Pleasant temperatures and clear weather are in the Capital Weather Gang’s forecast for Friday evening, when the Redskins play their first preseason game of 2011 at FedEx Field. In early August, traffic is about as light as it gets in the D.C. region, but drivers will notice a change on the highways and streets around Landover on Friday afternoon as game time approaches.
Here are some suggestions for reaching the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
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. 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 open four hours before game time. Stadium gates open two hours before kickoff. Drivers leaving the lots after games will be directed to dedicated lanes to ease congestion. Watch the stadium personnel and the overhead lane lights.
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.
Metrorail will be open till 3 a.m. Saturday. That’s the normal closing time for Friday and Saturday nights each weekend.
Drivers who park at Morgan Boulevard and Largo Town Center stations for events at FedEx, but don’t ride Metrorail will be required to pay $25 using their SmarTrip cards.
Drivers parking at those stations and riding Metrorail should make sure they use the same SmarTrip card to pay for the rail ride and for the $4.25 weekday parking fee.