THE WASHINGTON Redskins, with a week off and then two games on the road, won't have another home stand on the Beltway until Oct. 31, which should allow team management and fans plenty of time to work out any remaining kinks in their game-day transportation arrangements. Both proved last Sunday afternoon (and into the evening) that they'd become much the wiser after a hideously long opening-day loss to Gridlock. They ran new travel patterns to and from the stadium with relative ease.
It helped, of course, that the turnout for that second home game was about 2,400 fewer than on Dallas Day. But smart moves before kickoff made the biggest differences; people figured out that the best way to avoid parking nightmares at the stadium was to avoid parking there. Instead of trying to shoehorn all vehicular arrivals into a stadium with 22,000 parking spots, officials said only the 18,000 permit holders could use the lots there.
While stadium attendants filled those spaces in order -- no roaming for a spot -- other drivers pulled about 5,000 cars into the US Airways Arena lot and unloaded for shuttle buses to the stadium. The shuttle service could stand some improvements next time, but it did manage to get fans to the game on time.
The smartest money was on Metro, however. People who rode the rails to the Landover, Cheverly and Addison Road stations were among the biggest winners. Metro recorded the largest number ever to take transit to and from the stadium -- a 65 percent increase over the number who availed themselves of Metro's subway-plus-shuttle service on opening day. While loading up the buses after dark could have been more efficient, the system easily passed muster -- as well car traffic -- on the way out. Mass transit, moving the masses. What better case for thinking Metro, not car?