Cherry Blossom Festival results in record ridership for Metro

(WJLA) - Every image is picture perfect, almost every story too perfect to be true.

"Cherry is my first name, Blossom is my middle name -- Cherry Blossom Spielman."

That’s right – Cherry Blossom Spielman was born during the peak bloom 50 years ago, but she had never seen her namesake until today.

"This is the first time," she said. "It's a bucket list item, and I am enjoying every minute of it."

But emergency crews aren’t enjoying a second of it, because every street into the Tidal Basin is a gridlock crawl – snarled by cherry blossom onlookers.

"It's been a big circle, I've been here like 12 times -- I am determined, I'm going to find a parking space somewhere today," said Sonnie Dockser of Bethesda.

But the wait is miserable.

"We've been waiting, we've been circling for about 30 minutes trying to find parking -- we just decided to get out," said Angela Scalise, who abandoned her minivan and her husband for a quick peek at the petals.

"He's hopefully going to get lucky. He'll at least know part of the family got to enjoy it," she laughs.

It’s not much better underground on the Metro; at Smithsonian, L’Enfant Plaza, and Arlington Cemetery, it’s standing room only.

In fact, the five days following the debut of the Cherry Blossom Festival rank in Metro’s Top 10 for record ridership – and each of those days were coupled with a sporting event.

On Thursday night, due to a combination Nats game and Cherry Blossom festival day, commuters and tourists and baseball fans may not be all smiles, as they face one another on a train platform in the push to get home.