WASHINGTON - The District is gearing up for a visit from Pope Francis, and road closures and large crowds will cause major delays for commuters. FOX 5 traffic reporter Erin Como has what you need to know to get around during the papal visit.
The first bit of advice is to work from home if you can. If that's not an option, consider leaving the car at home.
"Taking a trip by car is going to lead to a delayed trip on your part," said District Department of Transportation director Leif Dormsjo.
For three days, closures will be in place surrounding all of the pope's stops, including the White House, U.S. Capitol and the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. At the Vatican Embassy, where the pope is staying, Massachusetts Avenue northbound will be closed for three days. The best alternates to get around: Canal Road or Connecticut Avenue.
The worst of the gridlock is expected Wednesday with possible delays of up to an hour and 45 minutes on the George Washington Memorial Parkway and over an hour on Interstate 66 inbound. Commuters from Virginia are already making other plans.
"We figured out how to adjust our schedules to take the VRE," said commuter Jonathan Gavazzi.
Another way to avoid the traffic headaches is to take Metro. Additional railcars will be running on Wednesday and Thursday.
The transit agency is anticipating Wednesday afternoon will be a busy one with the Mass at the Basilica, especially on the Red Line during rush hour. The Brookland station is the closest to the event and the smallest Red Line station, so Metro is offering shuttle buses from Fort Totten and Rhode Island Avenue to help accommodate attendees. It's important to note that before the Mass on Wednesday, Brookland will be exit only. After the Mass, it will be entrance only.
Tweet @ErinFOX5DC if you have any questions about road closures or travel plans.
Important links and information:
Click here for the full list of road closures and detours during the Papal visit
Maps of road closures and alternate routes:
Click here for information for riders using Metro during the Papal visit
HERE'S THE POPE'S COMPLETE D.C. SCHEDULE:
Tuesday, September 22, 2015:
- Pope Francis will begin his pastoral visit to the United States with his arrival at Andrews Air Force Base in the afternoon.
Wednesday, September 23, 2015:
- Welcoming ceremony at the White House followed by a private meeting with President Obama.
- Parade around the White House Ellipse and along the National Mall.
- Midday prayer with the bishops of the United States at the Cathedral of Saint Matthew the Apostle.
- Mass in the afternoon on the east portico of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and the University Mall at The Catholic University of America. During the Mass, the pope will canonize Blessed Junipero Serra.
Thursday, September 24, 2015:
- Address joint meeting of the U.S. Congress in the morning.
- Visit St. Patrick's Catholic Church in D.C. and meet with several clients of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington in late morning.
- Blessing and brief remarks to the clients gathered at lunchtime for the St. Maria Meals Program of the Catholic Charities for the Archdiocese of Washington.
- Depart for New York City from Andrews Air Force Base.