Casino Expected to Make National Harbor Traffic Even Worse - NBC4 Washington

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Casino Expected to Make National Harbor Traffic Even Worse



    Traffic Around National Harbor Expected to Get Worse When Casino Opens

    Neighbors of National Harbor say the traffic is bad in the area, and with a casino opening, it's likely to get worse. (Published Wednesday, July 20, 2016)

    What to Know

    • The state of Maryland reported an increase of 27,000 vehicles per day in 7 years on the beltway near National Harbor.

    • The MGM National Harbor is expected to make the traffic even worse, according to the AAA.

    • MGM, the county and the state are working to come up with a plan in anticipation of the congestion.

    Traffic around National Harbor has only slowed over the years, and it could get even worse.

    A new casino, MGM National Harbor, is set to open, but AAA said the casino will make traffic more unbearable.

    “The National Harbor will become a place where nobody wants to go because of all the gridlock and sitting in incessant, bumper-to-bumper traffic,” said John Townsend, manager of public and government affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic’s D.C. office.

    Residents have noticed the traffic has been getting slower for years, Townsend said, and “it was not a figment of their imagination.”

    Maryland officials reported the amount of vehicles on the Beltway near National Harbor increased by 27,000 vehicles per day in seven years. Townsend said that will likely get worse once MGM opens.

    “In Maryland, they build everything now, and worry about the roads later,” resident Paul Dove said.

    The heavy traffic shows National Harbor is a “major destination area for the state of Maryland,” said Martin Harris, deputy director of transportation for Prince George’s County.

    “I don’t know that I would say that ‘concern’ is the right word,” Harris said of the expected increase in traffic. “What I would say is that we’re going to be paying close attention.”

    The county, the state and MGM are working on a plan to manage the congestion. AAA said Maryland should create alternate routes and boost public transportation to National Harbor.

    “Now, at that spot, is a bottleneck,” Townsend said. “And the big question is what happens when a casino comes online?”