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.