Traffic and transit impacts vary with the timing of games. The Redskins and the Bengals square off at FedEx Field at 1 p.m. Sunday, in the first of eight home games through Dec. 30. Most of this season’s home games start at 1 p.m. on Sundays, but there is a Monday night game, against the Giants, at 8:30 p.m. Dec. 3. And there’s a 4:15 p.m. start on Sunday, Oct. 14.
The Redskins will be in Tampa next weekend, but at noon Saturday, the stadium hosts a college football game between the Cincinnati Bearcats and the Virginia Tech Hokies.
Events at FedEx that draw many people unfamiliar with roads and transit in the D.C. area can generate a lot of congestion. While Redskins fans may need some refreshers, the out-of-towners can be utterly confused about which lane to be in on the Beltway, how soon to make a turn on Central Avenue or where to stand on a Metro escalator.
The FedEx parking areas open four hours before game time, and the stadium opens two hours before games. One bit of advice never varies: 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.
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.
Drivers who take the northern arc of the Beltway will again go through the work zone on the Northwest Branch bridge in Silver Spring, but the traffic pattern is different: Three lanes go right around the work zone barrier, and one goes left. Something hasn’t changed: There’s still a speed camera in that area, and the speed limit is still 55 mph.
Northern Virginia drivers who include Southeast-Southwest Freeway in their approach should note that there are more speed cameras along along the D.C. freeways this year.
If the trip involves crossing the Anacostia River via Pennsylvania Avenue or the 11th Street Bridge, watch for changing traffic patterns. Traffic heading from Pennsylvania Avenue to the Southeast Freeway will be restricted by roadwork. Meanwhile, new ramps to and from the 11th Street Bridge will provide direct freeway connections with D.C. 295. The bridge link from southbound D.C. 295 is open, and the one from the bridge to northbound 295 will open soon.