Greener BeeGreen HolidaysDr. Gridlock’s travel tips for icy MLK holiday weekend

The statue of Martin Luther King Jr. looks out over the Tidal Basin. (Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images)

The most difficult travel issue this holiday weekend is likely to be the wintry weather on Saturday into early Sunday. It could be a serious hazard for drivers in the D.C. area.

This is a getaway weekend for some people, but it certainly won’t be as difficult for local travelers as what they went through with the November and December holidays. It’s possible the Friday getaway may get an extra boost from next week’s odd schedule. Some people have the Monday Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday, plus the Friday Inauguration Day holiday, and some downtown offices are scheduled to close Thursday as well. So it wouldn’t take many vacation days to make a full week of it.

The forecast: The Capital Weather Gang points out that this is a tricky storm to forecast, because the temperature is likely to hover around freezing. So watch for updates. The precipitation could start overnight Friday, and slick spots may develop. Saturday could be sleet or freezing rain in the D.C. area. Don’t be driving around looking for a bag of chips while the road crews are trying to deal with that stuff. Drivers will notice on Friday that the highway departments are treating the roads in advance of the storm.

Metrorail has a very limited schedule of track work this weekend. See details below.

Sporting events: The Capitals play in Verizon Center at 7 p.m. Friday, the Wizards are there at 8 p.m. Saturday, and the Capitals are back at 12:30 p.m. Sunday. Then on the Monday holiday, the Wizards have a game at 2 p.m.

Metrorail opens at 7 a.m. and closes at midnight on Saturdays and Sundays. These are the only exceptions to the regular weekend service.

Red Line. After 10 o’clock on Friday and Saturday nights, trains will share a track between Farragut North and Judiciary Square while crews work in preventive maintenance projects.

Yellow, Green lines. After 10 o’clock on Friday and Saturday nights, trains will share a track between Mount Vernon Square and U Street while crews install communication cables.

Metro on MLK Day
Metrorail will open at 5 a.m. and close at midnight on the Monday holiday. Trains will operate on a Saturday schedule, leaving the ends of the lines every 12 minutes. No track work is scheduled. Off-peak fares will be in effect, and parking at Metro lots and garages will be free.

Metrobus will operate on a Saturday supplemental schedule, with some post-midnight trips canceled.

The MetroAccess paratransit service will operate on its normal hours, but subscription trips will be canceled unless specifically requested.

Road work
The road work schedule for this weekend also is very limited, and may become more so because of the storm. But in Silver Spring, drivers may find three lanes of northbound Georgia Avenue closed between Cameron Street and Colesville Road closed for a private crane operation between 12:15 a.m. and 4 p.m.

For the third time, a wintry weekend forecast has forced the Virginia Department of Transportation to postpone plans to open the “diverging diamond” interchange at Interstate 66 and Route 15 in Haymarket. The final lane striping for any major project is usually very dependent on good weather.

MLK Parade
The annual Martin Luther King Jr. Parade is scheduled to start at noon Monday from the RISE Demonstration Center at 2700 MLK Jr. Ave SE and move toward Anacostia Park for a festival and health fair.

D.C. holiday rules
The D.C. Department of Public Works suspends enforcement of expired meters, residential parking and rush hour lane restrictions on the Monday holiday. But it does enforce the rules on blocking the D.C. streetcar route along H Street and Benning Road NE.

This post has been updated.

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