The Washington Capitals begin their hockey playoff run tonight at Verizon Center in Chinatown, so let’s review how fans can get around without letting the transportation system spoil the fun.
First, you can look around this entire nation and find few neighborhoods that offer more options for leaving the car at home to attend an event. So consider trains, buses, bikes and feet as ways to get around. Traffic around the 7:30 game times tonight and Friday night is likely to be heavy, and street parking is very limited.
That said, here’s a basic guide to getting there and getting back home.
Use this link to find driving directions for Verizon Center , which is located at 6th, 7th, and F streets NW.
Verizon Center’s own parking garage is not open for games. The center lists several other parking facilities nearby: Gallery Place parking garage on Sixth Street NW, the public garage next door to Rosa Mexicano restaurant on F Street NW and the public garage near Seventh and I (Eye) streets NW. The parking lot at the old convention center site marked by 9th, 11th, H Street and New York Avenue will no longer be available for public parking.
If you’re looking for street parking in the area, be careful: Read the instructions on the meter, whether it’s a traditional, stand-alone meter or one of the newer, green multi-space meters. Make sure you know the hours of meter enforcement.
The Green, Yellow and Red lines converge at Gallery Place, below Verizon Center. The station gets crowded, especially after the game, when everyone leaves at once. Here are some tips:
* Make sure you have enough value on your fare card or SmarTrip card to cover a round trip, so you don’t have to wait in a long line after the game at the fare vending machines.
* Remember the other stations in easy walking distance: Metro Center, Judiciary Square, Mount Vernon Square and Archives. A Red Line rider in the direction of Glenmont, might have a better chance of getting a seat on a post-game train by walking over to Metro Center. A Red Line rider heading toward Shady Grove might find the trains less crowded at Judiciary Square. Green and Yellow Line riders heading north might have better luck at Archives, while those heading south might try Mount Vernon Square. See the Metro station map.
* Listen to the station and train announcements, and check the final destination displayed on the side of the train to be sure it’s the right one for you.
* Metro sometimes adds trains after games if the platform crowding gets bad. They might not operate on the line’s full route.
* See Metro’s list of escalator outages. Today, the list shows two out of operation at Gallery Place.
These bus routes are near the Judiciary Square Metro station: 80, D1, D3, D6, P6, X2. Look here for Metrobus routes and timetables.
The D.C. bus system with the distinctive red, black and gray buses that arrive about every 10 minutes, has two northbound stops along Seventh Street NW, on the west side of Verizon Center, and a southbound stop on Ninth Street NW, near F Street. This is the Convention Center-Southwest Waterfront line, which has connections to the Union Station-Georgetown route.
Capital Bikeshare, the bike rental program, now has stations all over D.C. and Arlington. You can join for a day or sign up for a longer program.There’s a station at Fifth and F streets NW, near Verizon Center. See a map of the entire system.
If you visit Chinatown rarely, you might not be familiar with the District Department of Transportation’s pedestrian crossing experiment at 7th and H streets NW, by the Chinatown arch around the corner from the entrance to Verizon Center.
There’s one light cycle when pedestrians can cross any way they want. All drivers must stop. Also, drivers are not permitted to make turns at any time in any direction. Police have been known to pull cars over for breaking that rule.