When the Shopping Starts
Metro will operate on a Sunday-type schedule on Thanksgiving Day, with four-car trains running from 7 a.m. to midnight. Then it will open an hour early, at 4 a.m., on Friday, because it's such a busy shopping day. It's also a regular weekday, not a holiday, so the weekday fare system will be in place and drivers will pay to park at Metro's lots and garages.
Those driving to malls in Northern Virginia on Friday will notice that the timing of the traffic signals around the malls is different. The Virginia Department of Transportation will be making its annual adjustment to the traffic pattern that dominates during the holidays.
VDOT has been doing this since 1999. (Maryland uses a signal technology that the State Highway Administration says can respond automatically to changing traffic congestion.)
In Virginia, the signals controlling 178 intersections around 12 big shopping centers -- including Tysons, Manassas Mall, Potomac Mills Mall and Fair Oaks Mall -- are adjusted to account for the greater number of people trying to get in and out at the holidays.
Thanksgiving Day is usually really light for transit. Last year, about 103,000 people rode the subway, and that was the highest ever for a Thanksgiving. The only exception to the four-car trains could come after the Wizards game at Verizon Center, which starts at 8 p.m. If the crowds are big enough, Metro says, it will run six-car trains.
Even though many people will be off on Friday, there's still a lot of travel to shopping areas, so in addition to the early start time, Metrorail will run six-car and eight-car trains during peak hours.
There probably will be lots of parking spaces at the Metro lots and garages on Friday, but remember that you still have to pay, because it's not a holiday. Also, Metro has a new policy that allows transit police to search people's bags as they enter the stations.
You don't have to submit to it, but if you don't, the police won't let you through the fare gates.
Posted by: 1995hoo | November 25, 2008 9:22 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: -CN- | November 25, 2008 2:26 PM | Report abuse
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