News & Politics

PHOTOS: Cherry Blossom Dreams Turned Into a Traffic Nightmare Over the Weekend

Peak bloom + nice weather + weekend = a traffic disaster

Peak cherry blossoms created peak traffic at DC's Hains Point on Sunday, March 26. Photo by Sherri Dalphonse.

What many hoped would be a perfect weekend filled with blooming cherry blossoms and sunny weather quickly turned into a traffic nightmare on Saturday and Sunday. Thousands of unlucky drivers who ventured out spent hours in traffic as people flocked to the Tidal Basin in hopes of catching a glimpse of the pink flowers. Instead, they were met with congested roads and abandoned cars. Even those who heeded the warnings to not drive encountered packed Metro cars and congested sidewalks.

The National Park Service tried to mitigate traffic problems by having drivers on Ohio Drive through East Potomac Park around Hains Point travel in reverse flow, but the attempt was futile. Some people reportedly parked their cars in the middle of the road to walk to the cherry blossoms, and at least one woman said she had been stuck for four hours at Hains Point.

While officials urged people to take public transportation, bike, or walk to see the cherry blossoms, Metro riders also got a taste of the chaos as trains on the Blue, Orange, and Silver lines experienced delays, resulting in long lines and crowded stations. On Sunday afternoon, Metro General Manager Randy Clarke tweeted that there were about 37,000 riders on the trains.

Damare Baker
Research Editor

Before becoming Research Editor, Damare Baker was an Editorial Fellow and Assistant Editor for Washingtonian. She has previously written for Voice of America and The Hill. She is a graduate of Georgetown University, where she studied international relations, Korean, and journalism.