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I have to say that I didn't expect that the day after Opening Night would end up being so quiet around here. But, here's some stories worth mentioning:
* WTOP trumpets the crime wave around the ballpark that everyone feared--16 Arrested Near Nats Park Over the Weekend! Grab the children! Run for the hills! So, just what were the dastardly crimes committed by these ne'er-do-wells? "All the individuals arrested were charged with scalping tickets on the street." The article also says that more than 100 cars were towed from the surrounding neighborhood.
* WJLA recounts the stories of people not going to the ballpark whose cars were ticketed and towed. Here's the parking restrictions map, again. Tell your neighbors and friends.
* City Paper wishes everyone would stop calling it a $611 million stadium.
* Channel 9 recounts the story of a tourist forced by the Secret Service to delete photos taken of the security checkpoints at Opening Night. I wish they had tried that with me. The quote from the Secret Service is classic: "We have the authority to ask them to remove the picture from the camera." And, if standing on public property, we all have the authority to say "no." Don't forget it.
* Monday's Post talks to neighbors across South Capitol Street about how they feel the stadium is doing nothing for them. And the Kojo Nnamdi show on WAMU covers similar territory, about how the new ballpark may affect the concept of "community" both close by and farther away.
* Tuesday's Post says that the Nationals, DDOT, and Metro are pleased with how the weekend went in their realms, though they plan to spend this week until the next home game tweaking their plans. Hungry fans will be pleased to know that addressing the long lines at concessions is on the list: " 'Lines were a concern for us. They're not necessarily where we want them to be. We expect it to better by Monday,' team President Stan Kasten said. 'Once a problem happens, it doesn't happen again.' " On the other hand: "Combining [Sunday's sellout] with the newness of the ballpark, the lines for virtually everything from food to parking to Metro to the shuttles were probably the longest they will be." The article also says that 716 parking tickets were written over the weekend, though the $100 towing fee was waived "as a courtesy." The WashTimes also covers similar ground.
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* Metro says that just under 21,500 fans used the Navy Yard Metro station for Sunday night's opener at Nationals Park, following the 15,141 who did so for the Saturday exhibition. (I wonder how many used Capitol South, or got off at Union Station and took the N22.) WJLA and others say that the station was cleared within a half-hour of the game's end, which can be verified by looking at last night's shots from the 55 M construction web cam.
* Moving on to the next huge event, the WashTimes says that 45,000 bar-coded tickets to the April 17 mass by Pope Benedict have arrived, and should be going out to parishes next week. Scalpers will be condemned to eternal hellfire and damnation.
* There's a nice piece in the April Hill Rag (UPDATED: now online) about this here Obsessive Compulsive Time-Sucking Vortex. And there's also a shout-out in this Virginian-Pilot story on the ballpark.
* On the flip side, I can't help but cackle at what was written in an online column by the San Antonio Express-News [emphasis mine]: "If you're craving actual photos of [Nationals Park] -- including work-in-progress updates -- go to the ballpark homepage for the Near Southeast DC Redevelopment agency. Sure, these people have a vested interest, but they also have lots of photos, a construction webcam and a well-done Q-and-A section on the park." I'm an agency now? Usually I'm just a development company. But, a note for readers who don't realize it: I'm none of the above. (I don't work for the Nats, either.) I'm just me.

You may have heard that Washington DC christened a new baseball stadium on Sunday, one that appears to have been met with wide-eyed enthusiasm and appreciation by most of the 40,000 in attendance (although not by the Post architecture critic). And, after listening to months (if not years) of predictions of traffic meltdowns and catastrophes at the new site in "a formerly blighted part of the District," would you believe that car, rail, bus, and foot all seemed to work, so much so that newspaper columnists appear incredulous that fans weren't griping. The next test will be when crowds arrive for the first time at the end of rush hour, at a Monday night game on April 7.
I took some photos around the ballpark as I arrived and worked my way from top to bottom, but once I arrived at my seat far far away (you'll love the small red speck in one photo that is President Bush), I decided to put away my camera and heed a directive issued recently by a Mr. S. Kasten to "watch the damn game." So I fear I don't earn a passing grade for documenting this historic day on South Capitol Street, but after 4 1/2 years of detailing the birthing process in thousands of photographs and probably tens of thousands of words, I needed some time to take it all in and say "Whoa."
And then they won the damn game, on a walk-off homer by Ryan Zimmerman. That's how you christen a ballpark.
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It's late, I'm only just now finally getting warm again, and it's not particularly hard to find photos from tonight's first major league ballgame at Nationals Park, so I have just tossed together three Quick Galleries of the festivities, a selection of images that are nowhere near complete when it comes to capturing the look and feel of Nationals Park during its first big test. I'll caption them Sunday before heading off to do it all again at the "real" Opening Night.
Page One is photos from when the gates opened and during batting practice; Page Two has close-ups of the pre-game ceremonies with all the representatives of the city (but no Mayor Baseball!); Page Three has photos from during the game showing various vantage points.
The media has full coverage of course, but I'm not going to go on a linking spree (here's the Post homepage to start you on your own hunt). The initial storyline seems to be that it basically went well, with fans and players alike gaga for the ballpark, but with some snafus when it came to long long lines for food (especially at Ben's Chili Bowl) and for the subway and Nats Express shuttle to RFK after the game, though nothing that was catastrophic. We'll see how it goes with a full house on Sunday. But I must say it was a bit of an out-of-body experience to be walking among a huge throng of people along M Street SE between First and New Jersey at 9:30 pm on a Saturday night. This is not your father's Near Southeast anymore.
Check back late Sunday (or early Monday) for photos from Opening NIght.
UPDATE: Captions now added. Oh, and the Nationals won 3-0.
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While I spend the weekend running around trying to figure out how to be in six dozen places at once, I'll leave up this entry with what you might need to know if you're going to Nationals Park:
* Are you taking Metro? Read this. (Getting off at Capitol South? Use the Suggested Route.)
* Are you driving? Learn about traffic restrictions, flow, and other important information.
* Are you driving, and have a parking space reserved? Find the route the Nats want you to take to your lot.
* Are you driving, but don't have a space? Read about the free Nats Express shuttle service from RFK.
* Are you driving, and thinking you'll just "find some spot on the street"? Good luck with that. And bring the number for DPW with you, so you can find out how to retrieve your towed car.
* Are you biking? Read about the bike racks and bike valet.
* Are you walking? You win! Best option!
* Are you wondering what festivities will greet you when you get there? Here's Saturday's lineup, and Sunday's.
* Are you wondering what there will be to eat, or where to find other facilities? Look at this interactive map.
* Are you wondering about the rules and regulations and all other important pieces of information about the ballpark? Read the new official A to Z Guide.
* Remember what your mother taught you, that patience is a virtue.
If you're not going to either of the games, you can still watch them: Saturday's is on MASN at 6 pm, and Sunday's is on ESPN at 8 pm. And watch out for intermittent closures of the Douglass Bridge and South Capitol Street on Sunday night between 7:30 and 9:30.
In the midst of the excitement, I'd like to just take a moment to make sure that stadium-goers and other curious folks wandering through here get a feel for what we've witnessed over the past two years while this ballpark has gone up, as a small reminder of exactly what has happened on South Capitol Street since April 2006.
If you pass through the Center Field Gate, think of this:
If you look toward the ballpark at South Capitol Street and Potomac Avenue, think of this:
If you come down South Capitol to N Street, think of this:
If you want to see more, here's the photos I took of the ballpark footprint and perimeter before demolition started in April, 2006, including some that haven't been posted until now. (The Ballpark Before-and-After gallery pairs many of these photos with how things look now, with links to see all the photos between the Before and the After.) If you want to see photos from other locations throughout Near Southeast, use the Photo Browser to pick spots on the map.
And a most sincere thank you to everyone who's written me over the past few days with such kind words about this little project that has turned into such a monster. It's in some ways a very bittersweet weekend for me, because the ballpark's opening means that this totally unexpected chapter in my life is coming to a close. JDLand isn't going anywhere, but the rest of the ride won't ever quite have the rush of the past few years. Then again, I may actually get some sleep.
Feel free to post what you see and experience (good or bad) in the comments.

I couldn't resist one more shot at updated ballpark photos before the weekend's festivities get underway, so I took a few wide shots during this evening's first-ever batting practice at Nationals Park. And then I added some additional shots from today and yesterday to my main Interior Gallery, to bring it mostly up-to-date until I give it the full refreshening after Opening Night. (But of course there *might* be a shot or two posted from the Saturday exhibition, first.)
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The news is flying fast and furious (and watch for updates):
* As noted in the comments, the west entrance of the Navy Yard station is open for business. Here's today's press release from Metro about the $20 million in improvements that upgraded the entrance's capacity from 5,000 to 15,000 customers an hour, along with a(nother) summary on using Metrobus and Metrorail to get to the ballpark.
* The Nationals team store in the ground floor of the west garage at Half and N is also open for business. Look toward the bottom of this batch of photos from yesterday to see what the store looked like less than 24 hours ago.
* The mayor announced this morning that the ballpark is officially LEED certified, reaching LEED silver status (33 points) thanks to items like high efficiency yield lighting, water-conserving plumbing fixtures, air-cooled chillers, recycling bins, using 20 percent recycled materials in the ballpark's construction and recycling 5,500 tons of construction waste, planting a 6,300-sq-ft green roof on top of the left-field concession building that houses Red Hot & Blue and Hard Times Cafe, and more.
* Oh, I guess I should add this too--the city says the ballpark is ready to open.
* I'm not sure this has been announced (it's hard to keep track), but the Nationals web site is now offering online purchase of parking for single games. It appears the only option as of now is Lot S (at Second and H, just to the west of 225 Virginia Avenue) for $20. There's also the option to purchase single-game handicapped parking in Lot E at First and N for $35, but an official placard or license plate is required.

(Yay! Non-ballpark news!) The *most* asked question at these days (apart from "what happened to the baseball on top of the outfield restaurant" and "can you start covering Southwest") is What's the Deal With Canal Park, the three-block long new public park planned for the strip along Second Street between I and M, which for years has been the home to DC Public School buses. This project was on the boards when I started this site in 2003, and yet has had a hard time getting going, despite a design completed years ago by landscape architects Gustafson, Guthrie, and Nichol Ltd. After originally being under the purview of the defunct Anacostia Waterfront Corporation, the park is now the responsibility of the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development.
After spending some time explaining what the heck is ("uhhhh, it's, like, this web site, and stuff?"), I was able to get a general update, which jibes with the rumors that have been flying for weeks. A relocation site for the school buses has indeed been found (though they won't say where), but some construction work has to first be done at this undisclosed location to prepare it. It's expected that the buses will be moved there "by the fall," with construction on the park starting soon after, lasting about 12 months. The park is a "top priority" for the city, I was told.
Will it happen? I guess we shall see....
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(Yay! More non-ballpark news!) Word has arrived that work has officially begun at 1015 Half Street, the new 410,000-sq-ft office building by Opus East on the site of the old Nation nightclub. (I think that's where the pile-driving echoing across the neighborhhod today is emanating from.) Delivery is expected by early 2010.

If you feel like going into full overdose mode on the ballpark (if you haven't already, that is), check out the Post's special section today, either in print or online, which includes an interactive map of the ballpark along with links to the big pile of stories in today's paper, including features on the Lerners, Tom Boswell's rave review, snippets from some of the construction workers who put it all together, and a great feature on Mayor Baseball, Anthony Williams. Not in the special section but also worth reading is a piece on last night's homecoming.
In other news, the list of songs to be played at the ballpark as chosen by the fans has now been released. And since I've paid so much attention to the construction, here's an online chat from yesterday with two of the architects. ABC7 talks about residential guest passes already showing up for sale online, even though it's against the rules and you can be fined (that's why there's a serial number on every pass). And the Examiner covers the expanded police presence planned.
And of course every media outlet is doing the How to Get There packages, including the Post's full-page graphic. I prefer my own pages on transportation and parking, naturally--and if you're planning to use the Capitol South station, be sure to use the JDLand Preferred Route rather than what any of the other stories are telling you, with two shortcuts that will shave *feet* off your walk. And there's a fair amount of coverage of the perfect storm of traffic nightmares this weekend, between the ballpark, the cherry blossoms, and the marathon.
Finally, for an opposing viewpoint on it all, here's an editorial from the Georgetown Voice: "Rather than using the opportunity presented by the stadium to create a unique neighborhood that is both entertaining for visitors and livable for residents, developers and the city's government have created another unremarkable cluster of expensive offices and apartments." The writer must have one heck of a crystal ball.
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As if there wasn't enough going on this weekend, the National Marathon is on Saturday morning beginning at RFK at 7 am. It only skims past Near Southeast for a few feet along South Capitol Street as it snakes from the Southwest Waterfront along P Street SW to the Douglass Bridge, but folks in Southwest who are still suffering flashbacks from last year's race when they were pretty much trapped in their neighborhoods might want to check out the map and additional information provided by DDOT. But I admit that, in my currently addled state, I'm having a hard time figuring out the restrictions (if any) on South Capitol Street south of M on the map--commenters, feel free to take up my slack.
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Late this evening the Nationals arrived back in DC from spring training, and were brought by bus directly to Nationals Park. I was lucky enough to be on hand, and have some pictures for you. Please remember that I've spent five years doing mostly daylight photography of stationary objects, so bright lights and human beings were a bit out of my comfort zone. I didn't take many photos of players, figuring that they were getting enough of that elsewhere (and I'm sure you'll find plenty of coverage); I was more looking for the ambiance of a bunch of very excited grown men checking out their new home.
(PS: I know the ballpark stuff is getting overwhelming for those of you who might not be all that interested. But stay strong, it won't be like this too much longer, and then I'll get back to all that exciting stuff like zoning hearings and ANC meetings.)
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Another day of icky weather, but that didn't stop a horde of media from converging on Nationals Park, for a tour of the Strike Zone for kids, the concessions, and just a general look around with a few hours left to go. It'll be all over the media tonight (I'm not going to hunt down links), but here's my photos. I'm still captioning them, but didn't want to waste a MOMENT in getting them posted. Here's some general shots inside the ballpark, including my first shots from up on the Red Loft and also inside the Team Store. The second batch is of the concessions and the Strike Zone. See Mayor Fenty connect in the batting cage!
Also, a press release is now out from Metro with all of the details on using both subway and bus to get to Nationals Park.

* The green multispace kiosk meters that are a big part of the Performance Parking pilot plan to discourage stadium-goers from parking on nearby streets have starting being activated today. I just trekked down to the ones now installed along Garfield Park (on Third Street SE, north of the SE Freeway), and the rates are listed for stadium events as: $2 first hour, $2 second hour, $18 third four, $18 fourth hour, and $2 each additional hours. So, that comes out to $40 for four hours of on-street parking during games, compared to the $15 per game flat rate being charged at the S and T lots, which are two blocks closer to the ballpark. Other times are $1 per hour on weekdays with a two-hour limit from 7 am to 6:30 pm and a three-hour limit from 6:30 pm to midnight; weekend rates are $1 per hour with a three-hour limit from 7 am to midnight. There are no fees charged on holidays, except during stadium events.
Here's a lousy cellphone photo of the rate info, and check the Parking Restrictions Map for the red and yellow streets to see where multispace meters are going to be in place. Everyone's invited to peek at any of the kiosks you wander by and post the locations and rates you see in the comments if they're different from these. DDOT tells me that all should be activated by Saturday morning.
UPDATE: I just found this DDOT Ballpark Parking Pilot page, and it includes this document showing parking prices and time restrictions by subzones (Near Southeast is Zone B, Southwest Zone A, and Capitol Hill being Zone C). Apparently there will be no parking at all during stadium events from Second Street west to South Capitol (including New Jersey), except on the 100 block of H Street where it will be $40 for four hours of parking (on the same sliding scale I described above). All of those are red or green streets on the map. There's also an overview document if you want some nice light reading.
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* This morning the WMATA board approved plans to lease the Southeastern Bus Garage and the adjoining Van Street lot to the Nationals. However, it appears that the revenue will now go into Metro's general fund, instead of back into the fund for the new Southeastern Bus Garage at DC Village. See this entry for more info on the lease plan as presented to the board. I may have more on this later today. WMATA is shutting down operations at the garage tomorrow (Friday March 28). The lease for the Van Street lot, with 80 spaces, begins Saturday; the garage itself, which can accommodate about 230 spaces, will be leased starting around April 20. These 310 spaces are all in the $35-per-game Red zone.
* Also on Friday, at 11 am, Metro will be holding a ceremony in honor of the reopening of the west entrance of the Navy Yard Metro station. Whether the station actually opens tomorrow, I don't know. They are saying it will be open Saturday morning for National Marathon spectators. And of course Saturday afternoon for the Nats-O's exhibition.
* A correspondent reports that I Street is now open to traffic between New Jersey and South Capitol. I'm guessing that there's probably still some beautifying to be done, but I was told it would be "driveable" by Opening Day, and that appears to have been met.
* Today it's the WashTimes's turn to publish its baseball and Nationals Park special sections. The Post's special section on the stadium is tomorrow.
* The Nats are showing off the kids' Strike Zone area of the ballpark this afternoon, and letting the media try some of the food that will be sold in the stadium--check back later for photos.
* Today's Ballpark and Beyond column in the Post showed some of my photos documenting the makeover of the South Capitol and Potomac intersection--here's the complete batch, from one month before the start of ballpark construction up until a few days ago.

Let's take break from the here and now and spend a few moments looking back at Big Moments in Nationals Park History, as reported here on JDLand. This is kind of long, but you younguns and latecomers who didn't follow it all from the beginning might find this timeline of interest.
* Sept. 21, 2004, I posted this wonderfully understated entry: "Baseball coming to Near Southeast? "District officials disclosed plans yesterday to build a publicly financed stadium costing more than $400 million on the Anacostia waterfront near South Capitol Street, amid growing signs that Major League Baseball will attempt to move the Montreal Expos to Washington." It doesn't mean that baseball in DC is a done deal, or that the Near Southeast site is a done deal, but it's a very interesting decision, and one that would have a huge impact on Near Southeast if it were to happen." I got that right.
* April 1, 2005: "As expected, the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission has chosen HOK Sport (along with Devrouax & Purnell Architects/Planners of DC) as the architects for the new Nationals baseball stadium. They promise a design that will "change the paradigm of ballparks" and will be "iconic and truly distinctive to Washington, D.C."
* May 15, 2005, a fond memory of the old-school JDLand days: "As a heads up, I'm not going to follow here on the site every twist and turn of the Nationals baseball stadium funding saga. The bickering over costs and land acquisition and whatnot leaves me totally cold. [H]ere at JDLand I'll just be concentrating on news of the design and construction."
* Aug. 5, 2005: "According to yesterday's Washington Times, officials at the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission still maintain, despite "a growing wave of pessmism among bidding groups seeking to buy the club," that the new baseball stadium will be ready for the 2008 season."
* Sept. 19, 2005: "Anyone who's lived in DC for any amount of time will be stunned to read today's Post story, "As Stadium Clock Ticks, DC Officials Bicker," detailing the difficulties of getting a design for the new baseball stadium agreed upon. Much of the trouble revolves around the desire (pushed most vehemently by Jack Evans) to have views of the Capitol Dome from as many seats at the stadium as possible."
* Oct. 18, 2005: "DC Council Chair Linda Cropp has signaled that she will block any attempts at significant alternations to the baseball stadium financing package[....] Says [Kathy] Patterson: "The District is at some risk of not being taken seriously as a government if we renege on the deal we have. That said, we negotiated a lousy deal.""
* Jan. 27, 2006: "WTOP is reporting that the city and Major League Baseball have reached agreement on negotiations over the stadium lease agreement."
* Feb. 7, 2006: Three entries (including my first-ever liveblogging) detailing the rollercoaster day in front of the DC Council that started with the stadium lease agreement being voted down before a long recess resulted in a return to approve it, with the cost cap in place.
* March 14, 2006: The stadium design is unveiled. How close are the original drawings to how it's turned out?
* March 22, 2006: "Both the Post and the Blade report that Judge Zeldon has ordered the eviction of the last remaining stadium landowner holdouts, including the gay bars on O Street owned by Robert Siegel. Siegel, plus the trash transfer station at 1st and N also covered under yesterday's order, have until April 4 to vacate."
* April 25, 2006: "Thanks to a tip from a correspondent, I can confirm that there is now demolition underway at the ballpark site, at its southernmost corner (South Capitol and P and Potomac). "
* May 3, 2006: "Everyone's now reporting that the ownership group led by DC-area developer Theodore Lerner has officially been picked as the owners of the Nationals."
* May 4, 2006, the Groundbreaking Ceremony: "The riff-raff-o-meter at the gate of the stadium groundbreaking was apparently malfunctioning, allowing me to get in and witness this morning's festivities."
And, just like that, here we are. If you want to read more (I didn't even touch the months of let's-try-private-financing, let's-do-it-at-RFK-instead, and the Garages Wrapped With Development Goodness), use my Search page, click "Baseball Stadium" in the topic box, and pick a date range to browse.

The Nationals have just sent out a press release with information on what fans will be greeted with (other than, you know, a baseball game) when they arrive at Nationals Park on Sunday. The highlights:
* The gates will open at 3:30 pm (and the Nats Express shuttle from RFK starts running at 3:00), and everyone will receive a Curly W lanyard and a "Welcome Home" rally towel. The Sheiks of Dixie (a local Dixieland jazz band) will be greeting fans exiting the subway at the reopened west entrance of the Navy Yard station at Half and M. (Half Street will be closed to vehicles, as will N Street east of Van and First Street south of M.) A barbershop quartet will also be installed on Half Street.
* There's even more once you get inside:"Face painters, balloon artists and stilt walkers will welcome fans at the entrance to the Center Field Plaza. Additional Opening Night entertainment may be found inside the ballpark, including the Mambo Combo, a regional zydeco band, Washington, DC guitarist Brian Gross staged in the Lexus Presidents Club, and face painters, caricaturists and balloon artists throughout the Main Concourse." The Braves will start batting practice at 4:30 and the Nats at 5:45.
* Pre-game ceremonies will start at 7:45 pm, which will include a flyover by four F-16s from the 121st Fighter Squadron of the DC Air National Guard, the singing of the national anthem by native Washingtonian Denyce Graves, and the throwing of the first pitch by President Bush. There will also be a new tradition of starting the game with "Washington.... Let's Play Ball!" to be intoned this first time by Mayor Fenty.
* American Idol alum Elliot Yamin will perform "God Bless America" prior to the Seventh Inning Stretch.
And, an answer to a question lots of people have been asking:
* "Grandstand tickets for Opening Night, in Sections 401 and 402, may be purchased for $5 at the Nationals Park Main Box Office, located on Half and N Streets, beginning at 3:30 pm on March 30. Fans may not camp out on Nationals Park grounds or line up for tickets prior to 3:00 pm. Fans may purchase only one ticket per person and must immediately enter the ballpark through the Center Field gates, located next to the Main Box Office."
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(I'm not sure there's anyone who is wishing more than me that the dang thing would open already....)
* The Examiner looks at Southwest residents just across from the ballpark who are selling the parking spaces that came with their homes to Nats fans for as much as $3,000 a season. But if you park near these houses and don't have a visitors pass (or aren't one of the chosen few who fork over the dough for these private spaces), expect the residents to call DPW to have you ticketed and towed.
* The Post's newly reconstituted DC Wire blog catches up with Ken Wyban, the only resident homeowner on the ballpark footprint to lose his house when the city invoked eminent domain to take over the land. (City Paper talked to him a few weeks ago in their big ballpark Winners and Losers cover story.)
* Reader Sean alerts us that the Express has a special section on the ballpark today too. Looks like a bunch of the pieces are available here.
* Even the Annapolis Capitol newspaper gets in on the fun with its own overview of the ballpark, though they get a demerit for misspelling South Capitol Street and for mentioning the "Southeast neighborhoods west of the ballpark." (Uh.....)
* WTOP talks about the plans for security around the ballpark, at an estimated cost to taxpayers of $1.2 million.
* And, just as I'm finishing this up, I see that has a new article about the preparations and plans for this weekend's festivities.
Apparently the beautifying of the neighborhood is underway, too--the black fence along Half Street at the Monument hole in the ground now has art on it (see 55 M web cam) as well as banners on the upper floors of 55 M facing the ballpark, and the Stadium web cam shows a "Welcome Home Nats" sign on the side of 100 M. The recent jet-black paint job on the old Domino's at 1200 South Capitol is part of this, too, and look for more Monument Realty "art" around all of its holdings.

* If you're a collector of these things, you may want to get to your street corner and pick up today's Examiner, which has a special section on Nationals Park, including all sorts of details on food, how to get there, etc. etc. In the meantime, here's the PDF version (the section starts on page 21). The Post will have a similar one (tomorrow, I think?).
* Also, word has gone out from DDOT that beginning at 8 pm there will be lane closures on the northbound 14th Street Bridge to install directional signage for the stadium. It's expected that all lanes will be reopened by 5 am Thursday.
* And, in other news, Bruce has now added a photo credit. Danke....
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* Wednesday's Post uses the plight of the Positive Nature youth program to look at how all the remaining small businesses near the ballpark are having a tough time dealing with their skyrocketing tax assessments. The cab company moving next week mentioned in the article is Merritt Cab at First and K, where DRI is planning its 800,000-sq-ft office and retail project. There's also an accompanying video on Positive Nature; and it's interesting to note that Positive Nature arrived in the neighborhood in 2004, so it's not a long-standing business the way the Market Deli is, whose owner is now on the hook for $50,000 a year in property taxes.
* There's also a story that looks back at the openings of DC sports venues through the years, with highlights such as the Capital Centre getting its final inspection approvals just a few hours before the first Bullets game and the 15-mile backup on the Beltway that greeted the first game at FedEx Field.
* The Post's special section on the 2008 baseball season is also in Wednesday's paper, with plenty of mentions of the new ballpark, like these from Tom Boswell and Dave Sheinin.
Other ballpark stories from Tuesday (keeping in mind that for now I'm just pointing out pieces that have some slightly different angle from the eight billion other pieces):
* Bruce Johnson of WUSA blogs about the police presence planned for the ballpark, but I was unable to focus on the content after being greeted by my own photo from Saturday's GW game right at the top of his entry. Glad to know you're a reader, Bruce! Tell your readers and viewers about my site sometime!
* WTOP continues its ballpark-story-a-day regimen with word (and video!) that, while some of the new temporary surface lots *look* like they're dirt, they're actually a "mixture of compact concrete and other elements that help with drainage."

There's not a lot to say about Monday night's continuation of the Zoning Commission's hearing on whether to amend the city's zoning laws to allow temporary surface parking on eight lots in Buzzards Point. This session was mainly to have representatives of the Nationals and DDOT available for questions from the commissioners, and most of the time was spent taking them through the Ballpark Traffic Management Plan.
The big question seemed to be the one that chairman Hood opened with: are additional lots (beyond the ones approved over the summer) required by the Nationals this year? Gregory McCarthy of the Nationals replied that the team has its parking-space inventory complete for the 2008 season, but that some of the lots being used could be lost to development projects in 2009, requiring the team to continue to find locations for parking. Commissioner May noted that some buildings in the area are already under construction and would have underground parking available when they open, but McCarthy said that "most" are residential buildings that wouldn't be able to offer stadium parking because of their need to have the bulk of their spaces available at night for tenants. (There are two office buildings opening in the next year which could be targets for Nats parking--100 M and 55 M.)
There was also some discussion of the state of sidewalks (and lack thereof) in Buzzards Point, which the commission feels DDOT would need to address before allowing parking in that area. DDOT representative Karina Ricks was a little vague on whether new sidewalks would be DDOT's responsibility or whether it would be up to the lot owners at DDOT's behest to build acceptable sidewalks.
There were some questions about the routing of traffic toward existing parking lots and whether it is going to keep fans off the residential streets; McCarthy told the commissioners about the brochures going out with season-ticket parking passes giving the preferred routes to a fan's specific parking lot. If the ability to build new lots in Buzzards Point were to be approved, DDOT indicated that the current traffic management plans would be revised to take the additional traffic heading to that area into account.
(And speaking of this, apparently signs are now popping up along M Street to guide fans to parking lots based on zone color; there will also be signs about which freeway exit to take for which zones put up soon, according to McCarthy.)
It's expected that the commission will vote on this proposed amendment at its April 13 public meeting. If you want more information on this case (07-08A), here's the Office of Planning report, and you can also read my discussions of the original amendment for more detail on the limitations and rules of these lots. And, it should be emphasized that, if this amendment passes, it doesn't mean that surface lots will definitely be built on these blocks--this is just a change in zoning rules to allow the possibility of lots, if the landowners wish to build them.

This just in from the Nationals: "Please be advised that the seating capacity for the Washington Nationals new ballpark -- Nationals Park -- is 41,888."
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Mar 25, 2008 1:57 PM
I always get queasy about self-promoting here, but if you're wanting a bit of a peek behind the JDLand curtain, blogger William Yurasko lobbed some questions my way about the ballpark and life here at the Obsessive Compulsive Time-Sucking Vortex, and I gave him some typically long-winded answers.
(But maybe you'd just rather look at the Curly W that appeared late this morning in centerfield.)

Mar 25, 2008 10:47 AM
Short items:
* Positive Nature, the program for at-risk youth that is in danger of losing its rented space at 1017 New Jersey Avenue because of a sharp increase in its property taxes, is looking for volunteers to help with a "massive bucket fundraiser" on Saturday and Sunday as fans arrive for the first games at Nationals Park. They have been working on raising $200,000 by the end of March. The fundraiser info, which came via e-mail, isn't posted on their web site yet.
* Metro says via press release that the sales office at the Southeastern Bus Garage will close on Thursday (March 27), in advance of the garage itself shutting down operations the next day. And WTOP is reporting today on the proposal to lease the bus garage and its parking lot to the Nats for parking, but you can find far more detail about it all in my post from Friday than you will in WTOP's blurb.

Mar 24, 2008 10:59 PM
Just a few items to end your day (or start it, I guess):
* WTOP makes sure DDOT is planning to take down the old "Stadium" signs on the SE/SW Freeway that point drivers to RFK rather than Nationals Park. Meanwhile, tonight in front of the Zoning Commission, Gregory McCarthy from the Nationals said that new signs will soon be posted on the freeway indicating which exits fans should use for the ballpark based on the color-coding of the parking lots.
* A press release from the Nationals gives the basics on Saturday's 6 pm exhibition game against the Orioles, which is open to season-ticket holders and invited guests only. In one small change, the Nats Express shuttle from RFK will begin operating three hours before gametime, rather than 90 minutes. (The gates at Nationals Park will be opening at 3 pm as well, allowing fans to watch batting practice at 3:30.) A pre-game ceremony will begin at 5:30 pm, with remarks from city officials and a ribbon-cutting at home plate. And then they'll actually play some baseball. It's been said that approximately 25,000 people will be expected for this dry run, in advance of the Big Kahuna the next night.
* The Baltimore Sun's architecture critic says nice things about the place.
* Last week I posted that Splash car wash at 10 I Street SE will be offering both same-day cash lot and season-account parking for $35 per game; word now arrives that the owner of the little empty lot at First and L (next to the Market Deli) is also offering a few spaces (season-long accounts preferred), at $25 per game. Call (301) 279-7033 and ask for Marty Resnick if you're interested. These are separate from the lots around the neighborhood that the Nats have officially contracted with to provide parking for season-ticket holders (and perhaps sameday parkers somewhere down the line).

Mar 24, 2008 2:39 PM
Just a reminder that tonight at 6:30 pm is the continuation of the Zoning Commission hearing about whether to potentially allow temporary surface parking lots on some squares in Buzzards Point in Southwest. This is not approving lots themselves, just changing the zoning of certain blocks to give landowners the option to add lots if they wanted, as was done last year with a number of blocks in Near Southeast (only some of which now having parking lots on them). The hearing was continued so that DDOT and Nationals representatives could be there to answer questions. As of now, no Nationals parking lots are located in Southwest, except for one already existing surface lot right under the Southwest Freeway.
For more on all this, read my entry from before the first hearing, which includes the Office of Planning's report that has more details on which blocks would be covered, along with explanations of the rules governing these temporary surface lots (including that combined they may not total more than 3,775 spaces). There's also the ANC 6D resolution opposing this change. Tonight's hearing is at Suite 220 South, 441 4th St., NW, or can be watched via a live webcast, which is the preferred method of lazy bloggers.

Mar 24, 2008 7:44 AM
* Within the past week, Fourth Street between the SE Freeway and M Street has been signed and striped to become one-way southbound. It's always been one-way southbound north of the freeway, but extending that another four blocks seems to be a bit of a surprise.
* If you live in Southwest or on Capitol Hill and received in the past few days a nondescript envelope addressed to "Ward 6 Resident" from DDOT, don't throw it out (like I almost did)--it's your Visitor Parking Pass. Guard this with your life.
* As soon as I swear off chasing every little story on the ballpark unless it somehow relates to the neighborhood, both the Post and the Examiner come out with stories this morning doing just that, talking about the development that's exploded in Near Southeast over the past few years. (And thanks for the hat tip, Michael.) Sayeth the Post, on A1: "Nationals Park opens this weekend and appears nearly complete. But it's surrounded for blocks by a construction zone. [...] Despite appearances, this is just the way District leaders hoped it would be: a ballpark set amid a vast Southeast Washington neighborhood in the middle of one of the biggest overhauls in city history. Some 500 acres are to be transformed, spreading south from Capitol Hill to the Anacostia River, sweeping away an accumulation of old auto body shops, sex clubs and debris-filled lots[.]" If you've read either of these stories and are looking to know more about all the development underway around the ballpark, I invite you to look at the big ole' map at the top right of my home page--moving your mouse across it gives you the basics on each project, and clicking the map takes you to pages chock full of additional details and photos.
* If you took a long weekend, you missed a lot of big news: Florida Rock got its preliminary zoning approvals, Metro has a plan to lease the Southeastern Bus Garage and an adjacent parking lot to the Nats, and I took scads of photos: check out the neighborhood from above with my latest rooftop photos, see pictures from Saturday's GW game at the ballpark, and see the exterior of the stadium in a pile of new shots taken yesterday.
* This is part of something bigger I'm working on that's not quite ready, but if you want to travel back to see how things used to look where Second Base now sits, here's your time machine. You're facing north, then you'll turn clockwise to catch the views in all directions....

Mar 23, 2008 6:44 PM
With thanks for the gorgeous weather, I've spent the day on what may be one of the final complete updates of my Stadium Exterior Photo Gallery, with new versions of not only the main photos on that page, but the complete lineup of shots on South Capitol Street, N Street, First Street. and Potomac Ave. It's these pages that show what has happened to the 21-acre site now occupied by Nationals Park in the last 22 months, by comparing photos taken before the start of construction to what those streets look like today.
(You can also see my latest Interior Photos, most of which are from yesterday's GW game.)
I've also decided, after a bit of pondering, that I'm not going to spend this week scrambling after every story written about the ballpark. If there's *news* (like the Navy Yard station west entrance opening), of course I'll post about it, but this is a time where I'm pretty sure people can find the latest about the stadium without my assistance.
I'm going to focus more on how the ballpark's completion has changed the look of the neighborhood, and on the state of the neighborhood itself as it prepares to welcome thousands of people who've never been here before. I'll be working on some special pages with lots of before-during-and-after photos as a way to step back a bit from the falderal, and to try to drive home to people wandering through exactly how much has changed in the short time since work on the stadium began.
But I won't be able to resist completely, and at the end of this pretty historic week I'll have a big pile of images from Saturday's exhibition against the Orioles and from Opening Night.
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Mar 22, 2008 7:20 PM
I'm actually not finished yet (still need to caption them), but for those of you who can't wait a moment, here's way too many photos from today's first-ever baseball game at Nationals Park. (There's also five new bigbigbig panoramas, too.) The pretty brisk day started off cloudy, got sunny as the game got underway, and ended up with a bit of rain here or there by the end, but on the surface it seemed to go well (not like wildfires suddenly erupted in right field or anything). I'll link to the media coverage later, but enjoy the photos in the meantime. Tomorrow I'll be doing a full Exterior Gallery update.
UPDATE: Captions are added, so enjoy the photos. The Post says: "After years of political debate and turmoil that almost caused Major League Baseball to pull out of Washington, the city has a stadium that seems just about ready for prime time. Sitting behind home plate, there was little to see that didn't look finished."
Here's's take on the day (and another on the food): "George Washington University scrimmaged St. Joseph's on Saturday afternoon, and while the stadium may not have been finished, it was good enough for the fans and Nationals president Stan Kasten." AP has a story being run all over the country as well. The local networks have had some stories, but they aren't posted on the web.
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Mar 22, 2008 9:55 AM
I'm barely even reading these pre-Opening Day stories anymore, but I'll still link to them in case anyone *hasn't* had their fill:
* A church on Capitol Hill complains to WJLA about the new on-street parking restrictions, saying that they shouldn't have them because they're a "40-minute walk" from the ballpark, which is quite a bit of hyperbole for 400 D Street, SE. I live two blocks closer to the ballpark than the church, and I'm pretty sure those two blocks don't double the time of the trip (and the 20 minutes it takes me from my house is definitely at "amble" speed).
* WAMU looks at the environmental impacts of the ballpark.
* WJLA talks about Ben's Chili Bowl at the ballpark, and NBC4 talks about the complete lineup of food at the ballpark that some of us reported weeks ago . If you want more, um, intense coverage of the events at Ben's yesterday (and equally intense coverage of basically everything having to do with the Nationals), visits Nats320, where no Nats tidbit ever is overlooked. He makes me look like a once-a-month dabbler.
* I always predicted that the ballpark would drive every media organization in the country to do a story, and it's now starting: here's Fast Company's quick overview of Nationals Park, from a more business-oriented perspective.
* Scripps wonders what sort of reception President Bush will get when he throws out the first pitch next Sunday.
And now it's time to get ready for the first-ever baseball game at Nationals Park, GW vs. St. Joseph's. The 2,000 fans who got tickets are going to be restricted to moving around on the main concourse and in the lower bowl only.
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Mar 21, 2008 4:35 PM
A proposal will be going before the WMATA board next week to allow the Nationals to lease the Southeastern Bus Garage at Half and M (just across from the about-to-reopen Navy Yard subway station west entrance one block north of the ballpark) and an adjoining surface parking lot just across Van Street. This would happen once the Metrobuses are relocated, which apparently is supposed to be by Friday, March 28.
The lease for the Van Street lot would start the next day, and the garage itself would be available on April 20 (after Metro takes a few weeks to remove equipment). For the first 12 months, the Nats would pay $27,370 a month to lease the garage and $9,500 a month to lease the Van Street lot. If they were to decide to lease them until 2010, the rates would be slightly higher.
This money would be used to offset operating expenses associated with the garage's closure, and could bring WMATA nearly $900,000 in revenue if the leases were to run until April 2010.
The unknown, of course, is what will happen with the sale of the garage site, which of course was originally awarded to Akridge for $69.25 million but which is now tied up in a lawsuit brought against WMATA by Monument Realty. The parking lease with the Nats does allow for cancellation by either party with 30 days notice.
The WMATA Planning, Development and Real Estate committee will vote on the propsal first on March 27, and, if it's approved, the full board will vote on it later that same day.
For Nats fans who might be wondering, the garage and lot are both in the Red Zone, so would cost $35 per game to use.
If the garage is indeed closing next week, there will be much rejoicing by pedestrians who've been dodging the buses for years, including distracted neighborhood bloggers trying to grab photos while standing in the middle of the Half and M intersection.

Mar 21, 2008 3:41 PM
* A reminder that Saturday at 1 pm will the very first baseball game played at Nationals Park, between George Washington University and St. Joseph's University. has more--and I'll have photos from it sometime Saturday or Sunday.
* also has a Q&A with Stan Kasten about the ballpark and other items. "You want all of it to work right, but you know there is going to be a hiccup here and there. We are going to be looking at everything. We'll be getting right back at it that Monday morning [March 31] to see what worked and what didn't work -- to see what we could improve on. Hopefully, we'll have that whole week to improve things even further."
* You can't swing a cat today without hitting news of the Metro Peeps.
* Poor Phil Mendelson. He still wants to use 225 Virginia Avenue for some MPD functions, and the mayor and the executive branch appear to be ignoring him.
* Elephants will be on parade just a few feet north of the neighborhood on Monday morning. No, really. I'm serious.

Mar 21, 2008 10:13 AM
With a surprise motion at the end of last night's second-stage PUD hearing, the Zoning Commission has given preliminary approval to the design of RiverFront on the Anacostia (better known as Florida Rock), the 1.1-million-square-foot four-building mixed-use project nestled between Nationals Park, the Anacostia River, the Douglass Bridge, and Diamond Teague Park. It's been about 11 years since FRP Development first entered the zoning process for this site, and almost two years since the commission unexpectedly sent architects back to the drawing board for a design that better responded to the changes brought by the ballpark.
You can see a few renderings of the latest design on my project page, and read about the specifics (dear heavens, I'm not going to summarize it all AGAIN--read the Office of Planning report for more on this submittal). The one big addition to the design is a large sculpture to be placed on the public plaza ("Anacostia Place") across from the grand staircase of the ballpark, celebrating the Anacostia River watershed, which the commissioners seemed to respond to favorably.
The commissioners all remarked that the project has come a long way, and were pleased with the overall design. There were some concerns from commissioners Peter May of the National Park Service and Gregory Jeffries about the facades of the two western buildings that will face the proposed traffic oval on South Capitol Street at the foot of a new Douglass Bridge, that they aren't "animated" enough in terms of retail for such a prominent location. May had also called the project "too complex", with too much going on with different facades and finishes, but when longtime commissioner Michael Turnbull of the Office of the Architect of the Capitol said that he "liked the complexity," it was clear that there weren't going to be requests for large-scale changes to the design.
After 2 1/2 hours of presentations and questions, Chairman Hood brought up the idea of giving initial approval immediately, which, judging by the wide-eyed glances between the many representatives and consultants in the audience, was not expected. Commissioner May was not really in favor of moving forward, and Jeffries initially seemed to be leaning that way but then hemmed and hawed his way back to agreeing that the proposed action could go forward. (Earlier Jeffries had noted with some surprise that a project of this scope had not brought out a single member of the community in opposition.)
It was decided that the developers need to submit more detailed drawings of the plans for the South Capitol Street facades, and that no final approval would be given to the project until all commissioners approved of them. Commissioner May ended up abstaining on the vote, which was 4-0-1.
Architect Davis Buckley asked for six weeks to prepare the new renderings, and the commission scheduled a Special Public Meeting for May 22 at 6 pm to take final action.
This doesn't mean that earthmovers will arrive on May 23 to start building Anacostia Place and the eastern office building; construction drawings will have to be completed, and the trip through the vaunted DC permitting process will have to begin. But the notion of a Fall 2009 start date for the first phase of this project is looking closer to a reality. As for when the entire project could be completed, the western two buildings are dependent on the construction of the new Douglass Bridge before they can start. So, mark your calendar for about 2018.
I hope to snag some additional renderings included in last night's presentation; there was also a cool fly-over animation of RiverFront and its relationship with its surroundings, though it included the long-defunct Garages Wrapped With Development Goodness once envisioned for the north side of the ballpark, causing Commissioner Turnbull to spend some time lamenting What MIght Have Been.
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Mar 21, 2008 8:57 AM
* The New York Times looks at the plans for replacing Capper/Carrollsburg with Capitol Quarter. (They also sent it out via their news service, so it's appearing in lots of papers around the country.) "Bucking national trends and citing what they call 'a moral goal,' District of Columbia officials have pledged to preserve and even expand low-income housing, replacing dangerous projects with new communities that keep both poor and 'work force' residents -- firefighters, teachers and laborers -- in the mix. The redevelopment of the Arthur Capper and Carrollsburg projects, where Ms. Jackson lived, is the first in the country to promise replacement of all low-income units within the same neighborhood[.]" There's a lot of good detail about the public-housing side of the project, along with comments from former residents.
* Here's a few photos that show the fences around the Capper surface lots that I was blathering about yesterday, if you haven't seen them.
* Don't miss yesterday's photos from on high.
* Coming as soon as I can finish writing it, big news about a milestone finally passed for one of Near Southeast's oldest "new developments."
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Mar 20, 2008 10:51 PM
You can't say the folks at Metro aren't trying everything to get the word out about using public transit to get to Nationals Park--witness this YouTube video that hit the streets today, where two Peeps try to tell another Peep to take Metro instead of driving. The production values won't win any awards, but it manages to talk about the two-way New Jersey Avenue entrance, the capacity expansion to 15,000 passengers an hour, and the N22 bus, all while making you crave Easter-y sugar. (h/t DCist, and ABC 7, too)
If you want the less-viral version of information about the Navy Yard expansion, NBC 4 and WTOP and WUSA have video from a tour given today to the media of the revamped west entrance, scheduled to open in time for Opening Night. Also, during yesterday's Metro ride-along with Stan Kasten, Nats320 grilled WMATA's COO with a pile of Metro/Nationals-related questions.
If you haven't been following along, Metro has spent $20 million increasing the number of fare gates and vending machines, adding two elevators and relocating the station kiosk, fare gates and fare vendors from the mezzanine to the street entrance. One thing in today's reports that is quite different from anything I've heard in the past two years--Metro is now saying that the upgrade to 15,000 passengers an hour is just for the west entrance, and that the east entrance can handle an additional 5,000 passengers an hour. Seems odd that this has never been emphasized before now, that it's always just been that the upgraded station would handled 15k....
Oh, and the commemorative Nationals SmarTrip cards go on sale Friday (March 21).
You can see my Take Metro! page for more details on links.

Mar 20, 2008 3:51 PM
Caught a break with such beautiful weather today, and so I snagged a new batch of overhead photos from up high at the Courtyard by Marriott. I took the entire batch, both east and west, and have paired them with the first ones I took, in March 2006. It's quite a difference; these are the views that people should see when they're carping about "how the area around the ballpark is one big construction zone" -- yes, it is, but look what that construction has done in just two years. (And think of what the commentary would be if this construction *weren't* happening.) You can also toggle to include all the photos from here in 2007 as well, to watch the process step-by-step.
These photos show the progress of 100 M, Onyx, Velocity, 70/100 I, the changes with the Capper Seniors buildings and all the demolitions (and new parking lots!) at Capper. There's even the first views of 909 New Jersey coming up above ground level. I'm still adding some updated photos to those project pages, but you'll get the idea.

Mar 20, 2008 10:35 AM
A little bit of news broke yesterday in the comments, as the owner of the Splash car wash at 10 I Street, SE (next to the McDonald's) announced that he will be offering the first known cash lot parking near the ballpark. Splash "will be offering stadium parking on a very limited basis (11 cars) during our 8-5 work week hours and Sundays and federal holidays from 10 to 4pm, but many more than that in the evenings (40+ cars). It is suggested that parties interested in season long parking only 4 blocks from the stadium contact us at [], not the car wash. The charge will be $30 per car per event."
As we've been told ad infinitum, as of now there is only parking for season-ticket-holders in the lots that the Nationals have contracted with in the vicinity of the ballpark (though that may change); fans who want to drive to a Nats game but who don't have a season ticket parking pass have the free parking at RFK (or parking at a Metro station) as the only other option. Street parking is a definite no-no.
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Mar 20, 2008 7:45 AM
* The prettiest darn fences, about four feet high, popped up around parking lots T and U on Third Street within the past two days. An unexpected touch. (I originally said wrought-iron, but now that I think about it, that's not what they are. Just black steel or some other metal I'm not smart enough to recognize. But still cool. Photos to come.)
* The Prince George's Gazette says that Nationals Park "could bring jobs and an economic boon to the southern part of the county."
* This is a few days old, but the US Park Police and the National Park Service say you'd better not think of parking at Anacostia Park during ballgames and other events at the stadium: "The NPS and USPP remind those seeking parking for events at the new Nationals' stadium that parking within Anacostia Park is open to park users only. Parking on turf is illegal within Anacostia Park. Park users are asked to be aware that increased vehicular traffic is anticipated and to make plans accordingly."
* Dr. Gridlock on his Get There blog talks about the "National Trifecta" on March 29--the National Marathon (which wrought all sorts of havoc in Southwest last year), the National Cherry Blossom Festival, and the Nationals-vs-Orioles exhibition game--that could make for rough driving around the city on that Saturday.
* I've taken enough photos of the stadium scoreboard to last a good long while, but Fox5 has a bunch of shots of the Scoreboard Control Room.
*This week's Ballpark and Beyond column in the Post's District Extra covers the new parking lots at Capper, and has a preview of the Florida Rock zoning hearing tonight (see renderings and photos here).

Mar 19, 2008 9:19 PM
I unexpectedly found myself inside the ballpark this evening, and of course couldn't resist taking some photos. They're not anywhere close to a complete set, just a few shots here or there of some nice views and fun things I hadn't seen before, like the flags hung by the BID along First Street, one of the bike racks, etc. The big lights weren't on (as you can see above), so it's all kind of impressionistic. (That's a nice way of saying "blurry.")
There's also two new stitched-together panoramas, for those of you who are fans of them: one from a second-level suite on the left-field side (which was taken at dusk but looks like daylight after some fiddling with the camera settings), and the above view, from section 106.
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Mar 19, 2008 5:11 PM
This afternoon the Nationals sent out a press release about how fans with disabilities will be able to get to Nationals Park. Here's the biggest items:
"Prior to every Nationals game at Nationals Park, the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) will allow passengers to be dropped off along 1st Street, SE or along South Capitol Street; both locations are adjacent to Nationals Park, as near as possible to the two HOK designed accessible elevator entrances. After games, passengers may be picked up at the South Capitol Street location only. There are curb-free areas along South Capitol Street between O and P Streets."
Cars with state-issued disabled parking placards/license plates will be able to park in Lot E at First and N (just across from the ballpark) on a first-come first-served basis, or may purchase single-game access to those spaces for $35 per game starting March 26 at
(UPDATED to add the link to the full press release.) And here's a link to the Post's story, with quotes from worried fans.
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Mar 19, 2008 3:42 PM
Nationals President Stan Kasten took the media this afternoon on the short Green Line jaunt from Gallery Place/Chinatown to the Navy Yard Metro station, to get the word out to stadium-goers that Metro will be the best way to get to the ballpark. He emphasized multiple times the 57,000 parking spaces at Metro stations around the area, which will be free on nights and weekends. [Sorry, that was my boo-boo, not his.] I'm sure there will be "real" coverage of the field trip on tonight's newscasts, so I'll update later with links to those stories.
But in the meantime, here's a few photos I took. I had hoped that the group would get to go up the not-yet-complete west entrance of the station, to see the expansion, but that didn't happen. (Waaah!) But when the group exited at New Jersey and M, there was the N22 shuttle bus to Union Station, waiting as if on cue.
In other news, the Washington Times reports that the ballpark has gotten its certificate of occupancy.
UPDATE: First out of the gate is ABC7, with a skeptical text piece (Kasten is "hoping to convince skeptical fans that the rail option is the best way to reach the team's new stadium" and that the Navy Yard station "was still a mess of construction last week"--because, you know, last week is the same as next week, that just because something wasn't done then means there's no chance it'll be done on time). And now the video's posted.

Mar 19, 2008 12:50 PM
Just a reminder that Thursday (March 20) is the latest go-round in Florida Rock vs. the Zoning Commission. I'm not going to rehash the long history here (read the old news items if you need to get caught up), but tonight's hearing is on the revised design for what's now known as RiverFront on the Anacostia that first started showing up last summer. You can see renderings on my project page, and also read the Office of Planning report on tonight's hearing to find out the latest on the proposal. OP has recommended that this design be approved, subject to a couple of sign-offs from city agencies and a few other items. ANC 6D approved this plan (as it has approved most everything on this project) back in January--my entry on that vote contains a lot of information on where the project now stands as well. (Can you tell I'm in a rush?)
When could it all get underway? Quoting from that January entry: "As for when some movement will actually be seen at the site, David Briggs of Holland & Knight set out a timeline based on zoning approvals, construction drawings, and the vaunted DC permitting process that estimates the start of construction on the first phase (the eastern office building) in probably fall of 2009. He mentioned a number of times the amount of pressure that Florida Rock is under to shut down the concrete plant and to build temporary parking lots, but he explained that the site currently makes money for its company and shareholders, and there's little interest in closing it down sooner than necessary. (Briggs did say that a temporary landscaping of the eastern plaza, next to Diamond Teague, could be a possibility once the zoning approvals are received, but that the underground parking for RiverFront does extend beneath that plaza, and so excavation and construction work will need to be done there.)"
The hearing is at 6:30 pm at Suite 220 South, 441 4th St., NW; you can watch via live webcast, although that option has been problematic a few times lately. Watch this space late Thursday/early Friday for a report on it all, with perhaps further updates on timelines and whatnot.
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Mar 19, 2008 9:05 AM
About five readers in the past week have submitted the same question: What's the Deal With Capitol Quarter? And it's hard not to be wondering that, as one of the first announced projects to revitalize Near Southeast still hasn't seen the start of construction, with a number of target dates having slipped past. (You can read my WTDW Capitol Quarter from December to see the last update.)
EYA told me this week that they're now looking at June or July as when the first townhomes will get underway, a little past the "Spring" start date that was projected a few months ago. As for the "why", I've mentioned before that we shouldn't really be surprised when companies working on projects worth hundreds of millions of dollars aren't spilling their guts to a pesky neighborhood blogger about the reasons for bad news, so I have no answer. But perhaps the new 2008 reality of a much tougher real estate market and the "credit crunch" are playing a part?
This isn't to say that nothing's happening at Capitol Quarter, since work at the site has been chugging along for the past few months. The first phase of public infrastructure improvements, which has been the cause of all the ripping up of Fourth, Fifth, I, K, and L streets, is all but finished (except for some last work along L Street). And work has started on installing "private infrastructure"--the wet and dry utility lines for the new houses--which will be followed by preparing the lots for vertical construction. But of course none of this is terribly flashy work, and until the townhouses start popping up, it's easy to feel like nothing's happening.
It's still anticipated that all the Phase I townhouses will be completed by the end of 2010.
If you want to get caught up on previous WTDW... entries, here they are. To submit a WTDW question of your own, drop me a line, keeping in mind that I don't always get to these right away.
PS: No need to further inundate me with WTDW Canal Park questions. Many people (including me) are way ahead of you. Rumors are flying, and I'm trying to get some answers, so I'll post as soon as I have something.

Mar 18, 2008 7:00 PM
* I thought I was going to make it through this day with no ballpark-related items, but I can't not pass along this item about Wednesday's media event where Nationals President Stan Kasten is going to take the pack on a subway ride to the Navy Yard station, to "mimic" one of the many routes fans can take to Nationals Park. Will it include being able to come up out of the west entrance of the station? I'll have the scoop Wednesday afternoon.
* Season-ticket holders are apparently starting to receive their parking passes. I'm updating my parking lot map with the lot letters, so you can see where your lot is and whether it's surface or underground. Leave your lot letter and location in the comments if I haven't added it to the map yet. Never mind--found the Nats' interactive trip planner that has the lots marked. But on mine you get to find out what's surface and what's underground! (It's all about the value-add.)
* A few weeks ago the March Washingtonian hit the stands with a big article on the ballpark, along with a second article ("Ballpark Living") about what's coming to Near Southeast in terms of residential offerings. That second article is now online--but don't be put off by its first two words.

Mar 18, 2008 1:47 PM
Let's dip into the What's the Deal With.... mailbag for some more non-ballpark-related content. Reader M has asked about the garage on the northeast corner of First and K, which remains in place while JPI's 909 at Capitol Yards starts to rise up around it.
This is actually a very simple question (and is precisely the one I envisioned when I started WTDW)--the owner, Davood Miraizee, refused to sell to JPI. He's quoted in a big Post piece from 2005 about not wanting to leave his spot. (Quick chats I've had with him have included slightly more, um, colorful language.)
So, JPI is continuing to build the 237-unit apartment project around him (and no, they won't be building on top of the garage), and as far as I know at this point, he's not going anywhere. But with a 2009 projected tax assessment of $1.47 million for the site (up from around $200k when he bought the lot), you do wonder about the economics of his staying put. As is the case with Positive Nature around the corner, assessments in the area are skyrocketing, which would seem to make it hard for any of the few small businesses still operating to stick around much longer. (The cab company and garage just across First Street from A1 is leaving at the end of this month, its land purchased last year to make way for DRI's 99 I Street office/retail development.)
If you have a What's the Deal With question, drop me a line, though it might be a while before I get to it.
And, coming tomorrow--a WTDW on a very high-profile project.

Mar 18, 2008 9:06 AM
* The Examiner writes about the Washington Area Bicyclists Association's look last week at the crosswalks and curbs at the US Department of Transportation HQ, which WABA says are not ADA compliant: "An inspection of the area Friday found security bollards blocking curb ramps, bus shelters with virtually no sidewalk access, and multispace parking meters inaccessible to people in wheelchairs. Also, several crosswalks at non-signalized intersections feed into curbs with no access ramp[.]" DDOT says that the crosswalk at Second and M is not supposed to be used anymore (since there is a fully compliant crosswalk just to the west at New Jersey Avenue) and will be sending crews to take away the crosswalk marks.
* City Paper continues its saturation coverage of the Positive Nature youth program at 1017 New Jersey with video from Saturday's rally. The organization is trying to stave off eviction thanks to the huge increase in its property taxes.
* WAMU has posted the audio of its piece on last week's rededication of the Douglass Bridge. The city's Cable 16 channel should be adding it to its lineup soon. You can watch the press conference on the new on-street parking regulations near the ballpark in the meantime.

Mar 17, 2008 3:39 PM
I'm taking a bit of a mental health break today, to try to rest a bit and gird myself for the coming weeks. Not much news anyway, except for this WTOP piece on people being unfamiliar with the neighborhood around the ballpark [insert obligatory "if only there were a web site..." reference here]. Of course, because of this unfamiliarity, chaos will ensue.
And there's Dr. Gridlock's column from Sunday, which along with some good information on disabled access to the ballpark also includes discussions of Scary New Jersey Avenue and the "half-mile" walk from the Navy Yard Station to the ballpark. (Whaa...?)
Also, the Examiner has a summary of Metro's plans for Pope Day, most of which were in the WMATA press release I linked to last week.
And, I guess I need to address this--I've had a number of people ask me in the past few days about rumors apparently circulating that I'm going to shut down JDLand right after Opening Day. Perhaps this is an offshoot from the flippant comment I made in the On Site profile about just making it to Opening Day "and then I'll fall over", or maybe some off-hand crack in the blog about being close to collapsing.
But while it's no secret that right now I'm overwhelmed and teetering on the brink of absolute exhaustion in my quest to keep running the site at the level of detail it's mocked known for, and to respond to all the e-mails and questions I receive every day, I also see the light at the end of the tunnel, and I know that, by May, things around here should settle back down to a more reasonable workload. I'm willing to hang on by my fingernails until then, although I acknowledge that I may miss a link here or there, or might be a bit briefer with some updates than I've been in the past, which I hope everyone can understand. But, beyond that, JDLand will still be around for a good while yet; there's still some developments I have to see arrive at the finish line, after all....
(And yes, there's probably a book in it all someday. After I sleep for a year or so.)

Mar 16, 2008 2:50 PM
When setting out to photograph a changing neighborhood, it might initially seem like a good idea to create a scheme where you take photos of 16 different views at each intersection (from up to four different angles) so that you don't miss anything and so that you can easily match photos as time goes on--until you arrive at a time when there are more than 30 intersections where visible change is happening on a day-to-day basis. Then you end up taking nearly 500 photos in one 90-minute walkabout on a sunny Saturday afternoon (without even venturing near the shiny new ballpark that's only two weeks away from opening), making you almost embarrassed when it's time to post a selection of them on your obsessive-compulsive web site.
This is all just hypothetical, of course.
Yesterday was the first time I saw the striped and open-to-traffic First Street north of M, now widened to four lanes with a bike path, and it's kinda different from the First Street I've spent so much time on these past few years. (The four new buildings with one more about to pop up might be part of the feeling, too.) Here's a gallery of before-and-afters for First Street at I, K, L, and M so you can see the changes. This was the first time I've been able to take a complete set of pictures at First and I in nearly a year, so it was especially nice to get those updated.
I also took new photos along Half Street between I and M, Cushing at L and M, and a smattering along M at South Capitol, Van, and New Jersey. And the wide views from the freeway at South Capitol Street. (My previous entry has the links to the photos I took of the various parking lots under construction.) For all of these, don't forget that clicking on the icon will show you all photos in the archive of that location if you want to see the progression of the changes.
Of course, many of these new photos are also now on the project pages for the under-construction buildings: see 70/100 I, 909 New Jersey, Velocity, Onyx, 100 M, and 55 M for details.
(There sure were a lot of folks taking either a drive or a walk through the area yesterday--let the onslaught begin! And thanks to those who said hi while I was out and about ["Are you the one who does that web site?"]. As always I appreciate everyone who made the effort to not run me over when I was standing in the middle of the street taking pictures. My days of being able to do that may be at an end, though.)

Mar 16, 2008 10:45 AM
* We knew he'd been asked, but it's now confirmed that President Bush will be throwing out the first pitch at Nationals Park on Opening Night (March 30). Officials from the team have told me that they've acquired more than 50 magnetometers to handle the security checks for the expected 41,000-person sellout crowd. But it's also one more reason to get there plenty early; the gates will open at 3:30 pm. Barry passes along the message from Stan: Take Metro! Stan also says, as we've heard from multiple sources lately, that the team is continuing to work on some same-day/cash lot parking, though it isn't in place yet. (They've said previously that they're trying to figure out how to offer these spots in a way that would prevent too much additional congestion, perhaps by requiring spaces to be purchased via the Internet beforehand.)
* As for the surface parking lots, work is speeding up (just in time!). Striping and lighting looks to be mostly done on one of the Blue Zone lots at Third and Tingey in The Yards (dull parking lot photo here), and work continues on the two lots along First Street north and east of the ballpark. Ditto for the lots on Capper/Carrollsburg land, all of which are in the Orange Zone. Asphalt is being laid at Lot W at Seventh and M on the old Capper Seniors site (another dull parking lot photo here). Stormwater management systems, gravel, and lighting are in at lots U and T on Third Street between I and L (more not-quite-so-dull photos here and here, both of which show the new signs now posted).
To manage these Capper lots, the DC Housing Authority has chosen UStreet Parking, a certified DC Local, Small, Disadvantaged Business (LSDBE) that handles the parking at RFK, the Convention Center, and many swank spots that geeky old neighborhood bloggers will never see the inside of, such as Love and Ultra. Look for some free parking days in April, along with monthly parking accounts and possibly some cash parking, especially now that the Performance Parking signs (and the enforcement expected to accompany them) have taken away the bountiful free parking on Capper streets that local residents and workers have gotten used to.
UPDATE: And yes, I've gotten an updated version of the Maine Avenue sign. And "Nationals Park" is now added to the Sixth Street and South Capitol Street exit signs, though not yet with the Curly W attached.

Mar 15, 2008 9:39 AM
* The Post reports that the city and the Nationals are tangling over whether vendors will be able to set up shop outside the ballpark, and whether the city can put up a sign at the ballpark showing the federal taxes that DC residents pay while not having any congressional representation. The sign stuff last came up at the end of 2007, and you can read my notes from the hearing on the bill where the council was basically told that the Nats legally control the signage on the stadium's interior, exterior, and perimeter, and today's article says that "the Nationals have told Gray that the sign is too controversial and political for a ballpark." At that hearing, as in today's article, council chair Vincent Gray made clear the council's feelings about paying $611 million for a ballpark and then not being able to put up a sign of their choosing. As for vendors, "Sam Williams, the city's vending coordinator, said vendors who were at RFK and others who have applied will get spots outside the stadium" in spots being referred to as "vendor malls", but right now no one's saying where these malls will be, exactly, other than in "areas of the highest pedestrian traffic."
* WJLA follows the lead of WTOP to show that the area around the ballpark is a big construction zone. If only some web site were out there that showed people what the neighborhood currently looked like, as well as what it used to look like and what it could look like a few years from now. And wouldn't you think that a whole bunch of construction around the ballpark is better than no action at all?
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Mar 14, 2008 4:10 PM
From a Nats press release, word that the public can get another shot at Opening Day tickets via a random drawing: "Fans may register for the opportunity to purchase two tickets online at and winners will be selected through a random drawing. Registration will begin on Monday, March 17 at 9 a.m. and end on Friday, March 21 at 5 p.m. Selected winners will be notified via e-mail on Tuesday, March 25 and will have 24 hours to purchase their tickets. Tickets must be printed at home and will not be available for pick up at the Box Office Will Call."
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Mar 14, 2008 12:40 PM
With raze permits having been filed recently for the Wendy's on I Street and its little gray neighbor to the east along Half Street, we knew that their days were numbered. JPI informs me that Wendy's will be closed by May 1, and that demolition on the two sites will happen over the summer, to allow construction on the 421-unit 23 Eye at Capitol Yards to begin in September.
Also, JPI's Capitol Yards buildings at 70 and 100 I, which together will have nearly 700 rental units, are now scheduled to open in June and July, respectively. 70 I is known as "Jefferson at Capitol Yards", while 100 I has snuck in a name change and is now "Axiom at Capitol Yards" (after a brief interlude as "Mercury").
In the meantime, the fourth Capitol Yards sibling, 909 New Jersey, is just about at ground-level, meaning that Nats fans walking on New Jersey Avenue to get to and from Capitol South will soon see a new skeleton rising up. The 237-unit rental building is scheduled to open next year.
The official web site has animated computer renderings on Jefferson, Axiom, and 909, and a mailing list for those interested in more information.

Mar 14, 2008 9:27 AM
First off, I know the site's been having some downtime over the past few days (perhaps it's as exhausted as I am). Hopefully the performance problems will be addressed soon, but in the meantime, I plead for patience. Now to the morning linkage:
* The Washington Business Journal (suscribers only as of now) looks at whether DC really is a baseball town, shiny new ballpark or not: "But there is much more to this particular opening. Tucked within the tale of the modern glass and limestone structure lies a referendum on Major League Baseball's historic 2004 decision to move the Montreal Expos to D.C. [...] But the jury remains out as to how vibrant Washington really is and will be as a baseball market. More pointedly, the club is challenged with growing from a low- to mid-tier franchise into a truly great one."
* WTOP gives baseball fans a heads up that Near Southeast is a construction zone. (But you knew that already.)
* The archdiocese is not looking charitably on Pope ticket scalpers. In the meantime, the diocese in Richmond is holding a ticket lottery today.
* The Post's KidsPost page talks to one of the ballpark's architects about how he got into the biz.

Mar 13, 2008 8:06 PM
(News is getting so overwhelming that I'm having to go to two-a-day link roundups. And still, I feel like I'm missing stuff or giving it short shrift. I guess all that patience being pleaded for by the city and the Nationals and Metro needs to extend to JDLand for the next few weeks, too.)
* Today Metro put out an expanded press release (after a similar one a few days ago) with additional details on how they're planning to handle the April 17 Mass at Nationals Park, or as I call it, Pope Day. There's also stories on Metro's plans by WTOP ("Forget about baseball, is Metro ready for the Pope?") and NBC4. In the meantime, Agence France Presse has a piece on how huge the demand for Pope tickets is.
* Via City Paper (which has taken the story to its bosom), a report from Fox 5 on the Positive Nature youth program at 1017 New Jersey, which is struggling to stay afloat after the huge increase in property taxes that has accompanied the redevelopment of Near Southeast. Don't forget that they're having an open house (they're calling it a "radical rally" to keep their doors open) on Saturday March 15 from noon to 3 pm.

Mar 13, 2008 4:31 PM
Today the Usual Suspects convened on the Southwest corner of South Capitol Street and Potomac Avenue to officially rededicate the Frederick Douglass Bridge and to celebrate the completion of all the rehabilitation work that's been underway since last year. I took some photos of the ceremony, though you'll note that my camera kept being inexorably drawn to a certain new landmark across the street that's less than three weeks away from opening. (It's not my fault--they set up the podium with the ballpark in the background instead of the bridge!) If you've joined us late, you can browse all the background on last summer's Douglass Bridge Extreme Makeover that demolished the northern approach to the bridge and totally remade this portion of South Capitol Street. If you're hoping for a new Douglass Bridge, though, don't despair--city and federal officials announced themselves as still very much committed to building a brand new bridge.

Mar 13, 2008 9:08 AM
Another batch of ballpark-related items, which weren't posted before my 2 am bedtime and so didn't make it into the previous roundup:
* Tommy Wells wants the RFK shuttles to stop at Eighth Street, to allow fans to get off the subway at Eastern Market and patronize the bars and restaurants along Barracks Row before going to the game. WTOP reports that Tommy wants the stop at Eighth and G, though at last night's community meeting ANC 6B commissioner Kenan Jarboe asked about a stop at Eighth and I (which would seem to be closer to the shuttle route). Nationals rep Gregory McCarthy's response to Jarboe was similar to what the WTOP story says, that the Nats would like to run the shuttle without stops for a few months first to get an idea of passenger loads and times before adding the stop.
* Which reminds me--McCarthy said last night that the RFK shuttle will drop off and pick up fans at 300 M St., SE, about four blocks from the ballpark.
* But, is the RFK shuttle even a done deal? The Examiner says that terms are still being worked out between the team and the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission. There's also still questions about how parking at RFK will be handled on days when DC United is playing. Oh, and those all-important beer sales are still needing some guidelines to be written. ("How many beers can a person buy at a time? What inning must the taps shut down? Who will be responsible for enforcement of alcoholic beverage laws?")

Mar 12, 2008 11:39 PM
Here's either a late-night or early-morning update, depending on your sleep schedule:
* Marc Fisher of the Post takes a deep (and infuriated) look at why Nats fans (even just government employees with security clearances) can't park in the 1,060-space garage at the US Department of Transporation headquarters one block from the ballpark. "So how did a simple request to use empty parking spaces at night, after Transportation workers have gone home, turn into -- excuse the expression -- a federal case? A report by Transportation's inspector general makes it clear that the feds were desperate to find a way to reject the Nationals' proposal." UPDATE: Marc's blog includes a link to the inspector general's report.
* Boswell talks ticket prices.
* The WashTimes describes police plans to step up patrols during Nats games: "[O]fficers with the department's Special Operations Division would be deployed on foot, on bicycles, in cars and on Segways to at least 39 'static posts' around the ballpark to direct traffic and assist in crowd control. Additionally, he said, 10 beats -- staffed by either one or two officers -- will patrol, mostly on foot, the neighborhoods surrounding the stadium, looking out for auto thefts or other property crimes in the hours before and after games."
* The 55 M web cam doesn't show it real clearly, but Metro's signature red tile flooring is being installed in the new west entrance of the Navy Yard station at Half and M.
* There's also new stoplights (not yet activated) installed at Half and M. Which is good news for pedestrians, including neighborhood bloggers who have come perilously close to meeting their maker trying to cross that very intersection.
* A large new sign at Third and I announces that the parking lot now under construction there is Nationals Parking Lot T (in the orange zone). And while the asphalt hasn't been pored at this lot or its sibling to the south, the lightposts erected in the center of each lot are now operational, adding a bit of extra light to Third Street after dark.
* Wednesday night's public meeting on the ballpark traffic management and curbside parking plan heard many of the concerns that have been raised at previous events (visitor passes, stadiumgoers being directed to use the Maine Avenue exit from the SW Freeway, commuters and residents wondering how they'll get *out* of the stadium area on game nights, and more). Representatives of DDOT spoke what is now the official city and team mantra, along the lines of: "We've tried our best to come up with a system, and we'll be watching it closely to see what works and what doesn't, and we'll make changes to it as we need to. We're asking for patience. But there will be congestion, and there will be problems, and there will be *change.*" Which is a message that doesn't always go over very well. After the group Q&A, city and team officials answered one-on-one questions. (The somewhat striking view of the ballpark at dusk from the 10th floor of 20 M was probably not on the minds of most of these meeting-goers.) Oh, and a DPW official made it very clear: cars parked illegally on the new enhanced RPP streets will be towed.

Mar 12, 2008 2:52 PM
I wasn't able to see the meeting myself (I was at Madison Square Garden watching my beloved Roger Federer beat Pete Sampras), but on Monday night the Zoning Commission gave its approval on the Capitol Gateway Overlay Review for 1111 New Jersey Avenue, Donohoe's 220,000-square-foot office building to be built just north of the east entrance of the Navy Yard Metro station. At the first part of this hearing a few weeks ago, there was much back-and-forth about whether the garage entrance should be on New Jersey Avenue (the developer's preference) or in the alley (DDOT's preference, which was not looked on fondly by the zoning commissioners). My sources tell me that DDOT has "somewhat grudgingly" agreed to allow the entrance to be on New Jersey after all, but that they expect Donohoe to work with them to better manage the public space on New Jersey and probably reduce the amount of parking offered. The web site for the project says that it will be completed in 2010, which would probably mean a start date later this year; we shall see if that indeed comes to pass. Read more about the previous discussion on the garage entrance and on what exactly a CG Overlay Review is, if you're wanting more information.
Hopefully soon I can post an update on what happened at ANC 6D on Monday, the *other* meeting I missed while in New York.

Mar 12, 2008 12:05 PM
* If you've looked at the web cam in the past few days, you've seen that they're mowing the turf to get the pretty diagonal pattern in place. Can the Curly W in the outfield be far behind?
* A switch over to the 55 M web cam shows that paving of Half Street is more than Half done (ar-ar).
* The Nats are leaving it up to fans to determine the music that will be played at the ballpark. The choices are available at; voting starts there tomorrow (March 13) at 9 am and runs through March 26 at 5 pm. Read the press release for more details.
* And of course there's the parking for DoD employees at the Navy Yard and Ft. McNair that I just wrote about below.
* Fox 5 reported last night on crime near the ballpark. I only track crime that happens from South Capitol Street east (and the Fox report centered on Southwest), but if you're wanting hard data, look through my Near Southeast Crime Reports archive, which goes back to 2005. The data comes from the city's crime incidents xml feed.
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Mar 12, 2008 9:12 AM
Back when the first information on parking for Nationals Park went out in November, there was a line about special parking arrangements for Department of Defense employees, and now we finally have more details, thanks to the Pentagram (h/t to Nats320): "Washington Nationals fans who wish to attend evening and weekend home games may park their vehicles at the Washington Navy Yard or Fort McNair. A Department of Defense common access card, Retiree or Dependent ID card, and DoD vehicle decal are required for entry onto the installations for game parking. Parking for Nationals Stadium events is available in non-reserved parking spaces outside normal working hours, after 4:30 p.m., on weekdays, as well as weekends and holidays. DoD members may sponsor non-DoD guests in their party. At the Navy Yard, MWR food and drink concessions will be available before the game. [...] Spaces on both installations are limited and will be filled on a "first-come-first-served" basis -- public transportation is highly encouraged for those who wish to avoid the inevitable stadium traffic. Parking will not be allowed for games that conflict with installation work schedules, or ceremonies and special events such as the Military District of Washington Twilight Tattoos on Fort McNair, scheduled for 21 May, 4 June and 25 June." See the article for additional details.
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Mar 11, 2008 7:01 PM
A reminder that tomorrow (Wednesday March 12) is the community meeting on ballpark traffic management and curbside parking issues, where representatives of DDOT, the Sports and Entertainment Commission, and the Nationals will be on hand to answer questions on the Transportation and Residential Curbside Management Plan (so read it before you get there so you know what to ask about!). It's technically an "open workshop" that will "highlight the numerous parts of the overall transportation and parking operations that will be in effect during events at the new stadium." The press release about the meeting also says that DDOT "will also offer their appreciation to the area residents and business owners for their support and patience during the recent street upgrades in the South Capitol corridor." (Cookies? Cake? Gold stars for foreheads?) The meeting is on the 10th floor of 20 M Street, SE, from 6 to 8:30 pm.

Mar 11, 2008 2:55 PM
For those interested in getting news on Benedict XVI's visit to the U.S. (which includes the April 17 Mass at Nationals Park) the Conference of Catholic Bishops has set up a blog with the latest headlines and items of interest, at And, if you want a blog about the visit that's a little closer to home, the Washington Times has a papal visit blog, too.
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More posts: Nationals Park

Mar 11, 2008 9:57 AM
Yesterday Metro put out a press release with more detailed information (beyond what I posted on Saturday) on how it is planning to be ready for Opening Day at Nationals Park. Here are the highlights, which include a few answers for items that people were concerned about:
* The west entrance of the Navy Yard station will indeed reopen "the weekend of March 29", after its year-long $20 million renovation to expand its capacity from 5,000 to 15,000 passengers an hour.
* "On game days, the west entrance will be exit-only three hours before games, and entrance-only after games. During games, the Navy Yard east entrance should be used by people traveling in the opposite direction of the crowds."
* "The newly expanded N22 Metrobus route from the Navy Yard Metrorail station to the Eastern Market and Union Station Metrorail stations will operate every 10 minutes from 11 a.m. to 11:30 p.m." (Note that previous announcements about the N22 had it stopping at 10:30 pm; I don't know if the 11:30 pm end-time is only for Opening Day, or for all games, or what.)
* "To accommodate the crowds, Metrorail will operate up to 18 extra trains, most of them on the Green Line. All trains will be a combination of six and eight-car trains."
* "On weekends and at the conclusion of games, Metro will have extra trains available to get fans to and from the ballpark."
Also, beyond what is in this release, WTOP and the Examiner are reporting that Metro has decided to add one additional six-car train (with a capacity of about 900 passengers) during weekday evening rush hours, for a total of 13 six-car trains and 7 eight-car trains. There will also be four trains waiting on the Green line in case of problems. NBC 4 also has a piece on Metro's plans.
For more information, look at my Take Metro! page, as well as my other Stadium Transportation and Parking pages if you're planning on driving.

Mar 10, 2008 6:11 PM
This just in from DDOT (no link yet): " DC Department of Transportation (DDOT) in coordination with The Federal Highway Admin (FHWA) will be installing the overhead Nationals Baseball Signs during nighttime hours Monday, March 10, 2008 from 8pm to 4:30am on the overhead sign poles for the South Capitol Street ramp exit off 395NB. The ramp will be closed to ensure the safety of the workers and all motorists. All work will be completed prior to rush hour on Tuesday. The work area is 395-North also known as East Bound SE/SW Freeway. DDOT will assist in controlling traffic in the immediate work area and guide motorist to the detour routes. Work installing the signs will began with the East bound side of 395 at the South Capitol Street. DDOT encourages all motorists traveling in the work area to follow the clearly marked detour signs and keep alert."

Mar 10, 2008 3:14 PM
Positive Nature, the non-profit at 1017 New Jersey that works with at-risk youngsters, is having a "radical rally" on Saturday March 15 from noon to 3 pm, an invitation to the public to tour the facilities and meet the participants as they try to save their program. You can read about their work and their struggle to remain at their New Jersey Avenue site as their property taxes have skyrocketed in this recent City Paper article.

Mar 10, 2008 1:12 PM
* Thanks to reader K for the heads up that the 55 M web cam is back online. Looks like they painted those distinctive beams above the Metro entrance during the blackout. (UPDATE: And the webcam now shows that Half Street is getting paved today.)
* Today it's an Examiner columnist who rails against the traffic and transit catastrophe at the ballpark three weeks before the first regular-season pitch even happens, using his crystal ball to predict that an unfinished Metro station now means an unfinished Metro station then.
* The GW Hatchet explains how to get tickets to the March 22 game at Nationals Park.
* Howard University's paper looks at Southwest residents wary of the development starting to surround them.
* Get in on the Douglass Bridge design discussion in the comments from a few days ago.

Mar 9, 2008 3:18 PM
* I mentioned this a few days back, but why not pass along another reminder that Monday at 7 pm is the ANC 6D monthly meeting, with presentations and votes on 401 M Street, the ballpark traffic management plan, and the South Capitol Street Draft EIS, plus a briefing by the Nats on the Opening Day "Fan Fest" activities. To get in on the fun, go to St. Augustine's Episcopal Church at 6th and M St., SW, starting at 7 pm.
* If the ANC isn't your bag, you can watch the Zoning Commission take up again the Capitol Gateway Overlay Review for Donohoe's planned office building at 1111 New Jersey. It's a continuation of the last hearing, which revolved mostly around whether the garage access would be from New Jersey or from the alley. The hearing starts at 6:00 pm, and 1111 is also on the public meeting agenda at 6:30 pm, which perhaps is a display of optimism that Donohoe and DDOT will have the garage issue straightened out and the review ruling can be made. Watch the webcast, if you're so inclined. (I'm going to be missing both of these meetings, so it might be a few days before I can get the scoop on them.)
* The new Enhanced Residential Parking Permit signs, which allow non-Zone 6 parking only on one side of the street in certain areas near the ballpark, continue to get installed. They came to my street north of the freeway within the past day or so.
* I thought I did good with last week's find of a November 2006 satellite photo of the neighborhood, but reader JK has upped the ante with the "Bird's-Eye View" option at Microsoft Live Search, showing not-real-high-up images from March 2007. But be careful when you're scrolling around--if you go to fast, the images flip back to shots from early 2003. (Which is festive in its own fun-house kind of way.)

Mar 8, 2008 4:03 PM
Metro has posted some information about how it plans to handle Opening Day at Nationals Park on March 30, and the Mass by Pope Benedict XVI on April 17. (This document comes from the agenda for its March 13 Customer Service, Operations, and Safety Committee meeting.) Some highlights, above and beyond the we've-put-up-a-web-site-and-printed-brochures bullet points:
* Metro is expecting 24,000 fans to come via Metro for Opening Day (21,000 of them via the Navy Yard station), and 26,000 Mass attendees. They also expect 60 percent of baseball fans to arrive via Metro during the season.
* The Opening Day plan includes the newly enhanced N22 bus service, 18 extra pre-and post-game trains (mainly on the Green line), extra eight-car trains (perhaps up to every third train), and converting the Navy Yard Station to "one-way" traffic. (I presume this means for pedestrians, though I'm not sure if this means that *no one* can enter/exit the station against the flow before and after the game.) The fact that this first game is on a Sunday night is allowing Metro and the city to avoid a possible complete meltdown of the transportation network that might happen if it occurred during an evening rush-hour.
* Because Mass attendees must be through security and into the park by 9 a.m., Metro expects the largest crushes of travel to be between 5 and 8 am (the height of the morning rush hour) and again post-Mass. All available extra trains will be used when the Metrorail system opens at 5 am, and there will be 18 extra trains after the Mass ends. And, again, the document says that the Navy Yard Station will be converted to "one-way," which ought to be interesting for the commuters trying to use the station to get to and from work during this Thursday event. And the dreaded phrase "Rolling Street Closures" is mentioned for Pope Day, in that it might affect bus routes coming into the neighborhood. If there were ever a day for Near Southeast residents and workers to telecommute....
With the uncertainties about how fans and the transportation network will handle the crush of getting to the new ballpark for the first time, and with the president expected to throw out the first pitch, the Nationals are opening the gates at 3:30 pm on the 30th, 4 1/2 hours before the 8:05 pm start time. I've been told that they've acquired more than 50 magnetometers to try to lessen the burden of passing 41,000-plus fans through security, but if you're going to the game, you might not want to show up at 7:55.
UPDATE: For more, see this Tuesday entry on additional news on Metro's plans.

Mar 8, 2008 10:48 AM
Just a bunch of tiny items worth highlighting on a dreary Saturday (no new photos today in this muck):
* A building permit has been approved to build a surface parking lot along First Street between M and N, where Normandie Liquors and its brethren were demolished last month. And the Archdiocese of Washington has applied for a public space permit for the 1300 block of First Street, SE--does the Popemobile need special parking permits?
* As plans at The Yards continue to move forward, there's now official names for the first-phase projects. Say hello to The Boilermaker Shop, The Pattern Shop Lofts, and Factory 202. (And 401 M and 400 Tingey, but those aren't anywhere near as catchy.)
* The 55 M web cam is no longer available to the public. Perhaps they want the Opening Day vista to be a big surprise. Or they don't want people watching the last-minute work on the Navy Yard Metro station. (I wonder if the gas main hit on Thursday was caught by this camera.)
* Some commenters are discussing the idea that's been floated of someday demolishing the Southeast-Southwest Freeway. Getting rid of this Berlin Wall that separates Capitol Hill and Near Southeast (and splits Southwest) was brought up in the National Capital Planning Commission's 1997 Extending the Legacy framework plan, if you want to see it actually on paper. (Apparently an updated NCPC framework plan is scheduled to come out this spring, which looks like it continues to have Virginia Avenue marked where the freeway currently is.) As to whether I'll see this done in my lifetime, well, it would be a nice surprise.
If you really want to go high-concept, you can read DDOT's 2003 South Capitol Street Gateway and Improvement Study to see their ideas for a tunnel that would link I-295 and the SE/SW Freeway for through traffic, leaving South Capitol Street to become the grand urban gateway boulevard planners envision. At Wednesday's public meeting on the South Capitol Street Draft Environmental Impact Statement, DDOT said that the tunnel isn't totally off the table, but they decided that a new Douglass Bridge and other South Capitol Street improvements could move forward separately. But could a tunnel still work if the dream of dismantling the SE/SW Freeway were realized?
* I've tried to remain (mostly) unopinionated on various projects during the five years I've run this site. But sometimes, it's necessary to take a stand, to come out from behind the cloak of neutrality and crusade for what you believe in. So I'm going to take advantage of this bully pulpit and fight for one thing: Arched Bascule!

Mar 7, 2008 2:41 PM
* Tommy Wells's web site has the details on the new times and routes for the N22 bus that runs between Union Station and New Jersey and M. The expanded hours and route changes start on March 30. I've added them to my Take Metro! page.
* After the recent columns that have caused some gnashing of teeth with their representations of the area around the ballpark, readers might enjoy Marc Fisher's "Scenes from a Changing City" posts this morning: "But it was the walk from the Metro station to the stadium that taught me something about how cities change. The Metro entrance closest to the stadium isn't open yet--it will be done by Opening Day, we're assured--so I walked the extra couple of blocks from New Jersey Avenue. Any walk around the ballpark area these days is a bit treacherous, as the area is cluttered with construction materials and work crews. But it's possible to see that what two years ago was an industrial and nightclub zone in which only the brave dared walk alone is on its way to becoming another piece of the grid. What was a collection of rutted roads, empty lots, warehouses and fringy businesses is becoming an extension of downtown in which walking around is as routine as on Seventh Street in the East End, K Street downtown or M Street NW in Georgetown." (And thanks for the shout out, Marc.)

Mar 7, 2008 8:49 AM
Beginning the trek through the approvals process are the first new-construction buildings planned for The Yards--a 320,000-square-foot office building at 401 M Street and a 170ish-unit apartment building to its south at 400 Tingey Street. They would both have ground-floor retail, but it's what's planned for 401 M that will probably have everyone's attention, because a grocery store is proposed for that space, just inside the historic wall and sentry tower on the southeast corner of Fourth and M. (No, which grocery store it could be hasn't been announced yet.) Recent documents have said that 401 M could begin construction in late 2008, with delivery in 2010; the residential building's start depends on "market conditions." (Uh-oh.) A few more early renderings are on my 401 M/400 Tingey page. (See my Yards First Phase page for information on the retail and residential projects that are getting underway this year.)
There's a Zoning Commission Southeast Federal Center Overlay Review of the plans scheduled for April 17, and ANC 6D will be voting on whether to support the project at its March 10 meeting.
Also at Monday's ANC 6D meeting will be presentations and votes on plans for the Opening Day Fan Fest at the ballpark, the ballpark Transportation and Residential Curbside Management Plan (formerly known as the TOPP), and the South Capitol Street Draft Environmental Impact Statement. I attended Wednesday night's public meeting on the Draft EIS, and while the slides from the meeting haven't yet been posted on its web site, the DEIS's executive summary is a good substitute for the information that was available at the meeting--you can read my summary of the plans as well. There wasn't much public comment (maybe seven or eight speakers), and the concerns seemed to be more about making sure DDOT does a good job of handling the inconveniences and resident issues as a result of the planned changes, rather than any real opposition to the plans themselves. The public comment period ends March 31, and the Final EIS is expected to come out late this year.
Alas, I won't be able to attend this ANC meeting that's so chock full of Near Southeast goodness. But I'm guessing that spending that evening watching the Roger Federer-Pete Sampras exhibition at Madison Square Garden might be a bit more enjoyable.

Mar 7, 2008 8:31 AM
* The WashTimes has a getting-ready-for-the-baseball-crowds piece, surveying what Metro and DDOT are planning, and also talking about the Transportation and Residential Curbside Management Plan (formerly the TOPP) that I've been writing about extensively. (Read it already, would you?) Metro is planning 14 extra trains for Opening Night, and will be presenting its plan for handling ballpark traffic to its board on March 13. Central to this piece--and to many conversations I've had with city and team officials--is that residents and fans need to know that The Powers That Be will be watching Opening Day very closely (DDOT plans to be watching from the air) to see what works and what doesn't, and will be tweaking the initial plans as necessary. In fact, there's probably going to be an entire season's worth of responding to initial problems, not only in terms of getting to the ballpark but at the stadium as well. Patience is counseled, though of course that's never been a strong suit in this city. And it's worth a reminder that there's a public meeting on the transportation plan on March 12 from 6 to 8:30 pm at 20 M St., SE.
* Commenters yesterday were quick with the news about the gas leak that closed the Navy Yard and Waterfront Metro stations yesterday afternoon, thanks to construction workers at Half and M hitting a gas main. Considering all the work that is being done in the area (not just on new buildings but with a lot of digging in the streets lately), it's kind of surprising that something like this hasn't happened sooner.

Mar 6, 2008 12:56 PM
This morning the Usual Suspects re-assembled at the ballpark to plant one of the 14 cherry blossom trees being installed along the centerfield concourse and at the Center Field Gate plaza. And the sun was out! That never happens! Here are some quick photos of the event itself, and check back later today for an update to my Stadium Interior Gallery with a bunch of new photos from centerfield and the plaza. (If you're a fan of my large panoramas, here's one from today taken from the Red Porch restaurant, to whet your appetite for the photos coming later.)
UPDATE: More new photos from today now posted in the Stadium Interior Gallery, mixed in with others I've posted in the past two weeks. So you have a wide range of hideously-dreary-to-fabulously-sunny vistas to look at.
And I'll keep updating this section with links to any media coverage, starting with Dan Steinberg's Sports Bog report. And, as a commenter noted elsewhere, today officials announced that peak cherry blossom time is expected to be March 27 through April 3. With Opening Day smack in the middle. Tim Lemke has a blog entry about the ceremony today as well.
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Mar 6, 2008 8:39 AM
* The Mayor took some Congressional bigwigs around the ballpark yesterday. Today, the cherry blossom trees are being planted along the concourse in left-center field. Check back later today for photos. (And the sun will be out in them! How revolutionary!)
* Tony Knott of the WashTimes gets snarky about traveling to the ballpark.
* If you want to see what the new Enhanced Residential Parking Permit signs look like, drive along I Street SW between Third and Fourth--on the north side of the street you'll see new red signs saying Zone 6 Permit Holders Only, 7 AM - Midnight, Monday - Sunday"; on the south side of the street are the more familiar green signs that say "Two Hour Parking Only - Zone 6 Permit Holders Exempted", but they now have new stickers slapped on that say "7 AM - Midnight, Monday thru Sunday". DDOT must have hit the streets the second the bill passed on Tuesday! And, of course, the kiosk parking meters are cropping up in more locations.
* I've been meaning to post about this when there was a lull (HAH!)--Mapquest has updated its satellite image of Near Southeast to November 2006, showing the steelwork underway at the ballpark. I've added it to the bottom of my Satellite Photos page, even though it's only a few weeks later than the last "newest" image (from Live Search). You'll see that I've tweaked this page a bit so that you can now pick and choose which photos to display (since it's getting to be a huge page)--for instance, maybe you want to see just the 2002 and late 2006 photos.
UPDATE: I knew there was something else I meant to mention. The stadium web cam shows that advertising banners are going up on the eastern parking garage.
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More posts: parking, Nationals Park

Mar 5, 2008 2:50 PM
(I'm having so much fun with posts on home plate's arrival at the ballpark, ballpark food, and raze permits that I hate to kill the buzz with a post on parking, but alas it must be done.)
Yesterday the city council passed an emergency version of Tommy Wells's Performance Parking pilot plan, which will be used to regulate curbside parking on streets near the ballpark (as well as in Columbia Heights, along with a new taxicab zone pilot in Adams Morgan and a Visitor Pass pilot in Mount Pleasant). I've got the text of the bill as passed, and there's much more detail than was in the draft version of the bill (though not the detail that everyone really wants, namely the rates and fines), so definitely look at it if you're looking for additional information. A few items that jump out at me (though I'm hoping that Tommy's office sends out a release soon with more info):
* The pilot is only for two years.
* The mayor gets to set the rules, fees, and fines for the zones, but the council gets to set the zones themselves.
* Parking fees cannot be increased by more than 50 cents in any one-month period (or more than once per month).
* Councilmembers and ANCs must be notified of any fee changes at least 10 days in advance.
* "The Mayor shall publish a web site that includes the following: pilot zone boundaries, rules/regulations, information about how to use new parking fee technologies, and a parking pilot project manger's name and contact information." (Until then, you can look at my page on the curbside parking regulations around the ballpark.)
* DDOT has to submit a plan to the council and the ANCs with zone-specific parking management targets and with details on parking charges.
* DDOT has to conduct quarterly public meetings to provide updates on the parking management targets and to receive public comments on the program.
* The mayor has to submit an annual report on the parking pilots with all sorts of statistics.
Speaking of parking, the March Hill Rag has a roundup on the parking plans for the area (similar to my page). And I've been very remiss in not reporting that Feb. 21 Zoning Commission hearing on allowing additional temporary surfacing parking lots in Southwest was continued to March 24 after representatives of DDOT were not in attendance to discuss traffic management plans for the new lots. The Hill Rag has a summary of the Feb. 11 ANC meeting where there was much unhappiness about these potential new lots.
UPDATE: Bad link to bill text fixed.
UPDATE II: DDOT is now announcing a public meeting on March 12 from 6 to 8:30 pm at 20 M St., SE, for "residents and business owners and operators to review and comment on the most recent version of the Transportation and Residential Curbside Management Plan (often referred to as the Transportation Operations and Parking Plan (TOPP)). DDOT will also offer their appreciation to the area residents and business owners for their support and patience during the recent street upgrades in the South Capitol corridor. The meeting is an open workshop that will highlight the numerous parts of the overall transportation and parking operations that will be in effect during events at the new stadium. The TOPP was originally drafted to address concerns by residents on the expected increase in vehicular movement during stadium events in the southeast and southwest neighborhoods surrounding the ballpark. Representatives from the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission (DCSEC) and the Nationals will also be available to address concerns and answer questions." (This is the meeting that was described in testimony at the city council last week as being "at the ballpark." I guess they used "at the ballpark" in the same literary way one could say that the Navy Yard Metro station is "at the ballpark." Ah well.)

Mar 5, 2008 1:38 PM
A press release just out from the mayor's office announces that National Public Radio will be building its new headquarters at 1111 North Capitol Street--a disappointment to the buildings in Near Southeast that had been courting the company during its search for 400,000 square feet of available space. (The city may be disappointed as well, given that rumors abounded last fall that they were trying to have NPR take over the lease at the old Post Plant at 225 Virginia Avenue.)
UPDATE: Here's the Washington Business Journal article on the move.

Mar 5, 2008 9:40 AM
Last week we had the announcement of the local eateries that will be selling food at the ballpark (including Ben's Chili Bowl, Hard Times Cafe, Cantina Marina, and others). Today's Food section in the Post folows up with a story on the offerings, along with a pretty cool map showing where the various concessions will be located in the ballpark. There are nearly 80 more concession "points of sale" at the new ballpark compared to RFK, and there will be just over 64,000 square feet of restaurant square footage on South Capitol Street, up from a mere 8,900 at RFK. And of course 41,222 more cupholders at the seats than at RFK.
UPDATE: I'm adding all this to my Stadium FAQ section on food offerings, but I might as well post it here as well (gleaned from one of the handouts at yesterday's home plate ceremony):
There will be 49 concession stands at the ballpark, and nearly 200 "points of sale." In addition to the local vendors listed above, the usual fare will be available: hot dogs, sausages, hamburgers, pizza, nachos, popcorn, pretzels, Cracker Jacks, candy, peanuts, and sunflower seeds. There will also be specialty items available, including vegetarian burgers, hot dogs and chili, caesar salads, crab cake sandwiches, crab pretzels, Buffalo chicken sandwiches, burritos and tacos, corned beef, pastrami, turkey, and roast beef sandwiches, fish and chips, Old Bay fries, and soft serve sundaes.
There will also be additional specialty items from "around the National League." Some will be available at every game, such as Philly cheesesteaks (Phillies), Sheboygan brats (Brewers), BBQ pulled pork sandwiches (Braves), and garlic fries (Giants). Others will be available when certain teams come to town: SW Loaded Nachos for the Diamondbacks, Chicago Style Dogs for the Cubs, chili cheese dogs for the Reds, Buffalo burgers for the Rockies, Cuban sandwiches for the Marlins, Texas brisket for the Astros, California sushi rolls for the Dodgers, Knishes for the Mets, pierogies for the Pirates, fried ravioli for the Cardinals, and fish tacos for the Padres.
The concession stand in the family Strike Zone will offer kids meals, a build-your-own peanut butter and jelly sandwich bar, and other food for kids.
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More posts: Retail, Nationals Park

Mar 5, 2008 9:22 AM
Raze permits have now been filed for the Wendy's at 23 I Street and its little gray neighbor at 901 Half Street on the corner of Half and I. These two lots totaling about 47,300 square feet were purchased in late July for $28.625 million by JPI, and the company is planning "23 Eye at Capitol Yards," a 421-unit residential building with up to 35,000 square feet of retail space. Late last year JPI was saying that 23 I would start construction this August--I haven't seen anything lately on whether that's still the case. I haven't had a chance to swing by Wendy's to see if they have a closing date, so if anyone thinks to ask while they're at the drive-through window, let me know. This project would be the youngest of the four Capitol Yards siblings, joining 70/100 I arriving later this year just across the street and 909 New Jersey coming in 2009 one block to the east.

Mar 4, 2008 8:58 PM
It's been a wild day for me, and with my needing to watch election results late into the night for my real job I figure I'd better squeeze in this link roundup now. Most stories cover both the ticket sales this morning (Opening Day sold out in minutes, though there's still plenty of tickets for the other 80 home games this season) and this afternoon's scoreboard unveiling together, so I'm just going to give you the big pile o'links to plow through.
NBC 4 has video of the scoreboard in action, while The Post goes into detail on the difficulties fans had getting into the ticket systems by phone and online. Channel 9's report also included some coverage of traffic and parking issues (plan ahead!). WTOP posted separate stories on the tickets and on the scoreboard. The WashTimes has both video (including the departure from RFK) and photos. You can also see the opening video played on the scoreboard on this YouTube clip (there was talk that the Nats would post it online, but I haven't found it yet). has coverage of the scoreboard and the latest progress at the ballpark, and a separate roundup of ballpark-related items, including confirmation of the longtime rumor that President Bush has been invited to throw out the Opening Day pitch. It also talk about the tours of the ballpark that will be available later in the season, and the family entertainment area known as the Strike Zone in the ground floor of the eastern parking garage that will have pitching and batting cages, a Playstation station, karaoke, and the Build-a-Bear outlet. (There's more on this stuff in the fact sheet handouts from today, which I'll try to get to soon.)
Is that enough for you? :-)
And, of course, there's my photos from the unveiling. And I've also now added more photos from today to my main Stadium Interior Gallery, although alas today's weather wasn't really much better than the last time I was there. (But at least the tarp is gone!) And if you're a fan of the mega panoramas I've been posting, there's three new ones of those, too.
UPDATE: According to Tom Boswell, Nats players are just as obsessively refreshing the Stadium Web Cam as the rest of us, counting the minutes until they get to take the field at their new home (and banish the not-so-great memories of RFK).
UPDATE II: More than 40,000 tickets were sold yesterday, far above the 10,000 sold on the first day of individual ticket sales last year, for RFK.
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Mar 4, 2008 4:01 PM
I've slapped together a pile of photos from today's ceremonial installation of home plate and the unveiling of the scoreboard--there'll be a ton of media coverage to come as well. I'll still be posting other photos from today in my Ballpark Interior Photo gallery, but that might have to wait a day or two and so hopefully this can tide you over.
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Mar 4, 2008 7:34 AM
One quick outbound link this morning, to The Post's piece on the scoreboard at Nationals Park, in advance of today's official unveiling.
Plus, here's a few links for recent items that you might have missed in the flurry of posts around here these days:
* I posted new photos of the ballpark exterior, including the Center Field Gate at Half and N. (I'll probably have new interior photos later today, though the weather doesn't look to be that much better than the last time I was inside, on that icky dreary day.)
* Read the damn Ballpark Traffic Management Plan already. And my pages on on-street parking and taking Metro. And the new pages by Metro and the Nationals about getting to the games. (And listen for the radio ads that debuted yesterday urging fans to take Metro.)
* Monument Realty has won a preliminary injunction preventing WMATA from selling the Southeastern Bus Garage to Akridge.
* Watch for announcements of a community meeting about Opening Day on March 12, at the ballpark.
And, a reminder: the parking garages that look so stark in photos from inside the ballpark will have big banners draped on them by Opening Day. So what you see now is not what you're going to see in four weeks.

Mar 3, 2008 1:59 PM
Yesterday I posted a whole batch of updated photos of the ballpark's exterior; today you can check out the project pages for the residential projects 70/100 I Street, Onyx (both opening later this year) and Velocity (2009) along with the office projects 100 M (2008) and 55 M (2009) for lots of new shots of those projects, or you can look at alllllll the photos from yesterday on a single page (ballpark shots, too). Don't forget the icon if you want to look at how an intersection has changed over the past few years.
Items of note from my wanderings:
* The south side of I Street is now paved between New Jersey Avenue and Half Street, and I've been told that I Street will be "driveable" by Opening Day;
* First Street is now paved south of K, and paving up to I doesn't look far off;
* The Merritt Cab garage at First and K now has a "Moving March 31, 2008" sign on it; and
* JPI's 909 New Jersey Avenue residential building (between I and K) is not far from reaching ground level, so be prepared for the arrival of another skeleton in the skyline before long.
If *I'm* finding it all hard to comprehend and harder to keep up with, I can only imagine how non-obsessive observers must feel. I'm kind of looking forward to the pace slowing back down a bit come May....

Mar 3, 2008 11:01 AM
* The tarp is coming off the field today--look at that pretty turf! It's probably being done today because Tuesday the Nats are holding a ceremony to install home plate and officially unveil the HD scoreboard (not open to the public).
* The Examiner reports that Metro is tamping down expectations a bit for performance along the Green line for weeknight ballgames: "The transit agency expects the number of riders on the Green Line, which serves the Navy Yard station near the ballpark, to more than triple on game days. But Metro can't add more cars to that section of the system during the week because all of its 820 railcars are committed to rush hour service, officials said." So, perhaps that notion of walking from Capitol South is looking more attractive--I've added to my Take Metro! page a map of the JDLand Suggested Route between Capitol South and the stadium, along with a few photos showing the current state of New Jersey Avenue (which certainly isn't as scary as it used to be).
And, Tuesday is just chock full of Near Southeast-related activities. In addition to the ceremony mentioned above, there's also these items to remember:
* Single-game ticket sales open at 9 am (yes, including Opening Day).
* The City Council will be meeting at 10 am for its monthly legislative meeting, and the agenda includes emergency legislation to enact the "Performance Parking Pilot Zone Emergency Act of 2008", B17-0644, the "Ballpark Safety Emergency Amendment Act of 2008", and B17-0608, the "Vending Regulation Emergency Act of 2008". It's in Room 500 of the Wilson Building, beginning at 10 am, and will be broadcast on DC cable 13 and live webcast.
* The first of two public meetings on the South Capitol Street Draft Environmental Impact Statement is at 6:30 pm at Birney Elementary School, 2501 Martin Luther King Jr., Ave., SE, from 6:30-8:30 pm. The second one is Wednesday night (March 5) at Amidon Elementary School, 401 I St., SW, also from 6:30-8:30 pm.

Mar 2, 2008 4:57 PM
I made the trek down to the ballpark today to update my Exterior Photo Gallery (it makes me a bit wistful to think that I might not be doing this too many more times!). This is not a complete update (let the be your guide); with the morning sunlight, I stuck mainly to the southern and eastern sides of the stadium, though I did also get some shots of the work being done at the Center Field Gate at Half and N, including the bitchin' Team Store sign that's now hung on the corner of the western parking garage. Other items worth noting:
* The southern parking lot is now blacktopped, and blue fences now separate it from Potomac Avenue.
* The Walk of Fame from the Potomac/South Capitol intersection up to the Home Plate Gate is moving along.
* The Grand Staircase now has lamps and handrails.
* The stadium's address has now been hung (1500 South Capitol Street, SE)--except that it was hung on the entrance to the loading dock on First Street south of N.
* Some workers were picking up trash along Potomac Avenue.
* They're still not letting "civilians" onto First Street, Potomac Avenue, or N Street. So if you want to do a drive-by (as a bunch of people were attempting to do this morning), you're going to get turned back at First and N.
If you want a more complete batch of before-and-afters, check out the First, Potomac, and N Street expanded galleries.
Tomorrow I'll be posting new photos of all the other activity near the ballpark, including the paving of one lane of I Street (yay!) and the near-completion of First Street's widening and repaving (yay!). And of course the latest views of Onyx, 100 M, 70 I, and Velocity.
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Mar 2, 2008 8:28 AM
The Post today has a long-ish summary on the current status of the ballpark's construction and the parking issues in "No Time to Rest in the Home Stretch." Nothing in it is really news for anyone who follows things around here (especially if you've looked at my photos of the interior of the ballpark taken last week), except for the news that the certificate of occupancy could come within a week and that cherry blossom trees on the outfield concourse will be planted soon....
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Mar 1, 2008 10:17 AM
At the end of Thursday's council roundtable on ballpark traffic operations and parking issues, a representative of the office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development told the council members that there will be a community meeting to provide stadium-related information to residents on March 12, to be held at the ballpark. An announcement flyer should be going out soon, they said.
Other items from the later portion of the meeting, which I've now finished watching (and which you can now watch via on-demand video):
* There are indeed "hundreds" of spaces in the parking lots surrounding the ballpark that were not purchased by season ticket holders, and the Nationals are looking at making those available for gameday purchase, but probably only via the Internet, and only in lots farther away from the ballpark. This is to avoid congestion in the area near the stadium, and also to prevent fans from driving to the area without a parking space already in hand.
* It appears that monthly parking contracts will be offered in the garages on the north end of the ballpark footprint, though that is still being worked out. (The city would receive 2/3 of the revenue from those contracts.)
* Tommy Wells asked a number of questions about vending carts around the ballpark, interested not so much in the economics but more about "more eyes on the streets", especially along New Jersey Avenue for fans walking to and from the stadium from the Capitol South subway station. There are apparently new regulations that Jim Graham said will most likely will pass at the March 4 council meeting that would require site-specific permits for street vendors and that would create "development zones", "essentially specific geographic areas with a uniform design standard that would be established through a partnership of DCRA, neighborhoods and their business improvement districts" (quoting myself quoting a February WBJ article--read the bill for more information). So it sounds like any planning for vending in the ballpark area is going to come down to the wire.
And, if you haven't looked at the Ballpark Traffic Management slides from the hearing that I posted yesterday, please do. There really is a wealth of information on traffic flow, where traffic officers will be posted, signal timing, routes to parking lots, and much more. It answers a lot of questions that fans and residents may have, but only if you look at it.
UPDATE, 3/5: Okay, so maybe "at the ballpark" was spoken by city officials in a literary sense, the same way that the Navy Yard Metro station is "at the ballpark". (Ahem.) The meeting is going to be held on March 12 from 6 to 8:30 pm on the 10th floor of 20 M Street, SE.
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