WASHINGTON — Flower power is attracting tons of tourists to D.C. to feast their eyes on the cherry blossoms.
But while Thursday could see the start of peak bloom, that also means the beginning of terrible traffic around the Tidal Basin that will last as long as the precious petals do.
WTOP’s Director of Traffic and Weather Operations Jim Battagliese says if your daily commute takes you near the blossoms, it’s time to take a detour for a while.
“For locals, you should all know not to go in that area, especially if you’re heading down toward Nats Park, (or) if that’s your normal route to get to the Southeast-Southwest Freeway.”
Battagliese says that if you must drive near the trees, don’t try to look at them while you drive. You need to focus on the pedestrians, who are very likely not from around here.
“We all know what it’s like to have tourists in town, and when they’re actually looking around and oohing and aahing, they’re not paying attention to what they’re doing, so that’s where we have to pay attention and really look out for people.”
If you want to visit the trees, it’s best not to try to park nearby — public transportation is the way to go.
There are some new options this year, including a water taxi between Georgetown and the Tidal Basin.
Uber has a partnership with the National Cherry Blossom Festival. New users who sign up with the code CHERRY BLOSSOM can get $20 off their first ride.
Learn more about all the different transportation options to get to the Tidal Basin here.
If you’d rather not fight the crowds at the Tidal Basin, there are plenty of other places around town where you can see blooming cherry blossoms:
The cherry blossoms are getting started in Kenwood. (WTOP/Michelle Basch)