Most of these troubles never happened, partly because of the planning and partly because attendance hasn’t matched the highest hopes. Meanwhile, more off-street parking became available. Regular fans figured out the best routes and times for travel and settled into patterns.
Still, each spring brings change. The 2012 home opener was Thursday; here are the latest travel tips.
●The Green Line and the Navy Yard platform can be jammed right before and after games. Metro does a good job managing the platform, although for last week’s exhibition game, I saw some confusion among newcomers about which exit was best. The Half Street exit is nearest the park and has the most escalator capacity. But after games, if the Half Street side is backed up, consider walking east and across M Street to the station entrance at New Jersey Avenue.
●Crowding can be bad up the line at the L’Enfant Plaza and Gallery Place transfer points. After games, Gallery Place can be especially difficult for fans switching to the Red Line toward Shady Grove.
Those transferring to the Blue or Orange lines will probably be better off doing so at L’Enfant Plaza rather than continuing north to Gallery Place, then taking the Red Line over to Metro Center and boarding a Blue or Orange train.
Fans heading for a Red Line destination on the eastern side of the line might be better off skipping the transfer at Gallery Place and instead continuing on the Green Line to Fort Totten.
Fans heading toward Alexandria or Springfield after games can change to the Yellow Line at L’Enfant Plaza. But they might be better off staying on the Green Line for one more stop and making their switch at Archives. Archives probably will be less crowded, and it has a center platform, so transferring riders can just walk across to their Yellow Line trains.
●Parking at Metro lots and garages is free and easy on weekends and federal holidays, but on weekdays, payment is required. That’s usually by SmarTrip card, but some stations now take credit cards. They are Addison Road-Seat Pleasant, Anacostia, Branch Avenue, Dunn Loring, East Falls Church, Franconia-Springfield, Glenmont, Greenbelt, Grosvenor-Strathmore, Huntington, Landover, Largo Town Center, Naylor Road, New Carrollton, Prince George’s Plaza, Rockville, Shady Grove, Suitland and Vienna.
These Metrobus routes serve Nationals Park: 70, P1, P2, V7, V8, and V9. Also, the District operates a Circulator bus route linking Navy Yard station, Eastern Market station and Union Station. The stop nearest the stadium is on the New Jersey Avenue side of the Navy Yard station. (The Circulator no longer stops inside the garage at Union Station.)