[This post has been updated with the latest from Metro.]
The weekend report got more complicated when a Metro train derailed outside of East Falls Church station. Metro officials announced that Orange and Silver Line service through East Falls Church would remain suspended through Sunday. See more details in the Metrorail section below.
The biggest crowd-drawing event of the weekend is the Billy Joel concert in Nationals Park at 8 p.m. Saturday. It’s possible to take Metrorail to the show, but with Metro’s midnight closing, this will be tight for most people. See details below, along with the rest of Metro’s weekend schedule.
D.C. United plays Montreal at 6 p.m. Sunday at RFK Stadium.
Another big draw this weekend will be the U.S. Botanic Garden, on the southwest side of the Capitol. See a map. The attraction is the pungent corpse flower, which will be in a rare full bloom. Federal Center SW is the nearest Metrorail station, but check the details below for the Silver, Orange and Blue lines. Metrobuses 32, 34 and 36 stop nearby. If you’re looking for street parking, be sure to check the street signs carefully for the times you need to pay at the parking meters.
The Capital Weather Gang says the weekend’s high temperatures will be in the mid- to upper 80s, with a chance of storms each afternoon and evening, but particularly on Saturday.
Here are some getaway travel reminders for those escaping the D.C. area this weekend.
Chesapeake Bay Bridge. Eastbound traffic gets very heavy on Friday afternoons and evenings and again on Saturday mornings. Expect lengthy delays from Sandy Point State Park to the toll plaza, and stay left if you’ve got an E-ZPass.
95 Express Lanes. Southbound traffic on Interstate 95 is usually quite heavy in Northern Virginia on Friday afternoons and Saturday mornings during the summer. But the big bottleneck is near Garrisonville Road in Stafford County, where the I-95 Express Lanes merge with the regular lanes. In the express lanes, where drivers pay a variable toll if they don’t have an E-ZPass Flex set to the carpool mode, the toll usually shoots up for that last portion of the southbound trip because of the congestion. Watch for electronic message boards warning about congestion ahead, and consider taking the next exit back into the regular lanes. The regular lanes still will be slow, but they’re toll-free.
Frederick. Drivers heading west on I-270 for popular spots such as Deep Creek Lake in western Maryland often have a tough time getting through a knot of traffic around Frederick, the junction of I-270, I-70 and Route 15.
Billy Joel at Nationals Park
The crowd for the concert is likely to include many rookies who, unlike the regular fans for baseball games, will take more time to navigate the Nationals Park neighborhood. Some will have reserved parking at the lots and garages near the stadium, but others will wander around to discover the limitations on street parking in the vicinity. Another difference with the baseball crowd: Everyone will leave the concert at the same time, adding to late-night congestion in the Navy Yard neighborhood and the M Street corridor.
Expect more traffic than normal for a Saturday evening on the 14th and 11 Street bridges, the Southeast-Southwest Freeway, M Street and South Capitol Street.
The gates at Nationals Park will open at 6 p.m. Saturday, two hours before showtime. Online reviewers say Joel performs for an energetic 2½ hours. Start times have varied a bit. An evening storm could affect the concert’s timing.
Metro. The last Green Line train to Greenbelt that can make a Red Line connection at Gallery Place is scheduled to leave the Navy Yard station at 11:23 p.m. The very last train toward Greenbelt is scheduled to leave Navy Yard at 11:39 p.m., and the last train toward Branch Avenue leaves Navy Yard at 12:17 a.m. As baseball fans know, the areas around the station entrances can get crowded as people head home, and it may be a while before they reach the platform.
A concert-goer could park for free at the Metro garage by the Anacostia station just off I-295 and take the Green Line one stop to Navy Yard. Then after the show, it would be possible to catch the 12:17 a.m. train in the direction of Branch Avenue, getting off at Anacostia for the drive back home.
Otherwise, check to see whether there’s still reserved parking available at the Nationals lots and garages, using this link to the Nationals Park Billy Joel page. That parking costs $48.90. You can also use one of the online reservation services, such as Parking Panda, ParkWhiz and SpotHero, to find a space.
Orange, Silver lines. Metro officials said Orange and Silver Line service will remain suspended through Sunday in the derailment zone at the East Falls Church station. The East Falls Church station is closed. Orange Line trains are scheduled to operate every 18 minutes between Vienna and West Falls Church, and between Ballston and New Carrollton. Silver Line trains will operate every 18 minutes between Wiehle-Reston East and McLean, and between Ballston and Largo Town Center. Riders heading for stations west of Ballston should board the first Orange or Silver Line train they can cram into, no matter which line color, because all the trains going through downtown Washington will end their trips at Ballston, where the shuttle buses are.
Blue Line. The plan is to have trains operate every 18 minutes on Saturday and Sunday, but the Blue Line service will be coordinated with the schedules for the Orange and Silver lines.
Yellow Line. Trains are scheduled to operate every 12 to 15 minutes. They will end their northbound trips at Mount Vernon Square, rather than continuing to Fort Totten. To go north from Mount Vernon Square toward Greenbelt, board a Green Line train.
Green Line. From 10 p.m. Friday through Sunday, trains will share a track between Naylor Road and Branch Avenue, where crews will work on switch maintenance. Trains are scheduled to operate every 12 to 15 minutes.
Red Line. From 10 p.m. Friday through the rail system’s midnight closing Sunday, crews will continue repairs on concrete columns between Grosvenor and Twinbrook. Trains will share a track in that zone. They are scheduled to leave the ends of the line at Shady Grove and Glenmont every 16 minutes through the weekend. From 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, more trains are scheduled to be in service between Grosvenor and Silver Spring. In that zone, trains should reach platforms every eight to 10 minutes.
This coming week
Metro General Manager Paul J. Wiedefeld said he did not expect the recovery from the derailment to affect other plans for Metrorail maintenance work. SafeTrack Surge 6, the first of the special maintenance projects to directly affect Red Line riders, is scheduled to begin Monday morning, with continuous single-tracking between Silver Spring and Takoma.