Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Tips to Help You Enjoy the H Street Festival


The Festival stretches from Fourth Street to Fourteenth Street, and runs from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. this Saturday. I've got some tips to help you make the most of the festivities.

Plan Ahead for Travel

The Streetcar will not run at all between 2 a.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. Sunday. Some streets will be closed for an extended period, and you can expect buses to be rerouted. The @HStreetDC Twitter account tweeted that the streets will close at 4 a.m., but I haven't seem a full press release from them yet. A press release from the streetcar team says 3:30 a.m., so I'm going with that just to be safe. I can tell you from past experience that the Festival typically means the X2, the D8, and the 90/92/93 detour during the street closures. Again, I don't have anything current, but here's what they did back in 2014.
Here's the street closure information from a recent streetcar press release. 

F Street NE between 4th Street NE and 14th Street NE - No Traffic Northbound
I Street NE between 4th Street NE and 14th Street NE - No Traffic Southbound
400 to 1300 B/O H Street NE - No Traffic East/Westbound

Bikeshare is great, but it's going to be super crowded, and attempting to ride a bike on H Street during the Festival would be a terrible idea. If you have friends coming by Bikeshare, tell them to find a dock a bit further away and plan to walk from there. If you have friends riding their own bikes, make sure they lock them up securely, and know it's probably best to do that off H Street during this time.

If you have friends who are driving in from elsewhere warn them it will not be easy to park nearby, and make sure they know about the closed off streets.

I normally suggest people take Metrorail, but I know that might involve a little extra planning this year. Those buses listed above will still get you close, even if they can't run on H Street.

Assess the Parking Situation

No cars can remain parked on H Street after 3:30 a.m. Saturday (seriously, they will tow you). That time is based on street closure times from the streetcar press release since I don't have anything else yet. You won't be able to park there again until they reopen the street after the Festival is clear (that same press release indicates closed streets until 11 p.m.). 

Things to Bring
  • Cash. ATMs can run dry during this event, and not everyone takes cards.
  • Water bottle. You can always find a place to fill it, and DC Water usually has a mobile station set up.
  • Sunblock. Saturday's forecast calls for a high of 85° with partly cloudy skies.
  • Bag for loot? Maybe. You can probably score a plastic bag from a vendor, but it's not a bad idea to bring you own just in case.
  • Phone charging cord and power backup? There will be charging stations available at the PokemonGo Zones. I would assume they will be equipped with charging cables. But it never hurts to have a little extra juice on hand whenever and wherever you need it. 
Things to Keep in Mind
  • The Festival can be loud in certain spots, so it can be easy to miss calls from a friend trying to meet up with you. A few years back we had such a large crowd people definitely had trouble making calls. Maybe we overwhelmed the local towers? Texting is probably a better bet.
  • Some people bring dogs. If your dog is fine with crowds this could work, but it can get hot out there quickly. I brought my dog a couple of years ago, and even with a water break he was ready to head home in less than 45 minutes (and that was before the festival even got crowded).


Anonymous said...

Public Information Office: 202-727-4383

September 14, 2016


(Washington, DC) -The Metropolitan Police Department and the Department of Transportation would like to inform the public of street closures in conjunction with the H Street Festival, September 17, 2016.

The following street closures are from approximately 3:30 am to 11:00 pm:

* F Street, NE, between 4th Street, NE and 14th Street, NE - No Traffic Northbound
* I Street, NE, between 4th Street, NE and 14th Street, NE - No Traffic Southbound
* 400 to 1300 block of H Street, NE - No Traffic East and Westbound
Motorists traveling in the area of this event may experience delays and should consider alternative routes, if possible. The Metropolitan Police Department and the District Department of Transportation would like to remind motorists to pay full attention whenever operating any motor vehicle and to be mindful of heavy pedestrian traffic that may be associated with special events. These street closings are subject to change without notice based upon unanticipated events and prevailing conditions.

Jesse said...

"There will be charging stations available at the PokemonGo Zones."

What have we become?!? :)

pat said...

I wish they'd move the band stages onto the vertical streets so people listening to the band can congregate there
and the main crowd can flow.

Annoyingmous said...

pat -- agreed. That's what they do at other similar festivals I've been to in other cities, and it works very well.

Anonymous said...

Inked, have they done anything to improve the restroom situation? Too many people/too few latrines and the portable toilets are impossible to find. Also, I hope the restaurants aren't closing the sidewalks again, which just seems illegal to me. But more importantly, it forces a large crowd of people, strollers and pets onto the part of H street no taken up by vendors. I won't ever go again until those situations are fixed. Adams Morgan figured this out years ago, H street should do the same.

inked said...

I haven't heard about changes to the bathroom arrangements this year, I do know that if you stop in for a coffee, drink, or quick bite at one of the businesses you can use the bathroom there. I haven't seen a map yet for this year, but hopefully they will have plenty of signs to assist visitors in locating bathrooms, and navigating the Festival more generally.

Many restaurants and taverns do have extended patio areas during the Festival. It's legal as long as all fees are paid and permits in place. There was a situation some years back where I think planning was less than optimal and there were also some issues with vendors being outside their assigned boundaries. This resulted in some very unfortunate bottlenecks that were uncomfortable for everyone, and virtually impassible to anyone with a stroller, crutches, etc. I can definitely say that I believe the organizers learned from that mistake, because I have not seen that sort of crowd flow problem other than that one year. If I recall correctly, that was one of the major reasons for the push to extend Festival all the way down to 4th Street, rather than end it at 8th Street.

Anonymous said...

pack some brass knuckles to be able to effectively punch as many drunken Arlington douche bros as possible! Fight's on, lights outtttt