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Sports Meet Traffic Today and Friday

This may be a bit more of a challenge than navigating to, or through, the first two games at the new baseball stadium: This evening, we have three sports events in Washington; and on Friday evening, two.

Tonight, it's Nats at Nationals Park, DC United at RFK Stadium and Wizards at Verizon Center.

Something important for Nats fans: The free parking at RFK will move from Lot 8 to Lot 7 on Wednesday night, and whenever the Nats and DC United overlap. So DC United fans will be using the RFK access road to Lot 8. The Nats recommend that baseball fans reach Lot 7 by taking either the Whitney Young (East Capitol Street) Bridge or Oklahoma Avenue. The free Nationals Express shuttle will meet baseball fans at Lot 7.

Transit Users: Metro did very well on Monday night, but only the Nats were playing. Today and Friday will be much more challenging. In addition to the stations that directly serve the arenas -- Gallery Place for the Wizards tonight and the Capitals on Friday, Stadium-Armory for DC United and Navy Yard for the Nats -- watch for crowding at the main transfer stations: Gallery Place (again), Metro Center and L'Enfant Plaza.

Metro says it will operate normal rush period service before the games. Afterward, the transit authority says, Metrorail will have up to 25 additional trains available throughout the system. That breaks down this way: Eight extra trains available on the Yellow and Green lines, 11 extra for the Orange and Blue lines and six extra for the Red Line.

For Gallery Place Station: Regular afternoon commuters who want to avoid the Wizards crowds at the 7th and F streets entrance could use the station entrances at 9th and G streets NW or at 7th and H streets NW. Or they could walk east to nearby Judiciary Square Station at 5th and F streets NW or west to Metro Center's entrance at 11th and G streets NW. (Fans who ride the Red Line could use the same walking strategy if they don't want to deal with Gallery Place crowding.)

For Stadium-Armory: Remember that there are two entrances. The closest to the stadium is the one on the north side, by the armory, but that's going to be more crowded. The other is on the south side, by old D.C. General Hospital. After the game, just walk a little farther down 19th Street from the main station entrance and you'll find it.

For Navy Yard: Fans did very well on Monday night using the rebuilt west side entrance, nearest the stadium. If the two escalators look crowded, try the stairs behind them. Many riders not on the Green Line can skip a train transfer at a crowded station by using the N22 bus. Red Line riders can take it from Union Station. Blue and Orange Line riders can board at Eastern Market. The buses are scheduled to run every 10 minutes, and will drop you off at M Street near Nationals Park. (If you look at the bus route map on the timetable I linked to, note that the westward loop serving the Navy Yard area is eliminated after 5:30 p.m. weekdays, to speed up the ballpark service.)

By Robert Thomson  |  April 9, 2008; 5:37 AM ET
Categories:  Advisories  
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The RFK Parking is going to be a mess. There's no way they can get the word to that many people, especially since the Nats parking ad campaign has been "You can park in Lot 8 for FREE". Add that to the fact that there's no easy way to get to Lot 7.

Then again, DC United fans there 'could' be free parking in Lot 7 if you wear your Nats hat. :)

Posted by: Kim | April 9, 2008 8:51 AM | Report abuse

I received an e-mail from the Nationals about the parking situation today. What it didn't have was a map of where Lot 7 is. I've parked back there before for DC United and for the MLS Cup, but I'd imagine that most people who park at RFK don't know the lot numbers. (Doesn't matter either way to me since I'm not attending any of tonight's games.)

Still, I think Dr. Gridlock deserves praise for his thorough coverage of these issues.

Posted by: Rich | April 9, 2008 9:02 AM | Report abuse

What I'd like to see is a little more cooperation amongst all the players involved in this game. I've seen posts on this blog and elsewhere referring to "our (Untited Fans') access road", and "your (Nats Fans) parking". The attitude of some of these posts is something like, "How dare you Nats fans try to use OUR access road and try to inconvenience us?" That seems like so babyish.

What would work just great would be if we could share, just like we learned in Nursery School. It's a city resource, no reason the city needs to screw over one group of fans for the benefit of another. Everybody drives to RFK on the access road, and when you get to the booths where you pay, you either fork over $8 or show the attendant your Nats tickets and get in for free. The shuttle busses start at Lot 8, and when the lot gets full people can park in Lot 7 and the shuttle busses will move over to there.

Posted by: Woodley Park | April 9, 2008 10:32 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: Anonymous | April 9, 2008 4:05 PM | Report abuse

I have no plans to attend a Nats game anytime soon, but in the event I decide to go to one at some point, how will I know on any given day if I need to park in lot 7 at RFK or if lot 8 is okay? Is there some kind of notice on the Nats' web site?

Posted by: arlington | April 9, 2008 4:12 PM | Report abuse

From Dr. Gridlock: arlington, save this link to the Nats Web page that will have the parking lot advisory:

Posted by: Robert Thomson | April 9, 2008 4:23 PM | Report abuse

I don't think the intermingling of fans is as a good of an idea as Woodley Park seems to. What if I want to buy a baseball ticket at the stadium? What if I'm meeting people at the game with tickets? And that access road from the cash takers to the parking area tends to be one way-ish (I know, it's an accident waiting to happen, but the situation exists) it would be irresponsible to routinely run shuttle busses down it.

But as a report from last night, it appears they allow Nats parkers to come off of the SE-SW Freeway, and then divert through the neighborhood to get to Lot 7. I don't know if there were signs after the initial Lot 8 diversion, perhaps someone else can share.

Also, the real critical point on parking lot sharing is coming up on June 29, when United plays the Galaxy (David Beckham) at Noon, and the Nats host the Orioles at 135. That's two sellout crowds, and a parking lot that can barely handle one sellout.

Posted by: Kim | April 10, 2008 10:33 AM | Report abuse

"Also, the real critical point on parking lot sharing is coming up on June 29, when United plays the Galaxy (David Beckham) at Noon, and the Nats host the Orioles at 135. That's two sellout crowds, and a parking lot that can barely handle one sellout."

Indeed. We went to last year's Beckham Game and had to park in Lot 7 because Lot 8 was full when we got there. It took well over an hour to get out of the lot after the game was over. Not an experience I'd care to repeat, so I think I'd suck it up and take the Metro to either event that day (and I NEVER take Metro to RFK).

Posted by: Rich | April 10, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Also -- After the Wizards game last night there was an 18 minute wait for the red line. I hope Metro isn't over-preparing for Nationals games at the expense of other events.

Posted by: CBGB | April 10, 2008 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Here is the full schedule of United/Nationals conflict dates, courtesy of "OldChelsea" on the Capitals' forum:

"Saturday 26th April - Nats vs Cubs (19.10), United vs Real Salt Lake (19.30)

"Saturday 24th May - Nats vs Brewers (19.10), United vs Toronto FC (19.30)

"Wednesday 4th June - Nats vs Cardinals (19.10), United vs Houston (19.30)

"Sunday 22nd June - Nats vs Rangers (13.35), United vs San Jose (15.00)

"Sunday 29th June - United vs LA and David Beckham (12.00), Nats vs Orioles (13.35)

"Saturday 12th July - Nats vs Astros (19.10), United vs CD Guadalajara 'Chivas' (19.30)*

"Saturday 2nd August - Nats vs Reds (19.10), United vs Kansas City (19.30)

"Saturday 30th August - Nats vs Braves (19.10), United vs Red Bull New York (19.30)

"*This is going to be the biggest and hairiest conflict of them all - Chivas is one of the biggest clubs in Mexico and last year's CONCACAF Cup match at RFK between United and Chivas drew 26,528 (at least 80% Mexicans) on a cold March evening."

Posted by: Rich | April 10, 2008 5:04 PM | Report abuse

18 minute wait? That's better service than should be expected!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 11, 2008 1:05 PM | Report abuse

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