Triple Trouble For DC Traffic?
Let's see how big this city really is: Three events are scheduled for Saturday, March 29, and they all contain the word "National." While they're still a week and a half away, you'll probably see why there's some value in beginning to plan.
Here are the elements of the Traffic Trifecta.
The National Marathon and Half Marathon. The starting time is 7 a.m. and the finish time is 1:30 p.m. Last year, many people enjoyed having this run in the nation's capital, but it left thousands trapped in traffic. It takes place on a Saturday, which is not a light day for local travel, and it crosses through six of the city's eight wards in two big loops.
The course begins and ends at RFK Stadium. Look for signs marking the race route. That's where you'll experience temporary street closures that not only will stop traffic but also pin down cars parked along those streets. Some Metrobuses will have to detour.
I'll put up more details on the blog as we get closer to the event, but the marathon's Web site provides a lot of details. This page has a good overview of what's going to happen. This page displays a map of the routes and useful information about timing, but note it's a 5.6 MB pdf that will take a minute to download. This page has more details on the street closures. This page has a list of the street closures and the estimated times.
Cherry Blossom Festival. The annual springtime celebration begins on Saturday, March 29, and continues through Sunday, April 13. Robert DeFeo, the chief horticulturalist for the National Park Service and the man the nation has relied on for years to predict the peak bloom, says it's likely to occur between March 27 and April 3.
Think there may be some tourists in town on Saturday, March 29? Here's a list of festival events for that day.
Nationals Park Debuts. At 6 p.m. that Saturday, the Washington Nationals play their first game in the new stadium on South Capitol Street. It's an exhibition game against the Orioles, with the regular season opener scheduled for the next day. So that Saturday game, open to season ticket holders and employees, will be the first test of all the planning that has gone into getting baseball fans by car, bus and train to a place they've never been. The Nationals are building up a very helpful Way to Go Web page with directions to the park. They also have an interactive map, with more information. Metro also has a useful Web page guiding fans to the games by transit.
This list isn't meant to scare people away. Have a good time, but have a plan. And if you have any advice for getting around that day, share it here.
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