Weekend Wakeup: Road closures and Columbus Day

Posted on: Monday 10/14/2013 5:58am

WASHINGTON -- Big events and an Orange Line closure are the big things to consider when making travel plans this weekend.

On the east side of the Orange Line, buses will replace trains between New Carrollton and Stadium-Armory from Friday night at 10 p.m. through Metro's closing Sunday night.

Metro is also doing track work this weekend on the Red Line between Twinbrook and Grosvenor, but trains will run through the area. Trains will run every 16 to 20 minutes between Shady Grove and Glenmont, with extra trains between Grosvenor and Silver Spring running from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

For Columbus Day on Monday, Metro plans to run a Saturday schedule, but the system will open at 5 a.m. There is no track work scheduled Monday.

Parking at Metro lots is free on Columbus Day. (See more details below.)

Weekend Events

Expect extra traffic on Route 50 as thousands of people are expected to flock to Annapolis for the annual sailboat show. Organizers recommend parking at the Navy-Marine Corps Stadium. Parking there is $10 with a free shuttle running to Church Circle and City Dock. There are several other places to park along the Annapolis Circulator route.

This is also the second-to-last weekend of the Maryland Renaissance Festival in Crownsville, which could add even more traffic. If considering attending, remember that tickets bought online are not refundable even if it is raining.

On Saturday, the Charles County Sheriff's Office expects delays in White Plains due to a funeral service. Several hundred people are expected at the New Life Church, with the procession departing sometime around 11 a.m. The procession is expected to take 301 South to Washington Ave, and eventually take Route 5 (Mattawoman Beantown Rd.) to Trinity Memorial Gardens. There could be delays for other drivers between White Plains and Waldorf.

Also in Charles County Saturday, the Town of La Plata is scheduled to have a parade, and a bike ride will be held in Bryans Road.

Several high schools across the Washington area are also holding homecoming parades this weekend which could impact traffic on local roads.

In the District, a number of roads will be closed.

Taste of DC is Saturday and Sunday on Pennsylvania Avenue. between Freedom Plaza and 9th St. NW. In addition to Pennsylvania Avenue, cross streets will be closed between E St. and Constitution Avenue. The closures begin Friday at midnight, and are scheduled to last until 11 p.m. Sunday.

Streets will also be closed around the International Monetary Fund and Wold Bank from 10 p.m. Friday through 5 p.m Sunday. That includes the south side of Pennsylvania Avenue between 18th Street and 20th Street NW, H Street NW and G Street NW between 18th and 20th streets, and 18th, 19th and 20th streets at Pennsylvania Ave.

On Sunday morning, roads will be closed near Judiciary Square and the north side of the Capitol for the National Law Enforcement Run to Remember 5k. The 400 block of F Street will be closed from 4 a.m. to 11 a.m. Other streets, including Independence Avenue from 3rd Street SW to 1st Street SW will be closed from 7:15 a.m to 8:30 a.m Sunday.

In Arlington, roads will be closed Sunday morning for the Race for the Cause 8K:

  • North Quincy Street from Glebe Road to Wilson Boulevard will be closed from 5:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. Sunday.

  • Eastbound Wilson Boulevard from Quincy Street to North 10th Street will be closed from 7:45 a.m. to 10 a.m. Sunday.

  • Eastbound North 10th Street to Washington Boulevard will be closed from 7:45 a.m. to 10 a.m. Sunday.

  • Southbound Washington Boulevard from North 10th Street to Rt. 244 will be closed from 7:45 a.m. to 10 a.m. Sunday.

There are temporary parking restrictions on the route all weekend, so be on the lookout for signs.

The Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church moves its annual Greek festival to Silver Spring this weekend. The festival runs all afternoon Saturday and Sunday, and is expected to draw sizable crowds to the area near New Hampshire Avenue and Norwood Road.

In Baltimore, the Baltimore Running Festival will take over the roads on Saturday. 27,000 runners from around the world take off between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. for a marathon, half-marathon, relay or 5k. Marathon runners start and finish near M&T Bank Stadium and Camden Yards, and run past the Maryland Zoo, Johns Hopkins, Clifton and Patterson Parks and the Inner Harbor. Expect extra traffic in the city, and on I-95, Route 29 and Route 1.

Lane closures

Emergency repairs on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway will block at least one lane Friday night into Saturday as crews try to fix problems with the pavement. Lanes will be closed between the Baltimore Beltway in Anne Arundel County and the Baltimore County line. The State Highway Administration recommends using Route 1 or I-95, and plans to provide updates Saturday if the closure will impact runners and fans headed to the running festival.

In Silver Spring, expect lane closures on Georgia Avenue for several weeks. Crews are allowed to close two lanes between 9 p.m. Friday and noon Saturday. They can close one lane between noon Saturday and 5 a.m. Monday. The crews are working on bus pads and repaving. The work between Spring Street and Colesville Road should be done in late fall.

Late-night closures

Expect single-lane closures on I-395 in D.C. DDOT is working near the 14th Street Bridge between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. through Oct. 16.

Construction work this weekend will also lead to lane closures on New York Avenue. NE. Weather permitting, crews will be working between 4th Street and the 9th Street Bridge between 8 p.m. Friday and 5 a.m. Monday. DDOT says at least one lane will remain open in each direction, but there are often delays in the area even when there is not any extra roadwork, so finding an alternate route may be the best bet.

Due to the holiday weekend, HOV lanes on I-95 and I-395 in Virginia will only close during overnight hours. They will be open during the day. There will be no daytime lane closures associated with the Express Lanes project on Saturday or Sunday. On Monday, there will be limited lane closures in Stafford County as crews work on the Garrisonville Road bridge.

Columbus Day Changes

Due to the holiday, MARC trains will not run on Monday. Amtrak trains do not honor MARC weekly passes on holidays when MARC is not operating.

In a change from the past, VRE is planning to provide service. Trains will run on an "S" schedule. VRE says the number of riders on Monday will be used to "determine what service, if any, we will run on other "soft" holidays, like Veteran's Day, MLK, President's Day, etc." VRE will not provide feeder bus service Monday.

As noted above, Metrorail will open at 5 a.m., but otherwise operate on a Saturday schedule. Metro parking lots are free on Columbus Day, and there is no track work scheduled. Metrobus will operate on a Saturday supplemental schedule. MetroAccess service will operate on a regular schedule, but subscription trips will be canceled.

MTA Commuter Buses will not be running, except for route 201.

OmniRide Commuter Bus and Metro Direct will operate on a modified holiday schedule Monday with limited service. OmniLink local buses and cross county connector service will operate a regular weekday schedule.

PRTC warns that Dumfries OmniLink riders who use the College Rd. stops at the NOVA Campus may instead need to catch the bus on Neabsco Mills Rd. if scheduled roadwork continues into Monday.

Loudoun County Transit commuter buses will operate on a limited schedule. There will be no service from St. Andrew, Ashburn North, Dulles South, Christian Fellowship Church, Goose Creek Village, Brambleton or Our Lady of Hope. There will also be no Ashburn LINK Shuttle service.

Fairfax Connector will run on a holiday weekday schedule.

DASH will operate a Saturday schedule on Columbus Day. The King Street Trolley will operate every 15 minutes between the King Street Station and the Alexandria waterfront.

ART buses 41, 42, 51, 77 and 87 will run on Saturday schedules. All other routes will not operate.

RideOn buses will operate on a normal weekday schedule since Columbus Day is not an official Montgomery County holiday.

TheBus in Prince George's County will operate normal service, except for the routes that serve the County Administration Building. Routes 51, 51 extended and 52 will not run. Paratransit and Call-A-Bus will also not run Monday.

In D.C. and Alexandria, parking meters and time limits will not be enforced Monday.

Drivers do need to feed parking meters and observe all usual weekday parking restrictions in Montgomery and Arlington counties.

Schools are closed in many, but not all, parts of the area.

In D.C., all recreation centers and aquatic centers are closed on Columbus Day.

Looking ahead

Beginning Oct. 15, HOV lanes on northbound I-95 and I-395 will close on weekdays at 11 a.m. rather than 10 a.m. The southbound HOV lanes will open by 1 p.m.

Overnight lane closures tied to the 95 Express Lanes project will continue this week. Work starts as early as 9 p.m, and can run as late as 9 a.m. on weekend mornings.

Other projects on I-95 and the Beltway will have single lanes closed in the middle of the day.

Work tied to the Silver Line will continue to close lanes outside of rush hour on I-66, the Dulles Connector Road, Chain Bridge Road (123) and Leesburg Pike (Route 7).

Work on New York Avenue NE will close lanes Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday nights from South Dakota Avenue to the D.C. and Maryland line.

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Fatal crash, overturned garbage truck snarl traffic for Md. drivers

Posted on: Wednesday 10/9/2013 12:23pm

traffic (News Channel 7)
The fatal accident closed the northbound and southbound lanes of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway Wednesday morning. (Courtesy of ABC 7)

WASHINGTON - Two separate accidents caused major delays for drivers in Maryland Wednesday morning.

A fatal crash and investigation caused major delays for commuters on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway Wednesday morning.

Both northbound and southbound lanes of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway closed to traffic in Jessup, Md., after a vehicle struck a man on the roadway at about 5 a.m.

The man, whose name has not yet been released, was hit by a vehicle that was traveling south on the parkway, according to Park Police spokesperson Sgt. Paul Brooks.

The driver of the vehicle stayed at the scene, Brooks says.

The northbound lanes closed to traffic at Route 32 and the southbound lanes closed at Route 175. The northbound lanes reopened at about 8 a.m. and the southbound lanes reopened by 10 a.m.

Another nearby crash Wednesday morning caused delays on the Outer Loop of the Capital Beltway.

Trash littered part of the Outer Loop in Prince George's County after a tractor trailer carrying garbage overturned just past the exit for the northbound Baltimore-Washington Parkway at about 7 a.m. The crash initially shut down all lanes, but officials later reopened lanes as they cleared the trash. The highway fully reopened just before 1 p.m.

Also, officials closed the Baltimore-Washington Parkway's northbound ramp to the Outer Loop.

It is not clear what led to the accident or if anyone sustained injuries in the crash.

Hazmat crews responded because of a fuel spill.

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Trucker rally reportedly planned for D.C. Friday

Posted on: Tuesday 10/8/2013 4:42pm

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Truckers are planning to rally in the D.C. area Friday. (WTOP File)

WASHINGTON - Drivers in the D.C. metropolitan area could be in for a chaotic commute during the Friday morning rush hour this week.

Media reports have stated that truckers have promised to clog the Inner Loop of the Capital Beltway in a protest affiliated with "Truckers Ride for the Constitution," although conflicting statements about the purpose of the rally have since surfaced.

A Facebook page for the umbrella trucker group had more than 63,000 followers as of Tuesday afternoon. It reads in part, "The American people are sick and tired of the corruption that is destroying America! We therefore declare a GENERAL STRIKE on the weekend of October 11-13, 2013!"

Earl Conlon, who U.S. News & World Report identified as a coordinator of truckers coming to the D.C. area, told the site that scores of semi-trucks would cause gridlock on the Beltway if police tried to interfere.

"If cops decide to give us a hard time, we're going to lock the brakes up, we're going to stop right there, we're going to be a three-lane roadblock," Conlon said.

However, a posting on the "Truckers" Facebook page said Conlon is not a spokesman and that U.S. News has been called on to retract the story because the campaign does not wish to be tied to "anything that is unlawful."

Peter Santilli, an online radio host who is acting as a spokesman for the umbrella group and is holding a rally in California, told U.S. News it would not be safe for truckers to stop and jam the Beltway.

But Conlon reportedly responded in part by saying, "You're having your rally, I'm having mine."

This story has been updated to reflect that there is conflicting information about the truckers' plans.

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1 dies in crash that closes Inner Loop

Posted on: Monday 10/7/2013 8:05am

WASHINGTON - One person is dead after a two-vehicle crash on the Beltway's Inner Loop that closed the roadway in College Park, Md., Monday morning.

A Chrysler and a Mercedes collided and closed all lanes of the Inner Loop between I-95 and New Hampshire Avenue/Exit 28 at about 2:45 a.m., Maryland State Police say. The driver of the Chrysler died after the crash.

The driver of the Mercedes sustained injuries considered not life-threatening.

Officials have not yet released the victims' names or information about what led to the collision.

Authorities are investigating the crash.

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Weekend Wakeup: Navy football, boat show to snarl Annapolis traffic

Posted on: Friday 10/4/2013 8:25pm

Dave Dildine and Amy Freedman, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - Getting around downtown Annapolis will be very difficult this weekend, especially on Saturday. All routes into and through the city will likely be congested by mid-morning. Parking will be nearly impossible.

The United States Powerboat Show is expected to attract more than 40,000 spectators. Additionally, the sold-out Navy-Air Force showdown will take place at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. The football game begins at 11:30 a.m.

Those headed to the power boat show will not be allowed to park at the stadium on Saturday because of the game. The parking lots will be open to boat show attendees on Sunday however.

VIP boat show parking is available at 2 Compromise Street, directly east of the Annapolis Marriott Waterfront Hotel.

The boat show's hosts have consigned with Annapolis High School to allow attendees to park in the school's lots for $10. Annapolis High School is located at 2700 Riva Road. Free shuttle buses will ferry people to and from the boat show. If the parking areas at the high school fill up, a few businesses along Riva Road have also opened up their parking lots to event-goers.

Other options for getting around include the Water Taxi and the City of Annapolis' Circulator Trolley.

Other Events

The Redskins have a bye week so Beltway traffic should be held in check through Prince George's County. Guardrail repair work has caused delays during the past few weekends near Largo and crews may return again this weekend.

The Maryland Renaissance Festival continues into October. The event has caused delays on Interstate 97 near Exit 5 and on Route 450 and Route 178 in Crownsville.

The Children's National Medical Center Race for Every Child 5K is from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. The race course begins at Freedom Plaza and goes east on Pennsylvania Avenue to 3rd Street NW, onto D Street SW toward Independence Avenue, then back to 3rd Street and Pennsylvania Avenue toward Freedom Plaza.

In Northwest Washington, the Adams Morgan Porch Festival Saturday afternoon features musical performances throughout the neighborhood. Columbia Heights Day at Harriet Tubman Elementary, located at 11th Street NW and Kenyon Street NW, will draw crowds as well. Saturday drivers should keep an eye on the crosswalks.

Other events that could tie up traffic on local streets include:

  • The Takoma Park Street Festival from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday in Old Takoma on Carroll Avenue.

  • The Annual Fall for Fairfax Festival in front of the Fairfax County Government Center is this weekend from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

  • Art on the Avenue is 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday along Mt. Vernon Avenue in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria.

  • Manassas Fall Jubilee from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday in historic Manassas. Booths will stretch from East Street to Grant Avenue and from Church Street to Prince William Street.

Metro Track Work

The Orange and Green lines will operate at regular weekend intervals (every 12 minutes) except out of the Greenbelt station where trains will arrive and depart every 20 to 25 minutes. On the Blue and Yellow lines, trains will run every 16 minutes. The Red line stations will be closed between Dupont Circle and and NoMa-Gallaudet with buses replacing trains. Daytime trains will run every 10 minutes outside of the work zone.

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Government shutdown delays key Bi-County Parkway deal

Posted on: Friday 10/4/2013 8:11am

MANASSAS, Va. - The latest wrinkle in the new "Battle of Manassas" is coming from Washington, D.C., not Virginia.

A meeting between the Virginia Department of Transportation and the other four organizations that will sign off on the Bi-County Parkway project was scheduled for Tuesday, but was canceled because of the government shutdown.

"It won't be rescheduled until the federal workforce is back. So that in effect has delayed the process of nailing down the final programmatic agreement," says VDOT Project Manager Tom Fahrney.

Specifically, employees at the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation were furloughed. That group, along with the Federal Highway Administration, National Parks Service, VDOT and Virginia's historic preservation office must all sign a Section 106 Programmatic Agreement because the Bi-County Parkway runs on the edge of the historic Manassas Battlefield.

The 10-mile parkway would be a four-lane road connecting Va. 234 Business near Interstate 66 to U.S. 50 near Va. 877 west of Dulles International Airport.

Once an agreement is signed off between the five agencies, the Federal Highway Administration could issue a Record of Decision this winter that would allow VDOT to move toward design.

But Delegates Tim Hugo, Bob Marshall and 12 other lawmakers sent a letter to Gov. Bob McDonnell in September to request that he waits until his successor is sworn into office in January and the new General Assembly meets before moving forward on any agreement.

"I'm glad that Attorney General Cuccinelli is coming out and making a very clear statement that he doesn't think this decision should be made right now in the last hours of this waning administration. It needs to be looked at anew by someone who has to live with it for four years, not by people who can wash their hands and walk away," says Marshall.

He says he's disappointed at McDonnell's position on the Bi-County Parkway, but he's hopeful that the government shutdown means the issue will not be resolved before January.

While Cuccinelli will hold an event on Saturday with the Pageland Lane residents to oppose the project, Democrat Terry McAuliffe has not taken a concrete position. In a recent gubernatorial debate, McAuliffe said he would sit down with experts once he was elected and study the issue. Pageland Lane residents like Mary Ann Ghadban have started a grassroots effort to stop the project.

As far as the agreement, Fahrney wouldn't speculate on when the meeting will be rescheduled or whether the Section 106 Programmatic Agreement will be signed before January.

"Our goal is as soon as the federal government is back, to reschedule the meeting, to work out the remaining issue in the agreement, and then hopefully the five signatories will be in a position where they will sign it. But I can't say when that will happen since the process has been delayed," he says.

Fahrney adds that he isn't certain how long it would take after the meeting occurs before the deal is signed. He says it could be weeks, or it could still be months. But he adds that politics will not play any role in when the agreement is signed.

While these decisions are key to the future of the project, it will still be years before it opens. VDOT only has money for design, not for construction, meaning the project would not be complete for probably at least another 10-15 years.

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Roads reopen around Capitol after chase, shooting

Posted on: Friday 10/4/2013 7:30am

WASHINGTON (AP) -- District of Columbia officials say roads closed after a police chase and fatal shooting by the Capitol have reopened.

Police closed several streets Thursday after they say a woman led officers on a high-speed chase between the White House and Capitol and was shot dead by officers. The roads reopened before the morning rush on Friday.

A portion of the left lane of eastbound Constitution Avenue northeast remains closed while a security barrier is repaired. Officials say that it's not clear how long that closure will remain in effect.


Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Crash causes delays on I-495 Beltway Inner Loop

Posted on: Wednesday 10/2/2013 11:38am

WASHINGTON - A crash caused delays for commuters on I-495 Capital Beltway Inner Loop after the Springfield Interchange in Virginia Wednesday morning.

The crash happened in the center lanes of I-495 Beltway Inner Loop after the Springfield Interchange, just past Robinson Terminal at about 8:30 a.m. Emergency crews were on scene and blocked the roadway and expressway lanes.

All lanes later reopened to traffic.

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Some millennials choose apps over car ownership

Posted on: Wednesday 10/2/2013 7:40am

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Many millennials are ditching cars and turning to their smartphones to hitch rides. (Thinkstock)

WASHINGTON - They're younger than 30 and they're thumbing their noses at owning cars. Instead, millennials are getting around with their smartphones.

Millennials, especially in the D.C. area, are using their phones to catch a ride on the next bus or to locate a nearby Zipcar, according to a new study from the U.S. Public Interest Research Group.

"They aren't even feeling the need to purchase a car anymore. Five percent of people who have been using the Capital Bikeshare program have actually sold a vehicle since joining the service," says Jaimie Woo with the U.S. Public Interest Research Group.

Smartphone apps make it easy to snub car ownership, Woo says.

"Being able to track where the Metro is going, or where the bus is coming from using just their iPhones or their smartphones," is easy, she says.

The shift represents a change in culture and debt, Phineas Baxandall at U.S. PIRG says.

"For Baby Boomers, driving one's car represented freedom and spontaneity. Today -- especially for younger people -- owning a car is likely to represent big expenses and parking hassles. Meanwhile, technology and vehicle-sharing are making it easier not to own a car or for households to drive less," Baxandall said in a news release.

Many can't afford a car until their student debts are paid and they land full-time jobs. Car- and ride-sharing apps help fill the gap in the meantime.

"People are really taking advantage of them and using personal vehicles a lot less," Woo says.

Although biking and ride-sharing might not be very useful for anyone commuting to the District from far-off counties, they work great for people living near colleges and universities.

"That's kind of where a lot of new ideas start. As these new technologies and these new ideas are expanding, we do think that people will keep continuing to take advantage of that."

In the District, drivers have reduced their driving miles by more than 21 percent per person since 2003, according to PIRG.

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Weekend Wakeup: Bay Bridge could prove biggest traffic headache

Posted on: Friday 9/27/2013 1:24pm

WASHINGTON -- As fall kicks into gear in the District, the weekend's road closures are mostly due to festivals, 5Ks and celebrations. Luckily, no major construction projects are scheduled, so highways should be mostly clear.

It looks like the biggest travel headache could be at the Bay Bridge. A NASCAR race in Dover and a wine festival in Ocean City could cause delays.

If you need to cross the bridge this weekend, the MTA suggests you do so after 10 p.m. on Friday and before 7 a.m. on Saturday, and between 10 p.m. and 10 a.m. on Sunday.

Bay Bridge congestion

Due to a NASCAR race in Dover and a wine festival in Ocean City, Maryland Transportation Authority officials say traffic on the Bay Bridge could be congested.

If you need to cross the bridge this weekend, the MTA suggests you do so after 10 p.m. on Friday and before 7 a.m. on Saturday, and between 10 p.m. and 10 a.m. on Sunday.

Metro

No station closures this weekend on the Red, Yellow and Green lines with trains will operating at regular intervals. Blue and Orange line trains will be slightly less frequent to allow for rebuilding between Smithsonian and McPherson Square stations.

New York Avenue Bridge Project

The work continues on the New York Avenue NE bridge east of 4th Street and west of 9th Street with milling and paving from Friday at 10 p.m. until Monday at 5 a.m. Only one lane will get by in each direction.

Street car construction

The continuing work will have 2nd Street NE closed on Saturday between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. between G and I streets NE.

Light the Way 5k Run/Walk

Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind presents its 3rd annual 5K Run/Walk on Saturday at Nationals Park from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. During that time, expect road closures around the perimeter of the ballpark. The sidewalks on South Capitol Street will be used for the event but South Capitol Street will remain open to vehicular traffic.

Jammin DC-Caribbean Music and Arts Festival

Celebrating the culture of 28 Caribbean nations and territories takes place Saturday. From 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., Pennsylvania Avenue NW will be closed west of 12th Street and east of 14th Street. Also, 13th Street NW will be closed south of E Street.

Barrack Row Fall Festival

This annual festival celebrates the revitalization of 8th Street SE and takes place Saturday. 8th Street SE will be closed south of E Street and north of I Street. G Street SEwill be closed east of 7th Street and west of 9th Street between 6:30 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Clarendon Day Festival

The annual celebration will shut down the following streets from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 28:

  • Wilson Boulevard between Washington Boulevard and N. Garfield Street.
  • Clarendon Boulevard between Washington Boulevard and No. Garfield Street.
  • No. Highland Street between N. 11th Street and N. Hartford Street

In addition to road closures, street parking will be restricted. Drivers should look out for temporary 'No Parking' signs. Cars will be ticketed and towed.

The annual festival will shut down Wilson Boulevard between and N. Garfield Street between Washington

Ocean City Wine Festival

This weekend on the Bay Bridge, anticipate more volume than you might expect this time of year as the wine festival can draw a crowd.

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