Nats playoff game to impact afternoon traffic

Tuesday - 10/9/2012, 10:48pm EDT

How traffic will be affected by the game

John Lisle, spokesman for the D.C. Department of Transportation

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A sea of red is expected as the Nationals play Game 3 of their series against the Cardinals. (WTOP/Andrew Mollenbeck)

WASHINGTON - Nationals fans who are planning to go to the first postseason home game should consider getting to Nationals Park early and taking public transportation to do so.

And commuters, here's your heads up: The game is expected to end during rush hour Wednesday evening.

"We encourage fans to come early, stay late, and take transit if they can," said Terry Bellamy, director of the D.C. Department of Transportation, in a release.

"Even if you're not attending the game, you need a game plan to ensure you don't get caught in the traffic."

The parking lots and gates at Nationals Park will open at 10:30 a.m., 2 1/2 hours before game time, and the team recommends fans allow extra travel time to get to the stadium.

There are many ways to avoid the traffic around the game, including Metro, Capital Bikeshare and even water taxis.

DDOT says another option for fans who want to avoid the traffic is delaying the trip home by exploring the Capitol Riverfront area, Barracks Row and Capitol Hill.

The transportation department will have traffic control officers, engineers, Road Operations Patrol units and other employees stationed around the park to help guide traffic and pedestrians. DDOT has decided not to restrict turn movements on M Street following the game, as originally planned.

The Metropolitan Police Department released a list of the streets that will be closed Wednesday:

  • N Street SE, from First Street to South Capitol Street, closed at 7 a.m.
  • Half Street SE, from M Street to N Street, closed at 7 a.m.
  • Van Street SE, from M Street to N Street, closed at 7 a.m. and accessible to taxis and stadium traffic
  • First Street SE, from M Street south to Potomac Avenue, will be closed at approximately 10:30 a.m. and accessible to stadium traffic only.
  • Potomac Avenue SE, from South Capitol to First Street, will be closed at approximately 10:30 a.m. and accessible to stadium traffic only

Commuters are encouraged to change their travel plans and, if possible, their work schedules, to avoid the congested roadways around the stadium.

Since the game could add thousands of additional Metro riders to the system during busy travel periods, Metro also has issued a list of travel tips for fans heading to Wednesday's Nationals game:

  • Whenever possible, fans are encouraged to plan a route to the ballpark that avoids downtown transfer stations during rush hours.

  • Riders traveling to and from stations on the eastern side of the Red Line should consider connecting to Green Line service at Fort Totten, rather than Gallery Place.

  • Blue and Orange Line customers should consider using Capitol South Station, rather than Navy Yard-Ballpark Station, to avoid transferring at L'Enfant Plaza or Metro Center. Capitol South Station is located just under a mile from the ballpark via First Street SE.

  • After the game, customers connecting to Yellow Line trains toward Huntington should consider making the transfer at the Archives station, rather than L'Enfant Plaza.

  • The Navy Yard-Ballpark station has two entrances. Half Street is slightly closer to the ballpark and often gets very crowded. Meanwhile, the New Jersey Avenue entrance is a short three-block walk from the ballpark and is usually significantly less crowded. Both entrances are equipped with elevators in addition to escalators.

  • To avoid potentially long vending machine lines after the game, Nationals fans are reminded to load enough value on their paper farecard or SmarTrip card for their entire trip. Customers using paper farecards pay $1 more per trip than those using SmarTrip cards. SmarTrip cards can be purchased in advance at local CVS stores, Giant Food stores, Metro sales offices, regional transit stores, online at smartrip.com or at 47 Metrorail stations.

  • Metro operates a combination of six-car and eight-car trains. Often, the last two cars of eight-car trains are the least crowded. Take note of the number of cars on the platform information displays. Spread out along the platform to take advantage of the additional space of eight-car trains whenever possible.

  • Before and after each post-season game, Metro will operate additional trains on the Green Line to provide extra capacity for Nationals fans traveling to and from the ballpark. The additional trains will operate between Mount Vernon Square and Anacostia stations, making stops at Gallery Place, Archives, L'Enfant Plaza, Waterfront and Navy Yard-Ballpark.

Metro is encouraging riders to sign up for MetroAlerts so they will know of any service disruptions.

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