Is Tuesday the new Wednesday for Thanksgiving travel?

By Tim Bracken,

WASHINGTON – Recently, the big traffic question has been whether or not the Tuesday before Thanksgiving has become the new Wednesday. The answer is likely to be a bit complicated.

Historically, this Wednesday would be the nightmare-inducing traffic day, with so many folks getting out of work early and packing the roadways. If enough people take off early on Tuesday hoping to avoid the roadways on Wednesday, it’s sure to create an early rush hour akin to any normal Friday afternoon.

Most likely, Wednesday’s pre-Thanksgiving rush won’t be any different than any other in recent memory. Whether or not there are actually less people on the roadways, it probably won’t be noticeable to anyone who happens to be stuck in early delays.

Bottom line, expect serious delays in the I-95 corridor, and always plan an alternate. If you’re traveling into town via plane, expect delays there, and plan your driving routes (and alternates) in advance.

Keep in mind, Virginia is suspending construction closures from Wednesday to Monday afternoon, and Maryland has suspended lane closures until Tuesday the 29th.

On Thanksgiving Day, Metrorail will operate on a Sunday schedule, opening at 7 a.m. and closing at midnight, then it’s back to the regular weekday schedule on Friday. Metro says there will be no significant track work through the holiday weekend.

Read on for all of the details on Thanksgiving Day and weekend events!

Metro Thanksgiving travel information

From Metro:

To accommodate higher airport ridership, Metro will deploy additional buses on the 5A route, which serves Dulles International Airport, and will have additional buses ready to place into service as necessary on the B30 route between Greenbelt Metrorail Station and BWI Marshall Airport.

Traveling to/from Washington Union Station (Amtrak, VRE, MARC and Intercity Bus services)

Union Station is served by Metrorail’s Red Line.

Traveling to/from Reagan National Airport

Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport is served by Metrorail’s Blue and Yellow lines.

Traveling to/from Washington Dulles International Airport

Travelers have two options to reach Washington Dulles International Airport:

  • Take the 5A Metrobus from L’Enfant Plaza or Rosslyn Metrorail stations. The 5A provides direct service to the airport for $6. To accommodate higher ridership, Metro will operate additional 5A buses on Tuesday, Nov. 22, Wednesday, Nov. 23, and Sunday, Nov. 27.
  • Take Metro’s Orange Line to West Falls Church and then take the Washington Flyer bus to the airport.

Traveling to/from Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport

Travelers can reach the airport by riding Metro’s Green Line to the Greenbelt Metrorail station and transferring to the B30 Metrobus, which provides direct service from the train station to the airport for $6. Metro will monitor ridership and place additional buses into service as needed.

Thanksgiving Day, November 24: On Thanksgiving Day, Metrorail will operate on a Sunday schedule, opening at 7 a.m. and closing at midnight. Parking will be free at all Metrorail station parking facilities.

Friday, November 25: The Metrorail system will run on a regular weekday schedule from 5 a.m. to 3 a.m. Normal fares will be charged and regular weekday parking rates will apply.

Thanksgiving Day Turkey trots

There will be many runs/walks happening on Thursday:

Thanksgiving Day Trot for Hunger

The 2011 Trot for Hunger will start at 9 a.m. at Freedom Plaza, moving south on Pennsylvania Avenue, then near the Third Street Tunnel and Federal Center Metro station, and eventually back to Freedom Plaza for the finish. Check out the course map here.

Turkey Chase 10K

In Bethesda, the Turkey Chase 10K will kick off at 9401 Old Georgetown Road. The race will move along Old Georgetown Road, Cedar Lane, and Wisconsin Avenue. You can see the course map here.

Alexandria Turkey Trot

More than 4,000 people are expected to participate in Alexandria’s Turkey Trot, scheduled to kick off at 10 a.m. The race begins and ends on Mount Vernon Avenue near George Washington Middle School. Runners will move along Commonwealth Avenue and several neighborhood streets before returning to Mount Vernon Avenue. More details here.

Arlington Turkey Trot

Another popular northern Virginia run, the Arlington Turkey Trot through Lyon Park and Ashton Heights, will begin at 8 a.m.  The race is sold out, but sponsors and volunteers are still being accepted. More details here.

Virginia Run Turkey Trot

The 2011 Virginia Run Turkey Trot 5k in Centreville is also sold out, but the 2k will have on-site registration. More info here.

Reston Holiday Parade

The 21st annual Reston Holiday Parade is scheduled for Friday at 11 a.m. The popular one-hour parade runs along Market Street and features giant balloons, musicians, dancers, antique cars and Santa Claus! After the parade, kids can have their pictures taken with Santa and Mrs. Claus, and a tree lighting ceremony takes place around 6 p.m.

Alexandria Tree Lighting Ceremony

Alexandria’s tree lighting ceremony is scheduled for Friday at 7 p.m. at Market Square. There will be a message from the mayor, a visit from Santa, a performance of Santa’s Frosty Follies by the Metropolitan Fine Arts Center, and caroling with a community sing along.

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(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)

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