Greener BeeGreen TipsDr. Gridlock: Tips for getting to Nationals playoff games

[This post has been updated.]
The Nationals and Giants are now set to start their playoff in Nationals Park at 3:07 p.m. Friday and 5:37 p.m. Saturday. Unless the teams make baseball history, fans won’t have to worry about making it to Metrorail after those games. On Friday and Saturday nights, the rail system is open till 3 a.m.

Nationals Park
Expect big crowds along Half Street SE near the centerfield gates. (Photos by Robert Thomson – The Washington Post)

The first chance to have the extra service financed by American University could come if a game 5 is necessary next Thursday, when Metrorail normally would close at midnight. (No potential start time for that game has been announced.)

Here are some tips for getting to and from the Friday and Saturday games — and beyond.

The Green Line’s Navy Yard station is closest to the ballpark. The train platform is likely to be very crowded before and after games. The Half Street SE exit is the nearest to the stadium and has the most escalator capacity. The Half Street side is likely to have a long line after games, consider walking east and across M Street SE to the station entrance at New Jersey Avenue.

This is playoff baseball, the weekend games are sold out, and fans are likely to stay till the ends of the games. So the post-game crowding at the Half Street entrance is likely to be significant. Metro does a good job managing the crowd at this station, but that’s sometimes done by temporarily shutting off the escalators or halting entries till the platform crowd clears.

Plenty of bus and bike options on M Street SE near the stadium.
Plenty of bus and bike options on M Street SE near the stadium.

To reach the Green Line, many fans switch train lines at Fort Totten, L’Enfant Plaza and Gallery Place. The latter two stations will be crowded before and after games. Gallery Place can be especially difficult after games for fans switching to the Red Line toward Shady Grove. Fans heading for a Red Line destination on the eastern side of the line might be better off skipping the transfer at Gallery Place and instead continuing north on the Green Line to Fort Totten, even if that means traveling one or two stations back toward downtown on the Red Line.

Fans heading toward Alexandria or Springfield after games can change to the Yellow Line at L’Enfant Plaza. But they might be better off staying on the Green Line for one more stop and making their switch at Archives. It probably will be less crowded, and it has a center platform, so transferring riders can just walk across to their Yellow Line trains.

This is the first playoff with the five new Silver Line stations open. The big garage at the Wiehle Avenue-Reston East station already is popular with commuters, but it should have enough room for fans on the lower levels when they arrive for the Friday afternoon game. Normal parking charges are in effect on weekdays, but on weekends, parking in the Fairfax County part of the garage is free. Fans also can park in the privately operated garage, marked by a blue X, but that garage charges on weekends, so be careful which entrance you pick.

Using buses
These Metrobus routes serve Nationals Park: 74, A42, A46, A48, P6, V7, V8 and V9. Find maps and schedules on the Metro Web site.

Street parking kiosk
Be sure to read rules at street parking kiosks.

Also, the District operates a Circulator bus route linking the Navy Yard station, the Eastern Market station and Union Station. The Circulator’s service hours are extended when the Nationals play. The fare is $1, and buses are scheduled to operate every 10 minutes. See route details on the Circulator Web site.

Before and after games, traffic is slow in the blocks around South Capitol and M streets, on the Southeast-Southwest Freeway and on the 14th Street, Douglass and 11th Street bridges. For your GPS calculations, the address for Nationals Park is 1500 South Capitol St. SE, Washington, D.C.

The parking lots and garages are north and east of Nationals Park. Prices at the official lots vary with the distance from the stadium. See more parking details and a map on the National’s Web site.

After the game, cabs will be at the taxi stand on the north side of M Street SE between South Capitol and Half streets SE. Taxis can pick up riders there beginning about two hours after the first pitch and continuing till a half-hour after the game ends.

People with disabilities
[This section updated to correct drop-off point.] Passengers can be dropped off along First Street SE or along South Capitol Street. After games, passengers can be picked up along South Capitol Street between O and P streets. Watch for signs marking designated areas.

Some accessible parking is available for single games in garages B and C. Fans must have valid disabled parking placards or license plates, as well as their single-game parking pass purchased from the Nationals.

MetroAccess drops off and picks up its passengers at the corner of New Jersey Avenue and M Street SE.

More than 250 bike racks are located around Nationals Park, and a free bike valet service is available in Garage C at N and First streets SE.

Bike valet entrance
Fans can use the bike valet at Garage C.

Capital Bikeshare has three stations close to the stadium and several others within walking distance. See this page on the Capital Bikeshare Web site for a map.

[Update] Capital Bikeshare will have a bike corral at the Bikeshare station located at First and N streets during every home playoff game, so Bikeshare members won’t have to worry about being crowded out of the docks. Corrals will open an hour before game time and close half an hour after the game ends. (Thanks to Bikeshare fans for pointing out this additional service.)

If you’re heading from downtown, the Mall or Capitol Hill, it’s downhill toward the Anacostia River. Here are some possible routes:

From L’Enfant Plaza, walk south on Seventh Street, go left on I Street and continue south on Sixth Street to M Street SW. Turn left and walk to South Capitol Street.

From Federal Center SW, come down Third Street, turn right on E Street, left down Fourth Street, left on I Street to a right on Third Street, then a left on M Street SW.

From the Capitol area, walkers can proceed down South Capitol Street, but the better route is down New Jersey Avenue to M Street SE.

From Eastern Market, walk south on Eighth Street and make a right on M Street SE.

River taxi
Fans can get to Nationals Park by water. The Potomac Riverboat Company plans to operate a playoff service from Old Town Alexandria and National Harbor to a pier on the south side of the stadium along the Anacostia River. See details on the company’s Web site.

The Capital Weather Gang is optimistic about hours when the games will be played, but stick with them for updates.

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