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Metro Preparing for D.C. United Crowd

The 7 p.m. soccer game at RFK Stadium between D.C. United and the Los Angeles Galaxy is a sellout, in anticipation of the only Washington appearance this season by the Galaxy's David Beckham. So even though it's August, the evening commute may be crowded for many.

Metro, which has gotten used to handling the crowds for Nationals baseball at RFK, has made plans to transport many of tonight's 45,000 soccer fans: There will be extra trains, more Metro staffers and police to direct people and answer questions and a free shuttle bus service from outside the stadium to Union Station after the game.

Metro's afternoon rush service will begin at 3 p.m. In case you just go for the big games and aren't a regular fan, the closest stop is Stadium-Armory Station on the Blue and Orange lines. (Here's a link to the rail system map.) The exit closest to the stadium is at 19th and Independence. If that's what you want, walk toward the front of a train coming from downtown or toward the rear of an inbound train when you reach the Stadium-Armory platform. But you can also walk the other way, to the exit at 19th Street between C and Burke streets. If you're okay with walking, that route may be quicker, especially after the game.

To get people home, Metro says, it will have extra trains, including some eight-car trains in addition to the sixes. As at any big event around here, make sure you've got enough for a round trip loaded onto your paper fare card or plastic SmarTrip card, which you also would need to exit any of Metro's parking garages or lots.

That free shuttle, which I thought worked like a charm on Nats opening day in April, can be found across from the Armory. They'll be pointing in the direction of 19th Street.

Drivers, here's a link the DC United Web page that contains directions to RFK Stadium. Don't forget South Capitol Street's Frederick Douglass Bridge over the Anacostia River is closed. Your alternatives include the 11th Street Bridge (I-295), Pennsylvania Avenue and East Capitol Street, which leads directly to the stadium.


By Robert Thomson  |  August 9, 2007; 5:12 AM ET
Categories:  Events  
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Comments

"Front of the train" only applies if you're coming from the downtown direction.

Posted by: Steve | August 9, 2007 8:27 AM | Report abuse

I wonder how Metro can run extra trains, when they acknowledge that they can even cover regular rush hour because the equivalent of 4 trains are out of service for repair, as reported on WTOP radio this morning.

Sounds like Metro has an issue with the left hand not knowling what the right hand is doing, or in this case saying.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 9, 2007 10:28 AM | Report abuse

Oops...

Metro can not cover regular rush hour

Posted by: Anonymous | August 9, 2007 10:29 AM | Report abuse

From Dr. Gridlock: Steve, thanks for pointing out the "front of the train" thing. I just made the adjustment in the posting.
Anon, here's a link to Lena Sun's story about that in today's Post:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/08/AR2007080802135.html

Posted by: Robert Thomson | August 9, 2007 10:31 AM | Report abuse

You're telling me that not only is soccer boring, but its fans are muy stupido: to know which end of the station to exit? The thousands of other people... the signs... the cluster of Metro staffers...

offered no hints?

Posted by: Barry Bonds | August 9, 2007 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Yeah, they can prepare for this but what about the HELL we had to go through yesterday and all week and all month long. It's been so freakin hot and yet they can't prepare the trains with AC. What's that all about. And how about the air in the Train Stations. There isn't any. Why is it that I go from being outside in 98-100 degree weather and Metro can PREPARE the stations with some air. The vents that are there are blowing out HOT AIR. How about your PREPARE FOR THAT.

Posted by: BTBS | August 9, 2007 11:08 AM | Report abuse

I still plan to drive to the game tonight. To take the Metro home would take well over an hour. Driving normally takes perhaps 25 minutes. (In fairness, I have not been to RFK since July 4 for the Nationals-Cubs and the Douglass Bridge was still open then, but AFTER the game I do not expect the bridge to cause the problems it does at rush hour.)

I thought about the free bus since I agree with Dr. Gridlock that it worked really well for Opening Day the past two baseball seasons. (I'd leave the car at the office, take the subway to the game, then the bus and Red Line back.) But I don't see the advantage of that for a night game. For an afternoon game that ends during rush hour, it makes a lot of sense. For a night game that should end around 9:15 or 9:30, it doesn't make sense to me.

Posted by: Rich | August 9, 2007 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Oh good three days in a row of lousy service. I can't wait for rush hour tonight.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 9, 2007 11:30 AM | Report abuse

The shuttle makes sense anytime. For those transferring to the Red Line, the shuttle to Union Station saves not only time, but Orange /Blue line congestion.

The past Saturday, I was taking Metro to Silver Spring. Managed to catch a (regularly scheduled) D6 bus. Made it all the way from RFK to Silver Spring in about 30 minutes, at least 20 minutes less than Metrorail to Metro Center.

Posted by: nashpaul | August 9, 2007 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Barry Bonds: The EPO has gone to your head. Soccer fans were attending games at RFK for years prior to when the Nationals showed up. It wasn't until baseball arrived that Metro added signs to direct people around the Stadium/Armory stop.

Dr. Gridlock's advice is for the thousands of casual fans that will be attending tonight's game because an international sports star may play.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 9, 2007 11:34 AM | Report abuse

"The shuttle makes sense anytime. For those transferring to the Red Line, the shuttle to Union Station saves not only time, but Orange/Blue line congestion."

That's why I said that to me it doesn't make sense for night games. The nearest stop to my house is Van Dorn Street; nearest to my office is Metro Center. The shuttle is great for getting to Metro Center quickly, but saves me no time on a trip home after a night game.

I was trying to figure out how, if WMATA is so squeezed for $$$$$, they can afford the free shuttle, but I guess the theory is probably that it lures more people onto the trains than would otherwise ride and that the added fares help offset the cost of the free bus rides.

Posted by: Rich | August 9, 2007 11:49 AM | Report abuse

what is this about?

Posted by: jamie | August 9, 2007 12:26 PM | Report abuse

what is this about?

Posted by: jamie | August 9, 2007 12:26 PM | Report abuse

what is this about?

Posted by: jamie | August 9, 2007 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Metro can run "extra" trains after the game because fewer trains are required for normal service when the game ends than during rush hour. That is also why the Blue Line usually has all 6 car trains on the weekend but not during the week.

Posted by: Rider in the Know | August 9, 2007 1:24 PM | Report abuse

For the person mentioning they haven't driven since the bridge closed. If you're coming across the 14th Street bridge and then the southeast/southwest freeway, the traffic has been awful since the bridge closed. Not that it's the worse in the area, but you go from some days are good, some days are bad to every day is bad and some days are horrible.

Posted by: k | August 9, 2007 3:41 PM | Report abuse

"If you're coming across the 14th Street bridge and then the southeast/southwest freeway, the traffic has been awful since the bridge closed."

Thanks. This is about what I expected. I'm coming from downtown, but going home to Virginia. I'm thinking about taking H Street across town and working my way down to the stadium. We talked about the Metro but decided we prefer the quick trip home.

Posted by: Rich | August 9, 2007 4:31 PM | Report abuse

I was at the game last night, and, as usual, Metro didn't deliver. Slow trains, bad service, most trains were still 4 cars. We only saw one 8 car train out of the 6 that had to go by before we could get on, and we left the game early! The system is embarrasing.

Posted by: Don | August 10, 2007 10:50 AM | Report abuse

The idiots who do the roadwork in DC were as on the ball as ever. Major event at RFK, so they elect to close two lanes on the outbound Case Bridge for roadwork (that was not being done due to the rain) right around the time the game ended. I think they must do this sort of thing on purpose to support their "Take Metro" mentality.

Of course, the traffic reporters on WTOP failed to mention the work zone, too, for which I fault them. I only found out about it when I flipped on XM to see if they had any more detail, but by then it was too late to go a different way. WTOP does its listeners a real disservice when it fails to mention this sort of thing.

Still got home faster than I would have on the Metro, though.

Posted by: Rich | August 10, 2007 11:26 AM | Report abuse

"The idiots who do the roadwork in DC were as on the ball as ever. Major event at RFK, so they elect to close two lanes on the outbound Case Bridge for roadwork (that was not being done due to the rain) right around the time the game ended. I think they must do this sort of thing on purpose to support their "Take Metro" mentality."

I doubt they do it on purpose...more of a "the left hand doesn't talk to the right hand" type problem. Still, completely unacceptable though.

I actually did hear the closure mentioned on WTOP (sometimes the radio stations don't mention stuff every report, but every other report instead) and thought "what were they thinking?" WTOP really ought to cover inside the beltway stuff every 10 minutes, and skip some of the stuff that happens on local roads 40 miles away from the city. I mean, they spent at least half the time spent giving the traffic report talking about an accident in La Plata last night! By the standard definition of the Washington Metro area (Prince William, Loudoun, Montgomery, and Prince Georges Couties and everything inside), La Plata is well outside that area!

Posted by: Woodley Park | August 10, 2007 4:15 PM | Report abuse

"I doubt they do it on purpose...more of a 'the left hand doesn't talk to the right hand' type problem. Still, completely unacceptable though."

Maybe I'm cynical, and since I don't live in DC it's easy for me to slam on the city, but they seem to do these sorts of stupid things all the time. One day earlier this week, either Wednesday or Thursday, Lisa Baden said that one of the roads into DC was snarled because of lane closures while lampposts were being painted--during the morning rush hour. Perhaps you're right that the maintenance people don't have to coordinate with anyone else, but it just seems mighty convenient that the city that is always telling people not to drive always seems to schedule these things precisely at the times when they will inconvenience large numbers of drivers.

On the traffic reports, I've found that it's all a crapshoot. I like the fact that XM's report is longer because they have a dedicated DC-area channel, and I like that I can get their report without waiting (example: if I pull out of the office garage at 5:51, I can get the XM report without waiting seven minutes for WTOP). XM is good about covering the WHOLE area, too, in every report, whereas on WTOP sometimes they'll completely ignore Virginia in favor of Maryland (and sometimes vice versa). But WTOP's report is updated each time it runs, whereas XM's is updated less frequently (I don't know how often). I also feel like the WTOP reporters are better able to give advice--the XM reporters are just reading from a screen and clearly do not know where they are talking about or how to read from a screen. I've heard many an XM reporter refer to a certain town in Virginia as "the Triangle." The town is called Triangle. "The Triangle" is a region in North Carolina. Yet at other times, they leave out the article when you would expect it; for example, "I-495 approaching Woodrow Wilson Bridge is backed up to Telegraph Road." You'd expect a "the" before the name of the bridge. I realize this is all a small thing, but it's distracting and it makes you feel less confident in what you're hearing.

The other thing I've noticed on all the FM stations is that the traffic reporters sometimes think that people listen to them all morning and follow their reports. I've heard "that accident on I-66" or the like many times, without further detail. That doesn't help if you didn't hear the earlier report where they mentioned it. I remember one time earlier this year when Van Dorn Street was closed late one afternoon by a water main break. I do not commute on Van Dorn in the afternoon and did not know about it and found out about it the following morning when I got stuck in a traffic jam. Called WTOP to report it and they said, "Oh, that was there yesterday." No, it wasn't--it was there in the afternoon, but the morning commute is not necessarily the same.

In fairness, the WTOP morning folks do a pretty darn good job given the limited time they have.

Posted by: Rich | August 10, 2007 4:33 PM | Report abuse

"Maybe I'm cynical, and since I don't live in DC it's easy for me to slam on the city, but they seem to do these sorts of stupid things all the time."

Oh, they do...some of the things I hear completely amaze me...but I keep telling myself its getting better...slowly!

"Lisa Baden said that one of the roads into DC was snarled because of lane closures while lampposts were being painted--during the morning rush hour."

I've noticed that they are working during morning rush hour too....Rock Creek Parkway...part of it may be that construction workers work earlier shifts during the summer to beat the heat. I wonder if any lanes were closed on this lamp-post painting? If not, then it might just be another case of stupid drivers slowing down to gawk when they should keep driving.

Virginia is not immune from this either...a couple days ago I noticed they were doing roadwork (with what appeared to be a lane closure) on I-66 inbound inside the Beltway during rush hour. Granted, that is probably when I-66 has the fewest cars on the road during daylight hours, but in general I think closing lanes during rush hour is a bad idea.

"Perhaps you're right that the maintenance people don't have to coordinate with anyone else, but it just seems mighty convenient that the city that is always telling people not to drive always seems to schedule these things precisely at the times when they will inconvenience large numbers of drivers."

I'm saying that they don't coordinate...regardless of if they have to or not....they certainly should have to.

But I do question the timing of some things DDOT does. For example, making Constitution Avenue 2-way during AM rush the week before the Douglas Bridge closed.

Posted by: Woodley Park | August 10, 2007 6:24 PM | Report abuse

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