wpostServer: http://css.washingtonpost.com/wpost

The Post Most: Local

Dr. Gridlock
Traffic and Commuting Home  |  Discussions  |  Columns  |  Q&A  |      Twitter  |     Facebook |  phone Alerts
Posted at 08:59 AM ET, 05/17/2012

Nats fan offers ballpark travel tips by Circulator, Metro

A traveler reacted to reports of relatively low attendance at Nationals baseball games by sending along these helpful thoughts about traveling to Nationals Park.

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

I have some observations from the past three seasons of early-week Nats games.

1. Is anyone driving to the games and using the parking lots? They’ve always looked pretty empty, and at $40 a spot, little wonder. The only lots I ever see being used in a way that’s noticeable are the ones next to the center field gate.

2. Getting to the stadium on the Green Line is never a problem. Getting back involves that crush that everyone dislikes; however, in all of my trips, Metro employees have been thoroughly professional in herding the crush over the full length of the platform. Some people might not like the feeling of being herded, but Metro employees get top marks from me for their friendliness and professionalism.

3. The part of that trip I dislike is the platform switch at L’Enfant Plaza. Sometimes the Yellow Line train comes in on the opposite platform from usual, and once, recently, a Blue Line train came in on the Yellow Line platform. It’s just Metro using the trains efficiently, but you know how everyone dislikes having to think quickly on a Metro platform.

4. My way around the crush is to walk to the New Jersey Avenue side of the Navy Yard station to pick up the D.C. Circulator bus toward Union Station, which takes me to the Eastern Market Metro station. I’ve noticed that there don’t seem to be many people using the Circulator. Hope that service stays! It works fine!

5. I’ve also walked up New Jersey Avenue to the Capitol South station, and on a very crowded night, many hundreds of others do that as well. Not exactly pedestrian heaven, but highly doable.

No sports venue is as ideally located as Verizon Center: atop three lines, with an easy walk to two more. Caps and Wizards fans have it sweet.

Kurt Jensen, Alexandria

DG: Jensen also said he’s never taken one of the Potomac River water taxis that can carry fans to and from the waterfront side of the stadium. He said he’d rather spend his money on the game ticket and the occasional Nats Dog.

Off-street parking north and east of the stadium has expanded quite a bit since the early days. The prices range from $41.88 just north of Nationals Park to $5, if you’re willing to walk from the lot under the Southeast-Southwest Freeway by South Capitol Street. On the Nationals Web site, washington.nationals.
mlb.com
, fans can buy parking space for individual games or for season plans.

Many fans have commented lately that they prefer taking their cars to waiting for Metro trains during the weekend or late-night Metro maintenance delays.

The hassle is in the driving and waiting in line, not in the parking itself. But Jensen makes some smart observations about the transit alternative.

Metro does do a good job managing congestion at the Green Line’s Navy Yard station before and after games. The transfer stations are more troublesome, especially during the surge after games.

If Jensen and other fans want to stick with the Yellow Line for trips back to Alexandria, they might stay aboard their northbound Green Line train past L’Enfant Plaza and get off at Archives, where there’s likely to be less crowding, and they need only walk across the center platform to catch a southbound Yellow Line train.

But Jensen has a good alternative with the District’s Circulator buses, scheduled to operate about every 10 minutes. That route has been adjusted to help stay on schedule and encourage ridership. The route no longer terminates inside the Union Station garage, where some delays occurred.

The walk from Capitol South is also a good option. It’s easier walking downhill to the games, and that’s almost always in daylight.

Sign doesn't help

In the April 26 column, we printed some of your suggestions about what safety messages the highway departments could display on their overhead signs. But the message that appeared on a Virginia highway sign in our accompanying photo drew several more letters that took issue with the wording, “Report Terrorism, Call Tip Line, 1-866-
488-8554.”

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

Your illustration is just the sort of traffic-slowing nonsense that should not be on the signs. Am I supposed to grab pen and paper to write down the phone number while driving? Surely I should not be encouraged to pick up my cellphone while on the Capital Beltway.

Nancy Eddy, Chevy Chase

Dear Dr. Gridlock:

As a frequent D.C. visitor, I’ve been wondering whether I’m supposed to enter the Terrorism Tip Line number into my contacts list, rummage through my purse for paper and pencil to write it down or slow down long enough to memorize the number.

None of those options seemed like a good idea while trying to navigate the Beltway. Besides, I couldn’t figure out how I was going to find terrorists and pay attention to my driving at the same time. So I have ignored that sign. Tips on courteous and safe driving make much more sense.

Molly Greene,
East Lansing, Mich.

DG: They’re right. The guidelines the highway departments follow say the signs should focus on information that is immediately relevant to drivers and avoid wording that distracts attention from the road.

Motorists might need reminders about some basic rules of safe driving, but I’ll bet they’re already inclined to “report terrorism.” So the message is unlikely to fill a gap in their education. And they don’t need to be staring at an 11-digit phone number while driving. If a driver is watching terrorist activity, then 911 should do just fine

By  |  08:59 AM ET, 05/17/2012

Categories:  Metro, Events, District, Driving, Highways, Traffic Safety, Transit | Tags:  DC transportation, Metro, WMATA, Nationals, Virginia Department of Transportation, Maryland Department of Transportation

 
Read what others are saying
     

    © 2011 The Washington Post Company