Traffic Alert: Afternoon Game at Nationals Park
The last home game of the 2009 season is scheduled to start at 4:35 p.m. today at Nationals Park.
That will mean some early congestion around South Capitol and M streets. It's a good thing for commuters to keep in mind if they're using the Southeast-Southwest Freeway, the 11th Street Bridge, the 14th Street Bridge and the Douglass Bridge.
For transit users, an afternoon game usually means extra crowding on the Green Line, and at the L'Enfant Plaza and Gallery Place transfer stations as fans make their way to Navy Yard Station.
The Maryland Transit Administration sent out an advisory about the game warning commuter bus riders that there might be delays this afternoon because of the extra traffic congestion.
Thinking back to two seasons ago, as the park was about to open: We thought there would be a lot more disruption for drivers and transit users, whether they were trying to get to the games or just have an uneventful trip home or find a parking space in their Southwest neighborhood.
None of the really bad stuff happened. I attribute that to pretty good planning by the District Department of Transportation and Metro, and to a baseball team that hasn't played very well.
I do get complaints.
See if this sounds familiar from any of your experiences going to games.
Dear Dr. Gridlock:
On Sept. 23, I took Metro to the Nationals game against the Dodgers. With short waits at the Pentagon and at the transfer at L'Enfant Plaza, it took me only 20 minutes to travel between the Pentagon and Navy Yard stations. So far so good. Unfortunately the return trip was a disaster.
Soon after the game finished shortly after 11 p.m., I boarded the Green Line train at Navy Yard. Unfortunately, the train did not leave for 25 minutes, and became absolutely packed. The reason for the delay was announced as scheduled track maintenance, requiring single line operations. When the train finally left hundreds of people were left at the platform.
The Yellow Line at L'Enfant Plaza shares the same track as the Green Line, so there was a further 30-minute wait there before a Yellow Line train for the Pentagon finally arrived. Literally hundreds of people had to wait 30 minutes for the train to finally arrive. The total trip time from the Navy Yard to the Pentagon -- 3 stations apart -- was 70 minutes!
There was no notification about the track maintenance delays at Metro stations on the way to the game or in that day's paper. Furthermore there was no information at L'Enfant Plaza on the way back how long the delay would be -- if the Metro manager could have provided a 30 minute estimate, I could have made my way back to Virginia via the Blue Line and saved 15 minutes.
Gary Grice, Fairfax Station
Didn't see that one coming. Though there has been late-night maintenance work on the Green and Yellow lines in preparation for a big project on Columbus Day weekend, there was no scheduled maintenance announced by Metro for the night of Sept. 23. (If there had been, I would have told you about it here on the blog.)
There is late-night maintenance scheduled for tonight, though it would take a rain delay, or a string of extra innings for it to interfere with the trip home from this afternoon's game.
Both tonight and Thursday night, from 9:30 to the midnight closing:
Green Line trains will share one track between the Navy Yard and Mount Vernon Square, and Yellow Line trains will share one track between Pentagon City and Mount Vernon Square. During those hours, all Yellow Line trains will operate between the Huntington and Mount Vernon Square stations only.
September 30, 2009; 12:41 PM ET
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