Expect major delays during Wednesday commute

WASHINGTON – Commuting in and out of Washington Wednesday may be tricky, as thousands are expected to participate in a commemoration marking the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington.

Events begin at 9 a.m and end at 4 p.m. Wednesday at the Lincoln Memorial.

The National Park Service will close the following sites beginning at 4 a.m. Wednesday and lasting until 4 p.m.:

  • Lincoln Memorial
  • Vietnam Veterans Memorial
  • Korean War Veterans Memorial
  • World War II Memorial
  • DC War Memorial

Those without tickets for the Let Freedom Ring Commemoration and Call to Action Ceremony will be able to access the commemoration only by walking west into the area of the Reflecting Pool via the Elm walkway north of the World War II Memorial off 17th Street.

The following road closures will go into effect Wednesday at 3:15 a.m.:

  • Arlington Memorial Circle will remain open, but Arlington Memorial Bridge will be closed.
  • F Street traffic will be allowed to access the northbound lanes of the Rock Creek Parkway to eastbound Virginia Avenue.
  • Rock Creek Parkway from Virginia Avenue to Parkway Drive – It is recommended that drivers utilize Connecticut Avenue or 16th Street as an alternate route.
  • Parkway Drive from Rock Creek Parkway to Lincoln Memorial Circle
  • Independence Avenue from 15th Street to 23rd Street
  • Ohio Drive from Inlet bridge to Parkway Drive, including the A, B and C parking lots
  • Theodore Roosevelt Bridge will remain open; however, users of the Ohio Drive exit will be forced to U-turn north onto the Potomac Freeway.
  • Maine Avenue from 15th Street to Independence Avenue, including Tidal Basin parking lot
  • North and southbound lanes of 17th Street between Independence Avenue and Constitution Avenue
  • Daniel French Drive
  • 23rd Street from Independence Ave to Constitution Ave
  • Henry Bacon Drive

Road closures will include pedestrian closures. Commercial cars will not be permitted on Constitution Avenue between 1 p.m. and 3:45 p.m.

The following streets will close starting at 3 a.m. and should reopen by 6:30 p.m.:

  • Westbound ramp from I-395 to Maine Avenue SW – All traffic will be diverted to the 12th Street Tunnel.
  • Ramp from 9th Street tunnel to westbound Maine Avenue SW – All traffic will be diverted to outbound I-395.
  • 200 block Maiden Lane merge with Maine Avenue SW – All traffic will be diverted to northbound 14th Street SW.
  • Southbound Potomac River Freeway and ramp to Independence Avenue – Traffic will be diverted to the outbound Theodore Roosevelt Bridge.
  • Ramp from eastbound Teddy Roosevelt Bridge to Independence Avenue NW

The March for Jobs and Justice begins at 9 a.m. with a crowd gathering beforehand in the 600 block of New Jersey Avenue NW near the Georgetown University law school.

Commuters should expect a lot of foot traffic and delays as marchers make their way down to the National Mall, rallying in front of the the departments of Labor and Justice before making their way to the Lincoln Memorial.

President Barack Obama and former presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter are expected to speak, so commuters should expect increased security around the Lincoln Memorial circle. The event runs until 4 p.m.

The Office of Personnel Management is asking federal agencies to allow employees to telework to ease congestion.

Parking restrictions

“No parking” restriction signs have been posted on Constitution Avenue from 17th Street to 23rd Street on the north and south side of the street.

Morning traffic pattern

A modified traffic change will be in effect for the a.m. rush hour. All traffic changes on Rock Creek Parkway from Shoreham Hill to Virginia Avenue will be made in accordance with the Guideline Manual for traffic changes in the Washington Metropolitan area. All traffic from southbound Rock Creek Parkway will be forced to eastbound Virginia Avenue.

Evening traffic pattern

The p.m. traffic change will be made at the conclusion of the event.

Prohibited items

As a security precaution, all items listed below will not be allowed onto National Park Service property in conjunction with this event. The Secret Service reserves the right to prohibit any other items that are determined to be a potential public safety hazard:

  • Aerosols
  • Ammunition
  • Animals other than helper/guide dogs
  • Backpacks
  • Bags and signs exceeding size restrictions (8″x6″x4″)
  • Bicycles
  • Balloons
  • Coolers
  • Explosives
  • Firearms
  • Glass or thermal containers
  • Laser pointers
  • Mace/Pepper spray
  • Packages
  • Structures
  • Supports for signs and placards
  • Weapons of any kind

Getting there

Visitors are strongly advised to use public transportation. Metro stations near the National Mall and Memorial Parks, U.S. Capitol and President’s Park that will remain open throughout the day include Smithsonian, Federal Triangle, Foggy Bottom, Metro Center, Gallery Place-Chinatown, Farragut North, Farragut West, Capitol South, L’Enfant Plaza, Union Station, Federal Center SW and Archives- Navy Memorial-Penn Quarter, Arlington National Cemetery and Pentagon.

For the assembly location at 600 New Jersey Ave. NW, take the Metro to Union Station or Judiciary Square. For the National Mall, take the Metro to Foggy Bottom, Farragut West, Farragut North or the Archives.

Arlington Cemetery is not a recommended station, because Memorial Bridge will be closed to pedestrian traffic by Park Police. The Smithsonian station is not a recommended station due to the potential for crowding.

To download the official Metro rider guide for the event, click here.

Metro riders please note:

If you choose to participate in the bell-ringing ceremony, you should not plan to use the Arlington metro stop. The closest stop will be the Foggy Bottom stop.

Visitor services

  • Food, water and refreshments will be available for purchase at concession stands in the area.
  • Portable restrooms, including ADA accessible restrooms, will be available.

Visitor safety

Visitors should prepare for heat and sun. NPS recommends that visitors:

  • Bring enough food and water for the entire day (water-bottle filling stations will be available).
  • Drink plenty of water even when not thirsty.
  • Wear weather-appropriate clothing.
  • Use sunscreen.
  • Minimize consumption of beverages containing caffeine or alcohol.
  • Eat throughout the day.
  • Take frequent shade breaks.
  • Periodically get out of the heat and into air conditioning, especially between the hours of 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Reduce exertion during the hottest hours.
  • Bring extra medication.

First-aid stations

  • First-aid stations will be located on both sides of the Reflecting Pool.
  • Cooling tents will be located on the north side of the Reflecting Pool.

Family reunification

The USPP family reunification tent will be located on the south side of the Reflecting Pool between the D.C. War Memorial and the World War II Memorial. Lost persons should be reported to any uniformed USPP officer or NPS ranger. Lost persons will be taken to the USPP family reunification tent.

WTOP’s Megan Cloherty and Alicia Lozano contributed to this report. Follow @WTOP on Twitter.

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