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Play ball! Getting to Nats Park


Nationals parking 2010.jpg
Click on Washington Nationals map for more about this year's parking options.

The Nationals open the regular season against the Phillies at 1:05 p.m. Monday. Expect the streets and subway stations to be very crowded to deal with the masses headed to and from the ballpark. See the Capital Weather Gang's NatCast.

President Obama is scheduled to throw the first pitch, and the Nationals are urging fans to arrive extra early, both because of crowding and because of the extra security at the gates.

That means heavy traffic on the Southeast-Southwest Freeway and around M Street and South Capitol Street, where the park is located. The Nationals Express shuttle bus from RFK Stadium has been discontinued, and baseball parking is no longer available at RFK. But the Nationals have opened a couple of economy lots, and game day parking also is available in lots nearer the stadium. Car parking costs range from $5 and $10 for the economy parking to $40. See more details here.

The District Department of Transportation recommends that drivers approach the parking areas from the east side of Nationals Park via the 6th Street exit off the Southeast-Southwest Freeway (I-395 eastbound) or the 11th Street Bridge (westbound).

The Green Line's Navy Yard Station, closest to the park, also will be very crowded, as will the transfer stations at L'Enfant Plaza and Gallery Place. If you're coming from downtown Washington, turn left when you get off the train at Navy Yard. If your train is heading toward downtown, turn right. This will take you toward the Half Street exit, the larger of the two at the station and the closer one to the ballpark. It's a great idea to have a SmarTrip card or a paper Farecard with enough value to cover the return trip.

Metro has a lot of eight-car trains on the Green Line to get people to the game.

After the game, be prepared for a long line to get back into the station at Half Street. I've often found it best to use the New Jersey Avenue entrance on the way home. Even though it's a smaller entrance, the lines tend to be shorter and the nearest rail cars will likely be the least crowded on the train. The game should end while afternoon peak service is in effect.

These six Metrobus routes stop near the stadium: 70, P1, P2, V7 V8 and V9. The District's red, black and silver Circulator bus stops just outside the New Jersey Avenue entrance to the Metro station and runs every 10 minutes between Union Station and Navy Yard Station, but it's a small bus and can get very crowded.

The Maryland Transit Administration warns that some of its commuter buses may be delayed during this afternoon's rush hour because of heavy traffic around the stadium.

Nationals Park has a free bike valet in Red Garage C at the corner of N and 1st streets SE. Access to the valet is on N Street just left of the entrance. The valet will accept bikes two hours before game time and will close an hour after the last inning. There also are many bike racks around the stadium.

I find walking to or from the stadium a pleasant way to get around the Metrorail crowds or the hassle of reaching the parking areas. I take the Blue or Orange lines to Capitol South Station, then walk down New Jersey Avenue. (It is downhill from the station to the stadium.)

By Robert Thomson  |  April 5, 2010; 7:20 AM ET
Categories:  Advisories , Events  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, Nationals Park  
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There is also $10 parking at the corner of Half and M SW.

Good call on the Cap South suggestion. I highly recommend it, or if you want some exercise, walk from L'Enfant Plaza if you are coming from the north or west.

Posted by: MACCHAMPS04 | April 5, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

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