Best Time To Leave For Memorial Day Travel!

Memorial Day weekend travel will be especially fraught this year, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic. How bad, exactly? Think “record numbers.”

More than a million D.C.-area residents (1,053,400, to be exact) are expected to be traveling at least 50 miles on the road, in a plane or on trains and cruise ships this holiday weekend — a record high, AAA said. (By comparison, only 748,500 residents traveled during Memorial Day weekend in 2009.)


Thursday and Friday evenings’ rush hour (3:30–7 p.m.) will be particularly rough, he said, as travelers hit the road while commuters leave work. Severe congestion is also likely on Monday, of course, as everyone returns home. (A 32-minute trip on westbound U.S. Route 50 toward D.C. could take two hours and 23 minutes Monday evening, according to AAA. Interstates 270 and 95 won’t be much better.)

And don’t assume you can avoid it all by leaving a day early. Call it holiday weekend creep: People try to beat Friday crowds by starting their trip on a Thursday, for example, but then Thursday becomes the new Friday, as WTOP traffic reporter Bob Marbourg explained.

The Maryland Transportation Authority has similar advice for the 348,000 who are estimated to cross the Bay Bridge this weekend:

  • On Thursday, Friday, Sunday or Monday, leave before 10 a.m. or after 10 p.m.

  • On Saturday, leave before 7 a.m. or after 5 p.m.

Travelers in Virginia could also take a look at VDOT’s interactive travel trends map, Marbourg suggested, to get an hour-by-hour idea of how congested the main roads might be this weekend. However, it’s like playing the stock market: Past performance is no indication of future results, he cautioned.

Source: WTOP

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