Nationals playoff game will create gridlock

Massive crowds are expected to descend on the Navy Yard area Wednesday for the first playoff game at Nationals Park, but the big problems could begin after the final out.

The game is scheduled to start at 1 p.m., which means that tens of thousands of baseball fans will be flooding Metro and the roads to head home after it ends just as the evening commute gets underway.

Resources for your commute

What major overhauls are needed to improve the Metro system?

What major overhauls are needed to improve the Metro system?

CROWD SOURCED | Share your ideas for making the system better. Leave comments and upvote others.

Follow Dr. Gridlock on Twitter

Follow Dr. Gridlock on Twitter

Get the latest news that will affect your commute.

Read more from Dr. Gridlock

Read more from Dr. Gridlock

The blog is your transportation guide to the Beltway and beyond.

More transportation news

“This is not going to be a normal commute for Washington,” said John Lisle, spokesman for the D.C. Department of Transportation. “Even if you’re not going to the game, you should have a game plan for getting home.”

Lisle urged fans to ride Metro if possible and said that workers not going to the game should consider telecommuting.

“There’s going to be some challenges, and there’s probably going to be some delays people need to be prepared for,” Lisle said.

No matter how you are going to the park, add extra time to your trip. Many of the fans coming to the game will have little or no experience dealing with the numbers expected at it.

Metro

The transit agency will be putting every available car into service to accommodate the crowds. Extra Green Line trains will shuttle between the Mount Vernon Square and Anacostia stations. These eight-car trains will have operators at both ends so they can quickly reverse direction.

But even with extra trains covering a handful of stations, riders will still encounter crowded cars and packed station platforms. If an arriving train is full, just wait for the next one, which might have fewer riders.

The Navy Yard platform will be packed before and after games. The Half Street entrance is closer to the ballpark, but if it’s overflowing, try the New Jersey Avenue entrance.

For the trip home, assume that transfer stations will be brutal. The Gallery Place and L’Enfant Plaza stops are typically jammed after games and at the end of the workday, so these stations should be mobbed.

Riders transferring to the Yellow Line to head to Springfield or Alexandria might want to switch at Archives, rather than at L’Enfant. To get to the Orange or Blue Line, consider walking to the Capitol South or Eastern Market stops. This will help you avoid the masses on the Green Line, although Orange and Blue trains won’t be empty by any means.

Or if you need to board a Green Line train and don’t want to deal with the Navy Yard station, you could walk to the Waterfront stop, board a train heading toward Anacostia and wait for it to turn around.

Driving

There is no getting around this: The roads around Nationals Park will be a slog after the National League Division Series game.

But the DDOT is preparing. Dozens of traffic control officers and school crossing guards will guide drivers and pedestrians; workers will be prepared to clear disabled vehicles; and engineers will adjust signal timing to try to ease major delays.

This doesn’t change the fact that there are only so many roads in and out of the Navy Yard area. M and South Capitol streets will be mobbed, as will the 11th Street, 14th Street and Frederick Douglass bridges.

DDOT’s plan is to guide traffic away from the stadium and onto nearby freeways as quickly as possible. Northbound traffic on South Capitol Street will be guided to Interstate 395, and southbound traffic will be directed to the Douglass Memorial Bridge. Traffic on westbound M Street will be shunted toward the ramp at Maine and 12th streets, and eastbound M Street will head to the 11th Street Bridge.

Biking

Capital Bikeshare members can drop bikes off at a corral at First and N streets SE. The corral opens at noon and will remain open until an hour after the game. There are also three Bikeshare stations close to the stadium and several others a short walk away.

You can also park your own bike at the stadium. Nationals Park has a free bike valet in Garage C (also at First and N streets SE; enter on N Street) that can hold 100 bikes, and there are other bike racks surrounding the ballpark, which can hold up to 250 bikes.

Buses

Metrobus routes 74, P1, P2, V7, V8 and V9 serve Nationals Park. Circulator buses travel between the 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 Washington Post will be blogging about the traffic and transit situation around Nationals Park beginning at noon Wednesday. Visit wapo.st/drgridlock for the latest. Send us any traffic tips, pictures and information via Twitter (tweet at @drgridlock) or by commenting on our blog.

 
Read what others are saying