Getting to FedEx Field for Monday night football

September 6, 2013
The Redskins and Eagles are set to kick off at 6:55 p.m. Monday for the season opener at FedEx Field in Landover. (Robert Thomson/The Washington Post)

Fans heading for the first game of the NFL regular season at FedEx Field will traveling along with the usual rush-hour crowds Monday afternoon and evening. The Redskins and Eagles are scheduled to kick off at 6:55 p.m., a bit earlier than the original 7:10 p.m. start time.

The Redskins team management always encourages fans to leave lots of time for getting to the game, and more so in this case. Meanwhile, commuters should watch for extra traffic on the streets and highways around Landover.

The stadium parking lots will open at 3 p.m. Monday and the stadium gates at 5 p.m.

See story by Ashley Halsey III using traffic data from previous Monday night games at FedEx. See graphic showing how much extra time to leave for the trip.

Here’s a refresher on driving, parking or taking transit to reach the stadium for this Monday and the rest of the 2013 NFL season.

Driving
The FedEx parking areas open four hours before game time, and the stadium opens two hours before games. One bit of advice never varies throughout the season: Get there early. The stadium doesn’t have the transit options of a downtown location such as Verizon Center or Nationals Park, so drivers have a lot of competition in the travel lanes on game days.

Before and after stadium events, traffic surges on Landover Road, Central Avenue, Baltimore-Washington Parkway, Southeast-Southwest Freeway, I-295/D.C. 295 and the eastern side of the Capital Beltway. Traffic in the Landover area will be at its worst in the two hours before kickoff.

FedEx Field travel time map
Click on map to review travel times to FedEx Field.

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 State Highway Administration recommends to minimize delays.

SHA 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.

Parking
Don’t expect to see huge burgundy-and-gold signs along the Beltway marking the exits nearest the field. You’re looking for standard green-and-white highway signs designating the off-ramps.

Through traffic should stay as far left as possible, as 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.

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.

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.

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 till two hours afterward.

Metro doesn’t allow tailgating in its parking areas.

Monday night. Metrorail doesn’t plan to stay open beyond its normal midnight closing on weekdays. There may be extra service on the Blue Line depending on the size of the crowds. Note that while parking is free at almost all stations when game day is on a weekend (the exceptions being Morgan Boulevard and Largo Town Center), the normal weekday fees are in effect at the other stations on Monday.

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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