The parade will head north on 7th Street NW, head west on Constitution Avenue NW and continue to 17th Street NW, where the parade will disband. 

Sunday

The Race to Stop the Silence 8K is scheduled to last from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. The following streets will close at 5 a.m. Sunday and reopen by noon.

  • Pennsylvania Avenue NW from 12th to 14th streets
  • 13th Street from E Street NW to Pennsylvania Avenue NW

The race itself will head east, travel to Columbus Circle, head from Northwest to Southwest and back again before ultimately finishing at Pennsylvania Avenue NW at 12th Street NW. Find a map here.

New Circulator hours

In case you missed this last week: The D.C. Circulator began running summer hours on two of its routes. Buses between Union Station and Navy Yard and between the Potomac Avenue Metro and Skyland will run from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays and between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. on Saturdays. Also, when the Washington Nationals play home games, there will be additional service on the Union Station-Navy Yard route. The summer hours will last until Sept. 30.

Baseball, basketball, hockey and soccer

The NationalsWizardsCapitals and United are all playing home games this week, so watch for increased traffic around Nationals Park, the Verizon Center and RFK Stadium. This is actually the last time all of these teams will be at home during the same week, as some seasons are winding down.

Nationals: The Nats host the White Sox (7:05 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday) and the Braves (7:05 p.m. Friday, 1:05 pm. Saturday and 1:35 p.m. Sunday) for back-to-back match-ups at Nationals Park. After that, the Nats are out of town until April 22. Here are some tips for getting to the ballpark.

Wizards: Washington’s final two home games of the season are this week (the Wizards close out their season on the road next week against Chicago). The two opponents are the world champion Miami Heat (7 p.m. Wednesday) and the Philadelphia 76ers (7 p.m. Friday).

Capitals: The Capitals are away until Thursday, when the Carolina Hurricanes come to town (7 p.m.). The Caps also host the Tampa Bay Lightning at 7 p.m. Saturday.

United: The New York Red Bulls come to RFK for a game at 7 p.m. Saturday.

Programming Note: No Chat This Week

There is no Dr. Gridlock discussion this week. Head here to submit questions for next Monday’s chat, which is scheduled for noon.

This post has been updated.

Mark Berman is a reporter on the National staff. He runs Post Nation, a destination for breaking news and developing stories from around the country.

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Dana Hedgpeth · April 8, 2013