The last thing the region’s transportation departments want to see out of Metro’s SafeTrack maintenance program is more drivers. Yet the reality is that other forms of transit aren’t going to work for some of the Metrorail riders who would normally travel through the disrupted zones.
So the District Department of Transportation is highlighting a parking option at RFK Stadium for “commuters who must drive” during the partial shutdowns of the Silver, Orange and Blue lines.
“We’re urging commuters to try alternative means of transportation to reach their destinations without using their vehicles,” DDOT Director Leif Dormsjo said in a statement. “But we understand that some commuters have no choice but to drive, so we continue to seek ways to mitigate traffic congestion during SafeTrack.”
Lot 3 at the stadium will be open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays. Parking will cost $7 most days, but if there’s a stadium event, the fee will rise to $15. (The next D.C. United game at the stadium is at 7 p.m. Saturday, when this commuter parking arrangement wouldn’t apply anyway.)
DDOT created an online map that shows the RFK lot and other off-street parking in the middle of the District.
The advantage of parking at RFK is that you spare yourself the rest of the drive into the heart of the city. The disadvantage is that after getting that far and paying to park, you’re still in the middle of the Metrorail zone that’s disrupted by the SafeTrack program. Your best bet is to walk over to the Stadium-Armory Metro station and board one of the free shuttle buses that will take you to the Eastern Market station, to catch an Orange or Silver Line train. The shuttles are scheduled to operate every five to 10 minutes. Alternatively, you might ride a regular Metrobus 96 or 97. The regular bus fare is $1.75.
A better option for a long-distance commuter who normally uses the Silver, Orange or Blue lines and who wants to avoid the disruption near the Anacostia River would be to park at one of the Green Line stations — Southern Avenue, Greenbelt or College Park among them — and ride Metrorail to a transfer station. (Metrorail parking fees still apply during SafeTrack.)
So far, extra driving during the second SafeTrack project has not created severe problems on the region’s highways or main streets.