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Travel Tips for a Busy Weekend -- and Beyond

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Friday, March 28, 2008

Cherry Blossom Festival: Avoid the Tidal Basin, Jefferson Memorial and East and West Potomac Park areas. This year, the small lot off the Tidal Basin will be closed, with traffic diverted to East Potomac Park. The largest number of parking spaces -- 800 free spots -- will be on Hains Point along Ohio Drive SW, where free shuttle buses will take people to and from the Tidal Basin. The National Park Service has designated several parking areas for disabled visitors.

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National Marathon: The race starts at 7 a.m., with temporary road closures across the city lasting until about 1:30 p.m.

Best Bets for Baseball: Check the Navy Yard Metro station, with its rebuilt exit, but if that proves too crowded, consider getting to games by walking down New Jersey Avenue from the Capitol South Station and getting home by riding Metrobus N22 up to the Eastern Market or Union Station Metro stops.

The real test of traffic and transit plans starts with the first weeknight game, at 7:10 April 7. Many fans entering the District will be using the 14th Street, Frederick Douglass (South Capitol), 11th Street or Whitney M. Young (East Capitol) bridges. Expect extra traffic on such routes as the Southeast-Southwest Freeway; Interstate 295; Third Street Tunnel; M and South Capitol streets; and Maine, Potomac, Virginia, New Jersey and Pennsylvania avenues.

Metrorail: Only the Green Line has a stop near the stadium. Expect crowding not only at the Navy Yard Station but also at the major transfer points: L'Enfant Plaza, Metro Center and Gallery Place. Have enough money on your fare card so you won't have to line up at a vending machine. Season ticket holders might as well spend $5 to buy a SmarTrip electronic fare card and load it up. Metro charges for parking on weekdays at its garages and lots, but not on weekends and holidays. At most facilities, you need a SmarTrip card to pay and exit, but some -- including Franconia-Springfield, Largo, New Carrollton, Shady Grove and Vienna -- accept major credit cards.

Metrobus: This could be a good alternative if Metrorail is crowded, as long as the buses aren't stuck in traffic. Metro recently enhanced service on the N22 line, which connects Navy Yard to Eastern Market and Union Station and thus provides a direct link to the Blue, Orange and Red lines. The other buses serving the stadium area are routes 70, P1, P2, V7, V8 and V9. None of the routes goes to Virginia. Bus fare is $1.25 with a SmarTrip card or $1.35 in cash.

-- Robert Thomson and Eric M. Weiss


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