The first playoff game held at Nationals Park is set to begin at 1 p.m. For many fans, this is the moment they’ve been waiting for since the season began, or even since they first heard baseball was coming back to D.C.
Fans have encountered sellout crowds heading to the Navy Yard area, but everything is heightened during the playoffs. Huge crowds are expected to descend upon the ballpark in the hours before the game, so congestion will be an issue for getting there. And since the game’s final out could come just as the evening rush hour is getting underway, major delays are possible after the game.
We’re going to be liveblogging the whole thing here beginning Wednesday at noon. We will have updates on the roads, the rails and everything else. (Head to Nationals Journal for a liveblog of the game itself.) The Washington Post will have reporters sending in dispatches, but we also want your help.
If you are attending the game, commuting or just out and about Wednesday, let us know what you see. We want to hear about Metro stations, gridlock, packed trains, congestion, delays, clear roadways and smooth travels. Send us anything and everything you see out there.
You can comment below this liveblog or tweet your information and pictures via Twitter (@DrGridlock).
We’re ending our liveblog of the traffic and transit surrounding Wednesday’s Nationals game. We’ll see you on Thursday for Game 4.
There’s no significant crowding at the L’Enfant Plaza and Gallery Place stations right now. It’s been about 90 minutes since the game ended, and while some roads heading away from the ballpark remain crowded, pedestrian traffic has cleared out and no major Metro problems were reported.
A Red Line train heading toward Silver Spring is offloading at Farragut North due to a brake issue. The next train behind it is arriving at Woodley Park, but watch for Red Line delays.
Red Line trains are delayed in both directions after a train malfunction at Silver Spring.
Pedestrian traffic has largely cleared around Nationals Park, but major delays remain for drivers trying to head away from the ballpark.
Westbound M Street SW is still severely backed up heading to Maine Avenue and the 12th Street ramp. Northbound South Capitol Street is jammed heading to I-395, while the Southeast-Southwest Freeway is very slow in both directions.
In addition, the Third Street Tunnel is very slow, according to the District Department of Transportation.
Metro riders encountered another delay due to another unconscious rider on the floor of a Blue Line train heading for Franconia. This time, the male rider was on the floor of a Blue Line train at Pentagon. He’s up and off the floor, but this created some delays.
Earlier, riders on a Blue Line train heading in the same direction were delayed at L’Enfant Plaza by another unconscious male rider.
(And yes, we asked: It was a different train and a different person, according to Metro.)
One note for drivers heading into Virginia: The rock stabilization project that has been creating delays during the afternoon and evening rush is still ongoing today. If you’re heading into Virginia from D.C. and don’t have to take the northbound G.W. Parkway, avoid it. The delays begin around the split near Arlington Cemetery.
M Street is a congested mess heading to Maine Avenue and the 12th Street ramps right now. The Washington Post’s Josh White reports that I (Eye) Street is a good alternative, if you can get there.
One positive note for fans and workers heading back to Virginia (particularly people who encountered horrible conditions driving to the game earlier today): The 14th Street Bridge and southbound I-395 is very clear right now heading that way.
Things are back to normal at Navy Yard after a Green Line train offloaded a short time ago. The six-car train offloaded due to a brake problem, but an eight-car train was right behind it, which quickly cleared up the platform, according to Metro.
Riders were briefly prevented from entering the station while the offloading was taking place to prevent major crowding, but the platform was cleared and people allowed in shortly thereafter.
A Green Line train at Navy Yard is offloading right now due to a brake problem. Another train is right behind it, according to Metro.
There’s heavy traffic being reported on M Street heading to Maine Avenue and the 12th Street ramp to I-395. South Capitol Street is also very slow heading to I-395.
Drivers are not being allowed to turn from South Capitol Street onto M Street, according to the Metropolitan Police Department. Traffic can move on South Capitol Street and on M Street, but people can’t take the ramps from South Capitol Street onto M Street.
Riders encountered a brief delay at the L’Enfant Plaza station’s lower levels after a male passenger was on the floor of the car and not responding. He was woken up and moved to the platform, so trains are moving again, according to Metro spokesman Dan Stessel.
He was in the front car of a Blue Line train heading to Franconia-Springfield before being woken up and taken to the platform.
Pedestrian traffic was moving free and clear down Half Street to the Navy
Yard Metro at 4:50 pm. Got right on a train and am on my way to Mount Vernon
Square. Not all seats on train are even filled.
— Matt Zapotosky
L Street is closed between 7th and 9th streets NE due to a police investigation in the 800 block of Florida Avenue NE. Expect delays on New York Avenue and other nearby routes.
MARC riders are encountering delays due to an earlier train’s mechanical problem. Penn Line train 537 stopped south of Baltimore with a mechanical issue, leading to that train being canceled and the riders being transferred onto another train.
This is also going to impact other trains. Penn Line train 641 is running 25 to 30 minutes late due to single-tracking around the disabled train. Train 439 is also 15 to 20 minutes late after taking on the riders from train 537.
The Capital Bikeshare corral at 1st and N streets SE held 102 bikes when the Nationals game began. Now that the Nationals are down 8-0 and the game is nearly over, the corral holds just 56 bikes — and that number is dropping quickly.
A few reminders for fans heading home via Metro:
- The Half Street entrance at the Navy Yard station is closer to the stadium, and as a result it gets very crowded very quickly. Head to the New Jersey Avenue entrance instead; it’s a bit of a walk, but it tends not to be as jammed right after games.
- Using a paper farecard (and paying a $1 surcharge for each trip)? Make sure you have $2.70 on the card, otherwise you can’t enter the system.
- The most congested transfer stations will be L’Enfant Plaza and Gallery Place. Try to avoid those if at all possible. If you’re going to the Yellow Line en route to Springfield or Alexandria, transfer at Archives. If you need to access the Orange or Blue lines, consider walking to Capitol South or Eastern Market. If you have to access the Green Line, walk to the Waterfront station, hop on a train bound for Anacostia and wait for it to turn around.
The game is still being played, but the trip home is underway for many fans. Metro reports that the first extra Green Line train is being put into service right now. These eight-car trains, which have operators at both ends so they can quickly reverse direction, are meant to shuttle fans through the most congested corridor on game days. Consider this the unofficial beginning of the evening commute for fans.
J. Freedom du Lac, the man behind the best byline at the Washington Post, reports that Nationals fans are already heading for the exits. The Nationals currently trail 8-0, which means that the game is effectively over for some of the 45,017 fans at the ballpark.
Many fans are going to stick around for a while, of course, but expect crowding to build on the Metro and the roads around Nationals Park.
Virginia Railway Express riders: Expect major delays during the afternoon and evening commute home after a train struck and killed someone in Fairfax Station. Some trains on the Manassas Line have been canceled, while others will end in Burke Center. Head here for the latest.
But with massive crowds traveling to the game today, we have an answer about how many fans chose Metro: The transit agency reports that 10,994 people exited the Navy Yard station between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.
The first playoff baseball game in Washington since 1933 is underway. (Again, make sure you head over to Nationals Journal for a liveblog during the game.)
Now that the game is going on, congestion has eased on some of the routes that were snarled before the first pitch. The 14th Street Bridge was jammed up before, but now traffic is flowing smoothly for Virginia drivers traveling from I-395 North into the District.
The Southeast-Southwest Freeway, which was very slow around 7th Street, has also cleared up. Eastbound M Street also looks much less crowded than it did before the game, when an accident near Nationals Park blocked one lane and added to the delays. Things are also looking good on the Frederick Douglass and 11th Street bridges.
With most fans now at the ballpark, crowd-related problems shouldn’t crop up on the roads and Metro lines leading to and from the Navy Yard. However, the big test will come when the game winds down and everyone hits the road.
We’ll have the latest here, so make sure you visit Dr. Gridlock as the game is wrapping up and the commute home begins.
The Capital Weather Gang’s Jason Samenow reports that it is partly sunny and 65 as the Nats game gets underway. By the time the game wraps up (and the evening commute begins), it should be near 70. Here’s the NatsCast, which forecasts lovely weather for the rest of the afternoon and into the evening. So at the very least, the weather shouldn’t be an issue for the commute home.
I-395 North remains snarled approaching the 14th Street Bridge. The delays first impact drivers heading north from Virginia right around the Pentagon, with traffic significantly slowing down as you approach the crowded bridge.
Crowding and congestion remain a problem on into the District, with delays slowing traffic on eastbound M Street as well as on the Southeast-Southwest Freeway.
Meanwhile, drivers heading across the river via the Frederick Douglass Bridge are finding much smoother rides. Delays only begin once you’ve crossed the bridge heading north toward Nationals Park.
Robert McCartney reports from the L’Enfant Plaza Metro station:
The train that passed through at 12:20 p.m. en route to the game was packed, and 200 hundred waiting passengers couldn’t get on. But a half-empty train arrived seven minutes later and cleared the platform. The announcer welcomed us on a “baseball special.”
Extra police are on hand signaling people where to transfer.
The accident on M Street near Half Street SE has been cleared and all lanes reopened, according to D.C. police.
The right eastbound lane remains blocked on M Street near Half Street SE. The lane is blocked because an ambulance remains, though the car involved in the accident has been cleared from the scene, according to D.C. police.
The accident at M and Half streets is still blocking the right lane on eastbound M Street. Here’s a view from a nearby traffic camera:
The 11 a.m. Metro train left Mount Vernon station virtually devoid of Nats fans. By the time it arrived at Navy Yard, it was full — albeit with plenty of breathing room — of Washingtonians in red Harper and Strasburg jerseys.
Georgiana Handermann, a substitute teacher from Leesburg, sat quietly against the train’s side wall, her Cardinals necklace tucked inside a red T-shirt that left ambiguous her rooting interest. Handermann said she grew up in St. Louis and will forever cheer for the Cardinals, but if they cannot make the World Series, she hopes the Nats will.
“I’m for the Nationals to win if they’re playing any team but my St. Louis,” Handermann said.
Handermann said her ticket — in section 109, row P — was a 24th anniversary present from her husband, an electrical engineer and Reds fan who himself couldn’t make it to the game because of work. She said while the playoff baseball atmosphere in Washington was “not even close” games in St. Louis, she hoped it would one day get there.
“I think it’s neat because people are getting excited, and I’m excited for them,” Handermann said. “I think it’s cool, and I hope it does thrive here.”
A sign we there is still work to do: a row of Cardinal bank advertisements lined the tunnel leading up from the Navy Yard Metro station to the ballpark. One fan in a white Nats jersey held out both arms and let out an exasperated sigh: “What are they thinking?”
— Matt Zapotosky
12:14 P.M. Update:
The crash is blocking the right lane on eastbound M Street at Half Street SE.
And we have our first stadium-adjacent crash: An accident on Half Street at M Street SE is going to slow traffic on eastbound M Street, according to D.C. police. Expect this to exacerbate problems heading to the ballpark.
Maine Avenue is already reportedly jammed up and not moving from I-395 onward, according to multiple fans.