Line drive vs. intentional walk? A breakdown of travel options to Nats Park for 2014 season


Metrobus riders can make the first pitch by taking any of eight routes that stop near Nationals Park, as well as the Circulator. (Astrid Riecken/For The Washington Post)
Robert Thomson
Columnist April 2

The Washington Nationals are scheduled to play their season opener in Nationals Park at 1:05 p.m. Friday. Although I’m a fan, most of my baseball-season experiences are on the streets outside the stadium, where I’ve collected these tips to make your travels easier.

Taking Metrorail

The Metro Green Line’s Navy Yard station is the closest to the ballpark. The train platform can be jammed right before and after games, no matter where the Nationals are in the standings.

Robert Thomson is The Washington Post’s “Dr. Gridlock.” He answers travelers’ questions, listens to their complaints and shares their pain on the roads, trains and buses in the Washington region. View Archive

The Half Street SE exit is the nearest to the park and has the most escalator capacity. If the Half Street side is backed up after games, consider walking east and across M Street SE to the station entrance at New Jersey Avenue.

Many fans switch train lines at Fort Totten, L’Enfant Plaza and Gallery Place. The latter two can be crowded before and after games. Gallery Place can be especially difficult for fans switching to the Red Line toward Shady Grove.

After games, fans transferring to the Blue or Orange lines probably will be best off doing so at L’Enfant Plaza.


Metrobus riders can make the first pitch by taking any of eight routes that stop near Nationals Park, as well as the Circulator. (Astrid Riecken/For The Washington Post)

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 north on the Green Line to Fort Totten, even if that means traveling one or two stations back toward downtown on the Red Line.

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: It probably will be less crowded, and it has a center platform, so transferring riders can just walk across to their Yellow Line trains.

Using buses

These Metrobus routes serve Nationals Park: 74, A42, A46, A48, P6, V7, V8 and V9. About July 1, the fare will rise to $1.75 and everyone will pay the same amount, whether they use SmarTrip cards or cash.

Also, the District operates a Circulator bus route linking the Navy Yard station, the Eastern Market station and Union Station. The Circulator’s service hours are extended when the Nationals play. The fare is $1.

Driving

Before and after games, traffic is particularly slow in the blocks around South Capitol and M streets, on the Southeast-Southwest Freeway and on the 14th Street, Douglass and 11th Street bridges.

Street parking for nonresidents near Nationals Park is banned or very expensive all the way north to Capitol Hill. Off-street parking options are plentiful.

The lots and garages are north and east of the stadium. Parking prices at the official lots vary with the distance from the stadium. A space in the W lot at M and Seventh streets SE costs as little as $10. That’s about three-quarters of a mile from the center field gates. In the B and C garages just north of the stadium, the price for a single game could be as high as $47.

Fans can buy single-game parking in the Nationals’ official lots by going to the team’s Web site, www.ashington.nationals.
mlb.com
, and clicking on the “Nationals Park” menu.

Taxi

After the game, cabs will be at the taxi stand on the north side of M Street SE between South Capitol and Half streets SE. Taxis can pick up riders there beginning about two hours after the first pitch and continuing till a half-hour after the game ends.

People with disabilities

Passengers can be dropped off along First Street SE or along South Capitol Street near the stadium’s two accessible elevator entrances. After games, passengers can be picked up at the South Capitol Street location.

Some accessible parking is available for single games in garages B and C. Fans must have valid disabled parking placards or license plates, as well as their single-game parking pass purchased from the Nationals.

Biking

There are more than 250 bike racks around Nationals Park. In addition, the park has a free bike valet in Garage C at First and N streets SE. The valet takes bikes two hours before the game starts and closes an hour after it ends.

Capital Bikeshare has three stations close to the stadium, at First and N streets SE, M Street and New Jersey Avenue SE, and Third and Tingey streets SE.

Walking

Break free of the crowds for transit and the waits in traffic. There are several easy walks from Metro stations and spots near the Mall and Capitol Hill. Here are a few possibilities:

From L’Enfant Plaza, head south on Seventh Street, turn left on I (Eye) Street and continue south on Sixth Street to M Street SW. Turn left and walk to South Capitol Street.

From the Federal Center SW Metro station, head west on D Street, turn left to go south on Fourth Street, make a left on I (Eye) Street, a right on Third Street and a left on M Street SW.

From the Capitol South station, take New Jersey Avenue south to M Street SE and make a right. From Eastern Market station, head south on Eighth Street and turn right onto M Street SE.

Walks to the game are easiest, because they’re downhill from the Mall and Capitol Hill, and they’re done in daylight.

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