[This post has been updated to reflect cancellation of track work scheduled for the Green Line.]
Metro is preparing for a big day on Aug. 24, when many thousands of additional Saturday riders will take trains to reach 50th anniversary events for the March on Washington.
The events are part of a week-long celebration of the march, which occurred on Aug. 28, 1963, climaxed by Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial.
We’ll have additional travel tips as we get closer to the celebrations, but here’s some preliminary guidance on using Metrorail that weekend.
Weekend maintenance work originally scheduled for the Orange and Red lines has been canceled in anticipation of the crowds. On Wednesday, the transit authority also announced cancellation of Green Line work between College Park and Greenbelt.
Track work still is scheduled, but will affect only Franconia-Springfield on the Blue Line. Every other train will begin or end at Van Dorn Street, so service will be reduced between Van Dorn Street and Franconia-Springfield.
So on that weekend, riders who drive to stations might be better off driving to Van Dorn Street or College Park, rather than the outermost stations. [In comments below, riders suggest driving to Huntington station on the Yellow Line, rather than to Van Dorn Street.]
Metro is scheduled to open at its normal Saturday time, 7 a.m. The crowd likely will be gathering by 8 a.m., but the program is scheduled to start at 10 a.m.
All lines will have eight-car trains, unusual for a weekend. Extra trains will be available to enter service to ease crowding. Service through Stadium-Armory station will get special attention, because the transit authority anticipates there may be as many as 600 charter buses parked in the RFK Stadium lots.
The elevators at Stadium-Armory are undergoing a full-scale rehabilitation. So riders needing elevator service should either plan to use another station, or allow themselves extra time to use the free Metro shuttle between Stadium-Armory and Potomac Avenue, the next station toward the Mall on the Blue and Orange lines.
The Saturday events focus on the Lincoln and King memorials and the Mall, so the busiest stations are likely to be Foggy Bottom, Smithsonian and Arlington Cemetery. (References to Arlington Cemetery station as an exit point sometimes surprise travelers, because it’s across the Potomac River from the Mall, but it’s just about a mile from the Lincoln Memorial and a beautiful walk, as many of us learned on the past several presidential inauguration days.)
I’m concentrating on Metro service, because as with other big events in D.C., it’s likely to be the best bet for many participants. Parking is limited on the west side of the District near the Potomac River, and street restrictions are likely to be in effect.