Plan for Traffic, Transit Congestion During Pope’s Visit

Huge crowds are expected as Pope Francis visits D.C. starting Sept 22, so expect a couple days of traffic and transit congestion.

Transportation Reporter Adam Tuss has what we know so far about traffic and transportation for the visit.

How extensive will road closures be?

Large scale rolling road closures are expected as the pope makes stops at the White House to meet with President Barack Obama (Sept. 23, 9:15 a.m.), at St. Matthew’s Cathedral near Dupont Circle for midday prayer with bishops of the United States (Sept. 23, 11:30 a.m.), at the U.S. Capitol to address a joint session of Congress (Sept. 24, 9:20 a.m.), and downtown at St. Patrick in the City and Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington (Sept. 24, 11:15 a.m.).

Wednesday, Sept. 23, at 4:15 p.m., Pope Francis celebrates Mass of Canonization of Junipero Serra at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, which will be attended by 25,000 people with tickets, so rush hour traffic will be a mess in that part of northeast D.C. A monsignor at the Basilica said there will be no parking there and getting around will be a challenge.

How will Metro handle increased ridership?

Expect Metro to be busy, especially at the Brookland-Catholic University station for the Mass at the Basilica.

To accommodate the expected crowds, Metro will run near rush hour service throughout the day. The transit agency is working on its service plans and advising those who choose to ride Metro to expect large crowds and extended wait times.

Metro anticipates bus detours, causing delays for some Metrobus customers. Riders should build in extra time to get to destinations, purchase SmarTrip cards and know their routes in advance. Also, riders should have enough money on their cards for round trips ahead of time to avoid lines at fare machines.

How will travel in and out of the city be affected?

Amtrak said it’s adding extra trains.

The airports said they are not expecting an uptick in private jets but will know more as we get closer to the visit.

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