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Marathon to disrupt D.C. travel

The two annual events that most annoy local travelers are the Christmas tree lighting on the Ellipse and the National Marathon. We got past the tree lighting. It's time for the marathon.

Like the tree lighting, the marathon is a fine event, and we're glad to have it, but the timing is very disruptive. The tree lighting, for some reason lost to history, is scheduled for a weeknight rush hour. The marathon, a more recent event, is scheduled for a Saturday morning, when plenty of people are trying to get out of their D.C. neighborhoods and many others are trying to get into the city.

The marathon is scheduled to start at 7 a.m. Saturday and finish at 1 p.m. It starts and ends at RFK Stadium, but in between, it covers a huge territory, extending across six of the District's eight wards. If you have plans to move about in the District early Saturday,see this map and develop a plan.

Intermittent street closings will begin at 6:45 a.m. The streets will be posted with "Official Course Route" signs. Parked cars won't be allowed to move from those streets once runners enter the area. See the lengthy list of street closings and times on page 2 of this pdf.

D.C. police will be stationed along the route to control traffic and safety. Each officer will have a Race Day Operations Guide with detailed information on open access routes and detour plans.

East Capitol Street from 13th to Second streets NE will be closed to all vehicles starting at 6:45 a.m. It will reopen about 10:45 a.m. as the runners pass. Capitol Hill residents who normally use East Capitol to get to or from their homes will be allowed to cross East Capitol at these locations: Fourth, Sixth, Eighth, 10th, 15th and 17th streets, under the direction of police officers, who will decide when to open and close access.

But travelers far from Capitol Hill also will be affected. Drivers along Connecticut Avenue between Florida Avenue and M Street NW are likely to experience delays between 7 and 8:35 a.m. Minnesota Avenue SE will be closed to traffic from about 8:55 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.

If you're driving into the District, best bets for getting across the marathon route are: Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New York Avenue.

The good news is that Metrorail will open at 5 a.m. Saturday to help runners and spectators get to their places. The bad news is that all the street closings will disrupt Metrobus service on 42 routes, as well as MetroAccess service.

Metrorail: Before the race, all Red Line trains will operate every 12 minutes and will share one track between the Medical Center and Grosvenor stations because of track maintenance. All Blue, Orange, Yellow and Green line trains will operate every 15 minutes from the ends of each rail line and every seven to eight minutes in downtown Washington.

After the race, all Blue Line trains will share one track between the Franconia-Springfield and Van Dorn Street stations because of track maintenance. They will operate every 24 minutes. Every other Blue Line train traveling toward Franconia-Springfield will terminate at Van Dorn Street and return to Largo.

Metrobus routes detoured and running slow: 5A, 13A, 13B, 13F, 13G, 32, 34, 36, 38B, 42, 52, 54, 64, 70, 80, 90, 92, 96, 98, A42, A46, A48, B2, D4, D6, D8, G2, G8, H2, H4, H8, L2, M6, N6, N22, P6, S2, S4, U6, V8, X2 and X8. Buses should be back to normal routes in the early afternoon.

Several of the District's Circulator bus routes also will detour because of the marathon.

The Georgetown/Union Station route will be split in two from 7 a.m. until about 8:45 a.m. Half of the route will operate from Union Station to 17th Street NW and the other half will operate from Georgetown to 20th Street NW.

Riders who need to travel through the affected area between 17th and 20th streets must walk across the marathon route to reach buses on the other side.

The Woodley Park/Adams Morgan/McPherson Square route will not offer service to the Columbia Heights or Woodley Park Metro stations from 7 a.m. to about 9:30 a.m., because Columbia Road will be closed Metro. This also prevents service to the Adams Morgan neighborhood during that time.

The Convention Center/Waterfront Route will be split in two from 7a.m. to about 1:30 p.m. Half of the route will operate from O Street NW to Pennsylvania Avenue, and half of the route will operate from I (Eye) Street SW to Independence Avenue SW. Riders who need to travel through the affected area between Pennsylvania Avenue and Independence Avenue must walk across the marathon route to reach buses on the other side.

By Robert Thomson  |  March 17, 2010; 5:05 PM ET
Categories:  Congestion , Events  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, National Marathon  
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Can I bring a uhaul 10' truck on rock creek parkway?

Posted by: wpjunk | March 17, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Trucks are not allowed on the Parkway. Its a National Park, not a commuter road. Well, at least according to the Park Service.

Posted by: thetan | March 17, 2010 7:28 PM | Report abuse

How do I get from Pentagon City in Arlington to Philadelphia if I want to leave before 9AM Saturday? The marathon map seems to cut off both 395/NY Ave and 395/SE Pkwy/295.

Posted by: the_moo | March 17, 2010 8:46 PM | Report abuse

Even a little 10 footer? How about this little truck between the omnishore and watergate?

Posted by: wpjunk | March 18, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Honest question - does DC have the most marathons, 5K's and charity walks of any city in the world? Seems like there is one of these events every weekend from now until November that closes down major roads and inconveniences thousands of people.

Posted by: Axel2 | March 18, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Congress is supposed to be in session and voting on Saturday. How will the marathon impact traffic and those who have to go into work on Saturday?

Posted by: maxman | March 18, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

"the_moo," it appears from the map that the marathon will cross over or under both highways but will not actually enter them. For example, the part crossing I-395 goes through the Ninth Street Tunnel. The tunnel comes out onto an overpass that crosses over I-395. So you shouldn't have a problem in that respect. But I did notice that at the DC-295 end the runners will go through the intersection at Pennsylvania Avenue just east of the Sousa Bridge where you'd be expecting to access DC-295 (you go over the Sousa Bridge and hang a left to the on-ramp for northbound DC-295), so there might be a road closure there.

Have you considered just taking the GW Parkway north to the Beltway and looping around through Montgomery County? It's a little bit out of the way, but it's not horrible and it's almost certainly more direct than the alternative of going down to the Wilson Bridge and then up I-295 or around the eastern side of the Beltway.

Posted by: 1995hoo | March 18, 2010 5:49 PM | Report abuse

Cry me a river, boo-hoo - take the metro or use 495. Dr Gridlock, I guess the Marine Corps Marathon doesn't annoy local travelers?

Posted by: Shiba-fussa | March 19, 2010 12:01 AM | Report abuse

From Dr. Gridlock: Shiba-fussa, Not nearly as much as the National Marathon. That's because the Marine Corps Marathon occurs on a Sunday morning when travel is lighter, and because the route is concentrated along the Mall and the Potomac River banks.

Posted by: Robert Thomson | March 22, 2010 9:02 AM | Report abuse

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