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Nats’ home opener brings changes to parking, traffic, ride hailing near park

AP/Alex Brandon

WASHINGTON — The Washington Nationals’ home opener Thursday is the first of many days this year that parking rules, traffic and transit will change in areas around Nationals Park due to crowds of fans.

Traffic impacts

With ongoing construction around the stadium, the District Department of Transportation warns that Nationals fans and commuters near the stadium should add extra time to their trips. The delays could also slow commuter buses that stop nearby.

“Heavy traffic and delays are to be expected around the ballpark and on busy routes such as I-295, I-695, I-395 and the Southeast/Southwest Freeway,” DDOT said in a statement.

Continued work to build over the Third Street Tunnel could also add to delays.

Before and after games, traffic signal timing is changed at dozens of intersections in an effort to reduce the backups.

DDOT, D.C. police and other agencies will put extra people on the street to help manage the crowds. Those deployments increase for weekday games, when more than 25,000 people are expected, and for weekend games, when more than 35,000 are expected.

There are also new no-left-turn signs to watch for this year at M and First streets Southeast.

Cabs, Uber, Lyft

DDOT has asked Uber and Lyft drivers to stop blocking the road by dropping off or picking up riders on South Capitol or M streets near the ballpark, or on any street that is closed to traffic. That information has been incorporated into apps like Uber and Lyft, but it does not guarantee compliance.

The closest that ride-hailing services can drop off or pick up riders is along N, O or P streets Southwest, First Street or Potomac Avenue Southeast (likely better for drop-offs), or anywhere in the neighborhood north of M Street Southeast.

The designated taxi staging area and taxi stand is just on the far side of M Street near Nats Park’s center field gate (across the street from the Half Street Metro entrance)

Street parking restrictions, rates

On Thursday and every other game day at Nationals Park (or at D.C. United’s Audi Field, set to open a few blocks away in July), street parking rates in the area will be $2.30 for the first hour, and $8 for each additional hour. There is no restriction on how long drivers can park at those spaces where the additional hours are $8.

This Ballpark Performance Parking covers street spots near the stadium that are open on days with events at Nationals Park or Audi Field. For all events, there are still some areas where roads are closed, like Half Street and N Street in front of Nationals Park for games there.

Parking spaces designated for residents remain restricted during games, and DDOT encouraged drivers to check parking signs carefully for residential, time or other restrictions.

The District is adding parking restrictions at certain times on N Place Southeast near the right field gate due to “security concerns,” DDOT said.

Parking rules around the stadium are enforced even on Sundays and holidays when there is a game, concert or other large event.

Transit

Metro has no track work scheduled during the day Thursday for the home opener, and no track work scheduled during the day this weekend.

As a reminder though, Metro might not be an option to get home from Sunday night’s game, because the system only runs 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Sundays now. On weeknights, the system closes at 11:30 p.m. On Friday and Saturday nights, the system closes at 1 a.m.

At Navy Yard-Ballpark, that means the very last train of the night toward Greenbelt (and any transfers to other lines) is scheduled to leave at 10:52 p.m. Sunday, 11:22 p.m. Monday–Thursday, and 12:52 a.m. Friday and Saturday nights. The last trains to Branch Avenue leave 26 minutes later each night.

The DC Circulator’s Union-Station–Navy Yard route runs until midnight on days that games begin at 4:05 p.m. or later, and from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday afternoons when the Nationals are playing.

Metrobus routes that run to the stadium include the V4 from Capitol Heights, the 74 from the Washington Convention Center and the P6 from Rhode Island Avenue. During weekday rush hours, the A9 from McPherson Square and the V1 from Benning Road or near the Tidal Basin also offer direct trips.

For opening day, Capital BikeShare will offer corral service to provide unlimited bike drop-offs and extra bikes for pickup from 12:05 p.m. until 30 minutes after the game ends.


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