News & Politics

Metro Suspends Almost All Track Work for Five Weekends for Cherry Blossoms

Photograph via iStock.

What’s better than DC’s cherry trees filling the air with their beautiful pink-hued blossoms? Perhaps only the knowledge that for five consecutive weekends beginning Saturday, March 19, there will be no scheduled interruptions on Metro for track work.

As it does every spring, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority announced Tuesday that its trains will run at regular weekend intervals every weekend through April 17, with almost no delay-inducing maintenance jobs clogging up the rails. Metro is at its most crowded during the monthlong National Cherry Blossom Festival, when an estimated 1.5 million tourists descend on DC to check out the trees.

This year’s festival runs from March 20 to April 17, with peak bloom—the period at which the blossoms are at their most vibrant—expected to hit between March 31 and April 3, in time for the third weekend of uninterrupted Metro service.

Even with its sagging ridership, Metro still expects a bump during the Cherry Blossom Festival; in previous years, it has reported a 15 percent increase in revenue during the season. Almost all trains and stations are expected to be more crowded than usual, especially the Smithsonian station on the Blue, Orange, and Silver lines, which is the closest to the Tidal Basin. Metro recommends locals seeking to somewhat avoid the crush of cherry blossom gawkers L’Enfant Plaza, Archives, Arlington Cemetery, or Federal Triangle instead.

Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.