Avoiding Stadium Traffic if You're Not Going to the Game
D ear Dr. Gridlock:
I've noticed a lot of column inches devoted to telling people how to get to the new stadium, where to park, etc. What about a little guidance for those of us who just want to get past the park? That is, people who need to get somewhere else and whose route must take them across the South Capitol Street bridge at the same time as the games.
What will be the times of greatest congestion? Are there alternatives? And don't tell me to take Metro! If I could, I would.
The Nationals are scheduled to play their first weeknight game in the new stadium at 7:10 p.m. tomorrow. Look for extra traffic congestion before game times along the Southeast-Southwest Freeway, especially at Maine Avenue and South Capitol Street; at M Street and South Capitol; M Street in front of the Navy Yard; and on South Capitol Street next to the stadium.
You'll see plenty of traffic control officers and new traffic patterns. At many places along M Street, officers will bar drivers from making turns across traffic or into neighborhood streets. Fans who are unfamiliar with the area will be mixing with homebound commuters on the freeway and on M and South Capitol streets.
Traffic signals on South Capitol by the stadium will be set to flash. That should help with the flow of commuters, but watch for officers occasionally stopping traffic on South Capitol to allow pedestrians and vehicles to cross the street. On northbound South Capitol, motorists will be dropping off passengers in front of the stadium.
Many fans and commuters will make adjustments after their first few experiences. So will traffic planners, who can adjust the timing on signals, modify traffic signs and adjust parking rules.