Help me get to Merriweather Post Pavilion tonight
June 18, 2008 7:29 AM   Subscribe

DC area filter: What is the best route to Merriweather Post Pavilion at rush hour, from the South? I'm headed to MPP for the Iron Maiden show tonight, plan to leave Fredericksburg at 4:30 PM. Are there any secrets to navigating traffic or parking? Is 95N to MD 32 to US 29 the best route at that time a day? I know it's DC at rush hour and every route will likely suck. Looking for whatever edge I can get via insider knowledge. Thanks!
posted by COD to Travel & Transportation around Washington, DC (8 answers total)
Parking is done in a gigantic grass/gravel/dirt field so don't worry about that. I can't offer an alternate route, but I've done 95 (north of the beltway) during rush hour a few times and it's fairly speedy (45mph) unless there's some catastrophe. North to the beltway shouldn't be terrible since everyone's headed out of the city. I suspect the beltway itself will be the hardest part. Have fun!
posted by cowbellemoo at 7:51 AM on June 18, 2008

I can't say anything about 95 but 32 and 29 aren't too busy (at least when I've been on them)
If you are really worried, you could go earlier and go shopping at Columbia Mall..
posted by majikstreet at 8:00 AM on June 18, 2008

Have you considered taking 301 to 32? 95 traffic isn't bad north of DC, but the Beltway traffic around that time is horrible.
posted by electroboy at 8:20 AM on June 18, 2008

I would think your greatest bottlneck will be the wilson bridge, after that I think the outer loop will be smooth for you. 95 north of the beltway will also be slow, but for a 7:30 show you'll probably be fine. Whatever you do, don't take the inner loop (through tysons and bethesda) because the backup there is horrible every day at that time. i don't want to advise you to listen to 103.5 instead of rock 'n roll on the way up there, but it wouldn't hurt to check in from time to time. one option you may have is taking 295 (the baltimore washington parkway) rather than 95, they both intersect with 32... you could use that option if, for example, there's an accident on 95. but be careful, 295 is only 2 lanes, and people flock there pretty quickly making an incident-free 295 much slower than a 95 impacted by an accident...

the 301 is an option, but all those traffic lights in the waldorf area really suck, especially at rush hour.

as you can tell, dc traffic and routes are somewhat a hobby of mine :/
posted by joecacti at 9:16 AM on June 18, 2008

Response by poster: It's 30 minutes east for me just to get to 301, that probably only helps in the case of a catastrophe on 95 or the Beltway. Living in Fburg and telecommuting full time really has me out of touch with the hassles of DC traffic. Not that I'm complaining!

Thanks all, and if you are on 95 this afternoon, don't do anything stupid to cause an accident :)
posted by COD at 9:28 AM on June 18, 2008

I can't comment on any traffic patterns having to do with the Beltway, but I can say that traffic sometimes slows down or stops on 95 just south of 32, and sometimes 32 itself gets kind of jammed at rush hour. So, as you're heading north on 95, if you experience a slowdown, just know that you can easily exit on 216 West (toward Scaggsville) -- this is the exit just prior to 32 -- and that is a straight shot to 29 North toward Columbia, and almost always a very easy, peaceful and fast drive. Have fun tonight!
posted by justonegirl at 11:36 AM on June 18, 2008

I can tell you from experience that the "straight shot" on 29 North will be anything but an "easy, peaceful and fast drive" on the night of an Iron Maiden show. Once you get off 95 and take 32, the backup may start before the 29 exit.

If so, you might stay on 32 all the way over to 108 ("Clarksville Pike"), take it east back towards Columbia, then hang a right on Harpers Farm Rd. and a left onto Little Patuxent Parkway. You can follow the people screaming for Eddie from there.

This worked for us at one show about 10 years ago. I grew up not far from there, so I was guessing and it worked out well. This is a more circuitous route - you're swinging too far west, then looping around back on the north side of town - but DC people won't know it. Or they didn't ten years ago anyway. YMMV.
posted by el_lupino at 1:21 PM on June 18, 2008

Response by poster: Update: The show was great, and now my son can say his first rock concert was Iron Maiden. All the rain last night missed Columbia. Joecacti nailed the traffic. The only problem was the Wilson Bridge. Everything else was speed limit or better. The back up to turn right into Merriweather was only about 5 minutes.
posted by COD at 8:56 AM on June 19, 2008

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