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Holiday travel tips from MDOT

| November 21, 2018
Rams Head

The Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) offers Thanksgiving travel tips for Marylanders – whether they’re cruising from the Helen Delich Bentley Port of Baltimore, or using state roadways, buses, the Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, or tolled facilities.

“MDOT wants you to get to your holiday destinations safely – whether you’re going by plane, train or car, across the state, across the country or just across the street,” Transportation Secretary Pete K. Rahn said.

Thanksgiving is one of the busiest travel weeks of the year and kicks off the holiday travel season.  With more people traveling between Thanksgiving and New Year, each of MDOT’s six transportation business units provided the following tips:

Highway Safety – MDOT Motor Vehicle Administration Maryland Highway Safety Office

  • Drive sober and, if drinking, plan for a sober ride home.  Use transit, call a cab or a rideshare service.
  • Always buckle up: every seat, every time, day and night.
  • Driving demands your full attention.  Keep your eyes on the road.

Cruising – Maryland Port Administration – Port of Baltimore:

  • Plan carefully and arrive early at the Cruise Maryland Terminal.
  • Pack warm clothes for when you return from warm beaches to colder weather.
  • Truckers, remember there will be more cars on the roads so plan more time to get to and from the Port of Baltimore during the Thanksgiving weekend.

Highways – MDOT State Highway Administration

  • Travel during off-peak hours to avoid significant delays.  Typically, off-peak hours include:
    • Tuesday and Wednesday — before 6 a.m. and after 11 p.m.
    • Thursday through Sunday — before 9 a.m. and after 9 p.m.
  • If your vehicle becomes disabled, remove the vehicle as far as possible from the travel lanes.
  • Call #77 or 911 in an emergency (when able to safely make the call).
  • Check over your vehicle’s tires and fluids.  Pack supplies and an emergency kit.  Have a backup plan for an alternate route.
  • To help keep travelers moving safely on Maryland roads, the state is taking the following measures:
    • MDOT SHA will suspend non-emergency lane closures in most areas from Wednesday, Nov. 21 to Monday, Nov. 26 at 9 a.m.
    • Maryland’s Emergency Traffic Patrols, sponsored by State Farm, will be assisting motorists in need throughout the state.
    • Maryland’s 511 system – www.md511.org – includes access to hundreds of cameras, weather information, real-time lane closures and much, much more.

Tolled Highways – Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA)

  • Maryland Transportation Authority Police will target impaired, aggressive and distracted drivers, seatbelt violators and criminal activity.
  • MDTA Police and Vehicle Recovery Units will have additional patrols on duty to respond quickly to incidents and disabled vehicles.
  • MDTA will lift construction-related temporary lane closures at its facilities from 5 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 21, to 9 a.m. Monday, Nov. 26.
  • MOVE OVER and SLOW DOWN when approaching emergency vehicles on the side of the road.
  • It Can Wait!  Pull over to call, text or use an electronic device.  In Maryland, having a safe place to call or text is only a rest stop away, including the Maryland and Chesapeake House travel plazas on I-95 and other rest areas across the state.
  • Tesla and Universal Electric Vehicle Charging Stations are available at both the Maryland and Chesapeake House travel plazas.
  • It’s not too late to pick-up an E-ZPass for Thanksgiving travel.  Visit ezpassmd.com for a complete list of retail locations for E-ZPass On-the-Go.

Air Travel – Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport

  • Passengers should be prepared:
    • Be in the airport two hours ahead of scheduled departure.
    • Pack carefully.  Check TSA’s website – www.TSA.gov – for what you can/can’t bring through checkpoints.
    • Local motorists picking up arriving family members or friends should either park in the Hourly Garage or use the upper level / departures roadway to avoid possible congestion along the arrivals roadway.
  • This year, BWI Marshall Airport is offering free parking for customers “in-and-out” of the Hourly Garage within one hour from Friday, November 16 through Friday, November 30 and Wednesday, December 19 through Sunday, January 6.
  • Commercial vehicles (hotel shuttles, off-airport parking shuttles, Uber, Lyft, and others) must use the upper level or departures level roadway to provide their services during the holiday period, November 15 through January 6.
  • The Cell Phone Lot has 50 additional spaces during the holiday season.  The Cell Phone Lot provides a free, convenient location for motorists to wait for arriving passengers.
  • The Regional Bus Stop # 1 will be temporarily closed during the holiday season, November 15 through January 6.  MTA, WMATA, and RTA bus customers should use Regional Bus Stop # 2, located on the lower level / arrivals level roadway near the International Terminal.

Transit – MDOT Maryland Transit Administration (MDOT MTA)

  • Customers are advised that on Thanksgiving Day, MDOT MTA will operate on its holiday schedule and return to its regular schedule on the Friday after Thanksgiving.  MARC Train will not operate on Thanksgiving Day and its Penn Line service will operate on the “R” schedule the day after Thanksgiving with no Brunswick or Camden line service that day.  Visit www.mta.maryland.gov and click on Thanksgiving Day Service to learn more.
  • For visitors flying into BWI Airport, MDOT MTA offers easy access to virtually all parts of the region with Light RailLink and BaltimoreLink bus services.  And, MARC Train can get you to Washington, D.C., downtown Baltimore and points north, with several departures and returns each day.  For your convenience, there is free shuttle bus service from BWI Airport to the BWI MARC Train station.  For more information on transit to BWI, visit www.bwiairport.com/to-from-bwi/transportation/transit.
  • For local riders, BaltimoreLink bus service offers high-frequency, reliable transit throughout the Baltimore region.  And, all CityLink bus lines provide connections to companion rail modes, including Metro SubwayLink, Light RailLink and MARC Train.

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