Cherry blossom visitors urged to avoid driving

WASHINGTON – Visitors who go Downtown to enjoy the cherry trees along the Tidal Basin this spring are urged to bike, walk or use public transportation.

Throughout the National Cherry Blossom Festival visitors are urged to avoid driving because of a lack of public parking, street closures, congestion and the risk of parking tickets.

“We urge everyone to consider using our many transportation options to get to and from the festivities including Bikeshare, Circulator, Metrobus and rail, as well as walking to the event,” says Reggie Sanders, spokesman for the District Department of Transportation.

Numerous Metrobus lines and Metrorail stations serve the Tidal Basin area.

Visitors and sightseers can visit for more transportation options.

Capital Bike Share will provide temporary bike corrals for members near the Tidal Basin so users don’t have to search for an open docking station. Riders can find the corrals weekends only near Ohio Drive and West Basin Drive southwest near the Martin Luther King Junior and Franklin Delano Roosevelt memorials.

There is limited parking along Ohio Drive and on Hains Point. Shuttle busses will run daily between Hains Point and the Jefferson Memorial. Shuttles cost $1 per person and will operate through April 13.

AAA Mid-Atlantic says the District aggressively tickets parking violators during the three-week festival. AAA urges all parkers to make sure they understand any parking restrictions and meter limits and to not ignore rush hour restrictions.

Few parking spots exist on the mall. Hains Point, also known as East Potomac Park, only has 320 free parking spaces. Parking is limited along Ohio Drive.

Designated handicapped parking can be found along West Basin Drive at the FDR Memorial and along southbound Ohio Drive on the Washington Boundary Channel side of Hains Point, north of the intersection with Buckeye Drive, according to AAA.

The nearest parking garages to the National Mall are north of the White House and can be a 20- to 30-minute walk, according to AAA.

AAA encourages visitors to avoid taking Metro during the afternoon rush and to expect crowded trains and stations.

New this year, a water taxi service will be available from Alexandria and Georgetown to West Potomac Park near the West Basin and Ohio Drive, west of the FDR Memorial. The companies running the taxi are Potomac River Boat and DC Cruises.

The cherry blossom festival runs March 29 through April 13.

WTOP’s Kristi King contributed to this report. Follow @WTOP on Twitter and on Facebook.

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