A major influx of visitors going to see the cherry blossoms around D.C.’s Tidal Basin and people parking on the street led to traffic headaches this weekend.
Listen to WTOP’s Luke Lukert report on the traffic jams surrounding the cherry blossom’s peak bloom.
“When there’s a huge influx in traffic all at the same time, it obviously creates a pretty big traffic challenge and parking is limited,” Sgt. Thomas Twiname, spokesman for the U.S. Park Police, told WTOP.
On Saturday and again Sunday, drivers were trapped in traffic — sometimes, for hours — trying to make their way around the Tidal Basin, the Wharf, Hains Point and the National Mall.
“It usually fills up pretty quickly and what we’re seeing is a lot of people kind of continue to circle that same loop and get nowhere,” Twiname said.
Twiname said part of the issue adding to the challenges is that they’re seeing an uptick in people parking “outside of designated parking spaces,” and instead, just parking in the road.
ADVISORY: Gridlock around the Mall, bridges leading to the Mall, freeway, tunnels = destination #CherryBlossoms (Take Metro) #SWDC #DCTraffic
Traffic 🔗 https://t.co/nb3VFR1abs
Listen 🔗 https://t.co/KpJlqpKxN7
Tipline: 📞 866-304-9867 pic.twitter.com/0KwiEX9SZQ
— WTOP Traffic (@WTOPtraffic) March 26, 2023
The National Park Service is encouraging those visiting the cherry blossoms to take public transportation whenever possible, including Metrorail and Metrobus.
If you are driving to the area of the Tidal Basin, USPP said parking is limited and fills up quickly.
🚨Plan ahead for your visit to the #CherryBlossomFest. High visitation and traffic is expected today around the Tidal Basin. Parking in East and West Potomac Parks is very limited and fills up quickly. There are a lot of parking options north of the Tidal Basin.🚨
— USPPNEWS (@usparkpolicepio) March 26, 2023
Twiname said there are more parking options north of the Tidal Basin. Other options include along the National Mall, and area parking garages. Another nearby option is The Wharf.
But, when it comes down to it, he said, “the best option is public transportation, if you can use it.”
WTOP’s Luke Lukert contributed to this report.
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