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.
Oof #traffic #CherryBlossom @nbcwashington pic.twitter.com/6oE1eJllgZ
— Adam Tuss (@AdamTuss) March 26, 2023
Anything but a Sunday fun day in the 395 tunnel rn 🌸 @PoPville pic.twitter.com/XYnxtvqzVC
— Jonathan Edelman (@MUlizawithaSEUM) March 26, 2023
People are parking their cars on the bridge bc they couldn’t find #cherryblossom parking 🚗 #dc @WashProbs @Barstooldmv pic.twitter.com/QJfv8nEoAb
— dcitty (@dcitty) March 26, 2023
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.
TRAFFIC UPDATE: Starting at 6:00am tomorrow morning (Saturday, March 25), Ohio Dr. through East Potomac Park around Hains Point will be reverse flow. All traffic will enter the loop road on the Potomac River side & exit on the Washington Channel side by the golf course.🚗🚴🚌🌸
— National Mall NPS (@NationalMallNPS) March 24, 2023
If you're not down at Hains Point today, it's hard to describe in words what a bad job the Park Service is doing. It should absolutely be closed to cars. Instead it's a parking lot — one woman told me she had been stuck for 4 hours pic.twitter.com/7h7o61DRbD
— Ezracycle (@ezracycle) March 26, 2023
#CherryBlossom traffic jam! Cars at stopped, people outside their cars on Ohio Drive south. Avoid tidal basin. #WashingtonDC @fox5dc #dc pic.twitter.com/pRtGw9nfrh
— Jennifer Delgado (@JenDelgadoFOX) March 25, 2023
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.
Simply put,we are packed today. Currently 37k on 🚇, already ~200k/day. We are running lots of extra service & have extra staff to safely manage crowds but delays occur loading/unloading 🚇 @ Smithsonian due to very large crowds. Thx for your patience & for riding Metro. #wmata https://t.co/zIRAOEirLk
— Randy Clarke (@wmataGM) March 26, 2023
The downside to peak Cherry Blossom weekend: a line to literally enter the metro station: #effingcherryblossoms pic.twitter.com/P7tgLlarMM
— Rebecca Fachner (@rebecca_fachner) March 26, 2023