Tips for driving, parking and Metro on Redskins game days at FedEx Field
Sunday, September 12, 2010
The next phase of September Shock is about to kick off. Among the many lessons that drivers and transit users must re-learn as summer ends is how to confront congestion in Landover. Usually, the community's transportation system is not overburdened. The change is dramatic during the few hours before and after the Redskins play at FedEx Field. Here's our guide to easing the pain.
This season starts with a night game at 8:20 Sunday. There's another Sunday night game Oct. 17, and a Monday night game Nov. 15. Metrorail usually closes at midnight Sundays and Mondays, but the system stays up late for football.
-- On game days, traffic volumes surge on Landover Road, Central Avenue, the Baltimore-Washington Parkway and the eastern side of the Capital Beltway. There are no major changes in the road configurations this year. The same old guidance applies: Leave home early, because the traffic 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. The Landover Road and Arena Drive exits tend to be the most crowded, especially Landover Road as game time approaches. Central Avenue, the southernmost of the three exits, is the one that the Maryland State Highway Administration recommends to minimize delays.
-- Consider Beltway alternatives. For example, a Northern Virginia driver could come across the 14th Street bridge on Interstate 395, cross the Anacostia River via Pennsylvania Avenue, pick up Minnesota Avenue SE, turn right on B Street SE, right again on East Capitol Street, which becomes Central Avenue, then take Morgan Boulevard north to the stadium.
-- The parking lots usually open four hours before game time, but because of special events in the lots this Sunday, they will open at noon. (That should ease pregame congestion by spreading out the arriving traffic.) Drivers leaving the lots after games will be directed to dedicated lanes to ease congestion. Watch the stadium personnel and the overhead lane lights.
-- Tailgating is permitted in all the parking lots. People who want to tailgate in more than one space will be directed to the back of the lots, where they can take up additional space until it's needed for other parkers. Single-space tailgaters will be directed to the front of the lots.
-- The Blue Line's Morgan Boulevard Station is the closest to FedEx. The stadium is a little less than a mile north along a slightly uphill sidewalk. Largo Town Center Station, also on the Blue Line, is next closest. After each game, Metro says, it will have extra trains available.
-- Metrorail will stay open until 1 a.m. to get fans home from Sunday's game. The last Blue Line train headed toward Franconia-Springfield will leave Largo Town Center at 12:24 a.m. and Morgan Boulevard at 12:27 a.m. If the game goes into overtime, trains will be available, the transit authority says.
-- Parking is free on weekends at Metrorail lots and garages, with two exceptions. If you park at the Morgan Boulevard or Largo stations from three hours before the game to two hours afterward and don't use Metrorail, you must pay $25 with a SmarTrip card for parking. The reusable cards cost $5. Metrorail riders who park at those two stations on game days should use SmarTrip cards to pay for their train rides, so they can avoid paying the special event fee when they exit the parking areas.