D.C.

Record number of cherry blossom visitors means record tons of trash

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WASHINGTON (WJLA) - With the vast majority of cherry trees now past their peak, one would think the traffic from people and cars would have dropped off as well.

Mounds of trash collected around the district this past weekend, thanks to a record number of visitors who came to see the cherry blossoms. (Photo: Kelly Lamp/WJLA)

However, even Monday was a chaotic day in the district as more people showed up to view the blossoms.

Traffic around the Tidal Basin snarled throughout the day Monday, and it wasn't much better on the sidewalks.

Sarah Metcalfe and her two sons decided to see the sites on bikes - a move they later regretted, they told ABC7.

"It's been a little bit crazy," she said. "I think we are just ready to give up and go do he Washington monument and head for home."

Maryland resident Dominique Charleston said, " It took me an hour to park my car. Just to get around - one hour."

Monday's crowds, while impressive, paled in comparison to the massive number of visitors who jammed the area this past weekend, though.

How packed was it? Heaps of trash piled everywhere can tell that story.

With most trash cans overflowing, crews had a tough time getting a handle on all the garbage that accumulated.

National Park Service officials told ABC7 this weekend's trash load rivaled the 27 tons they collected last fourth of July. Ask the field crews, and they'll say it was worse.

But, in credit to those hard-working crews, most grassy areas around the Basin and Mall Monday were cleared of trash by mid-day.

"I'm amazed at, given 1.2 million people, they were able to get it this clean," said visitor Nelson Parker.

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