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Strasburg, Metro set records

Tuesday became the sixth highest ridership day in Metrorail's history. The transit authority attributes that to the crowds heading to Nationals Park to watch the debut of pitcher Steven Strasburg and to Verizon Center for the James Taylor/Carole King concert.

Those extra numbers pushed the total Metrorail trips for the day to 856,578. (A trip is just that: one trip. If you went to the game and back on Metrorail, you did two trips.)

I went to the Taylor/King show via the Red Line. Getting to the 8 p.m. concert was a breeze -- except that three of the four escalators from the mezzanine at Gallery Place Station up to the nearest entrance to Verizon Center were out of service at that hour.

The way back was more difficult because of platform and train crowding on the Red Line, but still very manageable. The Grid Spouse and I were on the Glenmont-bound platform looking across at an enormous crowd on the Shady Grove-bound side just after the concert ended.

Those folks weren't getting much guidance, because they were spread out all along the platform, only to discover that the arriving train was six cars long. But an eight-car train did arrive about two minutes after the six-car train left.

On our side, we waited about 10 minutes for a train and easily got aboard the first car. The platform display showed the next trains would arrive in 10 minutes and 11 minutes.

Reports from our Post staffers at the game confirmed what Metro had warned us about: The Navy Yard Station was jammed after Strasburg finished his strong seven innings.The station's Half Street entrance was rebuilt to handle 15,000 people an hour. That's pretty good, but it still means very long waits, and when the platform gets jammed, Metro will temporarily close the entrance till Green Line trains take more riders away.

What was your experience like getting to and from the events on Tuesday night? One tip many people have adopted is to walk to another station to board a train. After some Nationals games, I've walked over to the New Jersey Avenue entrance, or boarded a Circulator bus near the entrance on New Jersey Avenue.

When the crowds are heavy getting out of Verizon Center, Glenmont-bound riders will walk over to Metro Center, the last stop before Gallery Place, while Shady Grove-bound passengers will walk to nearby Judiciary Square.

Here's the list of Metrorail's top five heaviest days:
1) Jan. 20, 2009: 1,120,000 million trips (Obama Inaugural)
2) April 2, 2010: 891,240 (Cherry Blossoms/basketball)
3) April 1, 2010: 877,890 (Cherry Blossoms/hockey)
4) April 7, 2010: 867,624 (Cherry Blossoms/baseball)
5) January 19, 2009: 866,681 (Obama inaugural activities)

By Robert Thomson  | June 9, 2010; 4:05 PM ET
Categories:  Events, Metro, Transit  | Tags:  Dr. Gridlock, Metrorail  
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Next: District signals operating again


"When the crowds are heavy getting out of Verizon Center, Glenmont-bound riders will walk over to Metro Center, the last stop before Gallery Place, while Shady Grove-bound passengers will walk to nearby Judiciary Square."

It would be the other way around.

Also, on the green/yellow lines, people could walk just a little further to Mt. Vernon or Archives.

Posted by: DOEJN | June 9, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

i attended the nationals game and only had to wait on the way to the game. after work (5:45ish) i attempted to board the green line at gallery place, but could't get onto the first two trains. i finally got on one of the special "fastball trains;" the green line train which only travels from mt vernon sq to anacostia station.

after each game i ALWAYS use the half street entrance. and i ALWAYS get a seat in the nearly half empty car. about 1/5 of nats fans seem to know this trick and use it regulary.

Posted by: xrvax | June 9, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Don't forget the Conan O'Brien show at DAR Constitution Hall Tuesday night ... the platform at Farragut West toward Vienna/Franconia was PACKED solid at 11:30 p.m., with a 15-minute wait until the next train. Dangerous.

Posted by: pentagoncity1 | June 9, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

DOEJN...actually you have it mixed up. The first station before Gallery Place in the direction of Shady Grove is Judiciary Square. The first station before Gallery Place in the direction of Glenmont is Metro Center. Dr. Gridlock had his information correct. I've been doing this for years now. It is such a short walk and it means I almost always get a seat.

Posted by: Razor04 | June 9, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

I went to the game. I waited maybe 10 minutes to get in the station, 5 minutes to the platform, a train pulled in, I got on (to Mt. Vernon Square). Then waited about 10 minutes to get the next green line to Columbia Heights. Left at the end of the game, out of metro by just after 10:10. It was really quick. I was impressed.

Posted by: ajbouche | June 9, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Oh and on the way there, it was completely normal and easy too.

Posted by: ajbouche | June 9, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Sure hope Metro has plans for adequate service on Saturady, June 19, and that someone told them FOX moved the game to 4 p.m.....

Posted by: ValleyCaps | June 9, 2010 7:29 PM | Report abuse

ValleyCaps, Strasburg is not pitching on June 19, so that might lower the attendance. On the other hand, it's Zimmerman Bobblehead Day and that sort of promo always draws a crowd.

Regarding the main topic, we drove to the game as usual. I picked up Ms1995hoo at her office near the Kennedy Center at 5:30 sharp and the only problem getting over there was that 23d Street was snarled (a detour route because getting from Memorial Bridge to Ohio Drive was more or less impossible due to the backup there). Sailed across town in no time via my secret back way to the ballpark. Our usual privately-run car park was full and we wound up getting a free space on the street down towards Buzzards Point on S Street SW. Normally I would not in a million years leave my car there at night, but the area was so packed with baseball traffic that I made an exception. Worked out fine, and saving $15 on parking is nice, but there was one little problem--the space was literally crappy since I was under a power line and the birds left presents all over my car. So the normal 20-minute trip home via I-295 and the Beltway took half an hour due to a much-needed detour to a car wash!

Got to say Buzzards Point and the streets down along the side of Fort McNair are one of the strangest, creepiest parts of DC I've ever visited.

Posted by: 1995hoo | June 10, 2010 12:05 AM | Report abuse

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