On a recent visit to Fenway Park in Boston, I was struck by the proximity of the park to the surrounding streets and by the high level of energy and enthusiasm among fans, vendors, hawkers and pedestrians.
Yawkey Way is a public street that is closed to traffic during games. It is not only immediately adjacent to the park but just feet from the admission gates. Yawkey Way is open to pedestrians whether or not they have tickets to a game.
It is possible to mingle with the crowd there, watch the game on any number of televisions and buy drinks and snacks. The area also is a place for smokers, who are not allowed to smoke inside the park.
As nice as Camden Yards is, it does not have the "buzz" of Fenway. One reason is the long, dull walk from the parking lots at Camden Yards to the admission gates.
Many talk about Fenway Park and ways to re-create some of its finer features, but I have heard little about trying to re-create the "buzz" there. What goes on in the surrounding streets contributes much to the charm and attractiveness of Fenway, so it would be nice to consider this element when designing the new D.C. ballpark.