Weekend Wakeup: Traffic volume down this weekend

Dave Dildine, wtop.com

WASHINGTON — Getting around Washington should be a little easier this weekend. Cooler temperatures and increasing clouds will likely suppress travel volume across the region.

I-95 delays

Over the past several weekends, there has been a noticeable increase in weekend volume on key travel routes such as I-95 in Virginia. Last weekend, heavy traffic was observed in long stretches on I-95 between Spotsylvania County and Springfield in both directions. Delays of this magnitude are more common on weekends during the summer.

Beach Drive and Rock Creek Parkway closures

Weekend delays on Beach Drive and Rock Creek Parkway have also been increasing lately. This scenic byway is a popular, and often a busy weekend travel route into the city from the Maryland suburbs to the north.

The southbound lanes of Beach Drive and Rock Creek Parkway from Porter Street NW to P Street NW will be closed Saturday and Sunday, weather permitting. The National Park Service will be ramping up stream bank stabilization efforts near Waterside Drive and Massachusetts Avenue and will need more space to perform work. The northbound lanes will remain open.

The closure of the Rock Creek Parkway will put extra demand on alternate routes like Connecticut Avenue, Massachusetts Avenue, and 16th Street. Expect longer than usual waits at the traffic lights on the inbound sides of these routes through Northwest Washington. The lanes of the southbound parkway are expected to reopen by 6 p.m. on Sunday.

Metro track work suspended

The trip on Metrorail should be much smoother this weekend. Metro has suspended most of its weekend track work until April 14 in anticipation of increased ridership for the National Cherry Blossom Festival. The festival runs from March 20 to April 14 and draws large crowds to the Tidal Basin as the cherry trees approach peak bloom.

Metro says its ridership increases by more than 15 percent during Cherry Blossom season. Weekend travel volumes can rival rush hour levels during mild weather.

Cooler temperatures this weekend should suppress the cherry blooms and visitor turnout.

Scope it Out 5K

The weather will not deter participants and supporters of the 8th Annual Scope it Out 5K Run/Walk for Colon Cancer Awareness on Sunday. The race kicks off at 9 a.m. from Freedom Plaza and wraps around the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol. Expect a stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue and a few of the numbered streets to be blocked downtown between 5 a.m. and 1 p.m.

WTOP’s Mike Jakaitis, an ardent Chris4Life supporter and colon cancer survivor, will be running again this year. Find out more about how you can contribute Chris4Life Colon Cancer Foundation here.

Follow @WTOP on Twitter.

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