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Traffic Patterns Change Near D.C.’s Cherry Blossoms

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The Washington Monument is seen through cherry blossoms on March 29, 2011 in Washington, DC. Americans celebrating the beauty of Washington's landmark pink cherry blossoms this spring have at heart the tragedies jolting Japan, which gave the trees to the United States. More than 27,000 people are dead or missing, and two weeks after the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami crippled the aging nuclear plant in northeastern Japan, rescue work is still under way to avoid a major nuclear disaster. As many as one million people are expected to stream through the Mall esplanade area during the Cherry Blossom Festival from March 26 through April 10. (Photo by JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

The Washington Monument is seen through cherry blossoms on March 29, 2011 in Washington, DC. Americans celebrating the beauty of Washington’s landmark pink cherry blossoms this spring have at heart the tragedies jolting Japan, which gave the trees to the United States. More than 27,000 people are dead or missing, and two weeks after the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami crippled the aging nuclear plant in northeastern Japan, rescue work is still under way to avoid a major nuclear disaster. As many as one million people are expected to stream through the Mall esplanade area during the Cherry Blossom Festival from March 26 through April 10. (Photo by JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Traffic patterns around Washington’s Tidal Basin are changing for the next month to help keep traffic moving at the height of the National Cherry Blossom Festival.

The National Park Service says that beginning Saturday, all four lanes of Ohio Drive along the Potomac River will be redirected to flow northbound only. There will be no access to West Potomac Park from Independence Avenue and 23rd Street southwest.

Park Service officials warn parking is very limited in the area.

They are advising visitors to take Metro instead and walk about three blocks from the Smithsonian Metro station.

Park Service spokesman Bill Line says the traffic changes are being made earlier this year because the cherry blossoms are expected to bloom early. The warm weather is expected to draw larger crowds.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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