Getting to Games by Transit
The addition of a 41,000-seat baseball stadium to a D.C. neighborhood just getting used to traffic has not created a new transportation system. No new highways or roads or train lines were built to accommodate the crowds.
The main new thing is the rebuilt exit for the Navy Yard Metro station. That's scheduled to be open by this weekend, when major league games start at Nationals Park on South Capitol Street. Walk a block south from the station and you'll see how much is riding on the success of this transit solution: You'll be facing the two tiny-looking garages built to accommodate some of the season ticket holders.
Making this work is more a management challenge than a construction program. The D.C. government, the Nationals and Metro can do all their publicity advising fans to "Take Metro, Take Metro, Take Metro" to the games, but it's a long season. Fans will form their habits based on experience.
Here are some tips for your first experience.
-- You'll arrive at Navy Yard Station on a six or eight-car train. If you're traveling from downtown in the direction of Branch Avenue, the rear cars will be the closest to the west side exit, which can accommodate the most exiting passengers.
-- If the platform is very crowded when your train arrives, the operator may hold there with the doors closed until there's more space to exit.
-- When the doors open on a Branch Avenue-bound train, turn left and you'll see two escalators rising from the platform to the mezzanine. It's exit only on that side before games, but the escalators still may be crowded. Behind the escalators, you'll find a stairway and an elevator.
-- On the mezzanine, you'll walk to a bank of three escalators and an elevator taking people up to street level.
-- On the street level, you'll find the station kiosk. To the right are 10 fare gates. Two of them are express gates for SmarTrip card users. To the left of the kiosk are two wide fare gates for disabled people.
-- The exit is on the south side of busy M Street, an advantage over the other station exit, which brings you to New Jersey Avenue on the north side of M.
-- Follow the crowd south on Half Street to the stadium a block away, but watch your step. See today's Post story on the stadium, which includes a description of the unfinished office building and street construction around the stadium.
-- After the game, the west side escalators all reverse direction to take fans back down to the station platform.
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