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Traffic Restrictions End As Pope Leaves

The last of the week's traffic restrictions left town at 9 a.m. along with Pope Benedict XVI, who took off for New York from Andrews Air Force Base.

Though there was a no parking zone on Massachusetts Avenue from Wisconsin Avenue to Observatory Circle and a one lane limitation on Massachusetts from Observatory Circle to 34th Street, all of that ended this morning.

This week was an unusual challenge for our transportation system. So many days, so many locations. This wasn't another VIP going from place to place for closed meetings with other VIPs. This was a person people came from across the country to see.

As a result, Metro was extra crowded and traffic backed up where streets were closed. But the plans worked out pretty well. The shutdown of the Douglass Bridge for Thursday's mass at Nationals Park slowed traffic but did create a memorable traffic jam. (That honor remains with the Springfield Interchange, frozen on Feb. 12.)

Some Metro trains were intensely crowded on Thursday morning, but the Navy Yard Station, redesigned to handle crowds for Nationals Park, did its job. Thursday was Metrorail's third highest ridership day, with 828,418 trips taken. President Reagan's funeral on June 9, 2004, and April 3, 2007, when the cherry blossoms were in bloom and the Nationals were playing, are the only dates to record more rides.

By Robert Thomson  |  April 18, 2008; 9:15 AM ET
Categories:  Events  
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Why has none of the Pope coverage mentioned that the US DOT essentially shut down on the 17th? Most employees and contractors took leave or telecommuted.

I doubt the morning commute would have been as smooth otherwise.

Posted by: Arlington, VA | April 20, 2008 2:52 AM | Report abuse

Thank you DOT!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 21, 2008 1:27 PM | Report abuse

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