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Search term: (parking) : 200 matching blog entries

Nationals Park Parking Update, 2016 Edition
Apr 6, 2016 8:09 AM
Thanks to a trek around the neighborhood on Saturday (instead of being inside the stadium watching baseball like a normal person) and some checking in with property owners, I've got a pretty solid version of my Nats Park Parking Lots Map to share for the 2016 season.
The big news at this point is that no lots have dropped out of the inventory (yet!), and one has returned--the lot on the northeast corner of 1st and N, SE, on the Spooky Park block, now a nicely paved and compact 220-space offering.
There will also apparently be "limited" parking in the new underground garage in Arris, on 4th Street south of Tingey.
Prices have nudged upward from last year, though--and if you are driving to Opening Day, throw a few extra $5 bills in your wallet, because home opener prices will likely be higher than what the map is showing.
Some cash lot parking attendants were quick to tell me Opening Day prices, and others had more of a "Well, we'll see what the market will bear" response, so instead of my listing them here and having them turn out to be wrong, better for you to just expect to pay $5 or $10 or $15 or even $20 more than "standard pricing" on Thursday and then be thrilled if you don't have to.
It's also possible that some lots (especially east of the stadium, in the Yards) may have slightly lower prices at points in April, when attendance isn't at its height.
In other words, consider this a guide to the general range of prices, while always expecting the possibility that prices may be different on any given day.
If you are driving to the ballpark, be aware that there are still lots of construction sites, and that in particular the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project immediately south of the Southeast Freeway between 2nd and 12th Streets, SE, has ripped the streets up pretty good, with various closures and shifts to watch out for.
Check out my Stadium Parking and Visiting Nats Park pages for additional info.
Comments (1)
More posts: parking, Nationals Park, Traffic Issues

Nationals Park Parking Update for 2015
Apr 2, 2015 8:54 AM
For those who drive to Nationals Park, I've made the initial updates on my Stadium Parking Lots page for the 2015 season.
There's no getting around the fact that parking is going to be tighter this year, thanks to the following:
* Lot F at 1st and M, and the cash lot that sprouted immediately to its south last year, are both gone, thanks to the beginning of construction on Ballpark Square, the large residential/hotel/retail project.
* Season ticket holders' Lot P in the garage of 1015 Half Street has exited the inventory thanks to the fact that the building is finally starting to get tenants. (And Bonchon!)
* The cash lot at Half and M is no more, because construction has just started on a Homewood Suites hotel.
* Also gone is the cash lot at New Jersey and I, where work is now underway on a new apartment building.
(Are you sensing a pattern?)
One bright spot in the offing, though--a 220-space lot will return to the northeast corner of 1st and N on the former Spooky Building 213 site, but it still has to be built--they are hoping it'll be done later this summer.
I have confirmed that the cash lots at South Capitol and M, South Capitol and N, and the two Yards lots on N and Tingey streets will be available this year. But confirmation on some of the other cash lots--especially the ones on the west side of South Capitol--will have to wait until this weekend or Opening Day. (Any and all intel on these lots will be much appreciated!)
Also watch for lots of construction around the neighborhood, with some street parking eliminated (but you weren't using that anyway, RIGHT?). And the walk from your lot to the ballpark might require tiptoeing around some closed sidewalks, especially on the west side of 1st Street south of M.
As for getting to the stadium, note that, if you use Maine Avenue in Southwest to get to the ballpark, the construction at the Wharf may impact your route--plus it has done quite a number on the asphalt along there.
Finally, if you use South Capitol Street alongside the ballpark, keep it to 25 mph, because there are currently speed cameras set up in both directions.
Check the parking page for more information.
Comments (11)
More posts: parking, Nationals Park

Tuesday Tidbits: News from (The) Navy Yard, Blood Drive, Nats Parking
Feb 3, 2015 9:43 AM
* NAVY YARD RETURN: This week workers begin returning to Building 197, the site of the rampage on Sept. 16, 2013 when 12 colleagues were shot to death. (WaPo)
* SECURITY EXERCISES: From Feb. 2 to Feb. 13, naval bases and installations in the DC area will be conducting an annual security training and readiness exercise, dubbed SOLID CURTAIN-CITADEL SHIELD 2015. "Measures have been taken to minimize disruptions to normal base operations, but there may be times when the exercise causes increased traffic around bases or delays in base access. Area residents may also see increased security activity associated with the exercise."
* BLOOD DRIVE: There is a community blood drive on Saturday, Feb. 7, from 10 am to 4 pm. The truck will be parked outside of Lot 38 Espresso at 2nd and L streets, SE, and Lot 38 is offering a free drink for each donor. Reservations encouraged but not required. Read more here about Davon and Kai, the young residents whose need for blood products inspired the event.
* NO MORE LOT P: A season ticket holder was informed by the Nationals that Lot P--the garage below 1015 Half Street--has been dropped from the lineup of parking lots available to season ticket holders. With CBS Radio and the National Labor Relations Board preparing to move into the building (and with Bonchon in preparations to open in the ground floor), it's perhaps not a surprise that there may not be quite so many spaces available in the building anymore. But at least a a surface lot should reappear at 1st and N (the old Spooky Building 213 site) in the coming months after being out-of-circulation last year.
Comments (1)
More posts: Navy Yard, parking, Nationals Park

Nats Park Parking Map Updated; Perhaps Some 1st Street News
Apr 6, 2014 2:42 PM
While normal people were streaming toward the ballpark on this bright sunny spring Sunday, I was wandering the periphery, taking notes and chatting up parking lot attendants, in order to get my Nats Park Parking Lot Map scrubbed and fresh for the 2014 season. (Three games late, I know.)
The prices are what were being charged today, though for some of the lots it might be that lower prices will be charged for games with smaller crowds. So use the prices on the map as a guide, not 100 percent gospel.
Since the 2013 season pretty much went down the rabbit hole for me, I can't say for certain what's truly new and changed among the offerings, but here at least is What's New to Me:
* There is a $10 lot in the McDonald's parking lot at South Capitol and I, SE.
* The surface lots on the former Monument Realty properties at South Capitol and N and Half and M are back, charging $30.
* The little parking lot that popped up on South Capitol south of N next to the Camden apartment building was charging $30 this weekend, but it sounds like their rates will be pretty fluid depending on demand.
* We already knew that the lot at the NGA building would disappear this year (as the building itself will be), but it should return next year.
* It looks like Lot W hasn't been cut in half yet by the start of construction at the Lofts at Capitol Quarter, but be prepared for that to happen.
There's also the story of Nats Lot F at 1st and M, which a few weeks ago had disappeared from the team web site's parking inventory. But it is now back, albeit shrunken to a footprint that looks remarkably similar in size to the one that the Skanska 99 M office building will be built on as part of the sizeable Ballpark Square mixed-use development.
Small traffic cones separate this new Lot F from a now-unofficial lot immediately to the south, and a birdie told me that this is because the owner of that lot--which looks remarkably similar in size to the mid-block portion of Ballpark Square being developed by Grosvenor--is planning to start construction there Any Minute Now, so that lot is expected to be closed within the next few months.
Whether this is actually the case, and whether it means both the planned 325ish-unit apartment building and the 170ish-room hotel will both get underway, or just one or the other, I guess we'll have to see. No announcement yet as to an operator for this hotel, which is different from the Hampton Inn now under construction at the south end of the block.
The new signs for 99 M say "fall 2016," so that would track with this smaller Lot F being able to remain in inventory through the end of this season.
Comments (0)

Public Parking Options Slimming Down a Bit in 2014
Jan 9, 2014 12:24 PM
Many of the surface parking lots around Near Southeast were carved out as temporary offerings, giving developers a chance to make some money while waiting for large-scale projects to get underway. Many of these first appeared in 2008, when Nationals Park opened, but with the recession, few projects got underway in the next few years that affected the available inventory much if at all.
However, with 2014 looking like a banner year for new development, news has begun filtering out of planned changes at existing surface lots that will constrict the number of available spaces:
* DCHA's new "Lofts at Capitol Quarter" project at 7th and L will cut the available spaces at what's known in Nats parlance as Economy Lot W nearly in half, to 186 spaces from its current 350ish.
* The lot on the old NGA site at 1st and M SE will be reconfigured when the building is demolished and a new park is built, cutting 22 spaces out.
* Just to the south, the lot on the southeast corner of 1st and N (near the little Yards pavilion) will lose 50 spaces to DC Water construction, making it a 344-space lot.
All told, that's about 236 spaces, which isn't a massive number in the grand scheme, except maybe during sellouts.
But if the big Ballpark Square project (along with the planned Hampton Inn) just north of the stadium along the west side of 1st Street between M and N is indeed going to get underway in 2014 as new fence signage is hinting, that could spell the loss of some or all of the 230ish spaces available at what's known as Nats Lot F, at least until that project is completed with what one has to assume would be some amount of public parking in its underground garages.
While three projects in the neighborhood are currently under construction, they are mainly residential developments, making it unlikely that parking for Nats games will be coming online at those sites.
There are still a few empty lots in Southeast that have not yet been made parkable. Perhaps a new temporary surface lot could appear on the old trash transfer site, once Mt. New Jersey comes down, but that would not seem likely by Opening Day. Or maybe residents or city officials or whomever will decide that the push to get fans to use transit or other options to the stadium has worked, and there's already enough surface lots east of South Capitol, thankyouverymuch.
Eventually, more developments will get built, with more public underground parking. But it is possible that Nats fans descending on the neighborhood in vehicles this spring--along with office workers who use the lots every day--may feel a bit of a pinch, unless some new inventory is going to appear.
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More posts: parking, Nationals Park

Washington, Let's Play Ball! (2013 Version)
Mar 28, 2013 10:44 PM
This weekend the Nationals are coming home to start their sixth season at Nationals Park (can it all really be five years ago?). They return to the ballpark on Friday at 2:05 pm for their final exhibition game, against the Yankees, then the 2013 season starts for real on Monday at 1:05 pm against the Marlins, followed by two more games against Miami on April 3 and 4.
Residents and office workers should be prepared for very large crowds on both days, and given that both are day games, be prepared for extra-heavy traffic on the roads and in the subway.
A few links and items for those coming to the game or just those nearby:
* My Visiting Nats Park page has the basics on how to get to the game, where to park, what the options are for food and drink outside the ballpark (now and coming soon), and what is new in the neighborhood since last season.
* I'm looking for crowdsourcing assistance to make sure my map of gameday parking lots is up-to-date for the new season. Tweet #parknats (or just mention @jdland) with lot locations and prices you see during these first four games. (Especially of interest is what the former lot HH will be charging.) Prices may be higher on Opening Day than for other less-showy games, so all intel from any game day is appreciated.
* The return of baseball also means the return of expanded hours for the Union Station-Navy Yard Circulator route, which on April 1 will start running until 9 pm on weekdays and from 7 am to 9 pm on Saturdays, with additional expanded service on game days (this includes Sundays).
* The new Gordon Biersch brewery/restaurant at 100 M St. SE is in its final preparations for its Opening Day opening. They are in the midst of soft opening/test service, and there will be a "VIP" reception on Saturday night, so be prepared to see people inside but then be turned away at the door if you don't have a golden ticket. UPDATE: Biersch will be opening at 10 am on Opening Day (compared to its normal 11 am).
* When will the Park Tavern at Canal Park have its own opening day? "Soon" is what the signs on the doors say, but there's been no official word of a date yet. (The latest newsletter from the BID says "mid-April," but the Going Out Guide says April 1.)
* The Fairgrounds at Half and M is back for the 2013 season beginning Friday at 11 am.
* Inside the park, Papa John's has replaced Flippin' Pizza, and there's also now the Schawafel stand, featuring Shawarma and Falafel sandwiches.
* Weatherbug has a Nationals Park station, if you want to know what the current conditions are right smack at the ballpark. The forecast for Opening Day looks good as of now (mostly sunny and 61), but it might be a bit chilly for those other two Marlins games.
Let the Natitude begin!
PARKING UPDATE: I've heard from Monument Realty that they are still planning to operate the old Nats lots J, M, and N as cash lots this season, but they aren't open today and won't be open next week. They are shooting for the week of April 8. These are the lots at Half and M, South Capitol and M (old Domino's site) and South Capitol and N (old BP Amoco), and are marked on my map as TBD.
PARKING UPDATE 2: A reader reports that the old lot HH operated as a cash lot for Friday's exhibition game, still charging $10.
PARKING UPDATE 3: Be prepared that the prices at the three Yards lots have gone up $5 from last season, so $25 at 3rd and Tingey and $30 at 1st and N. The lot behind the wrought-iron fence at 1st and M will be $35, but it will also be open for every game this season.
And, a question I had a few weeks ago has finally been answered: the new Nats Lot P is indeed the garage under 1015 Half Street, and not a surface lot as the Nats map shows. Their map will be updated; mine is already correct.
Comments (31)
More posts: parking, Nationals Park

First Look at Nationals Parking Lot Changes for 2013
Feb 22, 2013 4:28 PM
It must be a sign of a revved up fan base that I'm already starting to receive queries about the lineup of available parking lots around Nationals Park, with over a month to go before Opening Day.
There's still a lot in flux, but the big news is that three of the lots that have long been in the official Nats inventory are not there for 2013. But users of the lots formerly known as J, N, and M should know that I've talked with Monument Realty and have confirmed that these lots will be cash lots this season. (If you're not in the know on the lot lettering, these are the lots at South Capitol & N SE, South Capitol & M SE, and the northwest corner of Half & M SE.) Rates and details are still to come, and it's possible that season passes for the lots may be sold as well. If you're interested in keeping updated on these three lots and don't trust me to tell you the latest (boo), you can e-mail natsparking@monumentrealty.com to be added to their distribution list.
What seems to be causing some angst, though, is that the $5 economy lot under the SW Freeway at South Capitol Street, known as HH, is also apparently no longer in the official inventory. I haven't been able to track down who is running that lot to find out if it will still be available for cash parking, but will keep trying.
There appears to be one new official Nats lot this year, labeled Lot P, positioned on the team's map next to existing Lot K. If that position is correct, it would be at 1015 Half Street, which would make it garage parking, though it's not labeled as such on their map. I've written the team to confirm that 1015 Half is the actual location, but have not heard back.
I've also been in touch with folks at the Yards and they say that they are planning to offer the same parking lots as they did last season, including the "new" lot that became available at 1st and M when the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency folks decamped in 2011. Prices for those lots are still under discussion. (UPDATE, 2/25: The folks at the Yards are clarifying and now saying that their easternmost lot, on 4th south of Tingey, won't be available this year. Map is updated.)
It also looks like the Nationals raised the single-game parking prices for Lots T and U on 3rd Street by $1 for non-"prime" games, to $21 and $26, respectively. ("Prime" game cash prices at the official lots range from $15 to $45, compared to $10-$42 for nonprime.) Season ticket holder prices seemed to go up by $2 in most lots, except for Lot T ($1) and Lot W, which remains the one "economy" lot at $10.
As to whether the non-official cash lots scattered around the neighborhood that were available in 2012 will still be operating in 2013, we may just have to wait until Opening Day to see what lots are operating where, and for what prices. (For now, I've left the 2012 prices on the map.) The only non-official cash lot from 2012 that I know to be gone this year is the old Lot K at 2nd and H, which is now where the big Park Chelsea hole is being dug.
I've updated my Stadium Parking map with all the changes that I know of, and will keep updating it as more information becomes available. And any tips on the cash lots' operations as the season gets underway are always appreciated.
Comments (7)
More posts: parking, Nationals Park

Thursday Tidbits: Post-Independence-Day Haze Edition
Jul 5, 2012 9:41 AM
Clearing out the tidbit hopper:
* Capitol Riverfront and NoMa/H Street are "the District's hottest (read: largest price increases) rental markets," sayeth Delta Associates, with rents having grown by 10.3 percent and 9.0 percent, respectively. (via the Examiner)
* I waited too long to post the tidbit that "rumors are swirling that JBG Companies' plan to sell the 1.35 million square foot Southeast Federal Center have stalled, fueling speculation that the home to the Department of Transportation will be recapitalized," so I have to point you to the Google cache version of the Citybiz post. It's also probably too late to ding both them and originator Real Estate Finance Intelligence for equating the 11-acre DOT HQ site with the entire 55-acre Southeast Federal Center, 44 acres of which is now The Yards.
* I waited even longer to tell you that the Camden South Capitol apartment building across from Nats Park topped off its construction in early June. It's expected to begin leasing in about a year. (SWTLQTC)
* Hey, look, reserved "Nationals Park Parking"! Your choices being the lot nestled next to the Douglass Bridge at 1620 South Capitol or the underground parking lot at 4th and M SW. There's plenty of other choices that are standard cash lots, along with the Nationals' lots. (via WaPo)
* The Fairgrounds is advertising a "First Annual DC Funky Fresh Foodie Fest" on August 25 from 1 to 9 pm. Four live bands, 10 food trucks, the "DC Karaoke Invitational," and more. Unlike its sibling Truckeroo, however, this won't be free, with limited early-bird tickets starting at $42, which includes drinks (the number of drinks depends on whether you buy a regular or premium admission ticket).

ANC 6D Agenda: Parking Update, Capper PUD (and the Wharf)
Jun 8, 2012 10:10 AM
The agenda for the June 11 ANC 6D meeting has been sent out (and hopefully posted soon). The big-ticket item is a vote on the Stage 2 PUD for the Southwest Waterfront plans, which I doubt will be a lightning-quick discussion--when the agenda has it budgeted for 90 minutes, you know it's gonna be long.
But there are also two Near Southeast items of interest listed: an update on baseball game-day parking from DDOT (first discussed at the May meeting) and the Capper Community Center PUD extension request (also discussed in May).
I'm not yet up to sitting through a meeting of that length (though I'm coming along), so if these items are of interest, get thee to 1100 4th St. SW at 7 pm on Monday.
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More posts: ANC News, Capper, Community Center, meetings, parking, zoning

ANC 6D Recap 1: Water Pylons, and Parking
May 15, 2012 9:49 AM
It was a busy ANC 6D meeting on Monday night for Near Southeast-related issues, so I'm going to put it all in a series of posts:
* New Jersey Avenue Underpass Art: The Capitol Riverfront BID gave an update on the "Water Pylons" art installation, which is now moving forward after being "dormant" for about a year. This is the project partially funded by a grant from the DC Commission on Arts and Humanities that will paint and light the pylons holding up the Southeast Freeway in a "modern representation of water that announces New Jersey Avenue, SE as a gateway to the Capitol Riverfront community." The reflective blue paint should go up in July, followed by light fixtures in August, and the installation should be dedicated in September, which will be right around the time that DCCAH moves into its new nearby digs at 225 Virginia/200 I. Passers-by may note that new fences and LED overhead lighting have already been installed along New Jersey as part of the transformation of the underpass. The BID's presentation to the ANC, with more information about the project, is here.
* Parking Parking Parking: There was a discussion about issues with game-day parking in the neighborhood, specifically the prohibition of parking along K and L streets, as well as other restrictions that have made residents unhappy. Damon Harvey of DDOT says that the agency is "reassessing" the current configuration, to figure out how to provide better access to residents while not allowing stadium-goers to then hog all the parking. He expects that changes will be announced in a month or so that will allow for "greater residential protection during games." One other non-game day change for residents has already gone into effect: meters are now turned off at 6:30 pm (but still 10 pm on game days).
However, those who came to the meeting hoping to hear about changes in the Residential Parking Permit system that would allow residents in the high-rise buildings west of Canal Park to park on the street throughout Ward 6 were disappointed, as DDOT continues to hold that large residential buildings in mixed-use neighborhoods will not qualify for RPP. (Harvey used the Ellington on U Street as a specific example of this being the case elsewhere in the city, but there are more buildings in this situation than just that one and the Near Southeast ones.)
Also, in somewhat related news the ANC unanimously passed a resolution protesting the plan in the mayor's new budget to redirect most performance parking proceeds to other areas, such as Metro, rather than their being used as originally intended, to fund non-automotive transportation improvements in the neighborhood.

M Street Transportation Study Meeting Documents
Jan 12, 2012 8:27 PM
The meeting probably isn't even finished yet, but if you didn't (or did) stop by the first of DDOT's public meetings on their nine-month M Street SE/SW Transportation study, you can browse the presentation slides and take the stakeholder survey, already posted on the new web site for the project.
There were a pile of high-powered bloggers and transportation geeks in attendance, so I'm sure there will no shortage of coverage of both this meeting and the entire study that I will happily link to, but there wasn't much news coming out of this first session--it was mainly to introduce the study, talk about the methodology (which you can see in the slides) and then break up into small groups to stand around maps and give feedback about what attendees see as issues that need addressing. (But first, just as at the 2010 meeting, one woman who is particularly anti-bike once again made her feelings known.)
DDOT's representatives say they will be using some 33 other studies that have been done on the area in question as part of this overall study, covering the area from 14th St. SW to 12th Street SE south of the freeway down to the waterfront(s), though that then brought a comment from the audience about when studying is going to stop and there's going to be action.
There will be two more public meetings, one in March-ish and another in June-ish, with the study expected to be completed in August-ish.
UPDATE: Here's DCist's report on the meeting. And SWill's.

Baseball Back for Fourth Season at Nationals Park; Neighborhood Update, Parking Map for Returning Fans
Mar 28, 2011 9:44 AM
It's hard for me to believe that this week marks three years since the first Opening Day at Nationals Park, but time does march on. Wednesday evening's NatsFest followed by three games against the Braves (starting with Thursday's 1:05 pm season opener) will bring a lot of people back to Near Southeast for the first time since last summer.
If you're one of them, and you haven't diligently been reading my posts (gasp!), you might be interested in knowing what's been going on since the last time you ventured into this neck of the woods. Here's the big items:
Yards Park: In early September, the first phase of the six-acre Yards Park opened on the banks of the Anacostia, just two blocks east of the ballpark. It's a space unlike any in Washington, and is definitely worth a visit, perhaps even on your way to Saturday's afternoon game, since the park is holding a Family Fun Day that starts at 11 am. (Even if you don't make it to the park right away, you can easily see it from the ballpark's southeastern viewing platform.)
It will probably be a neat place to watch the Friday night post-game fireworks as well (UPDATE: waah! no fireworks this year!), a trip which will be made even easier when a floating bridge connecting Diamond Teague Park--just across Potomac Avenue from the First Base Gate--with the Yards Park is completed, perhaps by the end of the season.
Unfortunately, most people visiting the park in conjunction with a Nationals game won't get to walk along the river all the way to 11th Street: while the Navy Yard has announced that its stretch of the boardwalk is opening April 1, the initial hours will only be from 8 am to 5 pm Monday-Friday.
Foundry Lofts: Just to the north of the new park, work re-started last September on the stalled Foundry Lofts building at 3rd and Tingey, and it is expected to be completed this fall.
Bullpen: It may not be ready by Thursday, but the open-air bar and live music gathering place across N Street from the stadium known as the Bullpen is opening a gameday beer garden to the north of its current spot, on the corner of Half and M across from the west entrance to the Navy Yard Metro station. With close to 80 picnic tables, it will have a capacity of over 600 and will offer European beers, sausages and other like fare, and a quieter environment than the original Bullpen (which will be remaining open for this season as well). The name of the new spot? Das Bullpen. (Yes, that's the moniker I flippantly gave the project back when the news first broke, which the owners decided to go ahead and use. #winning!)
Capitol Quarter: If you park in lot T on 3rd Street, SE, you'll see new townhouses going up directly across the street as part of Capitol Quarter's second phase of construction.
200 I: Just to the north of lot T and right by the Southeast Freeway, you'll see the old Star/Post Plant at 225 Virginia Avenue in the process of losing its exterior "skin" as it moves toward becoming 200 I Street, a DC government office building that will be completed next spring.
Canal Park: Right in the middle of things, across from the Five Guys and Subway, you'll see construction at last underway on Canal Park, the stretch of 2nd between I and M that at one time was a schoolbus parking lot and which has been plain open space for the past two years. The park is expected to be open by spring of next year, and so during the next 12 months expect there to be almost no parking along 2nd; the eastern part of the street is closed altogether. Also, note that L Street is closed for this one block, so you can't use it to get from New Jersey to 3rd or vice versa.
Harry's: If your path to and from the ballpark includes a walk down New Jersey Avenue (perhaps from the Capitol South Metro station), and you find yourself in desperate need of adult beverages, Harry's Reserve has now opened on the southwest corner of New Jersey and I, in the ground floor of the 909 New Jersey apartment building.
Florida Rock: While it hasn't happened yet, plans are for the concrete plant just south of the ballpark to be razed sometime this year, bringing unobstructed views of the Anacostia River to the southeastern viewing platform and clearing the Florida Rock site until the proposed 1.1-million-square-foot RiverFront project can get some financing and get started.
Getting Here: I've got my Stadium Parking map ready to go for 2011, though I've made no additions or deletions on it yet for the new season. I'll wander around this weekend and see if any new lots have popped up or old ones have gone away, though first impressions are that there are no major changes, certainly not in terms of the official Nats lots. (If you see any new lots or old ones that have gone offline, let me know so I can update the map.)
But with this area being a multimodal paradise, your better bet is Metro, or the Circulator that runs from Union Station and Eastern Market, or even Capital Bikeshare, now that there's a station at 1st and N. UPDATE: Forgot to mention the water taxi running from Alexandria, and it's possible that the new American Water Taxi service may get started up soon.
Retail? Eats? Unfortunately, if you were expecting this post to include a litany of new food and retail offerings, you will be just as disappointed as the residents and officeworkers currently are with the continuing lack of options beyond Subway, Five Guys, Justin's Cafe, and Cornercopia. There could be at least two additions before the end of the season, however: another beer garden (separate from Das Bullpen) is under development at 8th and L, SE, and the old "Little Red Building" site at 2nd and L is on its way to becoming "Lot 38 Espresso." Neither project has an announced opening date.
There is also lots of under-the-radar chatter of various restaurateurs starting to look at the area (which I haven't bothered posting, because a) I don't do rumors and b) it shouldn't really be news that they're looking in such an underserved area). With the above projects underway, along with DDOT and the FAA soon moving into 55 M, 20 M now 97 percent leased, and 100 M off the DL thanks to its foreclosure sale, there is a definite shift in the economic winds, and it would not be surprising to get some announcement of some new retail before the end of this season.
For more information on what's changed and what might be changing, check out my 2011 State of the Hood. The BID also did a recent roundup of changes.
If you want to relive the glory days of the ballpark's construction, you can wander through all my exterior and interior photos from that heady time, along with my many photo galleries from ballpark-related events over the years, from the groundbreaking to the topping out to each Opening Day. You can also check out what that part of the neighborhood looked like before the stadium's arrival. (Yes, I'm wallowing in nostalgia. It was a fun time.)
(UPDATED headline, because I can't count.)

Performance Parking Brings Monies for New Bikeshare Station(s), Transportation Study; Some Parking Costs Going Up in 2011
Mar 24, 2011 1:38 PM
Michael Perkins at GGW got his hands on the draft version DDOT's 2010 Ballpark District Performance Parking Report, and while I'll leave it to him to handle the in-depth discussion of pricing and meter use in Near Southeast as well as other neighborhoods, there are a few action items in the report that might be of general interest (you should read all 31 pages if you want the nitty-gritty).
Now, this is a draft report, but assuming it becomes final...:
Revenues from the parking program have been able to provide $812,100 for "non-automotive transportation improvements" in 2011, which will include a new Capital Bikeshare location at the Yards Park and $135,000 for a new fence along New Jersey Avenue by the railroad tracks (presumably it won't hide the "Water Pylons" public art coming to the freeway underpass). There will also be two or three other new bikeshare stations somewhere in the Ballpark District parking zones (Near Southeast, Southwest, and southern Capitol Hill), but those haven't been announced.
There will also be a $70,000 grant to partially fund a Capitol Riverfront BID Transportation Study, which the page 25 of the report says will happen during this fiscal year and will look at:
* The need for additional traffic signals and stop signs based on pedestrian and vehicular patterns (and recent accidents);
* Neighborhood traffic circulation patterns including one way street circulation and freeway access and turning movements onto the freeway frontage roads;
* How the CSX tunnel reconstruction will impact traffic flow and SE/SW freeway access/egress;
* Existing and future parking demand and the proposed parking supply to meet that demand;
* On street parking strategies and supply for commercial, residential and visitor populations;
* Optimum Circulator routes and hours of operation;
* Recommended routes for bike lanes that tie into the Riverfront Trail system;
* The optimum route for a streetcar line in the M Street right of way and how it would service the Buzzard Point subdistrict; and
* How M Street is designed and works as a multi-modal transit corridor while exhibiting a high quality of design in the public realm.
Gosh, I'm just not sure if residents will be interested in any of these! If perchance a reader or two might have an idea or data point for the above items, feel free to discuss in the comments.
Note that this study doesn't quite seem to match the overarching Near Southeast/Southwest combined traffic study that got some discussion late last year, but perhaps there's more going on than what's mentioned in the DDOT report.
DDOT is also proposing that non-gameday parking rates at the multispace meters between South Capitol and 2nd Streets from the freeway to M Street go up to $6 for three hours (first hour $1.50, second hour $2.50, third hour $3). Plus, the boundaries of the parking zone will move eastward to 11th St. SE from 9th St.
By the way, if you have a fab idea for how some of the proceeds from the parking revenue can be spent on the aforementioned non-automotive transportation improvements, you can submit a written proposal to DDOT (further information on page 26 of the report). And if you want background on how the Performance Parking Pilot came into existence back in 2008, my Stadium Parking page can help with that.

Tuesday Tibits: ANCs, 1345 South Capitol, More
Jan 11, 2011 10:52 AM
* I skipped out on the first ANC 6D meeting of 2011, not seeing any Near Southeast-specific items on the agenda. I did check in with Damon Harvey of DDOT before the meeting, though, to find out what he was going to be speaking to the ANC about, and it was to tell residents that 2011 Visitor Parking Passes will be sent out in the middle of March (right before baseball season starts). If you have any feedback or questions on the parking passes (which were instituted in 2008 as part of the stadium Performance Parking Pilot), you can contact Damon at damon.harvey [at] dc.gov.
* Tonight (Tuesday) is ANC 6B's meeting, at Brent Elementary at 7 pm. The agenda indicates there could be some news about the Bavarian Beer Garden proposed for 8th and L, SE, so I'll be there to check it out.
* SWill across the way has the news (via Bisnow) that Camden's long-delayed 1345 South Capitol Street residential project across the street from Nationals Park is reportedly going to finally get underway during the first quarter of this year. The design that was approved back in 2007 showed a 276-unit apartment building with about 3,300 square feet of ground-floor retail. I used to track this building, but pulled my coverage boundaries back to the South Capitol Street median when SWill hit the ground running with the "Southwest... The Little Quadrant that Could" blog. So while I'll probably mention milestones on the project, I'm going to leave the laser-like focus on it to Will.
* Newly minted ANC 6D07 commissioner David Garber was featured this past Sunday on HGTV's My First Sale, documenting his not-altogether-smooth road to selling a house he renovated in Anacostia. I don't see any repeats in the listings, but eventually the episode should be posted online.
* The city's web site about the various Anacostia Waterfront Initiative projects, TheAnacostiaWaterfront.com, is going to be decommissioned as of Feb. 1, with content about projects like the 11th Street Bridges, the Douglass Bridge, and the Anacostia Riverwalk having already been rolled into the DDOT web site. The new URL is ddot.dc.gov/awi.

Rainy Sunday Tidbits: Garage Art, ANC, Akridge/Half St.
Dec 12, 2010 11:28 AM
A few bullet points to pass along on this lovely day (man, I wish I was in Minneapolis right now):
* I took a few photos (belatedly) of the newly installed stainless steel baseballs hung this week on the Nationals Park garages on N Street. You can see a hint of the red and blue LED lights that will "activate" the balls, though I imagine it will be more impressive when it's dark out. (Also, if you're as desperate in your Christmas shopping as I am, remember that the Nats Team Store at Half and N is open from 11 am to 5 pm every day except Sunday.)
* A reader reported this morning that the fences have been taken down around the all-but-completed 1015 Half Street office building, on the site of the old Nation nightclub. Douglas Wilson Companies, which took over the project when Opus East went belly up, had said when construction restarted in May that they would deliver 1015 Half by the end of the year, and they seem to have basically hit that date. No announcement of any tenants for the 440,000-square-foot building, though.
* The ANC 6D meeting is on Monday at 7 pm at St. Augustine's church at 6th and M streets, SW, but, as of now, no agenda has been posted. I'm sure it'll be a wonderful holiday potpourri of topics, though. (The agenda for Tuesday's ANC 6B meeting has been up for quite a while, and includes the new beer garden at 8th and L.)
* A reader passed along this DCMud piece trying to play up movement on Akridge's Half Street project (just north of the ballpark), but I see a lot of "expects" and "luck" and "hope to" rather than any concrete start dates, and so, to me, that means there's really no news of impending construction. The fact that the Bullpen has apparently gotten it's lease renewed for the 2011 season would point to Akridge not expecting to do any work before fall. (And I'd also note that the first sentence gets everything wrong about the disposition of the Southeastern Bus Garage site, as is so often the case with DCMud items on Near Southeast: Akridge was the winning bid for the entire bus garage site in 2007, while Monument [which itself is not bankrupt, though its financial backer Lehman Brothers did croak] had earlier gotten the Metro station entrance on the other side of the street. Monument had owned land south of the bus garage, on the Bullpen site, but then sold that to Akridge in 2008.) The post also gives some background on the project, which might be new for people who haven't been following along, but which is basically what Akridge has been saying since they first unveiled the project two years ago.
You can see my Akridge Half Street project page for all of the details and renderings of the 700,000-square-foot office/residential/retail project, or, heck, read the zoning hearing transcript from January 2009. I think new residents will be happy about Akridge's long-mentioned plans for the "stall"-like vending area along the "Via" as well as a "neighborhood retail" feel for the Van Street side of the project, though people will probably be even happier about that once they know the project is actually going to start....

Capital Bikeshare Coming to Near Southeast
Aug 4, 2010 1:15 PM
I'm catching up on a few items now that I'm more or less back to full speed, and one of them is DDOT's new Capital Bikeshare program that set the DC blogosphere on fire a week or so ago. One thousand bikes spread across 100 stations will be arriving in September, allowing users to borrow a bike for round trips or one-way journeys.
In the initial rollout, Near Southeast will have one station, right in front of the Starbucks in the USDOT building at New Jersey and M, which I'm guessing will make transportation secretary Ray LaHood happy. (It's marked properly on the official map, but ignore notations calling the location "400 M Street, SE." I've confirmed with DDOT that the Starbucks location is the correct one, and they'll be giving it the proper designation of 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE soon.) The next closest location is at 8th and I, just north of the freeway on Barracks Row. There will also be one just north of the new Southwest Safeway, at 4th and I, SW.
DDOT also says they'll be looking to add an additional bikeshare station at Nationals Park next spring, in time for the 2011 season.
[Rare personal aside: I'm really looking forward to this new project, because I'm not really interested in riding my bike *to* work, but I'll like having bike stations within three blocks that will allow me to ride home when the appropriate mood, weather, and clothing strike simultaneously.]
You can follow the launch via @BikeShare on Twitter.

Renderings of Planned Baseball Art on Ballpark Garages
Aug 3, 2010 6:24 PM
The Post's Dan Steinberg blogged today about the latest planned "public art" at Nationals Park, first reported by WBJ last month, and linked to two renderings of the 30 stainless steel orbs lit by LEDs that will be installed on the infamous garages by the spring of next year.
On his "In Progress" page, sculptor Thomas Sayre notes how 70 percent of ballpark-goers arrive from the north side of the stadium, and that the garage facades that greet visitors are "large, powerful, and do little themselves to welcome fans to the magical experience of a baseball game."
He explains the concept behind his work thusly: "Inspired by the primary action of the game of baseball itself - the pitch followed by the hit - this public art project consists of a succession of polished stainless spheres derived from a spinning baseball which depicts physics of how a 90-mile per hour pitch is able to curve in such extraordinary ways. Eighteen stainless steel "baseballs" follow the theoretical model of the trajectory of a curving fast ball pitch. The western garage facade will show the more straight and higher-angled trajectory of the same ball as it is hit by the batter and is depicted with twelve "baseballs". The pitch comes at you from the left and sails off from you to the right as you enter."
UPDATE: After hearing a comment or two about the garages themselves, I thought a little bit of history might be in order. I just posted this in the comments:
If you weren't around during the haggling over the construction of the stadium in 2006, you missed all of the angst about the garages. MLB mandated 925 1225 on-site parking spaces. They also mandated a stadium ready by Opening Day 2008. And the city mandated a spending cap for construction. Those three requirements left the city little choice but to construct the garages in their current location, above ground.
I invite readers to plow through my *many* posts from back in the day, to learn of such things as the proposed Garages Wrapped With Development Goodness, and other ideas that fell by the wayside because of political and financial reality.
This doesn't preclude the eventual demolition of the garages and putting them underground, but I haven't heard that spoken of much since 2008, when most people saw the garages, sighed, and began just averting their eyes.
UPDATE II: A reader passed this link along--if you click on Projects, then Pitch Terrain, you'll see what's billed as a "finalist proposal" for the competition for the Nats garage art. This design, by Rob Ley, was an "undulating lighted facade system," using aluminum screens to simulate the flow of the ball between pitcher and batter.
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Upcoming Events: Seabiscuit, Dave Matthews, SoS
Jul 22, 2010 2:33 AM
For your scheduling pleasure:
* Thursday's BID outdoor movie is Seabiscuit, the heartwarming tale of a horse swimming across the ocean for food (no, wait, that's not right). It starts at Canal Park at Second and M streets, SE, at 8:45 pm, but you can arrive early for some hula hooping with Hoop Jams at 8 pm. Rain cancellations will be posted on the BID web site by 4 pm.
* On Friday night (July 23) the Dave Matthews Band will be in concert at 7 pm at Nationals Park, with the Zac Brown Band opening. Tickets are still available, and the concert will go on rain or shine. (If you're heading to the ballpark for the concert and are unfamiliar with the territory, here's my Stadium Parking information page. But make it easy on yourself just take Metro.) Speaking of the stadium parking page, I've now added the new (tiny) $10 lot on the northwest corner of New Jersey and I.
* The rest of the weekend will be quiet (and hot), but then on Tuesday the 27th the Summer of Strasburg will return to the neighborhood, as Stephen is expected to pitch against the Atlanta Braves in a 7:05 pm game.

Details on Pay-by-Phone Parking Pilot Near Ballpark
Jul 21, 2010 10:45 AM
Pay By Phone Sample StickerThis week DDOT has started a series of parking pilot programs across the city, trying out different types of street parking payment systems to determine which technology and solutions work best for DC. The pilot chosen for some of the streets near Nationals Park is "ParkMobile," which allows you to pay for parking with your cellphone. Drivers sign up at the company's web site, and can download an iPhone or Blackberry app or use a mobile web site to pay for parking. (Hurry up with that Android app, wouldya?) Here's a map showing the streets in Near Southeast where the ParkMobile pilot is underway (basically all of M and the streets from the west side of Canal Park over to South Capitol, north of M). You'll receive a text message reminder when you've got about 15 minutes left of time. (And DDOT says that ParkMobile's transaction fees are being waived during the pilot.)
Has anyone tried it out? If so, leave your experiences in the comments.
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Pay-by-Cell Street Parking Test Coming to Ballpark
Jun 25, 2010 3:58 PM
(This is just out from DDOT. I know *nothing* beyond this.) DDOT has announced today that they are launching multiple new parking pilot programs, to test out systems from a variety of vendors, that offer options such as pay-by-space and even sensors in parking spaces that can detect when a space is occupied or vacant.
For the area around Nationals Park, a company called ParkMobile will be offering a system where users, after signing up at the company's web site, can pay for parking via a cellphone or smartphone. (This system will also be in use for some spaces in Foggy Bottom and on Reservoir Road in Georgetown.)
This system--and three others that DDOT is evaluating--is expected to be in place by July 19, and will operate for 90 days, after which DDOT "will develop a long range strategy to upgrade its parking equipment and payment systems." It will be interesting to see if this helps cure some of the struggles with the current multispace meters, which do seem to be a bit balky (judging by the reports over the past few years in the DC Data Feeds).
More as I get it.
UPDATED to add the link to DDOT's press release, which gives more information on the other pilots in other sections of the city,
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This Week's Events (Traffic, WASA, Cornhole)
May 24, 2010 2:40 PM
Yet another post about upcoming meetings that most of you probably don't have any interest in going to, you slackers:
* I've now received official notice from ANC 6D that the stadium Traffic Operations and Parking Plan meeting is indeed being held tomorrow (Tuesday, May 25) at 6:30 pm; here's the flyer with the details. This meeting was asked for after the previous one was not particularly well attendedby the necessary government agencies.
* Alas, at pretty much the same time and just a few blocks away is a Public Information Meetingon the 14th Street Bridge Corridor Environmental Impact Statement, from 6 to 8 pm at Westminstery Presbysterian Church, 400 I St., SW. This meeting's purpose is "to present preliminary traffic results and scope of the enivonrmental assessment for the [corridor] alternatives" and to answer questions and receive feedback.
* If you want to go to both, there's a second version of the EIS meeting on Thursday evening (May 27) in Arlington; but that conflicts with WASA's public meeting to get the public's comment on their combined sewer overflow long-term control plan and the draft environmental assessment. The meeting is at Watkins Elementary, 420 12th Street, SE (see the flyer).
* And, for that matter, both of those Thursday meetings conflict with the rescheduled Cornhole Tournament at the Bullpen that Nationals communications director Lisa Pagano is holding. This is part of her quest to become the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Woman of the Year award, and she is trying to raise $75,000 by June 12 (more info here and here). The party starts at 6 pm and the tournament itself at 7 pm. There will be live music and raffle items in addition to the tournament. Admission is $5 for the event and $20 for teams of two entering the tournament (with one free beer per player!). More info can be found on Facebook. (The original one was postponed because of inclement weather, which I know we all find astonishing given the gorgeous sunny days we've been having lately.)
* Then there's the usual lineup of BID-sponsored events (lunchtime concert on Wednesday and both the Outdoor Market and Front Run Club on Thursday).
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Traffic Meetings, On Top of Each Other (Plus WASA)
May 19, 2010 6:37 PM
I've been waiting to post about this until some sort of official announcement came from the ANC or DDOT, but time's a'wastin, so I'll mention that SWill reported after the last ANC 6D meeting that a follow-up TOPP (Traffic Operations and Parking Plan) meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday, May 25, tenatively at 6:30 pm at the Second Baptist Church, 1200 Canal St., SW. This meeting was asked for after the previous one was not particularly well attended by the necessary government agencies.
However, at almost the same time is a Public Information Meeting on the 14th Street Bridge Corridor Environmental Impact Statement, from 6 to 8 pm at Westminstery Presbysterian Church, 400 I St., SW. (There is another one being held two days later in Arlington.) This meeting's purpose is "to present preliminary traffic results and scope of the enivonrmental assessment for the [corridor] alternatives" and to answer questions and receive feedback.
It would seem that the attendees for these meetings might be coming out of the same pool, so it's a shame if they do end up overlapping.
Also, for another on-the-periphery meeting, WASA is having a public meeting on Thursday May 27th at 6 pm to get the public's comment on their combined sewer overflow long-term control plan and the draft environmental assessment. The meeting is at Watkins Elementary, 420 12th Street, SE (see the flyer). Of course, this meeting conflicts with the alternate date for the 14th Street Bridge Corridor EIS meeting....

Upcoming Events (ANCs and Business Summit)
May 9, 2010 9:00 PM
On your agenda for the near future, should you choose to accept the mission:
* ANC 6D (Southwest and most of Near Southeast) meets Monday night at 7 pm at St. Augustine's Church at Sixth and M streets, SW. (When are they moving to their new meeting space, dangit?) The agenda is posted--no big Near Southeast items, except for perhaps an update from the Nationals, a brief update on Traffic/Parking issues from a member of Tommy Wells's staff, and request for support for a liquor license for the new Patriot II river cruise ship operating out of Diamond Teague Park. One other item that might be of interest is an update on the 14th Street Bridge Environmental Impact Statement, which has been quiet for a while.
* ANC 6B (south side of Capitol Hill and Near Southeast south of the freeway east of Seventh [excluding the Navy Yard]) meets the next night, Tuesday, at 7 pm at its new meeting place, the People's Church at 535 Eighth Street, SE. Here's the agenda, which is chock full of liquor license renewals and home remodeling projects.
* Looking ahead a bit to next week, a reminder that the Anacostia River Business Summit is being held on Tuesday, May 18, starting at 1:30 pm at 20 M St., SE. Admission is $30 per person; the agenda includes a presentation on the Anacostia River Watershed Restoration Plan and panels on "Federal and District Leadership Efforts" and "The Business Impact." There will also be an exhibit hall and a networking reception after the sessions. More info here, and online registration available here.

Updated Cash Lot/Parking Info for Nationals Park
May 5, 2010 8:59 AM
'Twas a lovely evening on Monday, so I took a brisk three-mile walk to survey the various parking lots near Nationals Park to confirm and update my Stadium Parking Map. A few cash lots have been fallen out of the inventory, and I also added the two now available on the OTHER side of South Capitol Street, in Southwest {gasp!}.
It's also worth noting that the official Nats lots that can be cash lots aren't always. I've left them marked on the map with their cash prices, but it appears that on nights where the crowds aren't anticipated to be huge (like tonight's game against the Braves), the cash option for official lots in the red and green zones directly north of the stadium isn't available. I would expect that to be different when, say, the Red Sox come to town or when Stephen Strasburg arrives.
(And thanks to the readers who passed along info on lots over the past few days, and spurred me into action, finally.)
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Quick Report from Ballpark Traffic/Parking Meeting
Apr 27, 2010 10:16 PM
Tonight ANC 6D held a community meeting to get a status report on the ballpark Traffic Operations and Parking Plan. The session was facilitated by councilmember Wells, and also included representatives of DDOT and the Nationals. (DPW was not present, much to the consternation of many attendees, since they are the ones responsible for ticket-writing and towing.)
The session started off with an update on the (few) changes to parking and traffic flow in the new season. Some are already well known, such as the two new Nats economy lots replacing the RFK shuttle service; otherwise, there have been some slight modifications to signal timing at South Capitol and Potomac and to pedestrian flow on M at First and South Capitol. Plus, DDOT says they have corrected the lack of signs/meters in the Half/Van/L area.
Gregory McCarthy of the Nats said that there are about 125 more cars parking in each of the two economy lots this season, and that the Nats are happy that neither lot is particularly accessible through any residential neighborhoods. He also mentioned that only 30 percent of fans drive to the games, with the rest taking transit or arriving other ways, such as by foot/bike/water taxi/parachute/personal jetpack/teleportation. (I'm paraphrasing.)
McCarthy did acknowledge that, while traffic flow generally works well when game attendance is under 25,000, there is "significant congestion" when there's more tickets sold, and specifically mentioned First and M as a chokepoint where cars need to be moved faster through their right turn to the various parking lots. He also said that the team needs to do a better job getting the taxi stand working, to get taxis to actually line up there for customers and to get them to use it as a drop-off point. (What? You didn't know there's a taxi stand? Why, yes, there is, on Half Street next to 20 M.)
The rest of the meeting was taken up with questions and complaints from the audience, all of which related to issues in the residential neighborhoods of Southwest. (There wasn't a single resident of Southeast in attendance, unless you count ANC 6D07 commissioner Bob Siegel. And Tommy. And me.) There were complaints about stadium workers parking just to the west of South Capitol Street and using Ward 6 visitor parking permits to do so, and about what the residents see as a distinct lack of ticketing and towing, which is why people were very unhappy that DPW was not at the meeting, despite having been invited. Tommy promised to help get some action, saying that enforcement should be very heavy at the beginning of the season, to send a message. (He also noted that, yes, this meeting should have been held *before* Opening Day.)
If you have any issues with gameday parking that you think need to be addressed, you can contact Tommy's office through his web site--if you can assemble any sort of illustrative materials that might be helpful (photos, tag numbers of offending vehicles, etc.), Tommy said that would be appreciated.
UPDATE: For more specifics on the SW concerns, see SWill's blog.

Tuesday Events, And a Slight Change in Approach
Apr 26, 2010 11:44 PM
First, two event notices/reminders for Tuesday (April 27):
*At 10:45 am, Mayor Fenty and others will be participating in a ribbon-cutting at Diamond Teague Park and Piers. I won't be able to be there, so go see for yourself if you're interested!
* At 6:30 pm is the ANC 6D meeting on the ballpark Traffic Operations and Parking Plan, at Westminster Church at Fourth and I streets, SW.
Now, on another subject.
I admit it--I've become very lazy when it comes to blogging about stories/links/events that might be of interest but that don't really have any *news,* especially as the volume of them has increased along with the interest in Near Southeast. Twitter is the perfect outlet for those sorts of items--it's easy to post them immediately (since I'm all about the speed), and I'm only responsible for 100 or so characters, then the URL, then I'm done. (Or, even better, I get to just retweet stuff from other Twitterers.) Plus it allows me to save my time and energy for more fascinating {ahem} material, like the Marine Barracks site search or the latest CSX Virginia Avenue Tunnel stuff.
But, if you're only reading my posts by RSS feed or e-mail subscription, then you're missing out. How to get this additional material? If you don't have a Twitter account, you can come to the JDLand home page and check out the Twitter box at upper right every so often. Or you can visit my Twitter page on your rounds, or you can "like" JDLand on Facebook and have the Tweets show up in your news feed. Or you can subscribe to my Tweet RSS feed if immediacy isn't of paramount importance.
I've actually posted similar mea culpas to this one before (the last one not even a month ago--oops!), but let's consider this time the official notification of the change in my approach. Of course the blog will always have big news, new photos, and whatnot. But as I try to find ways to keep going after more than seven years, I'm going to stop feeling quite so guilty about using only Twitter for these FYI links, even if it makes the blog itself less of the all-encompassing repository it's been up to now.
Thank you, drive through.

ANC 6D Meeting on Ballpark Traffic and Parking
Apr 22, 2010 3:30 PM
From ANC 6D, an invitation to a Traffic Operations and Parking Plan (TOPP) meeting, on Tuesday, April 27, at 6:30 pm, at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 400 I St., SW. Expected participants include Tommy Wells, DDOT, DPW, MPD, and the Nationals. This is the neighborhood's opportunity to discuss any parking or traffic issues; if you want to come armed with information on the original TOPP created for the opening of the ballpark in 2008, here 'tis, along with my page on Stadium Parking and Transportation.

Opening Day 2010 - A Brief Last-Minute Guide
Apr 4, 2010 11:14 PM
It'll be an eventful day Monday as the Nats' 2010 season opens, both for folks skipping out on work to head to the ballpark and for neighborhood dwellers and workers who will have 41,000 guests popping in around late morning.
If you're going to the game, check my pages on parking options, taking Metro (including the JDLand Approved Walking Route from Capitol South), and general traffic restrictions. (Dr. Gridlock did a roundup today as well, if for some reason you might trust him more than me for this sort of info.)
If you're a resident/worker, remember that the west entrance of the Navy Yard station becomes one-way inbound after the game. (The New Jersey Avenue entrance remains two-way.)
As you've been warned repeatedly for the past few days, security will be heavy, so give yourself plenty of time to get into the stadium (gates open at 10 am for the 1:05 pm start). But that'll give you a chance to try out the new food options and see all the changes from last year, and there will also be all sorts of entertainment going on to help you pass the time.
The weather forecast looks good--certainly better than 2008, and warmer than last year. If you really want to stroll down memory lane, here's all my ballpark photo galleries, going back to the groundbreaking in May 2006.
I'll be roaming around with camera in hand (and perhaps also a serving of chicken and waffles), so feel free to say hello.
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Circulator Running for Exhibition; More Ballpark Items
Mar 31, 2010 9:32 AM
* The folks at the BID have passed along the news that the Circulator will be running its Union Station/Navy Yard route on Saturday (April 3) for the 4:05 pm Nats/Red Sox exhibition, even though it wasn't originally listed on their 2010 Baseball Extended Service schedule (it is now).
* Metro has just released its information on getting to and from the ballpark: "Expect standing room only to/from Nationals games."
* WTOP writes about the two new economy lots for stadium parking; you might want to check my Stadium Parking map for a graphic that's a little clearer, and that also shows non-official cash lots. One item in the piece that I'm checking on, though--it says that piers at the Yards Park and will allow private boats to be docked there starting in July. But everything I've seen up to now has said that the piers and marina are to be built in the park's third phase, which isn't expected to come online until after 2012. Am waiting for a response from Forest City for clarity.
UPDATE: Forest City confirms that the piers are not coming this summer, contrary to what the article reports; they are planned for later phases.
* WAMU had two short pieces on Near Southeast on Monday: "Ballpark Hits Old Reputation Out of Field," and "Population Near Nationals Park Doubles in One Year," which now seems to have disappeared from their web site.
* Be prepared for another slew of stadium-related news stories later today, with the annual ballpark media day on the agenda. And the weather's nice for once!
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Preparing for Baseball Season, Transportation Edition
Mar 26, 2010 12:20 PM
Believe it or not, the first game of the third season of play at Nationals Park is just over a week away (the 4:05 pm exhibition on Saturday, April 3, against the Red Sox) with the home opener on Monday, April 5 at 1:05 pm against the Phillies. So, let the onslaught of ballpark-related news begin! (I'll be saving up the latest general let's-look-at-the-ballpark-neighborhood links for a group post probably on Monday, though will tweet them as they come out.) Today's tidbits:
* I've updated my map of parking options around the ballpark with the information on official Nats lots (locations and prices) for the 2010 season. I've left the information from last year on unofficial lots on the map, though won't know if it carries through until the first game.
* Here's the gameday schedules of Circulator service between the Union Station, Eastern Market, and the Navy Yard Metro stations. (Remember, this line's normal service hours are only on weekdays from 6 am to 7 pm, so they need special service for most ballpark events.) Thanks to DDOT for passing the schedule along.
* There's some chatter apparently going around the neighborhood that, because there will be no shuttles to and from RFK, buses bringing fans to games will now be allowed to park on neighborhood streets. The Nats' web site shows that bus parking is available at Lot W (Seventh and L, SE) for $50, but it's not clear whether that's a requirement, or how many buses can park there. DDOT tells me that they are still working on the Transportation Operations and Parking Plans for this season, and so at this point no decisions have been made.
UPDATE, 3/31: For more ballpark transporation tidbits (including Metro's plans for big big crowds), see today's entry.
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Report from ANC 6D (Mainly SW Stuff)
Mar 8, 2010 10:52 PM
There was almost no Near Southeast news at tonight's ANC 6D meeting, even though it was held at the Courtyard at New Jersey and L, SE. There was no update from the Nationals as had been initially on the agenda, and ANC chair Ron McBee said that he doesn't yet have a date for a community meeting on the Traffic Operations and Parking plans for the ballpark for this season, which he wants to have with the team and DDOT especially in light of the Nats' decision to stop the RFK parking shuttle for this season.
(As an aside, in comparing the Nats parking map for this season with mine from last year, it looks like the only change in lots is that the underground garage at 300 M is no longer an official Nats lot. The pricing structure hasn't changed a whole lot, except for lot HH and W now becoming "economy" lots at $5 and $10 per game, respectively. I'll update my page soon.)
Most of the meeting was taken up with all the doings in Southwest surrounding the impending opening of the new Safeway at Waterfront, and the transition period when the old one will be closed on April 6, eight days before the new one opens with a ribbon-cutting and preview on April 15 before opening "for real" on April 16. There was also the news that some restaurants look to be closing deals soon for spaces in Waterfront. SWDC Blog has the details on all this.
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This Week's Events (ANCs and M Street)
Mar 7, 2010 9:40 AM
The lineup. all front-loaded on Monday and Tuesday:
* Monday has the ANC 6D meeting (didn't we just do this?), at 7 pm at the Courtyard by Marriott at New Jersey and L, SE. The agenda is now posted, and includes updates on the Nats and the ballpark's Transportation and Parking Plan.
* Tuesday has Tommy Wells's public meeting on improvements to M Street, from 6-7:30 pm at the MPD First District station at 101 M St., SW.
* Tuesday is also ANC 6B's meeting, in its new home at 535 8th St., SE, at 7 pm. The update from CSX on the Virginia Avenue Tunnel project originally slated for this meeting has been moved to the April meeting.

Bullpen Back for Another Season; Other ANC 6D Doings
Feb 25, 2010 9:12 PM
The snowblown February ANC 6D meeting finally went off tonight, and here's the Near Southeast-related bullet points:
* The Bullpen will be back in action this season, in its same spot on the northwest corner of Half and N across from the ballpark. There were two requested changes to the voluntary agreement between the ANC and the owner: that the bar be allowed to operate until 1:30 am (with alcohol sales ending at 1:00), and that liquor in non-frozen form be allowed alongside the already approved beer, wine, and frozen drinks, both of which are already allowed under the liquor license. The discussion was more contentious about process than it was about content (with commissioner David Sobelsohn arguing strongly that the motion should be tabled until the next meeting, which none of the other commissioners were interested in), but in the end the commission voted 6-1 to approve the extended hours, and that mixed drinks could be served during private events. There were some concerns from commissioner Rhonda Hamilton about the noise at the bar on weeknights, but owner Bo Blair said that live music will always be cut off by midnight.
* There is a move afoot by commission Bob Siegel to carve out some of the curb space in front of Capper Seniors #1 at 900 Fifth Street (which it must be noted is also across the street from his house). The street, which is one way in the block in question (between K and Virginia) gets clogged on a regular basis thanks to shuttle buses, vans, trucks, and other vehicles double-parking while at the building, and the residents want a portion of the curb cut out to allow vehicles to pull out of the traffic lane (like the one in front of the Courtyard by Marriott entrance). DDOT initially rejected the request because it was called a "curb cut," which means something different in traffic parlance, but DDOT's Ward 6 planner Jamie Henson was in attendance and pledged to help the ANC work with the engineering side of DDOT to see what could be done without taking away the sidewalk or the ADA ramps to the building.
* There was supposed to be an update from the Nationals, but no reps from the team were there; ANC chair Ron McBee did report that April 23 will be "Neighborhood Night" at the ballpark, with the first pitch and national anthem being performed by nearby residents and other goodies as well. (I imagine discount tickets will be part of the deal, but nothing was said. The game is against the Dodgers.) McBee also said that the ANC has requested a meeting with DDOT about the Traffic Operations and Parking Plan for this season, to check on how it's all going, but no specific concerns were mentioned. (With the Nats Express no longer shuttling fans to and from parking at RFK, there probably will be a noticeable uptick in traffic this year, even if attendance remains steady.)
* The next 6D meeting will be on March 8 at 7 pm, and it'll be held at the Courtyard by Marriott at New Jersey and L, so if you've been dying to go to a meeting but haven't felt like venturing across South Capitol, you'll get your chance. It's also worth mentioning that ANC 6B's meeting the next night includes an update by CSX on the Virginia Avenue project on its agenda.

Nats Ending RFK Free Parking/Nats Shuttle
Dec 16, 2009 3:02 PM
Just out from the Nationals:
"The Nats Express and parking at RFK concluded after the 2009 season, however new and closer economy parking options are available for the 2010 season. Premium parking will remain the same, but fans choosing to drive to the ballpark may now park in Lot HH, located on South Capitol Street, SW for $5 per car, or Lot W, located on M Street between 6th and 7th Streets SE, for $10 per car. Each of these lots has been discounted from 2009 prices of $10 and $15 respectively. Complete information on Nationals parking plans and all the ways to get to Nationals Park may be found at nationals.com/waytogo.
"The Nationals recognize the fan experience begins the moment fans their leave homes to come to the ballpark and that there is a need for affordable parking options close to Nationals Park," said Nationals Team President Stan Kasten. "Over the past two seasons there has been a decrease in the use of RFK Parking Lots and the Nats Express. We feel our fans deserve economy parking near the ballpark, which will reduce travel time and enhance the overall fan experience at Nationals games. We believe it will be easier than ever to get to Nationals Park and that the new parking options will please those fans who prefer to drive." (see full press release)
You can see my Stadium Parking page for a map showing the 2009 parking options (I'll get it updated with this new info soon) and the location of the two "economy" parking lots).
The team is also reducing individual ticket prices on over 3,000 seats, and is designating 12 games during the 2010 season as "value games" (up from five in 2009). For more details, see the Nats web site.
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Next Week's Events (Justin's Cafe Liquor License, Boathouse Lighting, ANC6B)
Dec 3, 2009 9:17 AM
A couple events on the calendar for the week of Dec. 7 to highlight:
* On Wednesday, Dec. 9, ANC 6D's ABC committee will be having its monthly meeting (in advance of the full ANC meeting on Dec. 14), and on the agenda is "presentation of plans by Justin Ross re Justin's Cafe planned for 1st & L Streets, SE." This is the first step in the (long) process for Velocity's restaurant to get its liquor license, although I haven't yet seen an announcement/posting for their official ABRA hearing (maybe it'll be in tomorrow's DC Register). The meeting is at 7 pm at King Greenleaf Recreation Center, 201 N Street, S.W.
* The Anacostia Community Boathouse Association will be having its annual Boathouse Lighting and Awards Ceremony on Tuesday, Dec. 8, at 6:30 pm. This year's honorees include Tommy Wells, winner of the ACBA's "Champion" Award, who will get to flip the switch to turn on the holiday lights. The boathouse is at 1115 O Street, SE, nestled between the two spans of the 11th Street Bridges.
* ANC 6B (which is mostly Capitol Hill but includes the Eighth Street area south of the freeway in its boundaries) is having its monthly meeting on Dec. 8, and it includes a presentation by WASA on the Combined Sewer Overflow Project, and a resolution on the Ward 6 Residential Parking Protection Pilot Act of 2009, which has its city council hearing on Dec. 10. The meeting is at 7 pm at the Old Naval Hospital at 921 Pennsylvania Ave., SE.

Dec. 10 Hearing on Ward 6 Parking Bill (and Others)
Nov 27, 2009 10:02 AM
The council's Committee on Public Works and Transportation is having a hearing on Dec. 10 on four bills, including B18-277, the "Ward 6 Residential Parking Protection Pilot Act of 2009." This bill, which was introduced back in May, mainly serves to bring to all of Ward 6 some of the enhanced parking rules that came to Near Southeast, Southwest, and Barracks Row under the Performance Parking Pilot. A Tommy Wells blog post at the time spelled out the specifics of the bill; the one portion that seems to be new for Near Southeast residents is the change in the cost of Residential Parking Permits, which would remain $15 per year for the first permit in a household but would go up to $50 for the second permit and $100 for any additional permits. (This is of course for the residences in Near Southeast that actually qualify for RPP stickers; the multi-unit residential buildings do not, as the comments around here have made clear over the past few months.)
There was already a hearing in front of this committee back in May (on demand video here), but although Jim Graham seemed raring to go at the end of the hearing to get at least the Ward 1 bill passed as emergency legislation, the bills were never brought to a vote, so perhaps now there's been some changes to the bill from the original language.
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Yards Gets LEED Gold; Buzzard Point Planning; Other Links (Parking, DOT HQ, Lower 8th, Jeff Neal)
Nov 24, 2009 9:42 PM
* The Yards has been designated a LEED Gold Certified Neighborhood Development Plan, based on the 42-acre project's stage two design plan, which "integrates the principles of smart growth, urbanism, and green building into the first national system for neighborhood design." Read Forest City's press release, or learn more about the LEED for Neighborhood Development program.
* Southwest...The Little Quadrant With the Really Long Blog Name (hey, we kid because we love) gives a full report on the meetings last week to create a plan for Buzzard Point. The American Planning Association has posted its press release summarizing the sessions, saying that "Buzzard Point is a distinct area and should build on its strong existing residential character" and that any future plans should "[a]void using a cookie-cutter approach to redeveloping the neighborhood; the type of redevelopment taking place east of South Capitol Street is not what should occur west of South Capitol Street." (Yikes, now there's going to be a rumble in the South Capitol Street median.)
* Michael Perkins is not the person you want to be unable to find a parking space. Speaking of which, here's the second part of GGW's report on last week's Ward 6 Performance Parking public meeting.
* The US Department of Transportation HQ on M Street has been named a winner of the Phoenix Award, which "honors excellence in brownfield redevelopment" and honors companies and individuals who have worked "to solve critical environmental and community challenges when transforming formerly used real estate into productive new uses."
* Voice of the Hill reports on the latest Lower 8th Street visioning sessions: "Barracks Row Main Street executive director James Dalpee suggested that a Columbia Heights-style model, with several big anchor stores, might be what's needed to spur retail in the area," though "while they are dreaming big dreams, planners also have to contend with a number of potential obstacles. They include CSX's plans to tear up Virginia Avenue from 2nd to 11th streets for up to three years to make room for a double-stack train tunnel; the Marine Barracks master plan, which is set to be unveiled soon; and the 11th Street Bridges expansion project."
* WBJ's Breaking Ground blog points to a video by the Huffington Post's investigative unit on "Commercial Real Estate: the Next Hole in the Economy," which "stars" Jeff Neal of Monument Realty talking about the buying "binge" his company went on to snap up lots around the ballpark site in 2004 and 2005. (Though I think it's funny to see WBJ getting a bit snippy about news organizations "discovering holes in the ground" after they did, since I'd be willing to wager that they weren't the first to report on those sites, anyway.) WBJ also says that Neal is developing a reality TV show. Also be sure to check out the comments on the YouTube video for the sort of level-headed, reasoned discourse that we've all become accustomed to on the interwebs.

Two Brief Follow-Ups on Parking (Map, New Lot)
Nov 19, 2009 11:35 PM
Late night items:
* Here is the map from Wednesday's performance parking meeting, showing where the $288,000 in "non-automobile" improvements are going to be spent.
* I received a message today from Potomac Parking, the company that will be running the new surface parking lot on Half Street between I and K (the eventual home of the Plaza on K). They tell me that, once they get their lot finished and permits secured, it will be a 24-hour lot, available for monthly/daily/hourly/gameday parking, which might make it a possibility for residents looking for a place to park where they won't get a ticket and where the space (presumably) won't cost $40,000. Judging from the web site, it looks like it'll be an unmanned lot, with various technologies to handle payments. More information when I get it.
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More posts: parking, Square 696 Residential

Ward 6 Parking Pilot Zone Getting $288K For 'Non-Automobile' Improvements; Other Parking Details
Nov 18, 2009 10:09 PM
Tonight DDOT held a public meeting to update residents on the Ward 6 Performance Parking Pilot program, which was instituted in March 2008 to attempt to get out in front of expected curbside parking problems in the ballpark area, in Southwest, and along Pennsylvania Avenue and Barracks Row.
There were a lot of numbers passed along, but the biggest one is that, in 19 months of operation, the 138 multispace meters in these areas have collected $1.4 million in fees. And, since the legislation that created the program specifies that, until the meters are paid for, 20 percent of the meters' proceeds will be returned to the PILOT area to pay for "non-automobile improvements", there's now $288,809.34 ready to be spent on signage, bike racks, and other amenities. (And in another three months, the initial capital investment for the meters will be paid off, at which point the neighborhoods will receive 75 percent of the meter proceeds.) But, as it's always emphasized, Performance Parking is not about revenue generation! (It's just a very nice side benefit.)
This first phase of improvements, to be completed by next spring, will include these new additions across the three zones, which were determined in consulation with the program's advisory committee members from various neighborhood organizations (UPDATE: here's the map showing the planned locations of these items):
* 25 new bike racks, branded with neighborhood names;
* Eight "wayfaring" map kiosks and 15 pedestrian wayfaring signs to help folks navigate the areas;
* 10-12 digital signs (with 19" screens) to be installed near the ballpark along M Street and at Barracks Row that will display information useful to ballpark goers (times of next buses, offstreet parking options, pedestrian info, PSAs, ads, etc), along with perhaps one 60" screen at the Half Street Navy Yard Metro station entrance ;
* A new to-be-named pedestrian "trail" connecting the Heritage Trails along Eighth Street, SE, and the trail whose name escapes me in Southwest, running along North Carolina from Ninth Street, SE to New Jersey Avenue to M Street to Fourth Street, SW. Benches (with arms, to prevent snoozers) will be placed along the trails, along with specialized large trash cans with compactors run by solar power (in a one-year pilot test);
* One large kiosk in Southeast and one in Southwest (perhaps to be built by students from Catholic University), where neighborhoods can put information for visitors; and
* Grants to the Capitol Hill Restoration Society and the Capitol Riverfront BID, with the BID receiving $50,000 for improved lighting(!) and other upgrades to the New Jersey Avenue underpass.
Other highlights of the meeting beyond the improvements:
* A Near Southeast resident brought up the issue of street parking for residents at Onyx, Velocity, and the other new buildings--because those streets are all [going to someday be] mixed-use residential, office, and retail areas, there will be no Residential Parking Permits given to residents. But Tommy Wells, who attended part of the meeting, committed to working with DDOT to look at other possibilities, such as allowing residents to park overnight at the meters for a very low price.
* Gregory McCarthy of the Nationals was also there, and mentioned how successful the city has been in encouraging "multimodal transportation" to the ballpark, so much so that Nationals Park is now considered a "best practice" that other teams are looking to emulate. But for those of you who have been enjoying parking for free down on the streets of Buzzard Point during ballgames, your salad days may be over, as DDOT is now looking at signing the streets there.
* There was also discussion of the most-used meters (the 1000-1100 blocks of New Jersey Avenue making the list), the issue of raising or lowering the meter prices at the most-used or least-used spaces, and the average turnover time in the spaces, but having seen David Alpert at the meeting, I'm betting I get to leave discussion of these items to Greater Greater Washington. (I think the numbers will also be on the DDOT web site soon.) It's also likely that the multispace meters are going to be removed from Virginia Avenue and moved to Water Street, SW, because the meters just aren't being used on Virginia. (Besides, Virginia is going to be a big huge trench within a few years, anyway!)
If you have ideas for future non-automobile improvements that can be made, or have any other questions or concerns, you can contact Damon Harvey of DDOT at damon.harvey@dc.gov.
{This post was written while watching Top Chef, so apologies if it's a little disjointed.}
UPDATE, 11/19: Here's the improvements map; and both the existing pedestrian trails are called "Heritage Trails," so I fixed my self-diss above.
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Donate Coats at Nats Park; Buzzard Point Study; Other Tidbits; Meeting Reminders
Nov 17, 2009 2:06 PM
Today's tidbits:
* The Nationals are in the middle of the One Warm Coat Drive, which is collecting "clean, reuseable" coats and jackets that will be distributed to District adults and children free of charge by the Coalition for the Homeless. Coats may be taken to the Team Store on the southwest corner of Half and N streets, SE, which will be open at 11 am everyday between now and Dec. 11 (except for Thanksgiving), with the store staying open until 3 pm from now to Nov. 25, 6 pm on the 27th and 28th, and 4 pm from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11.
* Buzzard Point--the peninsula south of Potomac Avenue where the Anacostia and Potomac meet--is 95 percent outside of my boundaries (technically there's a sliver of Southeast over there since South Capitol Street runs down to R Street), but I'll still pass this along. The American Planning Association is going to develop a Strategic Vision for Buzzard Point, and there's a community meeting tomorrow (Wednesday, Nov. 18) from 6 to 8:30 pm, followed by a walking tour on Thursday, Nov. 19, from 8 to 9:30 pm, and then an "initial findings" meeting on Saturday, Nov. 21, at 2 pm. The Thursday and Saturday meetings are at the MPD-1D station at the old Bowen Elementary School at 101 M St., SW, and the walking tour leaves from King-Greenleaf Rec Center at 201 N St., SW. More information about the project and meetings here. (Note: meeting locations revised from original post)
* This is from last week, but WBJ reports that the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments is joining a regional group looking at possible ferry service from Occoquan to points along the Potomac and Anacosita Rivers (including the Navy Yard).
* The city has announced the first move related to the reconstruction of the 11th Street Bridges--they're going to close the pedestrian bridge over DC295 in Anacostia on or about Nov. 30, because it needs to be demolished to make way for the construction of a new ramp that will link southbound 295 with the new bridges.
And, two last-minute meeting reminders:
* If you're reading this in the next few hours, you can still make tonight's Lower 8th Street Visioning session, at 7 pm at 535 8th Street, SE. @CapitolHillDC live-tweeted this morning's session, if you want to see what went on. The agenda is available on the blogspot site.
* Competing with the Buzzard Point meeting is DDOT's public meeting on the Ward 6 Performance Parking Pilot, starting at 6:30 pm Wednesday (Nov. 18) at Friendship Baptist Church, 900 Delaware Ave., SW. This is a meeting I'm actually going to be able to attend! Woo-hoo!

Back Soon, I Promise; But Here's a Few Tidbits
Nov 13, 2009 1:15 PM
I warned last week that this was going to be a week where I'd be missing almost everything, and I haven't disappointed. This is probably the longest period this site has been quiet in many years, and I apologize. But all will be back to normal in the next few days, and I'll catch up with all the various doings, I promise.
In the meantime, mark your calendars for two meetings:
The next Lower 8th Street Visioning sessions, on Nov. 17 at 8:30 am and 7 pm, where one topic of discussion is apparently going to be the CSX plans for Virginia Avenue. (This was discussed at Tuesday's ANC 6B meeting, and one of my readers was nice enough to send his detailed notes from the session; also, here's the report from The Hill is Home.)
The next night, on November 18, DDOT is holding a public meeting on the Ward 6 Performance Parking Pilot program. There will be updates on signage improvements, the revenue generated from the meters, plans for "non-automotive transportation improvement modifications" that will be paid for with the meter revenue, and more. It's at Friendship Baptist Church, 900 Delaware Ave., SW, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. If you're not sure exactly what the Performance Parking Pilot program is, here's the scoop.
Also, I see on the DCRA Building Permits Feed that the building permit for Justin's Cafe at Velocity was approved on Nov. 9. No evidence yet online of a liquor license application yet.
Hope this can satisfy everyone's insatiable thirst for Near Southeast news for a little while longer....

Diamond Teague Progress, Cornercopia Peek, Plus a Few Other Photo Updates and a Parking Lot Update
Jul 16, 2009 8:46 PM
I took advantage of the sunny evening to dart around getting some desperately needed photo updates. First up is Diamond Teague Park, where progress on not only the water-taxi piers but the "on-land" portion of the park itself is now clearly visible from the viewing platform at Nationals Park. The last projected opening date I heard, a few months back, was July, but while it looks like maybe the park won't be pulled together in the next two weeks, it definitely appears to be getting there. See my Teague page for the latest pics.
I also snuck a peek through the door at Cornercopia and snagged a quick photo, showing goods now stocked on the shelves, but perhaps just short of being ready to open. Maybe they can get ready for all the folks heading to the ballpark this weekend? Don't forget, my offer still stands of a free sandwich to the first person who reports to me that it's open....
I also took some updated photos at Fourth and K in Capitol Quarter, where framing has sprouted on the north side of K. Then I wandered down to the Yards to get some better shots of the southeast corner of Fourth and Tingey, which is where the Trapeze School is going to be located. (You can also see the entire batch of today's photos, where you can then click on the icon to see an angle's entire history.) Speaking of the Trapeze School, the Post's Health section had a story today on what it's like to take a class from them. (You probably won't ever see *me* flying through the air with the greatest of ease.)
One other item--the WashTimes reported today that the Elton/Billy stage left centerfield in a bit of a mess, requiring the grass to be painted. As you can see from this shot I took during batting practice, it seemed to work pretty well.
Lastly, it only took me half the season, but I've now updated my Stadium Parking map to show the many options for cash parking (official and unofficial), in addition to the official Nats season ticket lots. And to think that there was a time when *some* people were worried there wouldn't be enough parking.

Hearing Today on Ward 6 Parking Bill
May 20, 2009 9:32 AM
Today at 11 am (both on DC Cable 13 and via streaming video) there will be a hearing on the new "Ward 6 Residential Parking Protection Pilot Act of 2009." I haven't written about it before now because I haven't been clear whether there's really much of an impact from it on Near Southeast, and in fact, according to Tommy Wells's blog, this new bill mainly will be bringing to all of Ward 6 some of the enhanced parking rules that went into effect last year in Near Southeast, Southwest, and areas of Capitol Hill near Barracks Row.
The one new item in the bill for Near Southeast is to start charging multi-vehicle households higher amounts for more than one residential parking permit. One permit will still cost $15 a year; however, the second permit in the same household would be $50 a year, and any permits beyond that would be $100 per year. (See Tommy's FAQ for more.)
The one question I haven't seen addressed is whether apartment buildings in Ward 6 will now be allowed to get RPP stickers. Via Greater Greater Washington, the Ward 1 bill also currently working its way through the council specifically says that all Ward 1 zone residents will be eligible for RPP stickers, but the Ward 6 bill only says that all residents will receive visitor pass placards.
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Getting to Monday's Opener via Metro; Pre-Game
Apr 10, 2009 9:03 AM
Metro has just put out a press release detailing their service plans for Monday's 3:05 pm Nats home opener against the Phillies, which includes rush hour service starting at 1 pm, and extra trains when the game ends. (Though they should have checked their link to the old Monument Half Street construction cam before including it in their release, since the camera is no longer operating.) There's also the wmata.com/nationals page for additional details on the bus lines that run near the park--but remember that the DC Circulator bus that runs between Union Station, Eastern Market, and New Jersey and M is not run by WMATA, so DCCirculator.com is the place to go for info on that, though so far there's no details on how late it'll run on Monday (normally it stops at 7 pm).
With President Obama apparently not throwing out the first pitch after all, there might not be quite so much of a need to arrive early, but the Nats have still planned a lineup of special events, and are opening the Center Field Gate at 12:30 pm, with batting practice starting at 12:45. There will be a band playing on the new stage in the Center Field plaza and another one up on the Scoreboard Walk. Nats Extra, the MASN pregame show, will be broadcasting live from the Center Field plaza at 2 pm, and the official pre-game ceremonies (hosted by David Gregory of Meet the Press) will start at 2:35 pm. Nearby residents and office workers who won't be at the game should prepare themselves for the planned "flyover by four helicopters, a OH-58 Kiowa, two UH-1 Hueys and one UH-72 Lakota" during the National Anthem. The Nats have their own transportation page, at nationals.com/waytogo, though as I noted a few weeks ago, it still needs a bit of freshening for 2009 (the Metrobus page is still dedicated to the N22).
UPDATE: I'll add this on, since this is ballpark-related: the four parking lots at The Yards are available for baseball parking (just not as part of the official network of Nats lots this year), for either $25 or $20 per game; call or e-mail for more information. Other cash lots include the garage at 100 M and the small surface lot at 250 M and I believe the lots under 80 M and 1100 New Jersey, though I'm not 100% sure. The official Nats cash lot (where you can also buy single-game parking via their web site) is Lot U at 3rd and K, and costs $15 this year. In other words, if you want to drive down near the ballpark and pay cash for parking, you should be able to find a spot, though these lots may be more full during weekday afternoon games, since they're also used by commuters. I plan to update my Stadium Parking page soon.
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Friday Morning Link Fest (Un-Nasty Version)
Mar 27, 2009 8:04 AM
Happy Friday, everyone! It's going to be a golden day! So get yourselves up, you sleepyheads, put a big smile on your face, and go take on the world!
{Yeech. That's enough of that.}
Here's some worthwhile links from the past few days, which have been piling up while I've attended to real life:
* Greater Greater Washington dug through the mayor's FY 2010 budget proposal and says that it would repeal the portion of the Performance Parking Act that sets aside a portion of the parking meter proceeds for the neighborhoods. As I wrote back in January after the quarterly Performance Parking public meeting, "legislation that created the pilot spells out that, initially, 60 percent of the program revenue will be put toward the repayment of the cost of the meters, with 20 percent of the revenue to be used "solely for the purpose of non-automobile transportation improvements in the zone." (The other 20 percent goes to the DDOT's operating fund.) "
* Also on the parking front, Michael Perkins of both Infosnack and GGW takes a long, detailed look at on-street parking around the Navy Yard: "Over the last two months, I've collected occupancy data for three blocks immediately adjacent to the Navy Yard. Between the prices and time limitations, more spaces are going empty than needed." He'll be writing again on the subject--including getting DDOT's reaction--today.
* DCMetrocentric throws open the floor to a discussion of the quality of architecture in Near Southeast. Opinions vary.
* Richard Layman thinks the Circulator replacing the N22 is a waste of money.
* The Post's District Extra on Thursday took a look at the Anacostia Waterfront forums that have been held the past two months, and will continue through June. (April's will be a "Green Living in a Green DC," on April 21.) Here are the presentation slides from the meeting described in the Post piece.
* This 1993 photo from Darrow Montgomery's archive looks to be on the field south of the old Capper apartment building at 900 Fifth Street (where Capper Seniors #1 now stands). The freeway embankment at rear is the giveaway.

Peeking at Changes in Nats Parking Lots for 2009 (Updated)
Mar 23, 2009 9:54 AM
Sometime within the past few weeks the Nats updated their parking information pages for season ticket holders and individual game parking, which I've brought together in an update of my stadium parking map. In comparing them to the last year's parking options, you can see the following changes:
* There's no "official" parking at The Yards anymore (the "blue zone" from 2008, lots E, Z, and Y). Perhaps they'll be available as cash lots, but I haven't heard. (See Update II below.)
* Lot "S" way up at Second and H has been dropped, too.
* New official lots have cropped up at the WMATA bus garage site (lot G) and underneath 55 M Street (lot O). The WMATA garage was offered as $50 valet parking starting about mid-season last year.
* Individual game-day parking prices have dropped by $5 for most of the lots that were same-day purchase lots last year (though the purchasing system doesn't seem to exactly match the map when it comes to the red zone, which says $35 for the lots other than the official garages while the purchasing system says $40 for all red zone parking).
As for whether the Nats Express shuttle from RFK is going to run, there's been no announcement, and the page for it on the official web site, looks like it hasn't been updated since last season. (It hasn't been updated to replace the N22 references with news of the new Circulator route, either.) The "interactive trip planner" also has not yet been updated to show the 2009 parking options.
I imagine more info will be coming soon.
UPDATE: The Nationals have passed along word that the Nats Express shuttle from RFK will be running again this year. Also, the lot under 55 M won't be an official lot after all.
UPDATE II: The folks at the Yards say that they will be offering both cash parking and "season subscription" parking in their lots that were formerly lots E, Y, and Z last year. (They'll just be doing it on their own and not as part of the lineup of "official" Nats lots.) More info to come soon.
UPDATE III: Reader J. rightly notices that Lot R (under 1100 New Jersey) is also gone from the 2009 lineup.

Pre-Weekend Roundup
Jan 30, 2009 12:57 PM
Some little items to head into the weekend:
* The Capitol Riverfront BID is going with a Best of the 80s theme for its Riverfront Reel summer outdoor movie series, and has a survey up to determine the most popular flicks. (Though let me just say that the omission of Die Hard has me white with rage....)
* DDOT is holding an "Anacostia Waterfront Forum" on Feb. 17 at the MLK Library at 6:30 pm, "on the role that replacing the 11th Street Bridges will have in creating a more inclusive and sustainable Distrct."
* Also from the BID, news that the Earth Conservation Corps has scheduled a dedication ceremony for Diamond Teague Park on April 28. I've been told that if all goes "as planned," the construction of the in-water structures (the docks and the piers) should be completed by Opening Day, though the plantings and other work on the dry-land portion of the park would be completed by the beginning of July.
* Greater Greater Washington is not happy that the US DOT is having a "sale" on its parking spaces.
* City Paper's Housing Complex blog is bewildered about where this Capitol Quarter "neighborhood" might possibly be. (Teh Google probably could have answered that.)
* The US Department of Justice and some Shell Oil entities are nearing a $2.1 million settlement for damages and cleanup costs at the Southeast Federal Center (now the Yards) after what the feds allege was benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene contamination of soil and groundwater "from leaking underground storage tanks located at a former filling station adjacent to the contamination."
* I did attend last night's zoning hearing on Akridge's Half Street project, and will post a summary when I recover from the nearly four-hour session. But I did hear that the bus garage on the site will be demolished pretty soon, to make way for temporary parking. Both Akridge and Monument are talking with the Nationals about providing their spaces for gameday parking. (Monument has told me that their underground garage at 55 M--and the little addition to the south--will be complete by Opening Day.) That's a lot of spaces that weren't around last year....
* DCRA has restarted the Building Permits feed. And there was much rejoicing.

Inauguration Road Closures Map (Again), Plus Some Bus Parking News
Jan 15, 2009 1:27 PM
Since it's slipped down the home page a bit, here's my Near Southeast Inauguration Road Closures and Parking Restrictions page, again. I've also added the information on parking at Nationals Park to the page as well.
I also did a bit of wandering around the Click and Park web site where bus companies can reserve their parking, and I see that all bus parking at Nationals Park is sold out. Also, all bus parking spots on Second Street, SE between Virginia and M are sold out, but the other Near Southeast streets are still available for reservations. (All Southwest bus parking is sold out.)
Residents by these bus-parking streets might want to put in earplugs on Monday night at bedtime, since the buses are being told to arrive at their parking zones between 4:30 and 6:30 am Tuesday morning.
Also, the city now has this map (3 MB PDF) showing the bus parking zones, "pedestrian priority" walking routes, bus routes, and other information for the Mall and the areas to the south. I can't quite figure out if you can continue up South Capitol Street toward Washington Avenue and then get to Independence Avenue and the Mall that way because that's part of the restricted area, but maybe as long as you're on the south side of the Independence it's okay? So look for a pretty fair amount of foot traffic on New Jersey Avenue and I Street as people walk from Capitol Hill and points south and east.

Inauguration Parking Available at Nationals Park
Jan 14, 2009 8:23 PM
With a hat tip to the DC Sports Bog: Nationals Park is offering covered parking for the Inauguration starting on Friday in Parking Lot B, at N and South Capitol, though read all of the restrictions carefully:
"Beginning at 7 a.m. on Friday January 15 {sic?} and continuing through midnight on Monday, January 19, Parking Lot B will be open to the public on a 24-hour basis. The garage will operate on a cash only, first-come, first-served basis. No advance reservations will be taken. Vehicles can be left overnight and will be charged the full day rate for each night in the garage. Rates are $20.00 for daytime parking and $35.00 for overnight. No in and out privileges will be allowed.
"Due to the security requirements for the inauguration, no additional cars will be allowed to park in the garage after midnight on Monday, January 19. If a customer has previously parked their vehicle in the garage prior to midnight on Monday, they can exit the garage but will be required to defer to security and police requirements for exit routes from the area which could be severely restricted. Any vehicle can be retrieved after 6 p.m. on January 20 when the travel and parking restrictions are released."
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Final Ballpark Price Tag, Guest Parking Passes, Etc.
Jan 8, 2009 11:36 AM
Time to "officially" post some recent items that I've Twittered (so, if you can't bear to wait for these sorts of blurbs that these days I tend to wait to post in groups, be sure to subscribe to my Twitter feed):
* The WashTimes's Tim Lemke says that the final pricetag for Nationals Park is coming into focus, and that it will be somewhere near $693 million.
* Tommy Wells says that the Ward 6 guest parking passes that "expired" on Dec. 31 will be honored through the end of January, and that DDOT will be mailing the 2009 passes by the end of the month. (This matches what I heard at the November meeting on the performance parking program.)
* Just outside of my jurisdiction, but to fill space it's worth noting that the Coast Guard has renewed its lease for another 10 years at the foot of Second Street, SW, in Buzzard Point. (This is where I can explain that "Near Southeast" really is different from the "Capitol Riverfront", since the BID covers Buzzard Point, but since it's not in Southeast I try desperately not to!)
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No Inauguration Day Parking Unless You're a Bus (And No Boating In, Either)
Dec 26, 2008 1:36 PM
The city is apparently planning to give over almost all of Near Southeast's and Southwest's on-street parking to charter buses on Inauguration Day, according to the Post: "With the exception of some residential areas, all curbside parking will be set aside for buses; streets will be restricted to charter bus, transit bus and official inaugural vehicles, he said. [...] The charter bus restrictions will take effect at 12:01 a.m. Jan. 20. Other vehicles parked on the streets after that will be towed." Here's the map with the parking zones. I imagine the neighborhood's numerous surface parking lots might be handed to buses as well, though I'm not sure they can get through the gates.
UPDATE: Shoot, I meant to include this, from WTOP: "The U.S. Coast Guard has proposed closing the Potomac and Anacostia rivers for the 11 days surrounding the inauguration. [...] Boats already docked or anchored in that area before Jan. 14 could stay. The Anacostia River would have the same restrictions from New York Avenue/Route 50 to the the Potomac River. It's likely the the closures will go into effect at 4 a.m. Jan. 14 and last until 10 p.m. Jan. 25."
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City Paper on the 'Capitol Riverfront', and Other Links
Dec 10, 2008 1:10 PM
Piling a bunch of stuff together, again:
* Just posted on its Housing Complex blog (and in this week's print edition), the City Paper takes a look at the "Capitol Riverfront," both in the attempts to brand the neighborhood and in how empty it currently is (the subhed for the piece says "Developing a Name for the Southeast Waterfront Is Easier Than Actually Developing It" ).
UPDATE: I should also mention that Housing Complex has also posted occupancy numbers for the new buildings in Near Southeast: 70 and 100 I are 18 and 14 percent leased, Onyx is at 8 percent, Capitol Hill Tower is at 75 percent, Capitol Quarter Phase I is sold out, and Velocity is 25 percent sold.
* Reader J. reported yesterday that interior work seems to have begun at the old dialysis building at 900 M Street. They're rehabbing the interior and the exterior to create three retail storefronts, though no tenants have been announced yet.
* The Douglass Bridge is having another early-Sunday-morning-closure on the 14th.
* Planners are trying to figure out where to put all the charter buses coming to town for the inauguration. I'm guessing that the surface parking lots all around Near Southeast are going to be pretty enticing.
* The WBJ picks up on what I reported last week about 810-816-820 Potomac Avenue going up for sale in a sealed bid.
* One more add: Dr. Gridlock reports that Metro will be testing more eight-car trains on the Green line.

ANC 6D Doings, Part 1: Artomatic, Nats Express, and Capper PUD Modification Requests
Dec 8, 2008 11:10 PM
Just got back from ANC 6D's meeting, and I'll leave you waiting until Tuesday for the first details on Akridge's Half Street plans (I don't want to give it short shrift) but here's the other Near Southeast items of the evening:
* Commissioner David Sobelsohn said an announcement is likely coming next week that the city's 2009 Artomatic festival will be held in ANC 6D, "most likely ANC 6D07" (which is Near Southeast). I know nothing more than that.
* Sobelsohn also introduced a resolution to send a letter to Tommy Wells, DDOT, and other officials expressing the ANC's support for the continuation of free parking at RFK and the Nats Express shuttle buses "to reduce the incidence of illegal on-street parking in ANC 6D by people attending events at Nationals Park." The resolution passed 6-0. A few weeks ago it was reported that Wells wants to discontinue the service.
* The DC Housing Authority came requesting the ANC's support for a series of zoning items having to do with the Capper PUD, including extending some deadlines and also expanding the number of residential units offered. (You can read all about them here; I'm too worn out to go into them all again tonight.) There wasn't much discussion of the request itself, because the commissioners were, shall we say, displeased that a huge packet of supporting materials arrived on their doorsteps just last Friday (6D07's Bob Siegel didn't receive his at all, and were unmoved when told it was basically the same information they had received in July.
There was also displeasure expressed about the request to delay the start date for the Community Center at 5th and K to 2012, with the commissioners wondering what level the DCHA would consider a "critical mass" of residents that would make the center viable. (Only 300 of the planned 1500 units have been built so far, so it would seem that the threshold might perhaps be a bit higher.) But the Housing Authority made clear that obtaining financing for the project is the larger hurdle. The support request will be brought up again at the ANC's January 12 meeting.
* I admit that I didn't stick around for the late-in-the-agenda item on the Capper trash enclosures. But DCHA mentioned that they had met with the city's Public Space Committee in advance of their monthly meeting, and were making progress on modifications to the design. ANC chair Moffatt asked if the enclosures still exist at all in the new design, and when he got the "yes" answer, that ended the discussion.

Addendum on Parking Meter Revenue
Nov 21, 2008 1:48 PM
In yesterday's wrap-up of the Performance Parking meeting, I mentioned how the program wasn't yet "operating in the black," because of the substantial cost of putting in the meters. However, I've been gently reminded that the legislation that created the pilot spells out that, initially, 60 percent of the program revenue will be put toward the repayment of the cost of the meters, with 20 percent of the revenue to be used "solely for the purpose of non-automobile transportation improvements in the zone." (The other 20 percent goes to the DDOT's operating fund.) This means that there will already be some dollars available at the end of 2008 toward improvements.
In a few years, once the meters are paid in full, only five percent of the revenue goes toward meter and signage upkeep in the zone, and 75 percent goes to non-automobile transportation improvements in the zone, such as bike racks, sidewalk repair, etc.
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Wrap-Up From Performance Parking Meeting
Nov 20, 2008 4:53 PM
Despite my subconscious desire to return to those days when I didn't bother going to public meetings, I ventured out on Wednesday night to DDOT's first quarterly public meeting on the Ward 6 Performance Parking Pilot Program. Much of the discussion centered on issues outside of Near Southeast (such as how Southwest's parking-enforcement hours still run from 7 am to midnight seven days a week, even though Capitol Hill rolled theirs back to 9:30 pm six days a week and no restrictions at all on Sundays), so I don't really have a lot to report in terms of any changes that might be happening to the streets south of the freeway and east of South Capitol.
There are a few numbers to pass along--so far in 2008 (from the start of the program on March 26 through the end of October) the Ward 6 pilot zone grossed a bit over $235,000 in parking fees, with it splitting pretty evenly between the 80 game days ($118k, averaging $1,650 per day) and the other non-game days ($115k, averaging $1,300 per day). However, it cost the city more than $860,000 to install the meters and signage, so the program isn't exactly operating in the black yet.
The current red visitors passes are scheduled to expire on Dec. 31--however, DDOT's Damon Harvey acknowledged that the realities of trying to send them out in late December (in the midst of the holiday mail deluge) and the issue of on-street parking enforcement for the inauguration means that it's likely DPW will be told to not consider the old passes expired until Feb. 1 or some other date.
There was really only one attendee who was vociferously against the pilot's restrictions; others who got up to spoke had concerns about portions of it, but given how these meetings can sometimes go, it seemed that most people were accepting of the program. DDOT's Harvey made sure to emphasize a number of times that this program is not just about ballpark parking--it's to get ahead of all of the expected development and commerce coming to Capitol Hill, Near Southeast, and Southwest, and protect resident and business parking before it gets out of hand.
There were no specific changes announced for 2009--however, it sounded like if there were changes they'd be put in place closer to Opening Day. Although most of the people who spoke at the meeting mentioned that they didn't really see any influx of ballpark-related on-street parking on the Hill or areas further away in Southwest, it would be wise to keep in mind two things for 2009: the possibility that the free Nats Express won't be running (no decision yet), and, on the flip side, the opening of two new office buildings within two blocks of the ballpark that will have three levels of underground parking that could become available (100 M and 55 M, and perhaps also the underground parking now being built in the hole just north of the ballpark, though there's been no announcements of whether any of these will be offering gameday parking). The potential lack of free parking could drive more fans to try to find on-street parking, but perhaps the growth of close-in garage spaces will mitigate that.
Tune in again in February when I'm sure the traffic and parking discussions will heat up for the new season! (Yippee.)
UPDATE: Don't miss my addendum, where I clear up that just because the meters haven't been paid for yet doesn't mean that the neighborhood won't already be seeing some of the revenue.
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Reminders for Wednesday: Parking Meeting, Onyx
Nov 18, 2008 2:45 PM
Two reminders for your Wednesday planning:
* Onyx (1100 First Street) is having its grand-opening party from 5 to 8 pm, with music, nibbles, and tours.
* And, at 6:30 pm, DDOT is having a Public Meeting on Ward 6 Ballpark District Performance Based Parking Pilot Program, a look at what's worked, what hasn't, and what might change in 2009 with the on-street parking around the ballpark. The meeting is at 6 pm at Friendship Baptist Church, 900 Delaware Ave., SW.
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Public Meeting on Ballpark Performance Parking
Nov 10, 2008 1:54 PM
Just out from DDOT (now online): "The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) will host a quarterly public meeting on the Ward 6 Ballpark District Performance Based Parking Pilot Program on Wednesday, November 19, 2008. The meeting is an opportunity for residents, business owners, churches and other stakeholder groups to provide feedback on the first year of parking operations under the Performance Based Parking Pilot Zone Act of 2008.
"The meeting agenda will include:
"Presentation of the Ward 6 Committee that will assist DDOT in determining how curbside revenue will be allocated.
"Update on multi-space meter revenue collected since the inception of pilot zone.
"Update on Ward 6 Visitor Parking Pass (VPP) program.
"Discussion of potential signage improvements or modifications for 2009.
"Recommendations from community stakeholders for 2009."
It's scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 19, from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm at Friendship Baptist Church, 900 Delaware Ave., SW (on the corner of I Street). For more information on the Performance Parking program around the ballpark, check my Stadium Parking page.
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Roundup: ANC 6D Agenda, 11th Street Bridges Short List, Metro Ballpark Crowds
Oct 15, 2008 2:20 PM
* The ANC 6D agenda for its meeting on Monday Oct. 20 has been sent around (though not yet posted online). There will be a discussion of the Ballpark Traffic Operations and Parking Plan as it relates to Southwest, plus public space requests for building signage at 909 New Jersey and "Brick Walls for Trash Enclosures" at Capitol Quarter. (These are also on the Oct. 23 agenda of the city's Public Space Commitee.)
* The short list for a design/build team to reconstruct the 11th Street Bridges is out--Shirley Design-Build LLC, Skansa/Facchina, Archer Western Contractors LLC, Perini/Parsons Joint Venture, and KCA Constructors Joint Venture. According to the procurement schedule, a draft RFP should already be out (haven't found it online), and final RFP should be issued by the end of the year, with a contract signed with the vendor by June 1, 2009.
* Metro announced yesterday that 53 percent of baseball game attendees this year arrived at Nationals Park via Metrorail. That's 1.8 million bodies, averaging 23,000 people entering and exiting the Navy Yard station at the 80 home games in 2008. (It apparently doesn't count people who took the bus or walked down from Capitol South.) In the last two years at RFK, only 38 percent of attendees took the subway. Marc Fisher has some thoughts on it all (including some questions on Metro's math).

City Settles Miller Ballpark Garages Lawsuit
Jul 7, 2008 7:19 PM
According to the Post's DC Wire blog, the final chapter of the Garages Wrapped With Development Goodness saga has now been written: "Developer Herbert Miller has settled his $40 million lawsuit against the District government over the failed plan to build two 13-story condominium towers just outside Nationals Park. Under the settlement, the city will pay Miller's Western Development $2 million and the company will drop its legal grievances, according to Miller's son Ben, who is now the company's president." Above is the design for the condo/garages, and here's my various entries on the Miller plan. While you look at those links, think about the current four-story parking lots in the outfield and imagine them with another eight stories on top. And no centerfield plaza, either.
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Updated Performance Parking Rules, from DDOT
Jul 2, 2008 9:44 PM
A letter arrived in the mail at JDLand HQ today (how old school!) from DDOT director Emeka Moneme, saying that DDOT "has heard your concerns regarding the hours of enforcement for the enhanced Residential Parking Permit (RPP) program in your neighborhood. I am pleased to announce that as a result of the success of our campaign to encourage transit use and based upon community feedback, DDOT has decided to modify the hours of enforcement for all residential streets within the following boundaries[,]" which is basically all residential streets east of South Capitol, west of 9th St., SE, and south of Pennsylvania Avenue. Beginning June 23, the hours on these residential streets in Near Southeast and Capitol Hill were changed to Monday through Saturday from 7 am to 9:30 pm, with no enforcement on Sundays. West of South Capitol Street, in Southwest, RPP rules remain the same (7 am to midnight seven days a week), except for ending these restrictions on M Street SW.
Also, according to the updated Multispace Meters Rates and Hours of Operation sheet from DDOT, parking at the green multispace kiosks in Near Southeast is no longer off-limits during stadium events. It now costs $2 for the first hour, $8 for the second hour, $8 for the third, and $2 for the fourth. This equals the cost of most of the cash lots operating near the ballpark. (See that sheet for the updated rules for Pennsylvania Avenue SE and Barracks Row.) I haven't paid close enough attention over the past few weeks to see if this meter change has been in effect since before June 23--but clearly the ample parking and well-flowing traffic near the ballpark has lessened the original fears that allowing on-street parking north of the ballpark would bring a crunch of drivers circling looking for spaces. ($4 gas might be helping that, too.)
I've posted on my Stadium Parking page the updated map from DDOT showing these changes and the explanations of the parking restrictions around the ballpark as they now stand, after these alterations. I suppose I should get off the sofa and go see if the street signs here on my Capitol Hill residential block have been updated to show these new hours, but I'm lazy tonight. Still worn out from last night's fast-forwarding extravaganza, I guess.
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Link Roundup - Catching Up Edition
Jun 18, 2008 1:47 PM
I'm back. Here are some news and links that came down the pike during my respite:
* Tonight (June 18) the Capitol Hill Restoration Society is having a community forum with DDOT director Emeka Moneme, at which DDOT staff will be "prepared to discuss all the various transportation initiatives that are being planned or implemented that affect Capitol Hill, including the Anacostia River and Reservation 13 areas, the 11th Street bridge expansion, H Street light rail, and other issues relating to streets, parking, commuter traffic, and mobility on Capitol Hill." The program will begin at 7:45 pm, after refreshments at 7:15 and CHRS business at 7:30. It's at St. Peter's Parish Hall at 2nd & C Streets, SE
* The Post profiles Robert E. Boone, the founder of the Anacostia Watershed Society, and looks at the strides that have been made in cleaning up the river over the past 20 years: "Boone did not make the Anacostia clean, but he made it visible again, reconnecting it with a city that had used the river and then forgotten it."
* City Paper updates the status of Positive Nature, the program for at-risk kids housed at 1017 New Jersey Ave., SE. A few months ago, legislation was introduced that would have exempted the property from real estate taxes as long as Positive Nature was there; but the bill has never had a hearing. Apparently the city is still looking for a space to move the program to.
* The DCMud blog interviews Capitol Riverfront BID executive director Michael Stevens about the changes happening in Near Southeast and the development planned for the area.
* Voice of the Hill looks at the changes to the parking rules along Pennsylvania Avenue and Eighth Street. And also brings up the problem with credit card transactions often not working with the multispace kiosks. Cellular transmission interference of some kind, DDOT says, with the hope that it should be fixed within a few weeks. (Those of you who receive CIA broadcasts through the fillings in your teeth might notice the same issues.)
* This weekend's Nats homestand against the Texas Rangers includes "Thanksgiving in June," the third-annual food drive in partnership with the Capitol Area Food Bank. Bring nonparishable food items (canned proteins, fruits and vegetables; pasta and sauces, soups, cereals, apple sauce, rice and flour) to Friday's, Saturday's, or Sunday's game, and drop them off outside the Center Field Gate. Heck, you don't even have to go to the game to donate.
* On the other hand, the planned Youth Jersey Giveaway at Sunday's game has been canceled due to circumstances beyond the Nats' control. But the first 10,000 children 12 and younger to attend the 1:35 pm game will receive a voucher for two tickets to any future 2008 regular season Nats game.
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ANC 6D Monthly Meeting Agenda; Parking Tweaks
Jun 6, 2008 11:41 AM
It's that time of the month again (wait, that didn't come out right). Monday night is ANC 6D's monthly meeting, and the agenda has now been posted. (Yay!) No specific Near Southeast items are included, but there will be a discussion of changes that are coming to the Performance Parking Plan, some of which were telegraphed at the community meeting last month and described in the latest Hill Rag.
These parking plan changes include an earlier end on weeknights and making Sundays free for the metered parking on the commercial strips north of the freeway. There have also been changes made already to the multiple-guest pass system (for all those dinner parties and book clubs that everyone on the Hill is apparently having every night)--residents don't need to gather visitors' car and license info anymore, they can just go to the 1D or 1D1 police stations and pick-up one-day passes that can be filled out at home.
I won't be able to be at the ANC meeting, but I'm sure it will as always be a scintillating and uplifting discussion of the issues.
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What Parking Crisis? Sayeth City Paper
May 14, 2008 11:49 PM
City Paper's latest issue brings us "What Parking Crisis?", detailing how hard the city and the Nationals worked to plan for the expected parking catastrophe when the ballpark opened, and then surveys the nearly empty the parking lots during the recent homestand, along with the decline in use of the Nats Express and the lack of much problem with on-street parking by fans in Southwest and on Capitol Hill. (It also mentions the $550,000 a year the DC Housing Authority is getting from the Nats to lease the T, U, and W lots in the old Capper footprint, whether all the spaces are used or not.) Gregory McCarthy of the Nats is quoted as saying that it's still early in the season: "Summer is not here. The inventory of lots was based on the experience we think will unfold. The parking situation is still evolving." It also mentions last week's community meeting on the on-street parking restrictions, which I summarized here.
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Performance Parking Community Meeting
May 8, 2008 11:13 AM
The Post has a piece about last night's community meeting assessing the first 30 days of the new Performance Parking plan that restricts curbside parking in Near Southeast, Southwest, and southern Capitol Hill, so I get to skip the basic roundup (yay!); there were also reporters from other outlets there, so I'll link to those as they appear, though the ABC7 report is so full of errors that I will pretend I didn't see it. I'll just hit a few points that stood out for me (keeping in mind that my focus is south of the freeway):
* Some people don't like it, some people do. But I guess you want to know more than that.
* It sounds like the midnight end time for the restrictions will be gone within a few weeks--it's just a question of where they move it to (9:30 seemed to be the number that Tommy Wells came back to a number of times). It sounds like they're already making that move along Pennsylvania Avenue and Barracks Row, after the restaurant and bar owners reported a massive drop in their business in the past month. (On the other hand, businesses with primarily daytime traffic, such as Moto Photo, say that their numbers have improved with the new restrictions, since turnover of spaces is improving; apparently the double-parking has dropped off a lot, too.) Because the specifics of the plan weren't written into the legislation (leaving it up to the Mayor), changes can be made on the fly, without having to go back to the council.
* A lot of people want the restrictions to only be in effect on event days (ballgames, concerts, etc.), though there was then some consternation about how people would *know* it's an event day. Beyond that, Tommy explained a number of times that this plan isn't just about baseball, it's about trying to get ahead of the massive influx of visitors and development in the area over the next few years, and having strategies in place to prevent these neighborhoods from going the way of Adams Morgan or Georgetown. But, when people see that a number of the Nats parking lots are less than full during games, they feel that the entire parking plan is a "solution in search of a problem."
* Even though the signs say that restrictions are enforced starting at 7:30 am seven days a week, the director of DPW said that Sunday enforcement begins at 1 pm. Churches have been given a number of visitor parking passes, and the long-simmering battle between churches and residents over parking was a big undercurrent at this meeting. Tommy says he will meet with every church and its surrounding neighbors to hammer out ways for problems to be addressed.
* A lot of Capitol Hill Tower folks were at the meeting, but I've learned my lesson and will say little about their parking issues (since I get sniped at no matter what I say). As with most multi-unit residential buildings in the city, CHT residents do not get residential parking permits to allow them to park on streets. They do have an underground garage, but there is a battle between some residents and the building's developer over how the garage is being handled. Some have now been given visitor parking passes to allow them to park on nearby streets.
* Tommy says the parking lot under the freeway at 8th Street should be available for public parking by the end of the summer. (I will file this in my large I'll-Believe-It-When-I-See-It folder.) And he's definitely eyeing the little-used "W" surface lot at the old Capper Seniors site at 7th and M as perhaps employee parking for Barracks Row, though no specifics were mentioned.
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Parking Meeting Tonight, Metro Work to Impact Getting to the Ballpark This Weekend and June 7-8
May 7, 2008 9:44 AM
* A reminder that tonight is Tommy Wells's community meeting to get feedback on how the new on-street parking regulations are going in Near Southeast, Southwest, and on Capitol Hill. It's at 7 pm at the Capitol United Methodist Church, at 5th and Seward Square, SE (on the south side of the Square). I'm sure it'll be a blast.
* Metro is needing to do replace a switch at Mt. Vernon Square, necessitating four weekends worth of major delays on the Yellow and Green lines, starting this weekend and going through June 8. Here's Metro's press release detailing how service will be impacted, and how they will attempt to handle the crowds at Nationals Park during the May 10 and 11 and June 7 and 8 home games: "People attending these games should add more time into their schedules if riding or connecting to the Yellow and Green Line as there will be longer waits for trains before and after the games." This quote from WMATA in today's Post story is a little more stark: "If fans 'leave the stadium and keep walking straight to Half Street [the Navy Yard station entrance closest to the stadium], there will be such a backup that they won't be able to walk around the crowd.' " Fans are being told to build in 30 to 45 minutes into their trips.
There will be special shuttle trains between Navy Yard and L'Enfant Plaza, along with shuttle buses starting at the end of the seventh inning that will run between Navy Yard and Federal Center SW. Plus, the N22 shuttle from New Jersey and M to Eastern Market and Union Station will run every five minutes. Read the press release for further details; here's Dr. Gridlock, too.
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Unhappiness on the Hill About Parking; May 7 Meeting
Apr 29, 2008 2:33 PM
The new May issue of the Hill Rag has two articles on the not-very-positive response on Capitol Hill to the new Performance Parking regulations that have gone into effect, centered mainly around complaints that parking for visitors and guests via the one-guest-pass-per-household configuration is not working. You can read the report on April's ANC 6B meeting and the Rag Time column for more. And the latest Voice of the Hill also has an article about the ANC 6B meeting and the problems with guest parking. Feedback that perhaps the rules do not need to be enforced on non-gamedays seems to be growing, too.
These reports are all from outside my boundaries, of course, but we all know how much I enjoy covering parking. Anyone from Near Southeast want to weigh in and add to the fun?
It's also a good opportunity for a reminder about the May 7 community meeting organized by Tommy Wells on Performance Parking, at the Capitol United Methodist Church, Fifth and Pennsylvania/Seward Square, SE, from 7 to 8:30 pm, which ought to be a real barnburner.
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More posts: parking, Nationals Park

Valet Stadium Parking at the WMATA Bus Garage; Paying Cash Now an Option at T, W, HH Lots
Apr 20, 2008 9:34 AM
The Nats continue to expand their single-game parking offerings, with new options for drive-up cash lot parking now posted on the official web site (and being mentioned during game telecasts). The latest offerings are: a) valet parking (at $50 a pop!) inside the Southeastern Bus Garage at Half and M (which the Nats are now leasing from WMATA), b) additional cash-lot parking in official Nats lots T and W (at Capper) for $20 and lot HH for $15; and c) pre-pay-only individual-game Red Zone parking at a mere $40 a game.
Even broadcaster Don Sutton remarked during a broadcast a few nights ago that perhaps the Nats did *too* good of a job of telling people how tight parking and traffic would be, and that now there's plenty of inventory. (Perhaps the Nats also saw the private cash lots cropping up and saw a little bit of $$ flowing away from their grasp....)
But will this additional traffic flow to parking lots increase congestion, causing angst about the volume of cars descending on the neighborhood? (Then again, if it does, perhaps the pendulum then swings back toward people using Metro or the Nats Express.)
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More posts: West Half St., Metro/WMATA, parking, Nationals Park

Pope Day Arrives in the Hood; This Week's Column
Apr 17, 2008 8:56 AM
So, the faithful are streaming toward the ballpark as we speak. Although the 55 M cam showed the upper decks pretty empty with about 90 minutes to go, Channel 9 (already on the air with its coverage of the mass) gives a better view of the tens of thousands already inside. (48,000 people are expected.) How's everyone faring, either trying to get out of the neighborhood or into it for work? Or is everyone just staying home? And, for those reading this later today who went to the mass, how did your trip go?
In other news, my Ballpark and Beyond column this week is yet another one about stadium parking, taken mainly from my Monday night post about ANC 6D's muted reaction to parking and traffic issues (along with the Zoning Commission's approval of having additional lots built in Southwest if landowners want them). I also tossed in a quick roundup of the private cash lots springing up.
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More posts: ANC News, parking, Nationals Park, zoning

Zoning Approval for Possible Additional Surface Lots; ANC 6D Says Little About Ballpark's Debut; Community Meeting about On-Street Parking
Apr 14, 2008 11:12 PM
On Monday night, without much discussion, the Zoning Commission gave approval to the request to add additional blocks in Buzzards Point to the zoning amendment allowing temporary surface parking lots near the baseball stadium. The commissioners who spoke mentioned the need to give the Nationals the flexibility the team was seeking to be able to build new surface lots as development possibly takes away the lots currently in use. The vote was unanimous, although Commissioner Turnbull stated for the record his concern that lots north of Potomac Avenue, closer to the residential portion of Southwest, could introduce significant traffic. As of now, the Nationals have announced no plans to use any lots at Buzzards Point this season.
At about the same time the Zoning Commission was voting, ANC 6D was discussing how the first few games at the ballpark went, in terms of traffic and parking impacts on Southwest and Near Southeast. And, for a group of people who, shall we say, have not been shy over the past few years about voicing fears as to how the new stadium would impact their neighborhood, the reaction was surprisingly muted. Visitor parking passes did not seem to get to all residences, additional signage needs to be installed, issues with left turns and parking enforcement on G Street, SW will need to be addressed, and there were questions about whether the parking restrictions on M Street could be eased, but overall the commissioners seemed to feel that there had been no major issues. Commissioner Robert Siegel, who represents all of the ANC east of South Capitol, proclaimed himself "very pleased." (Though Commissioner David Sobelsohn did remark that things "will go smoothly as long as the Nationals keep losing.")
The meeting itself was pretty sparsely attended, with few of the residents who have been vocal about potential problems at previous meetings on hand. Only a couple people in the audience spoke up about any issues they'd had or seen, and did so without much emotion. The discussion was over in probably about 15 minutes. If you've ever attended an ANC 6D meeting, you know how astonishing this is.
Tommy Wells will be having a community meeting to look at how the new on-street parking regulations are working, both for residential streets and the retail stretches along Pennsylvania Avenue and Barracks Row, on May 7 at 7 pm, at the Capitol Hill United Methodist Church (Fifth Street and Seward Square, SE).
There's other items to report from tonight's meeting, but I'll write about those in an entry to come.
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More posts: ANC News, parking, Nationals Park, zoning

Yet Another Batch of Mostly Cloudy Photos; Monday Meeting Reminders; Pope Street Closings
Apr 13, 2008 2:21 PM
If you like photos of streetscapes taken under overcast skies, this has been the site for you lately. Yeesh. On Saturday, before the rains came, I updated my shots of the western side of New Jersey Ave., showing how projects like 909 New Jersey, 70/100 I, Onyx, and 100 M have changed the view in the past year. At least the sun was out for the brief time on Friday evening when I took new photos of the western side of the ballpark, along South Capitol Street. So, adding these to the photos I took earlier in the week of First and Half streets, the current state of construction in Near Southeast is pretty well documented. And now the sun shall come out, but I'll be waiting a few weeks until the next round of updates (probably early May).
Monday brings some meetings with Near Southeast items of interest. At 6:30 pm the Zoning Commission will have its monthly meeting, and is scheduled to vote on whether to open up additional blocks in Southwest to possible temporary surface parking lots (you can watch via live webcast). At 7 pm at St. Augustine's church at 601 M St., SW, ANC 6D will have its monthly meeting, and will be looking at Forest City's plans for office and residential buildings at 401 M Street/400 Tingey at The Yards, and the request by the developers of the proposed 250 M Street office building to increase its height to 130 feet. The project at The Yards has its hearing at the Zoning Commission on April 24, and 250 M's is scheduled for May 14.
And, for this week's visit from the Pope, the Post has a huge graphic of road closures and other information to help get through the festivities. Note that, in addition to the closure of South Capitol Street from 2 am to 2 pm Thursday, it shows that Van, Half, First, and Potomac in SE will be closed at some point, as will O, P, Q, and Potomac SW from Half Street to South Capitol. "Expect other road closures around the ballpark from 9 pm Wednesday until 2 pm Thursday," it says.

Link Roundup (No-Commuting-Apocalypse Edition)
Apr 10, 2008 9:05 AM
* There's not a single story that I can find in the media this morning talking about how last night's predicted commuting catastrophe went, on the roads, at RFK, or on the Metro. The announced paid attendance at the ballpark was 23,340, up a few thousand from Monday night, and judging from the 55 M web cam the vast majority of people arriving by Metro made it before first pitch. (The 10-4 drubbing at the hands of the Marlins was a disaster of a different sort.) Anyone have any problems?
(Ah, just as I finished writing, here's Metro's report, saying that yesterday was its ninth highest weekday ridership day ever, though tourists and cherry blossom visitors were part of the mix, too.)
* My Ballpark and Beyond column in today's Post looks at how the dire predictions for Opening Night and Monday night didn't come to pass, and also the many different ways you readers reported getting to the ballpark on Opening Night (so, thanks for all those comments--made my job easy this week!).
* An Inquirer columnist disses concessionaire Aramark's performance at Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park, noting that the company, which had been in charge of concessions at RFK, didn't get the gig at Nationals Park. (He also tosses in a plug for Ben's half-smokes.)
* I'm going to add a list of available cash lots to my Stadium Parking page--I'd love some on-the-ground reports to make sure I'm getting them all (Splash, Chez Resnick at First and L, 80 M, South Capitol and Potomac, perhaps Positive Nature--anyone seen any others? If so, where, and for how much?).
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More posts: Metro/WMATA, parking, Nationals Park

Metro and Parking Doom, Preparing the Ballpark for the Pope; Pick Your Disaster Scenario
Apr 9, 2008 10:09 AM
* NBC4 sets the vibe with "Traffic Nightmare Expected in DC Area This Evening", a short piece on the Wizards-United-Nats trifecta. They list the area around RFK as the possible flash point, though all of yesterday's Impending Doom stories pointed toward Metro and Gallery Place. Remember, if you're using the Nats Express, you have to park at RFK's Lot 7 tonight, not Lot 8. Dr. Gridlock has more on getting through the evening.
* WJLA gets into the mix with "Parking Woes Surround New Stadium," retelling a story they had on Tuesday about legally parked cars getting towed during Monday's ballgame. There's also a quote from a school bus driver lamenting not being able to park free on the street anymore, which I'm guessing won't be garnering much sympathy from the pro-Canal Park folks who want the buses out. And there's dueling quotes from Barracks Row shopowners, one who doesn't think it's fair and another who likes the turnover of spaces. There will be a public meeting next month to get first feedback on the new parking restrictions.
* For something a bit more uplifting, try Catholic News Service's "Turning a Stadium into a Cathedral for Pope's Mass in DC."
And, an observation:
* Conventional Wisdom leading up to Opening Day: "OMG! The stadium is going to be a disaster because there's going to be such huge traffic, transit and parking nightmares!"
* Conventional Wisdom after Monday's game: "OMG! The stadium is going to be a disaster because no one's going to go!" (Never mind that it was NCAA finals night/cold as hell/the Marlins/a school night/a game not in season ticket partial plans.)
Stan says the Nats will get the attendance they deserve. Ask the Capitals about that, when you're mulling whether to fork over a couple thousand dollars for a ticket to one of their playoff games.

Use RFK Lot 7 on Wednesday; Metro Plans
Apr 8, 2008 4:43 PM
(Moved to its own entry, to give the Pope Bobblehead stuff its own glory.) Here's Metro's press release detailing preparations for Wednesday's Triple Threat of the Wizards, DC United, and the Nats all in action at the same time. And, because you can never have enough press releases, here's one from the Nats (link to come) explaining that, when DC United is playing at RFK, Nats Express shuttle parking will be in Lot 7: "Washington Nationals fans choosing to park for free at RFK Stadium and take the Nats Express to Nationals Park may park in Lot 7 on all D.C. United home game dates. RFK Stadium Lot 8 will not be available to Nationals fans on Wednesday, April 9 or any future date in which the Nationals and D.C. United each play at home. Lot 7 may be accessed off the Whitney Young Bridge (East Capitol Street) or off of Oklahoma Avenue. The Nats Express begins ninety minutes prior to Nationals home games." WTOP asks about whether there will be any patrolling of DC United fans parking free in Lot 7 (apparently not).
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More posts: Metro/WMATA, parking, Nationals Park, Traffic Issues

Post-Mortems on First Weeknight Ballgame
Apr 7, 2008 10:42 PM
(Decided to move this to its own entry.) As expected, it wasn't anywhere close to a full house at Nationals Park tonight. I wandered over to South Capitol Street at about 6:30 and traffic wasn't even backed all the way up the exit ramp from the freeway, and M Street was all but empty. The T and U lots at Capper didn't seem to get more than about 30 cars between the two of them, though the E, F, J, K, and L lots were pretty full. And I see that the garage at 80 M Street, which is not an official Nats lot, is offering cash parking for $20. (Looked like the Positive Nature folks on New Jersey Avenue are running a cash lot, too?) Lots of people coming out of the Navy Yard station at Half and M at 6:30ish--if you arrived that way and walked to the Center Field Gate, you were greeted by the Budweiser Clydesdales. Inside the park, lines were shorter (since there were fewer people) but there's definitely still grumbling about the speed of service.
What was your experience tonight, either getting to and from the park or inside?
As for media reports, the Post paints a similar picture to what I saw, that the evening went smoothly. WJLA focuses on the glitchy scoreboard, apparently not finding anything else of note to report from the evening. Announced paid attendance was 20,487, says AP, noting that Metro says they noticed almost no difference from a normal rush hour. Another AP story talks about the scoreboard problems and the fact that the ballpark was less than half full. Next stop, Wednesday's triple threat with the Nats, the Wizards, and DC United all in action at the same time. And with warmer weather on the way, finally.
UPDATE: A few more media reports: WJLA reports on overzealous towing (and note the interesting use of an un-cleaned-up quote from an angry resident). The Examiner focuses on Metro having little trouble.
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More posts: parking, Nationals Park, Traffic Issues

Advance Purchase Single-Game Parking Available
Apr 4, 2008 4:28 PM
This just in, from a Nats press release: "The Washington Nationals today announced they will offer individual game parking passes to fans for all 2008 home games at Nationals Park. The opportunity to purchase individual game parking is only available online by visiting nationals.com/waytogo." The lots/prices are: $15 per game at Green Lot HH (under the freeway at South Capitol Street); $20 per game at Orange Lot W (the old Capper Seniors lot at 7th and M); and $40 to Red Zone parking (lot unspecified). See my Stadium Parking map to see where these lots are (I'll update it with this info momentarily).
Quoth Stan: "After careful review of the experience of the first weekend, the team is pleased to make available yet another amenity for fans, daily parking spaces at various price levels." After some lots were pretty empty on Opening Night, this offer isn't surprising.
And note, again, that single-game parking in these lots is available only online--you have to buy it before you go to the game, because it won't be available by just driving to the lot. This presumably is being done with an eye toward mitigating the congestion that would arise when people wander around looking for parking. We'll see if they were *too* successful on Opening Night, and some people who dutifully took Metro or the Nats Express from RFK and saw few traffic problems and empty lots decide to now arrive by car, reversing the initial success.
If I were to offer advice, I'd say that buying a parking pass isn't a bad idea for weekend games, but I'd still counsel caution at the idea of driving to Near Southeast during a weeknight rush hour.
UPDATE: The Post writes about the new parking options, and also about Monday night's game being the next big test for getting fans to and from the ballpark.
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More posts: parking, Nationals Park

Empty Parking Lots; Getting to Opening Night?
Apr 1, 2008 12:43 PM
Based on my own observations and some others that have come my way, it seems that the parking lots put together by the Nationals for Opening Night near the ballpark were not anywhere close to filled to capacity, despite months of dire predictions that even these 4,000 or so spaces would not be anywhere near enough to handle just season ticket holders, let alone people who just had tickets for that night and wanted to park near the stadium. For instance, the 110-space lot T at Third and K wasn't even opened on Sunday night, and lot U was nowhere near capacity. On the other hand, some reports say that Lot 8 at RFK was completely full, and there was overflow parking at Lot 7.
So, I'm looking for some information, and I'd love responses from readers. If you went to Opening Night, how did you get there? If you drove, did you have a parking pass for one of the lots? Which lot did you park in? Did you have a pass, but opted to take Metro or go to RFK? If you took Metro, how did you arrive? (Navy Yard, Capitol South, Union Station, N22 bus, other bus, etc.) Did you walk? Did you bike? Leave your information in the comments. Thanks!
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More posts: parking, Nationals Park

Getting You to the Ballpark, and What You'll Find; and a Reminder of What Was There Before
Mar 29, 2008 10:23 PM
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 JDLand.com 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.
And....
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.
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More posts: Metro/WMATA, parking, Nationals Park

Multispace Meters Now Activated to Restrict On-Street Parking (Updated)
Mar 27, 2008 12:36 PM
* 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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More posts: parking, Nationals Park

Small Businesses Being Squeezed, Previous Stadium Openings, Plus Tuesday's Other Ballpark News
Mar 25, 2008 11:37 PM
* 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."

Temporary Surface Lots in Southwest, Con't.
Mar 25, 2008 6:04 PM
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.
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More posts: parking, Nationals Park, zoning

SE/SW Freeway 'Stadium' Signage; Exhibition Info; Sun Critic Likes It; Another Parking Lot Offer
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).
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More posts: parking, square 740, Nationals Park

Reminder: Zoning Hearing on Parking in Southwest
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.
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More posts: parking, Nationals Park, zoning

Fourth Street Now One Way; Visitor Passes; Ballpark and Development; Recent Headlines Again
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....

Quick Ballpark Links; First Event Mere Minutes Away
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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Nats to Lease WMATA Garage and Lot for Parking; Bus Operations Ending Friday?
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.
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More posts: West Half St., Metro/WMATA, parking, Nationals Park

Splash to Offer Same Day Cash Parking for Ballpark
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 [splashdc@earthlink.net], 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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This Morning's Ballpark Odds and Ends
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).

Parking and Access for Fans With Disabilities
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 nationals.com/waytogo.
(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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DOT Curb Cuts Not ADA Compliant; Positive Nature Rally; Douglass Bridge Ceremony Coverage
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.

Mental Health Day (but Not Quitting!); And, Can You Find Your Way to the Ballpark?
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.)

Prez to Throw Out First Pitch; Parking Lot Updates
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.

Still More Ballpark Stories (RFK Shuttle, Beer Sales)
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?")
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More posts: parking, Nationals Park, Traffic Issues

Why No Nats Parking at USDOT, and Additional Ballpark-Related Items
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.

Info on Baseball Parking for DoD Staff
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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Reminder: Ballpark Traffic Meeting Wednesday
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.
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More on Metro's Plans for Opening Day
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.
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55 M Cam Back Up, Another Grumbler, and More
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.
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Monday Meetings; Parking Signs; Birds-Eye View
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.)

Details on Metro Plans for Opening Day, Pope Day
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.
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Hearings on First New Buildings at the Yards; Ballpark and South Capitol EIS Also on ANC 6D Agenda
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.

Morning Links: Getting to the Ballpark, Gas Leak
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.

Roundup: Ballpark, Parking Signs, Satellite Image
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

Performance Parking Bill Passes; Additional Zoning Hearing on Southwest Lots on March 24; Public Meeting on Traffic and Parking March 12
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.)
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More posts: ANC News, parking, Nationals Park, Traffic Issues

The Scoreboard, and Recent Items Re-Linked
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.

Community Meeting (not) at the Ballpark on March 12; Additional Items from the Thursday Roundtable
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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More posts: parking, Nationals Park

Ballpark Traffic Management Details
Feb 29, 2008 2:28 PM
I'm still working my way through the tape of last night's council roundtable on ballpark traffic and management issues. But I think fans and neighbors alike will be interested in the PowerPoint slides shown by DDOT director Emeka Moneme. There's a lot of detail on traffic flow and restrictions, most of which exists in the huge TOPP but which are more easily understood in these new graphics.
Look at the slides if you want to know: how DDOT will be attempting to address potential traffic bottlenecks in congested spots before and after games; where traffic control officers will be stationed, where left turns will be prohibited, what streets will be closed, where drop-off/pick-up locations will be (South Capitol Street), where the post-game taxi stand will be (Half Street north of M), where charter buses will be parked during games (Buzzards Point), where variable messaging signs will be posted around the region, how traffic signals will be retimed before and after games, how traffic will be routed to and from the parking lots before and after games, and where the signed bike paths are to and from the ballpark (bike racks will be available at the two parking garages just north of the stadium, and there will be the bike valet, too). (New on-street parking restrictions are in there, too, and are explained more fully on my Stadium Parking page.)
You'll also see in the slides that DDOT is expecting 52 percent of stadium-goers to arrive via Metro, though Moneme in his testimony said that Metro thinks that number could be closer to 60 percent.
DPW director Bill Howland said that there will be 12 parking enforcement officers and 12 tow trucks working to enforce the on-street parking restrictions in the area.
Other items from the hearing include:
* The DC Sports and Entertainment Commission and the Nationals now have "an agreement in principle" to let fans park for free at RFK, and the city will be reimbursed through a somewhat complicated give-and-take. There will be 55 motorcoach-style buses.
* As mentioned elsewhere recently, season ticket holder parking has been awarded to all who applied for it without using up all 4,700 spaces in the lots near the ballpark. The Nationals say they are looking at whether to offer some parking in those lots to non-season-ticket holders, but are concerned about how that might contribute to congestion, and so are still determining their strategy.
More as I get through the rest of the hearing. But seriously, look at the PowerPoint slides. There's a lot of good traffic flow information there.
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More posts: parking, Nationals Park

Roundtable on Traffic Operations and Parking Tonight
Feb 28, 2008 10:22 AM
Passing along a reminder, via my Ballpark and Beyond column in today's District Extra of the Post: "A roundtable by two D.C. Council committees on the city's plans for traffic and parking at Nationals Park begins at 6 tonight in Room 120 of the Wilson Building. Considering that the last hearing on stadium-related parking issues lasted until almost midnight, you might prefer to watch tonight's session in the comfort of your home, where you'll have access to your kitchen cabinets and coffee maker. The roundtable can be seen on Channel 13 on D.C. cable systems or on the Web."
I won't be able to watch it live, but hopefully I can post a summary of it before too long, unless the current focus on the stadium by the local media takes care of it for me. If so, my feelings wouldn't be hurt. Really. It's all yours.
I should mention here that what's long been known as the Draft Transportation Operations and Parking Plan (TOPP) is now apparently the final version of how traffic is going to be handled, at least until they see how it works on Opening Day and then start tweaking it (which DDOT and other agencies fully expect to be the case). So if you want to know the nitty-gritty of traffic and pedestrian flow, the TOPP is the place to look. And I imagine the residents testifying at tonight's roundtable might have an issue or two with it.
Other items in today's column were the latest tidbits on Diamond Teague Park, a reminder of the meetings next week on the South Capitol Street Draft Environmental Impact Statement, and photos of the new freeway and bike route signage pointing to the ballpark. And just a note that the column will be taking the next two weeks off, and will be back on March 20--if there's anything left for me to write about that isn't already covered in this All Things Ballpark media blitz.

Your Morning Ballpark Roundup
Feb 28, 2008 8:23 AM
* Washington City Paper's cover story this week is "Inside Baseball", a series of vignettes about "winners and losers" around the ballpark. It highlights neighbors such as the Market Deli at First and L and Positive Force around the corner on New Jersey Avenue (and former neighbors such as Ken Wyban, owner of the house at Van and N that was demolished), and talks about the "lost" views of the Capitol from many sections within the stadium. Plus there's quotes from a couple of residents of the nearby housing projects in Southwest that they've "been told" they're going to be moved out, despite vehement denials by the Housing Authority.
* A three-person arbitration board ruled unanimously that the Nationals and not the District should pay for "ancillary items at the new stadium, such as golf carts, fork lifts, and medical and office equipment," saving the city $4.2 million and keeping expenditures within the $611 million cost cap, according to WTOP.
* Links to the avalanche of stories about the new on-street parking plan around the ballpark are at the end of my entry about it from yesterday. Perhaps the saturation coverage--and the advertising campaign by the team scheduled to start next week--will indeed drill into the noggins of the public what's been said for months now: that really, truly, you're not going to find on-street parking, and traffic's going to be crazy anyway. So just take Metro. (And read this Dr. Gridlock blog entry and its comments to get a sense of the wide-ranging views of the public on using Metro. And have fun with the writer who discussed the "questionable neighborhood" the N22 bus goes through--you know, Capitol Hill.)
* And, what if nearby residents start scalping their visitors passes?
* But can we also drill into the collective conscience that there's not "only 1,200 parking spaces" at the ballpark? Yes, the ballpark footprint itself has only 1,200 spaces, but the team has contracted with close-by lots to cobble together more than 4,000 spaces. As we found out in the Post, those didn't even all get taken by season-ticket holders and in fact may now allow for a small number of spaces to be made available on gamedays to non-season ticket holders.
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More posts: marketdeli, parking, square 740, Nationals Park

Opening Day On-Street Parking Rules Released
Feb 27, 2008 1:54 PM
This afternoon the city is releasing the on-street parking plan for the streets in Southeast and Southwest near the ballpark, and here it is. There's a press conference in the mayor and other officials at 3 pm, so more will be revealed, but on my Stadium Parking and Transporation page you can now see which streets are considered "residential" with enhanced protections and which ones will have the new variable-rate meters.
* On the residential streets (marked in purple on the map), parking restrictions will be in effect from 7 am to midnight seven days a week. One side of the street will be for residents with Zone 6 parking permits only, and non-Zone 6 cars can be ticketed immediately. On the other side of the street, non-Zone 6 cars can park for two hours.
* On "retail" streets (marked in red), multispace meters will be installed that will have varying costs to park based on the time of day, and the price will escalate as the amount of time you park grows, in order to make it a better deal to park in an off-street lot for a long period of time rather than using up a metered space.
* There will be visitor passes mailed out (one per household).
Read the text beneath the map for more explanations of these different zones.
What the meters will charge, and what the fines will be for violating any of these parking restrictions, were not spelled out with the map. Perhaps that is coming at the press conference. I'll be back to update with additional news as I get it.
If you live in Southwest, or on Capitol Hill, or in Near Southeast, pass this page to your neighbors. If you're a Nats fan thinking about scavenging for on-street parking, look at this map to understand that you won't be getting it on any of the colored streets without risking a ticket (or maybe even getting towed). So click on the Take Metro! tab to get information on your transit options (including distances to stations other than Navy Yard, bus routes, and additional information).
UPDATE: Nope, no specifics from the press conference on meter rates or fines if you overstay; that will all come after the council (presumably) passes on March 4 the legislation that gives the mayor the authority to set rates. Also, there's a slightly updated map on my on-street parking page--dotted-purple streets have been added, which will get the same protection as solid purple streets, but not by Opening Day. And here's Tommy Wells's press release on the plan. There was a fair amount of media at the announcement, so I'll link to their reports as they come in.
UPDATE II: Here's News4's report (and video). It addresses the safety issue as well: "Officials said there will be a heavy police presence in the area on game days to ensure traffic and pedestrian safety."
UPDATE III: The Post writes on the curbside parking plan, and also mentions that the Nationals say "all season ticket holders who wanted parking spaces have gotten them or are in the process of getting them. The team is trying to determine how many spaces might be available to fans without season tickets." And, after ignoring the Take Metro mantra, Marc Fisher finally figures out that, gee, maybe driving to the ballpark isn't such a good idea. Apparently the Nationals' media push urging fans to use transit will begin next week, and they now have a Way to Go web site.
UPDATE IV: Wrapping up, here's the Examiner and WashTimes articles. And the mayor's press release.
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More posts: parking, Nationals Park

Domino's Raze Permit; Onyx Not-Sales Center Gone
Feb 27, 2008 9:08 AM
It's not exactly a stunner, but it's still worth mentioning that a raze permit application has been filed for 1200 South Capitol Street, which is the now-boarded-up Domino's on the corner of South Capitol and M. When the store closed a few weeks ago, Monument Realty told me that negotiations were underway with the Nationals to use the site for a parking lot; I've heard nothing further on that.
And maybe now's a good time to mention that the sales-office-that-never-was for Onyx--the construction trailers deposited last spring just south of Normandie Liquors at First and M but never opened--was demolished within the past week. I had to make a value judgment, but I decided since the office never actually opened it doesn't get the honor of being added to my Demolished Buildings Gallery.

Boswell Looks at Everything Wrong By the Ballpark
Feb 26, 2008 11:15 PM
Wednesday's Post has a column by Tom Boswell ("Nationals Park: Best of a Bad Lot") listing the myriad problems he sees with the ballpark and its surroundings, with Opening Day now just a month away. The Navy Yard subway station. The parking situation. The Florida Rock site ("an enormous and inexcusable 5.8-acre eyesore" that will be "sitting there all season, damaging the river views from all the ramps to the first base upper deck"). (He does mention that fences to obscure the view at ground level will be going up, which I posted about a few days ago.) The WASA site (which "would be the Most Unsightly Thing Near Any Big League Park if Florida Rock and Gravel hadn't already retired the trophy.") The Monument Half Street site, where he says "construction has stopped." The fact that city views are only available in the cheap seats.
But he ends with a stab at optimism: "Someday, the Anacostia riverfront will amaze us, just maybe not as soon as we hoped. When it comes to fulfilling huge civic dreams, what's a few years, more or less. In for a dime, in for a decade. "
On the other hand, the article confirms that the garages, which have long been a focal point of much complaining, will indeed be covered, as has long been shown in the renderings, with "league logos, replicas of the 'Washington All-Stars' from the right field scoreboard in RFK as well as colorful baseball-themed ads."

Roundup: Pope Tix, Bus Garage, Cancellations
Feb 26, 2008 8:38 AM
* The Post says that 14,000 tickets to the April 17 Mass at Nationals Park will be distributed to 120 Catholic diocese outside of the Archdiocese of Washington, with the Diocese of Arlington getting 6,000 and the Archdiocese of Baltimore getting 2,500. And on Friday, parishes that are part of the Archdiocese of Washington will find out how many tickets they're getting--parish priests will then decide how to distribute tickets within the parish.
* The Examiner has a story about the Southeastern Bus Garage site and that the Nationals and Metro are in talks to provide 350 gameday parking spaces at the garage (plus three nearby WMATA-owned parking lots, though that's not specified in the article). The only real news in the article is that a judge is expected to rule this week on Monument Realty's lawsuit over the sale of the garage site to Akridge. For more background, read all my posts on the bus garage saga.
* Yesterday's scheduled council hearing on Monument's request to close the alley on Square 700 just north of the closed BP Amoco station was cancelled. No new session has been posted on the calendar.
* And the agenda for Thursday's WMATA Planning, Development and Real Estate Committee does not include anything on the joint development of the chiller plant site at Half and L, as had been anticipated back in January. Maybe next month?
* If you think you're excited about the local food vendors at the ballpark announced yesterday, you should read Marc Fisher.
* UPDATE: I've gotten word that the long article in the March Washingtonian on the ballpark is now online. The other related article, about residential developments planned around the stadium, won't be posted for a couple of weeks. So you'll just have to go buy it, I guess. And perhaps you too can then be like the poor soul at Safeway on Sunday reading that article, who got accosted by a pesky blogger in line in front of him pointing to a name on the page, saying, "That's me." Thankfully he didn't call security.

Ballpark and Beyond Column This Week
Feb 21, 2008 9:40 AM
My Ballpark and Beyond column in today's District Extra of the Post covers last week's release of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for South Capitol Street, the impending closure of Metro's Southeastern Bus Garage at Half and M, tonight's zoning hearing on allowing additional temporary surface parking lots in Southwest, and a reminder about today's ballpark job fair.
(And I've been under the weather the past few days, hence the somewhat brief updates.)

'Nationals Park' Added to Scoreboard
Feb 18, 2008 9:36 AM
If you haven't checked the Stadium Web Cam in the past few days (or sneaked a peek through the gap on South Capitol Street), you haven't seen the fun "Nationals Park" lettering now added across the top of the scoreboard. There are also red seats now being installed below the outfield restaurant.
I'm also hearing that this is the week that the traffic and parking plans for Opening Day are going to be released, so watch this space for the latest on that.
UPDATE: Looks like one of Channel 9's staffers got a ballpark tour on Friday--he's posted a few pictures.
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More posts: parking, Nationals Park

WMATA Gives Initial Approval to N22 Bus Expansion, Southeastern Bus Garage Closure
Feb 14, 2008 5:12 PM
A bit on the run this afternoon, so I have to be brief: today Metro's Finance, Administration, and Oversight committee gave approval to two items I wrote about earlier this week: the plans to expand to nights and weekends the N22 bus service that shuttles between Union Station, Eastern Market, and the Navy Yard Metro station (the Post says until 10:30 on weeknights--hope that's late enough for baseball), and to move around some money to allow for the closure of the Southeastern Bus Garage at Half and M. Here's the WMATA press release on the garage closure, and do read my previous entry for additional details and links to WMATA documents. These two items are expected to be given final approval by the full WMATA board on Feb. 28.
Stadium parking aficianados should note that the closure of the bus garage--in addition to lessening the chance for "encounters" between buses and pedestrians--will open up two existing lots in the "Red Zone" just north of the ballpark, as well as space within the garage itself and just to its south. Also, WMATA has been using a surface parking lot at Buzzards Point that would be vacated with this move. There's no word at this point on when exactly the garage will be vacated, and if the space will be used for parking this season.
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More posts: West Half St., Metro/WMATA, parking, Nationals Park

Zoning Amendment for Parking Lots in SW; Residents Not Happy
Feb 13, 2008 2:35 PM
At Monday's ANC 6D meeting (which I missed because I had three meetings on my calendar for that night and the ANC never released an agenda for me to know whether I should go or not), there was apparently a big discussion of Zoning Case 07-08A, scheduled to be heard on Feb. 21, which seeks to allow temporary surface parking lots for no more than five years on a series of blocks in Southwest, mainly in Buzzards Point (squares 603, 605, 658, 661, 662, 662E, 664, 664E, and Square 658, Lot 7 for those of you with tax parcel maps handy, or look on the last page of this). A temporary emergency version of this text amendment passed with no discussion back in October; the Feb. 21 hearing is to make the amendment good for five years.
When the original case (07-08) establishing the ability to build temporary lots on a number of blocks in Near Southeast was passed, parking lots did not automatically appear on every block covered in the amendment. However, ANC 6D and residents of Southwest are apparently viewing this new amendment as the city going back on a promise to not build any parking lots in Southwest. Here is the ANC 6D resolution.
I've been at meetings over the past few months where city and team officials have said that there would be no ballpark parking offered in Buzzards Point this season because of the lack of sidewalks, streetlamps, and other improvements; the Office of Planning report for Case 07-08A says: "The Nationals have advised OP that, to date, no agreements with owners of individual lots have been reached so it is not likely that any of the temporary parking will be located on these sites prior to opening day in 2008[.]" I'm checking with the Nationals to see if this has changed. But certainly Buzzards Point would be still be viewed as a prime location for additional surface parking, if it's needed.
It's anticipated that the need for temporary surface lots will lessen as new buildings go up near the ballpark; in the next two years or so, underground garages that could potentially offer additional stadium parking will open at Monument Half Street, 100 M, 1015 Half, Onyx, 70/100 I, Velocity, and 909 New Jersey.
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More posts: ANC News, parking, Nationals Park, zoning

Metro: Proposals to Expand the N22 Bus Line and Vacate the Southeastern Bus Garage
Feb 12, 2008 12:19 PM
The agenda is now out for Thursday's meeting of Metro's Finance, Administration and Oversight Committee, with votes on two items of interest to Near Southeast and to ballpark-goers:
* WMATA is proposing to expand the weeknight and weekend service of the N22 bus that currently shuttles between Union Station (and its Red Line Metro stop) and the Navy Yard station at New Jersey and M via Eastern Market (and its Orange/Blue Line stop) and the Washington Navy Yard. The buses would run every 10 minutes, and on nights and weekends the route would eliminate the loop to 12th and M streets, SE (see the map on page 2 of the current timetable), in order "to provide a shorter and faster route to the ballpark." The District of Columbia is apparently going to pay $432,000 to cover the cost of the additional service from March through August. If approved, the expanded service would begin in March. The agenda documentation doesn't say what times the expanded service would end on weeknights or operate on weekends. Read the agenda packet for more.
* The city is also apparently offering to cover the costs of relocating the buses out of the Southeastern Bus Garage at Half and M (one block north of the ballpark), as part of a $1.39 million monetary shuffling that WMATA is proposing to undertake because the $69.25 million sale of the site to Akridge still has not been finalized. DC would cover the relocation costs until the sale is completed, and presumably by doing this the buses can get out of the garage by March 30. Read the agenda packet for more details. The city is extremely interested in getting the buses out of the way, not only because trying to operate that garage with hordes of pedestrians on their way to and from games would be a disaster waiting to happen, but also because the Nats might be able to squeeze a couple hundred more $35 Red Zone parking spaces out of the garage land and the two lots adjoining it across Van Street (one to the north and one to the south of the Public Storage building).
These are just preliminary votes; if approved on the 14th, they would then go in front of the full WMATA board for final approval on March 28.
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More posts: West Half St., Metro/WMATA, parking, staddis

Pay-to-Park Signs: No Specifics Yet
Feb 12, 2008 10:24 AM
The new "Pay-to-Park" signs that have popped up around Near Southeast in the past few days (many without the accompanying multispace kiosks where one would actually *pay* to park) were brought up last night at a meeting last night with Tommy Wells and residents of Capitol Hill Tower. Rick Rybeck of DDOT seemed surprised that the signs were up already, and equally surprised to hear some residents reporting that they're getting ticketed for "expired meters" when parking by the signs, even though there's not as yet any meters to pay at. Neha Bhatt of Tommy's office said that the meter prices for parking still have not been determined, and that discussions are still ongoing as to whether high-cost meter parking will be allowed on I, K, L, First, and Half between New Jersey and South Capitol during ballgames.
But the main issue of the evening was that CHT residents are not as of now eligible for Residential Parking Permit stickers for their cars, which will leave them with no free on-street parking when the streets around their building are metered. (The plan is that everyone will have to pay to park on commercial streets, such as New Jersey, but on streets zoned residential, RPP-stickered cars will be able to park free but non-RPP cars will have to pay.) At first Tommy said that his impression was that trying to get RPP stickers for residents of a multi-unit building was not going to happen, but Rybeck said that it should be doable. By the end of the evening, it did appear that Rybeck and Bhatt had a bit more of an understanding as to the Catch-22 that CHT parkers could find themselves caught in if the Performance Parking plan is rolled in as currently envisioned. (The building does have an underground parking garage, but there is a long-simmering battle about garage parking between some residents and the building's owner that I'm way too chicken to try to characterize here, and so many residents park on the surrounding streets.)
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More posts: Capitol Hill Tower, parking

'Pay to Park' Signs and Kiosk Meters Going Up
Feb 11, 2008 1:49 PM
Late last week DDOT began installing "Pay to Park" signs and the green multispace kiosk meters on certain streets in Near Southeast--I've seen either the signs or the meters or both on K, L, M, N, First, and Potomac, but I didn't do a full-scale reconnaissance mission (I'm also seeing them around Garfield Park and I hear they're showing up on Barracks Row). These are indeed the beginnings of Tommy Wells's Performance Parking plan that is eventually going to regulate parking around the ballpark and in Southwest and on Capitol Hill. Right now I haven't heard any of the details like hours and prices, and whatnot, but hope to get some specifics soon. And yes, for a lot of you, this may mean your days of cheap on-street all-day parking could be coming to an end. More as I get it.
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Wednesday's Ballpark-Related Links
Feb 6, 2008 7:53 AM
An abbreviated list of Nationals Park links:
* On Tuesday the Post's Raw Fisher Radio talked about the ballpark and its related transportation issues with various big names, including Neil Albert and Andy Litsky. (I must admit I haven't had a chance to listen yet.) The podcast is available here for the rest of the week, and Marc blogged about the broadcast, too.
* Speaking of transportation, WTOP's Adam Tuss reports that DDOT is about to release the parking plans for the streets surrounding the ballpark. They say that the dry runs of the shuttle buses from RFK have taken about 15 minutes (about double the time the Nationals were quoting), and that "anyone who parks illegally will face consequences." The "Take Metro" mantra will be hitting the airwaves soon thanks to a Nationals' publicity campaign that's about to start.
* In the wake of the "noose incident" at the ballpark last month, City Council member Kwame Brown has introduced a bill that would make it a criminal offense to display a noose on any public or private property if the intent "is to deprive equal protection of the law, injure someone, to intimidate a person exercising a federal right or to cause fear of personal safety." Similar zero-tolerance laws already exist in the District for displaying a swastika or a burning cross with those intents.
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More posts: parking, Nationals Park

It's 11:35 pm....
Jan 31, 2008 12:36 AM
.... and the council hearing on Tommy Wells's Performance Parking plan has just ended.
You guys owe me. (Though at least I'm home in my fuzzy slippers watching the telecast.)
But despite there being more than six hours of testimony (which I need to admit here I missed the 90 minutes of, since it wasn't broadcast), I don't really see a lot of new headlines, especially if you've been following along as I've posted on this bill over the past six weeks or so. Here's my impressions of the 4 1/1 hours I did see (I'm guessing the part I missed was a tutorial on the basics of Performance Parking, which I've now seen three times):
* The vast majority of the witnesses who testified were in support of this plan to regulate curbside parking in areas near the ballpark. Residents, business owners, smart growth advocates, and others expressed concerns about certain aspects of the bill, but there were only two people (unless I dozed off somewhere) that came out completely against it. Five ANC 6D commissioners testified (Litsky, Sobelsohn, Hamilton, McBee, and Siegel, and Moffatt was supposed to but wasn't there).
* DDOT director Emeka Moneme says that his agency expects to release specifics on the bill (streets, enforcement hours, meter prices) by the end of next week (so, Feb. 8ish).
* What parking is going to be like on Opening Day was not addressed during the portion of the hearing I saw, which at this point is probably as pressing as any other issue. You can see my report from last week's town hall on Opening Day parking information that filtered out during that session. This may be part of what DDOT is releasing next week.
* Enforcement, enforcement, enforcement. Witness after witness hammered on this point, that all the plans and fines in the world won't work if there isn't strict enforcement of whatever rules are put into effect. Tommy Wells did mention that more enforcement can be handled by the same number of workers under this new plan, since with printed receipts from kiosk meters a parking attendant only needs to check a vehicle once to see if it's within it's legal time limit, rather than showing up once to inventory the cars that are parked in a zone and then return hours later to see which ones are still there and parked illegally. Jim Graham seemed a tad bewildered that Ward 6 residents want *more* enforcement, when so many of his Ward 1 constituents complain about too much enforcement. His comments about lack of resources at DPW and "only so much of the pie" didn't go over too well. Moneme said that he has assurances from DPW that "the resources will be there."
* The desire for strong community involvement in not only the setting of rates but in determining the success of the plan was another theme hit on repeatedly by witnesses who fear that the draft version of the bill gives all power to the mayor and the executive branch without any sort of community input or council oversight. Wells, Moneme, and Jim Graham all seemed to get religion on this point, pledging to make sure that some sort of mechanism is in place to involve the ANCs and get feedback from businesses and residents.
* Guest passes are still a thorny subject, especially whether people will try to copy them (they're going to have holograms) or create a hot black market by selling them. Church parking is equally delicate, though Tommy mentioned the possibility of starting Sunday enforcement of parking laws at 1 pm, to better accommodate churches but prevent all day parking by baseball fans.
* Moneme mentioned a number a times the idea of being able to pay for your parking via your cellphone (which could also send you an alert when your meter was about to expire), although this raised the hackles of witnesses who envisioned Nats fans and Capitol Hill workers repeatedly "feeding the meter" from their seats in section 401 or their desks in the HOBs. (Tommy said that this could probably be addressed.)
* Michael Stevens of the Capitol Riverfront BID testified in support of the plan, but said that the BID feels there should be no on-street parking at all on game days in the blocks north of M between New Jersey and South Capitol, because of the likelihood of traffic congestion. He also asked for the plan to be expanded south to cover Buzzards Point, and mentioned that future revenues from the parking plan should go to amenities such as streetscape improvements and Canal Park.
I believe they will attempt to get this passed at the Feb. 5 city council legislative meeting as emergency legislation, though I don't have that confirmed.
If you want to watch the hearing, you'll be able to do so at your leisure, once it's posted and when you have 25 percent of a day to spare. I'll be checking it out when to see the first portion that I missed, and will update if there's additional news.
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Producing the Pope, Noose Hearing, Parking Hearings
Jan 30, 2008 9:21 AM
This morning's tidbits:
* It doesn't say anything about smoke machines or laser light shows, but this press release announces that "Showcall, Inc., an event production company based in Maryland, was selected by the Archdiocese of Washington D.C. to produce Pope Benedict XVI's public Mass at the new Washington Nationals baseball stadium on April 17, 2008." As for what that means: "Showcall, Inc. will provide stage and set design and layout, audio visual production, and overall show direction of the public Mass. Showcall will utilize its unique skill set in producing high-profile, high-threat level events and will coordinate with the Washington Nationals to host the first major event in its new baseball stadium. Showcall will work closely with GEP Washington, the overall DMC firm for the visit."
* Kwame Brown's Committee on Economic Development is having its hearing on the ballpark's "noose incident" today at 1 pm. I don't see it on the Channel 13 lineup, but perhaps it'll get shown live or will be broadcast later on.
* Today's two hearings on parking issues in front of the council's Committee on Public Works and the Environment are at 5 pm and 6 pm. My "real life" is on overload for the next few weeks thanks to Super-Duper Tuesday and the metro-area primaries, so I can't make these hearings in person, but I will watch the coverage later this evening and sum up.
* There's also now a joint hearing between the Public Works committee and Kwame Brown's Committee on Economic Development on the Ballpark Traffic Operations and Parking Plan (TOPP) scheduled for Feb. 28 at 6 pm. There should be explanations at this hearing as to how all aspects of getting to and from the ballpark are going to be handled (at first, at least). I believe that this information will be released to the public well before Feb. 28, though I don't know exactly when.

Monday's Public Meetings (Parking, Half Street)
Jan 29, 2008 1:47 PM
Last night ANC 6D held a special public meeting to decide whether or not to support Tommy Wells' Performance Parking bill when it has its council hearing on Wednesday. I was unable to attend, but reports from my vast network of moles indicate that the ANC will be supporting the bill, albeit it while "expressing strong concern" over some still-outstanding issues. (We'll find out what those are during Andy Litsky's testimony at the hearing.) The ANC vote was 4-2.
At almost the same time, the Zoning Commission held a brief special public meeting to take up the series of minor modifications that Monument Realty requested to its design for the east side of Half Street (yes, the area that's already under construction). I talked about these in slightly more detail a few weeks ago when this first came to the Zoning Commission; the ZC declined to approve these as part of its consent agenda at that meeting because the commissioners wanted a little bit more clarification, which they got in the filings for this second hearing. The only question that came from the dais was why Metro nixed the wire mesh panels with LED lights that Monument had originally envisioned as the walls around the Navy Yard station entrance at Half and M--the reply was that, in addition to weatherproofing concerns, Metro wanted its security people to be able to see into the station by shining a light from a car on the street, instead of having to go into the station. The wire mesh is now being replaced with a glass "frit" (yes, I had to look it up, too) that will be backlit with the lighting scheme Monument wants. With that, the commission approved the request 5-0; all the minor modifications are explained in the Office of Planning report.

Parking Hearings: Testimony Deadline (Now Passed)
Jan 28, 2008 12:58 PM
Buried in my Saturday morning update, I mentioned that there is now a second hearing on parking scheduled for Wednesday (Jan. 30) in front of Jim Graham's Committee on Public Works and the Environment. In addition to the originally scheduled hearing on Tommy Wells's Performance Parking bill, there is now also a roundtable on "Parking Management Strategies for New Columbia Heights Retail Development and the New Ballpark", where "DDOT will present data and strategies." The roundtable begins at 5 pm, followed by the hearing on Tommy's bill at 6 pm. If you want to sign up to testify at either of these sessions, you need to do so by 5 pm Jan. 28; information on how to do so is contained in the new revised hearing notice. (UPDATED to note the passage of the deadline, to avoid misunderstandings.)
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Lazy Saturday Tidbits: Demolitions, Hearings, Noose
Jan 26, 2008 11:12 AM
A few items:
* This week the three low-rise buildings at First and N across from the ballpark met their maker, and have now joined the Demolished Buildings pantheon. The 55 M web cam shows that Normandie Liquors remains standing, for now.
* In addition to the official council hearing on Wednesday Jan. 30 at 6 pm on Tommy Wells's Performance Parking bill, there's now a public roundtable hearing on "Parking Management Strategies for the New Columbia Heights Retail Development and the New Ballpark," starting at 5 pm. (Apparently Jim Graham is interested in trying a Performance Parking-like plan near the new DC USA project.) There will be a presentation of data and strategies by DDOT at this hearing. Both sessions will be in Room 412 (note that this is room change for the 6 pm hearing).
* The Post has "Ex-Worker Calls Noose Incident an Overblown, 'Stupid Prank'", where fired worker Stephen White says a co-worker threw a tied rope to him and said, "Steve, I made you a necktie." He says he threw it back, and "I guess it fell on the floor. I got fired because somebody put a noose together to put around my neck." The Post says: "White said he never picked it up and did not know whether the co-worker had." A second worker--who White said was the thrower of the noose--was fired as well.
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Tommy Blogs About the Town Halls
Jan 24, 2008 1:24 PM
Just posted on TommyWells.org is an entry from the councilman himself, summarizing some of the concerns he heard from residents at the two Performance Parking town halls, and how he thinks his plan addresses them. Issues such as enforcement, lack of surface lot options from the Nationals, people who don't want their blocks included in the plan, and the idea that the plan somehow actually is *encouraging* stadium-goers to park on residential streets (uhhhhh....?) are addressed by Tommy. There's also links to post or e-mail your comments. You can also read his Curbside Parking Management Proposal page, my two summaries of the town halls, and my original post explaining the plan if you haven't gotten caught up yet.
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Performance Parking Plan Town Hall #2
Jan 23, 2008 8:53 PM
The second Performance Parking town hall has just wrapped up (read the FAQ on Tommy's web site, the bill itself, my post on it back in December, and my summary of Tuesday's town hall to get the background). Since this meeting was held on Capitol Hill, the focus was more on the impacts around Eastern Market, Pennsylvania Avenue, and Barracks Row. Since these areas are somewhat outside of my mandate, my report will be mercifully shorter than last night's.
It was a very different audience reaction than from the residents of Southwest at Tuesday's meeting--a surprising number of people spoke out about not wanting the plan on their blocks at all. But for those who think the basics are a good idea, there was a lot of talk about the need for serious enforcement (like immediate towing of non-residential vehicles) and concern about whether DPW is up to the task. And that even $50 tickets won't be enough to dissuade some ballpark goers from taking their chances on the residential streets. There was also a lot of griping about the shortage of surface lots and a strong feeling that RFK as free satellite parking won't work.
A surprising concern mentioned was Congress getting up in arms about the plan if their staffers who park all day on local streets with little fear of ticketing suddenly start getting clobbered with tickets, or if a Congressman's car gets towed under some zero-tolerance plan like some were advocating.
As with Tuesday night, questions on guest passes and church parking were met with "we're working on it."
Capitol Hill Tower residents should note that one of your own expressed a number of concerns about the parking plans for New Jersey Avenue and streets close by, and Tommy said he wants to set up a meeting at CHT to talk about issues specific to that block and the areas right around it.
There was no uniformity of opinion, but I'd characterize the meeting as definitely more intense and skeptical than the one with Southwest residents.
If you want to weigh in on anything you've heard about Performance Parking, go to the parking page on Tommy's web site and you can post your comments there.
Next step is the council hearing on the bill, on Jan. 30 at 6 pm. And I should also mention here that on Monday (Jan. 28) at 6:30 pm ANC 6D is having a special meeting to discuss and vote on whether they'll be supporting the parking plan at the council hearing. That meeting is at the ANC 6D offices at 25 N Street, SW, 2nd floor.
UPDATE: Be sure to see this blog post by Tommy Wells where he responds to some of the concerns brought up at the town halls.
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Performance Parking Plan Town Hall #1
Jan 22, 2008 9:30 PM
I've just gotten back from the first of the two town halls on Tommy Wells's Performance Parking plan to address on-street parking near the stadium, and it seemed to go pretty well. (I did not see any pitchforks or vats of boiling oil.) I'm not going to summarize the plan again, so please read the new FAQ on Tommy's web site as well as the bill itself and my post on it back in December to get up to speed. The audience comments were mainly to take issue with portions of the proposal (or to pose questions that indicated they had not digested much of the information Tommy and his staffer Neha Bhatt had just spent 30 minutes presenting), but no one rose to say the entire plan was bad.
As the meeting's scheduled ending time drew near, the topic was finally brought up of how on-street parking will be handled on Opening Day and until Tommy's pilot can be enacted. It appears that DDOT is going to be able to cobble together an initial version of the eventual plan; here are my notes on how they expect it to work, keeping in mind that this was not an official presentation of the plans and that the map displayed was hard to read (so don't take any of my boundaries or descriptions as gospel):
* New multispace meter kiosks will be installed to control and price parking on streets from Second Street, SE, over across South Capitol to Second Street, SW, north of M (I, K, and L streets), including New Jersey Avenue, and on the two frontage streets next to the freeway (I Street and Virginia Avenue). These will be "ballpark-area retail streets" as described in the plan, where on gamedays the meters will allow parking for four hours, but at a rate of $4 or $5 an hour. (There will also be "retail street" multispace meters installed on Pennsylvania Avenue, at Eastern Market, and along Eighth Street, but I'm concentrating here on Near Southeast boundaries.)
* New multispace meters will be installed on M Street SE/SW, First Street SE, and Potomac Avenue south of the ballpark, but no gametime parking will be allowed on those streets. These will allow parking for two hours at all other times.
* On pretty much any other street in Near Southeast I didn't mention above, and on most Southwest streets other than Buzzards Point and at the waterfront, the "residential" profile will be implemented, but because there won't be enough multispace meters yet, these streets will be controlled by signage and by supposedly very aggressive enforcement by DPW (which was met with a fair amount of derisive laughter). On these residential streets, Zone 6 stickered vehicles can park without restriction on either side of the street. However, non-Zone 6 vehicles must only park on one side of the street (marked with signs until the meters arrive), and can only park for two hours. Fines are expected to be raised to perhaps the $50 level for parking longer than two hours, and it's possible that non-Zone 6 vehicles parked on the residential-only side of the street will get towed. Eventually, when the meters arrive, parking will cost some nominal amount on these streets.
The questions that still are being worked on include how parking will be handled for guests of residents, and how church parking will be handled. Apparently some in the city government are wanting to not have any sort of enforcement on Sundays, but that did not go over well with the crowd and Tommy seemed to indicate a preference for extending the parking plan to Sundays and working with the churches on extra guest passes. There was also concern that the plan in its current state does not include Maine Avenue and Water Street, which could be inundated with stadium-goers if the parking there isn't regulated. Also not yet determined is when to extend the residential parking hours to in the evening, since some streets only have parking restrictions now until 6:30 pm--should it be extended to 8 pm, or 10 pm, both of which would thwart stadium-goers from trying to use those spaces?
I'm sure there will be more written about this in the coming days by other media outlets, but at least the first real news of how curbside parking will be handled on Opening Day has seeped out. Wednesday's Town Hall, at Brent Elementary School at 301 North Carolina Ave., SE, will probably focus less on stadium-area parking and more on Pennsylvania Avenue/Eastern Market/Eighth Street.
Maps and specifics will be coming from Tommy's office within a few weeks, after boundaries have been decided on.
There's also continuing concern about how Pope Day will work on April 17, since it's a weekday/workday and most parking lots will be filled with commuters. I have come up with a brilliant solution that I'm attempting to float at all levels of the DC government, so please pass it on: In DC, April 16 is now a city government holiday known as Emancipation Day. My simple solution is to move Emancipation Day one day forward, to April 17, to at least get non-essential city workers off the streets and out of the subway on that day while we're overrun with Benedict fans.
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Nats' Parking 'Situation Room'; Town Halls Reminder
Jan 21, 2008 10:19 PM
Tuesday's Post has a feature on the work the Nationals are doing to try to get the parking and transportation for the new ballpark figured out: "Team executives, D.C. police representatives, officials from the city planning and transportation departments and Metro, and D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission staff members meet regularly in the situation room, working out the details of moving 41,000 fans in and out of the ballpark -- from identifying parking lots to figuring out where traffic officers will be." Not really anything new in it, but brings together items of note mentioned recently various other media reports (and blog entries) of late.
But this is a good place to sneak in yet another reminder about the two town halls on Tommy Wells's Performance Parking bill, with the first being Tuesday (Jan. 22) from 6:30 to 8 pm at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 400 I St. SW. It then gets repeated on Capitol Hill on Wednesday at Brent Elementary School (Third and North Carolina, SE).
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Performance Parking Plan FAQ; Town Halls
Jan 20, 2008 9:30 AM
In advance of this week's two town hall meetings on Tommy Wells's new plan to handle curbside parking in areas around the stadium, his web site now has a page with an FAQ and other detailed information about the proposal. Also, Wells's office has refuted the flyer I received late last week that said the Tuesday town hall will be about stadium-related parking and transportation issues other than just this proposal. The town halls are on Tuesday at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 400 I St. SW, and Wednesday at Brent Elementary School, 301 North Carolina Ave. SE. Both meetings will run from 6:30 to 8 pm. The Committee on Public Works and the Environment has scheduled its hearing on this bill for Jan. 30 at 6 pm.
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Poplar Point Parking Possibilities in the News
Jan 20, 2008 8:41 AM
Back on Friday, WTOP posted "Soccer Stadium at Poplar Point Could Help Nats Parking," which will warm the heart of commenters and others who are starting to agitate for the idea of using Poplar Point for parking, and perhaps even building a pedestrian bridge across the Anacostia between there and the ballpark. City Council chair Vincent Gray is quoted as floating the idea: "You could park over at Poplar Point, come across a pedestrian bridge, or otherwise be transported the short distance to the baseball stadium." Of course, it would need to be a really *high* pedestrian bridge, to allow for naval traffic along the river (remember, the Douglass Bridge is a drawbridge). There's already a newly revamped pedestrian walkway on the Douglass Bridge that now makes it a lot less nail-biting to walk over, but it's a pretty long walk.
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Jan. 22 Meeting Now a Town Hall on Stadium Parking
Jan 17, 2008 8:43 PM
The Jan. 22 community meeting originally announced as focusing on Tommy Wells's new Performance Parking proposal is now being touted as a "Southwest Town Hall on Baseball Parking" according to this flier that's arrived in my inbox: "Find out how street parking in Southwest will change in the next eight weeks! Plans presented. Questions answered."
More: "Councilmember Tommy Wells will hold a Southwest Town Hall meeting to discuss Baseball Parking Plans that will be implemented in our neighborhood this season. He will also discuss his plan for Curbside Performance Parking that he believes will help protect residential neighborhoods from traffic and parking at the new stadium and help small business maintain access and availability for their customers. There will be a brief presentation of the parking plan to explain how it will work, followed by an open Question & Answer session with community residents."
So, I guess this will be the unveiling of how the city is going to handle parking near the stadium until Tommy's plan gets enacted? This should be fun. The meeting is from 6:30 to 8 pm at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 400 I St., SW. There's also a meeting for Capitol Hill residents the next night (Jan. 23) at Brent Elementary School at Third and North Carolina, SE.
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Ballpark and Beyond This Week - Stadium Parking
Jan 17, 2008 9:27 AM
My Ballpark and Beyond column in today's District Extra of the Post is an abridged version of my big summary of Friday's hearing on stadium parking issues, so if you're coming from the print version, read the blog version for lots of additional detail, along with my Stadium FAQ and Stadium Transporation and Parking page for more information and background on it all.
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Hearing Scheduled for Wells Parking Plan
Jan 16, 2008 10:38 AM
A hearing is now scheduled for Jan. 30 at 6:00 pm on Tommy Wells's Performance Parking Pilot plan (B17-580), in front of the council's Committee on Public Works and the Environment. If you're interested in testifying, read the hearing announcement for instructions. And don't forget that two community meetings about the plan are scheduled for next week (Jan. 22 and 23). See my Upcoming Events Calendar for details; if you're not checking that calendar on a regular basis, you should!
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Morning Links: Parking, and Projects I Don't Cover
Jan 16, 2008 8:49 AM
Your morning linkage:
* The Washington Times has "Parking a National Crisis", detailing what it considers to be the daunting challenges of getting to Nationals Park this year: "[The Nationals reported] that there barely will be enough parking spots (5,000) to accommodate season-ticket holders and that holders of single-game tickets probably won't find any spots in the neighborhood at all. That leaves walk-up fans and holders of single-game tickets with two choices: take the Metro or park at RFK Stadium and hop on the free shuttle. Now, neither of those options sounds all that terrible. But it's easy to envision thousands of stubborn (or clueless) fans driving to Southeast in their cars only to end up circulating around like Chevy Chase in 'National Lampoon's European Vacation.' "
You might want to read my detailed post on Friday's hearing as well as my Stadium FAQ's sections on transit and parking, for more information on the current state of ballpark-related transportation and parking issues. Also, I've posted a shiny new map showing the four zones where the Nationals are offering season-ticket-holder parking, along with the lots that may or may not end up being ones that the team has contracted with. Not an official map, just showing what's out there.
And, two items outside my purview from the past few days, but big enough to worth noting:
* Financing plans to move the redevelopment of the Southwest Waterfront have emerged, with the mayor seeking to provide up to $200 million in TIF and PILOT financing; the city also has agreed to lease 15 acres of land along the waterfront to developers (Hoffman-Struever Waterfront LLC). Here's the Post on the news and concerns about so much public financing as the real estate market appears to be teetering, as well as article by the Washington Business Journal and the city's press release.
* Last week the city dropped the group led by Mid-City Urban from the short list of developers who could be awarded Poplar Point, leaving three teams in the running, two of which include a soccer stadium as an optional part of their designs. (Mid-City's design was the one that included the "aerial tram" across the Anacostia to carry passengers to Near Southeast.) The city issued a press release about the narrowing of the short list last week, and Post wrote about the status of the competition on Monday. The city could name the development partner next week. Near Southeast behemoth Forest City (of The Yards and the Capper redevelopment, as well as the Waterside Mall project in SW) is one of the remaining three teams. You can see more about the proposals at And Now, Anacostia (which also got mentioned in the Post article).
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Metro Web Page for Ballpark; Parking Lot Zones
Jan 15, 2008 5:52 PM
Metro has just launched a new web page to help stadium-goers plan their trips to Nationals Park via public transit. It's at wmata.com/nationals, and it gives links to Metro's Trip Planner, information on Metrobuses that stop near the ballpark, how to use the parking lots at Metro stations, and more. And, for you diehards: "Metro will soon be offering a choice of commemorative SmarTrip cards, available for a limited time only."
Also, the parking information for season ticket holders is starting to arrive in mailboxes around the area today. I'll link to the Nats' web site with the information once they've got it up, but until then, here's the map of the four parking zones and the prices per game that ticket holders will have to pay. (Note, none of the zones are in Southwest.)
I'll be updating my Ballpark FAQ and Stadium Parking/ Transportation pages with this new information as soon as I find the 25th hour in the day.
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Mistake on a Meeting Announcement
Jan 14, 2008 11:23 PM
I mentioned in my mammoth post on Friday's parking roundtable that a community meeting on stadium parking and traffic plans is scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 16--although it was mentioned in a Kwame Brown press release as being a public meeting, it's actually just the monthly workshop for community leaders and city agencies trying to get all the plans figured out, and isn't quite meant for the huddled masses yearning to park free (or not free). When there's a plan, there'll be meetings for everyone. If you're desperate to get together with the community and discuss parking, there's still the public meetings on Tommy Wells's parking plans, on Jan. 22 and 23.
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Monday Morning Tidbits
Jan 14, 2008 9:26 AM
Just a quick couple of links:
* The Washington Times profiles Steve Cohen of Opus East, who's been promoted to vice president of real estate. Opus's two current projects in the District are both in Near Southeast: 100 M Street and 1015 Half Street (not "1015 F" as the article says). The article touches a bit on how Opus plans to handle any slowdown in the commercial real estate market.
* A few days back the WashBiz Blog on washingtonpost.com featured a quick overview of Monument's Half Street project and an interview with the company's executive vice president, F. Russell Hines. No news in the piece to any regular readers of JDLand--it mentions Monument's lawsuit against WMATA over the Southeastern Bus Garage, but gives no status report on where it stands.
* This is also a few days old, but I can't let an entry go by without mentioning parking, so here's a link to a WUSA piece from last week that, in a stunner, finds baseball fans who are upset at the idea of Tommy Wells's Performance Parking Plan, given that it might prevent them from parking for free on neighborhood streets for three-plus hours 81 nights a year.

First Street Demolition Monday?
Jan 13, 2008 7:22 AM
I've been told by "someone with knowledge of the Ballpark District" that demolition of the old buildings on the Willco Construction site bounded by M, N, Cushing and First is scheduled to start on Monday. And that a temporary surface parking lot is slated to be built in this spot, just north of the eastern garage at the ballpark. We shall see if this does indeed come to pass....
UPDATE: Seeing that there's no bulldozers in action on this block today, I'm officially never believing a start-of-demolition rumor ever again. Though I did see heavy equipment parked near one of the buildings a few hours ago.
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Stadium Traffic and Parking Plan Hearing Summary
Jan 11, 2008 10:11 PM
Having just about reached my limit when it comes to writing about stadium parking, I'm going to cut to the chase and pass along the biggest items from today's hearing by the Committee on Economic Development on parking and traffic issues at the new Nationals ballpark. (It's a torrent of words, so I've bolded the most important items.)
The session began with ANC representatives testifying about the community's concerns that no traffic and parking management plan has yet been unveiled, and with not many days to go (no one was sure whether it was 82 or 81 or 80 days--it's actually 79, but I didn't pipe up), neighbors are getting increasingly nervous that plans and signage won't be ready by Opening Day. While Tommy Wells's proposed Performance Parking plan could eventually become the mechanism for handling on-street parking near the ballpark, it won't be able to be in place by Opening Day, and so residents want to know how parking is going to be restricted to prevent stadium-goers from descending on nearby streets in search of free parking and bringing what has frequently been referred to as "controlled chaos."
Kwame Brown became frustrated when trying to find out who is actually in charge of coordinating all the government agencies who have a hand in the ballpark and communicating information to the public--"Who do I call? Who's driving the train?" he asked a number of times. After much back and forth with Greg O'Dell of the Sports and Entertainment Commission and Judi Greenberg from the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, it was finally agreed that DDOT is now in charge of organizing and implementing the stadium's traffic and parking plans.
Determining this was a good step for this hearing that had been convened to discuss those plans, except for one small detail--council member Brown's Committee on Economic Development does not have oversight responsibilities for DDOT, so no one from the agency was in attendance.
Oops. (Apparently there had been plans to hold this hearing jointly with Jim Graham's Committee on Public Works and the Environment, which oversees DDOT, but that did not come to pass.)
It was said that DDOT will be unveiling the traffic operations and parking plan next week, though of course no one from DDOT was actually there to confirm or deny this.
Greg McCarthy of the Nationals testified about the team's continuing efforts to plan for the onslaught of fans, ranging from the mailing next week of parking information to season ticket holders to a planned media onslaught beginning in February to educate stadium-goers about the best ways to get to the park. (Short version: Take Metro! Walk! Bike! Park in Metro parking lots! Don't drive to the ballpark unless you've already got a parking pass!)
There still is no signed agreement between the Nationals and the city for use of RFK as free satellite parking for non-season-ticket holders, though clearly both sides anticipate it will get done, especially since the Nationals are working out the best routes for the free shuttle buses they plan to provide from RFK to the new stadium. (But Kwame Brown did not seem too enthused that the city might not be getting any revenue from the parking spaces.)
The team anticipates having 5,000 spaces for season ticket holders available in lots within walking distance to the ballpark--and, other than one lot that sits on the west side of South Capitol Street underneath the freeway, all lots will be in Southeast and none will be in Southwest.
Tommy Wells focused a number of times on the idea of the neighborhood embracing the ballpark as part of its culture and part of the character of the community. How neat it will be for residents to be able to walk to games, he said, expressing his hopes that the ballpark is a positive experience for both fans and residents. (Putting the stadium there "was not a hostile act by the government," he said). He also spoke of how the stadium's on-time and on-budget completion should be a real celebration for the city, but that he doesn't want it to become known as the "ballpark with a traffic catastrophe."
My favorite moment of the hearing was when discussion turned to how exactly the onslaught of papal groupies will be handled when the Pope comes to the ballpark on April 17: I realized that all this time I had assumed Pope = Mass = Sunday, when in fact the event will be on a Thursday morning, which will make traffic and parking that much more of a challenge. Start planning your vacation day now.
Other items of interest:
* Charter buses are expected to be parked across the South Capitol Street bridge during games.
* The Nationals have secured 4,000 of the 5,000 spaces they are eyeing near the ballpark, and expect to have the other 1,000 by Opening Day. There will be about 3,000 spaces at RFK, in Lots 7 and 8, and the team will be running a test of the RFK shuttle buses on Friday.
* There will be 130 handicapped parking spaces in the two lots on the ballpark site.
* The Navy Yard Metro station is expected to be ready by Opening Day.
* The Nationals will be responsible for clean-up around the ballpark and surrounding streets after games, most likely through an augmentation of the Capitol Riverfront BID's "clean teams".
* There are still plans for two job fairs to be held in Southwest, perhaps on Feb. 9 and 23 at Greenleaf Rec Center.
There's probably other items I missed that some people might be interested in, but I think that's more than enough for a Friday night.
It's anticipated that a joint hearing of both the Committee on Economic Development and the Committee on Public Works and the Environment--which oversees DDOT--will be scheduled soon.
The broadcast of the meeting is already available on demand, if you have three hours of your life you're not doing anything with. I've also posted the prepared statements of the witnesses from today, which you should definitely read to get more information than I've been able to summarize here. Also available is a press release from Kwame Brown's office about the hearing, in which he calls for "enhanced coordination from DC agencies and increased public involvement."
UPDATE: Here's the WashTimes article on the hearing. And the Examiner's.

Friday Reminder: Council Hearing on Ballpark Traffic
Jan 10, 2008 8:38 PM
A reminder that on Friday (Jan. 11) at 10 am there's a public oversight roundtable by the city council's Committee on Economic Development on parking and traffic plans for the stadium. Note that this is not the official hearing on the legislation introduced this week by Tommy Wells to regulate on-street parking in areas around the stadium and Capitol Hill, though I would imagine it should get touched on. But there's plenty of other issues to talk about as well--parking lots, traffic and pedestrian flow, Metro, and so many other items that fans and neighbors are waiting to hear about. It's going to be broadcast live on DC Cable 13 (and on the web simulcast), but I'm expecting this hearing to be so lively and informative that I'm actually going to shut down the laptop, take off my fuzzy slippers, and attend in person. (For less brave souls, the hearing should be available via both replays and on-demand viewing within a few days.) Watch for my summary of it all later Friday afternoon.
UPDATE: I have indeed survived the hearing, but will need some time to pull together a summary. In the meantime, the one headline worth passing along immediately is that Nationals season ticket holders should expect to get their parking information in the mail next week. A package showing lot locations and prices is at the printer as we speak, and recipients will choose their preferred location and cost and return it to the Nationals; they'll then receive their parking pass and exact parking location after that.
More to come.
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More posts: parking, Nationals Park

Another Day, Another Parking Lot (And Other Tidbits)
Jan 10, 2008 4:25 PM
In the past few days I've mentioned the start of construction on the first of the temporary surface parking lots at Capper and the transformation of an existing lot at 1100 South Capitol into a monthly lot managed by Colonial Parking. Today I see that the dirt is being dug up at 1000 South Capitol, which had a public space permit approved a few weeks ago for the construction of a parking lot. This property is owned by Lerner Enterprises (yes, the same Lerners that own the Nationals) and they have eventual plans for an office building on the site, but it shouldn't be a surprise that they would give this land over at least temporarily to the Ballpark Parking Cause.
Additional dispatches from today's drive-around:
* Equipment has arrived on site at 1345 South Capitol, presumably for the start of excavation for this 276-unit residential project across the street from the ballpark.
* The DC Foreign Car Shop at 31 K Street and the buildings along First Street and N north of the ballpark are still standing;
* A very affable-looking "Hospitality Ambassador" from the Capitol Riverfront BID was answering questions with a smile at the Navy Yard Metro entrance;
* The amount of construction and roadwork from New Jersey Avenue west to South Capitol really is unbelievable. (I rarely drive through the neighborhood during the day on weekdays, so most of you long-suffering residents and commuters are already well aware of this.) But seeing it in full swing just reinforces my New Year's resolution to restrict my photo treks to Sundays, when the commotion is taking its Day of Rest.
UPDATE: One more tidbit: a permit has been approved to remove the underground storage tanks at the BP Amoco at South Capitol and N. I had thought that maybe it was only temporarily closed because of the construction on N Street, but this probably means it's gone for good. As for what might appear in its place--the land is part of Monument Realty's vast holdings north of the ballpark, but no development plans for the site have been announced. In the meantime, I bet it would be a handy spot for a parking lot!

This Month in the Hill Rag
Jan 9, 2008 3:00 PM
January's Hill Rag is now online, with a number of articles on Near Southeast-related issues (most of which I've covered here in recent weeks). There's a big piece on Tommy Wells' Performance Parking Pilot Plan, though it was written before yesterday's official introduction of the legislation. Their Loose Lips-type anonymous columnist "The Nose" also talks about the parking plan, dubbing Tommy Wells "The Pimp of Parking." (Lovely.) There's also a piece spelling out the Capitol Hill Restoration Society's objections to DDOT's plans to renovate the 11th Street Bridges. And there's a wrapup of the December ANC 6D meeting, where representatives of the Nationals pledged much cooperation with the neighborhood and the ANC voted to support the ballpark's liquor license (I wrote about this meeting here).

Wells Introduces Performance Parking Pilot Zone Act
Jan 8, 2008 11:02 AM
As expected, Tommy Wells just introduced to the city council the "Performance Parking Pilot Zone Act of 2008", which would create a three-year pilot project to "better manage curbside parking, especially around the stadium and the impacted area." Wells said the goals of the bill are to protect residential parking in neighborhoods and to support local business, and commented that "it is clear that a couple thousand well-managed curbside spaces are better than two-to-three times as many unmanaged spaces." Council chair Vincent Gray co-introduced the bill, and council members Catania, Brown, Barry, and Bowser signed on as co-sponsors. I should have a link to the text of the bill itself later today, but if you can't wait, read my entry from a few weeks ago describing the plans, since I'm too lazy this morning to re-summarize.
UPDATE: Here is Tommy Wells's press release, which is a handy overview of the new legislation, and the bill itself. Some bullet points:
* The areas to be covered by the pilot include all areas south of the Southeast-Southwest Freeway from 10th Street SE to 12th Street SW and from the freeway north to East Capitol Street between Washington Avenue, SW and 11th Street, SE.
* Fines would start at $50 for parking overtime and would just upward if needed "to dissuade ballpark patrons from parking illegally in neighborhoods";
* Sixty percent of the meter revenues would be used to repay the cost of the new multi-space meters (pictured at left) and related signage, 20 percent would be deposited in the city's Transportation Unified Fund, and the rest would be used for "non-auto transportation improvements" within the zone, such as streetscape upgrades for pedestrians, biking infrastructure improvements, and better bus and rail signage.
* A "pay-by-cell phone" zone could be created to allow for electronic payments for parking. (Cool!)
Specifics still to be spelled out:
* Designations of streets as residential, retail, or ballpark-adjacent, which will govern which type of parking restrictions a street has;
* Rates for the meters;
* Days and hours of meter operations;
* Parking time limits and Residential Permit Parking restriction hours;
* A guest-pass system to allow residents to better handle visitors.
Two community meetings have been scheduled, on Jan. 22 at 401 I Street, SW, and Jan. 23 at 301 North Carolina Ave., SE. Both are from 6:30 to 8 pm. There will also be a hearing at some point by the council's Committee on Public Works and the Environment, chaired by Jim Graham. And it will also no doubt come up for discussion at this Friday's council Committee on Economic Development oversight roundtable on "Parking and Traffic Plan for the Nationals' Stadium" (Jan. 11 at 10 am).
Here's a Tommy quote from the press release: "Some of the best thinking in the country has gone into this proposal. Parking is already at a premium in our neighborhoods, but giving free curbside parking to ballpark visitors isn't managing the problem, it's only inviting more congestion and traffic."
I imagine this is just the beginning of a flood of information on the plan. Stay tuned.
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More posts: parking, Nationals Park

A Day Without Parking News Is a Day Without....
Jan 7, 2008 10:49 AM
Sometime within the past few weeks, the surface parking lot at 1100 South Capitol Street has come under the management of Colonial Parking. The spiffy new sign (and the Colonial web site) indicate that it is open for monthly parking only, at a rate of $80 a month. It's on the site where Ruben Companies plans eventually to build its SC1100 office project, but no start date has been announced for that.
As for whether it could possibly be one of the lots that the Nationals are planning to use for season ticket holder parking, I have no information on that, but it's certainly interesting that this lot has suddenly gotten big-time management....
And, in case you didn't see it mentioned in my photo update yesterday, work has begun on the Capper parking lots along Third Street. Some PVC pipes are piled up on the two blocks, and some trench digging is underway at Third and I.

New Page: Nationals Park FAQ
Dec 26, 2007 6:21 PM
I was trying to take a few days off, but an idea popped into my head during an attempted nap that I just couldn't ignore. So say hello to a new page: my Nationals Park Frequently Asked Questions and Rumor Destruction Page (call it the Ballpark FAQ for short). I tried to pull together the questions that I hear and see the most often, from basics about the park's location to all the questions about Metro, parking, and entertainment options around the site. I'm going to keep it updated as events warrant--I know there's going to be a flood of information from the team and the city about how to get to the ballpark as Opening Day gets closer, which will allow many of the FAQ's "specifics haven't been announced" answers to be fleshed out with actual details. It also doesn't address much of the in-the-weeds detail of baseball at the ballpark--I'll leave that to Nationals fan sites.
This FAQ is now the default ballpark page, and replaces the old Stadium Renderings gallery, which has now been moved to a new page (after all, renderings are less important when the dang thing is just about three months away from opening!). So if your bookmarks have changed, apologies. The exterior and interior stadium photo galleries are still in their proper places.
(As for why on earth I didn't do a page like this a loooooong time ago, I plead insanity. Yeesh.)
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More posts: Metro/WMATA, parking, staddis, Nationals Park

Ballpark and Beyond, and Stadium-Related Tidbits
Dec 20, 2007 9:06 AM
This week's Ballpark and Beyond column in the Post is my summary of ANC 6D's deliberations on the ballpark liquor license. It also references a meeting held last night between community leaders and city and team representatives (though my deadline was before the meeting, so the column couldn't actually include anything *from* the meeting).
The meeting included updates on the road improvements in the area and the Navy Yard Metro station upgrades, both of which are still on track to be basically done by opening day (the Metro station might "still need another coat of paint", it was said, but will be "serviceable").
The Nationals are still working out their parking plans, not only in terms of the lots near the ballpark but also the satellite parking at RFK, and all the additional planning that goes with it (traffic flow, signage, shuttle buses, drop off/pick up locations, etc.). It appears as of now that there might not be season-ticket-holder lots in Southwest at all, not even at Buzzards Point. There was also mention that stadium-goers will not be funneled through the South Capitol Street exit of the freeway--the team is going to try very hard to move fans through all the other close-by freeway exits, but not South Capitol Street.
Circulator buses will not be part of the transit plans for the first season. But they're planning plenty of bike racks around the ballpark perimeter, and are also still working on a bicycle "valet" parking service.
Also, there's tentative plans for two stadium job fairs, possibly on Feb. 2 and Feb. 26 (details still being worked out).
And, everybody knows that the first few games will be "a challenge."
The general tone of the meeting was more cooperative and collegial than some of these meetings have been in the past (maybe because Tommy Wells was there for the first part and everyone wanted to be on their best behavior). There's plans for more meetings and workshops between these "stakeholders" (I really hate that word) to try to hammer out the best plans for traffic, pedestrian flow, and "curbside management" (aka on-street parking) before it's all then unveiled to the community at public meetings. There was also agreement that the group should get together after the first homestand in April to talk about what works/what doesn't.
UPDATE: Speaking of public meetings, here is the official announcement about the Jan. 11 city council Committee on Economic Development oversight hearing on "Parking and Traffic Plan for the Nationals' Stadium." It contains information on how to testify at the hearing, if you're so inclined.

First Parking Lots About to Start, RFP Issued for Management
Dec 17, 2007 10:27 AM
While the plan that Tommy Wells announced last week to address on-street parking around the ballpark and on Capitol Hill is just beginning its trek through the legislative process, the first of the new parking lots that the city and the Nationals will want stadium-goers to use will get underway soon. Building permits have been approved in the last few weeks for temporary surface lots in the Capper footprint at Second and K, Second and L, and Sixth and M, and work on the first two should be starting this month. (The third lot will get started in January, after the wreckage from the almost-completed demolition of the old Capper Seniors building is cleared away.)
At the same time, a Request for Proposals has been issued by DC Housing Enterprises for the management of these lots, offering a one-year contract with up to four one-year renewal options. The RFP, while chock full of selection criteria, required certifications and other specifications, also gives a few details about the planned operations of the lots themselves, which together will have about 670 spaces (or more, if valet parking is used). They will be offering monthly prepaid public parking on weekdays from 6 am to 7 pm, at a rate of not less than $150 per month; some daily parking may be allowed as well.
But users of the lots will have to vacate prior to any Nationals game, since the lots are "expected to be subject to an exclusive arrangement" with the team that gives all spaces over to ballgame parking from two hours before the game until three hours after. And a nice arrangement it is--the DC Housing Authority will apparently receive $10 per parking space per game, whether all spaces are used or not.
The zoning rule passed earlier this year that allowed the creation of temporary ballpark-area lots such as these says that they may also be used for a "seasonal or occasional market for produce, arts or crafts with non-permanent structures," though no plans for anything like that have been announced. The rule also states that the lots can only last until April 2013, since it is believed development around the ballpark will bring plenty of underground parking that will negate the need for these surface lots. The three Capper lots will eventually be replaced with a mix of apartment buildings, townhouses, and office buildings, though start dates for those projects have not been announced.
One block south of Capper, at the Yards, another batch of temporary surface lots are planned, which would have about 700 spaces. Beyond these and the garages with 1,225 spaces on the ballpark site itself, no other stadium parking locations have been publicly identified, though the Nationals have said they have found enough parking spaces for all season ticket holders--they just haven't said where they all are yet. And the city and the team continue to say that Metro will be the best way to get to the ballpark.
You can check out my stadium parking map to see where these new lots are--it also shows the other locations where zoning allows temporary lots, plus existing lots and underground garages where parking could be made available.

City Working on New On-Street Parking Plans Around the Ballpark, in Southwest, and on Capitol Hill
Dec 14, 2007 8:31 PM
There has been much discussion by residents and city officials over the impending "apocalypse" of traffic and parking congestion with the opening in April of the new ballpark. Residents not only in Near Southeast (all 400 of you) but in Southwest and on Capitol Hill have been waiting for the city to announce exactly how on-street parking will be handled during games, as there is great concern as to whether residents will still be able to park on their streets and won't have to deal with hundreds or thousands of cars circling the neighborhoods looking for free parking.
It's been thought that the model used at RFK--special parking permit stickers for residents to put on their cars--would be ported over to the new ballpark area, but over the past few months council member Tommy Wells and his staff, along with DDOT, have been working on a pilot plan they hope could address not only the parking issues at the ballpark but also the parking problems seen on Capitol Hill along Pennsylvania Avenue, Barracks Row (Eighth Street), and the streets around Eastern Market. They are looking for ways to balance the needs of residents with the impact on businesses if parking is hard to come by, and are looking at a concept called "Performance Parking." Here's my five-cent summary:
"Retail" streets would have the hours of metered parking extended to seven days a week until late in the evening, and with the prices to park at the meters raised to a level that would discourage some people from arriving by car, opening up more spaces and reducing double-parking and congestion. The adjacent residential streets, now covered by Zone 6 parking rules that ostensibly only allow two hours of visitor parking during weekdays (but are dependent on the parking enforcement folks tracking the cars to know how long they've been there) would see the installation of meter kioskson one side of the street, where nonresidents could park for no more than two hours even until late in the evening and on weekends. (Residents could park on both sides of the street as long as they want.)
These rules would extend with slight tweaks to the streets around the ballpark: "Retail" streets in these areas would allow longer stretches of parking (four-plus hours), but would have rates for metered parking comparable to the amount charged in pay lots, to discourage ballpark-goers from believing that on-street parking would be any cheaper than what's available in existing lots and garages. And with the residential streets having meters that wouldn't allow parking for longer than two hours, most people going to three-hour-plus baseball games would avoid parking on those blocks.
In other words, these restrictions would tell visitors--park in a lot, or take Metro, or walk, or ride your bike, but don't expect to drive down and find a space for free on a street somewhere.
One other facet of this plan would be to use the revenue from these much higher on-street parking rates to pay the cost of the new kiosk-type meters (that cost about $7,800 a pop), the cost of the extra enforcement needed to make the plan work, and also improvements to the streets and the communities to make alternative modes of transportation more enticing (fixing sidewalks, adding bike racks, making bus shelters better, etc.).
This plan has been previewed for local businesses and the ANCs (today it was the media's turn), and it's hoped that a bill creating this special pilot project can start its path through the city council process in early January. Alas, this would not be enough lead time to get it all in place before Opening Day, so there will probably be some tumult during the early part of the season as the city tries to keep stadium visitors from taking over the residential neighborhoods.
You'll no doubt be reading much more about this idea over the coming months, and there will be public meetings and refinements and many words written about it all, I'm sure. And of course one other piece of the puzzle--the locations of the various lots where the Nationals will be directing season-ticket holders to park--has yet to be made public. Eventually Wells's office will release maps (perhaps soon) showing the streets that could be designated as retail or residential, along with other documents providing far more detail than what I've previewed here.
In the meantime, I'm going to do something I've never done in the nearly five years that I've been running this Near Southeast site--I'm going to open up the floor to comments about this idea, that then hopefully can be read by city officials and other residents to see what people's impressions are of the plans. But be forewarned, if this little low-tech experiment goes off the rails and people start getting out of control, I'll close it down and won't be inclined to give it another shot. So behave. Of course, you'll be commenting on something you probably need to learn much more about to truly be informed, but when does that ever stop anyone on the internet?
UPDATE: Here's a story from the Post on Wells's parking plan. " 'The ballpark visitors are going to be very tempted to look for cheap parking' on city streets, said Neha Bhatt, a planner in Wells's office. 'We've got to get that out of people's head that free parking exists here.' " The story also reminds me to mention that plans are to make Buzzards Point off-limits to on-street parking during ballgames (though it's likely some cash lots will be built there).
Also, there's going to be an Committee on Economic Development oversight roundtable on "Parking and Traffic Plan for the Nationals' Stadium" on Jan. 11 at 10 am. (It was originally scheduled for this Monday, the 17th, but they felt like there hadn't been enough public notice. I'll say--I hadn't even heard about it!)
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More posts: parking, staddis, Nationals Park, Traffic Issues

ANC Votes to Support Stadium Liquor License
Dec 10, 2007 9:50 PM
I just got back from ANC 6D's monthly meeting, where the commissioners voted 6-0 (with one abstention) to support the application by Volume Services Inc. for a "CX Arena" liquor license at the new ballpark. This single license would cover all concessions at the stadium, including kiosks, restaurants and boxes, and at individual seats.
The ANC had asked representatives of the Nationals and concessionaire CenterPlate to discuss potential issues with alcohol sales at the ballpark in greater detail, but it became a more freewheeling discussion between the team officials, who are trying to assure nearby residents that the team wants to be a good neighbor, and the commissioners, who feel that the community has received very little communication up to now from the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission and other city agencies about traffic, parking, and other stadium-related issues.
Nationals senior vice president for business affairs Michael Shapiro spoke a number of times of the Nationals' "sincere desire to become a member of the community," and that they want the neighbors "to be proud" of the new ballpark. Shapiro and director of ballpark operations Matthew Blush offered to meet on a regular basis with community leaders, which appeared to be well received by the commission's vice chair Andy Litsky, who described the ANC's dealings with the Sports and Entertainment Commission on ballpark-related issues over the past two years as a "horror show."
Greg McCarthy, who is senior director of the Nationals' ballpark district dealings, spoke about parking and traffic issues, explaining that season ticket holders will be assigned to specific lots and will be given detailed instructions on the correct routes to use, to prevent the cut-through traffic and circling for on-street parking that the team says it will be actively discouraging. The commissioners made clear that parking issues remain a huge concern for residents, and that they want to hear specifics soon about how gameday parking will be handled.
Shapiro and Blush described upcoming outreach efforts such as bringing neighborhood kids to the ballpark for batting practice, getting jobs at the stadium for local residents, and having ambassadors and security outside the ballpark itself before and after games as part of making "the building work for the community." Commissioners and audience members were particularly interested in job opportunities at the ballpark, with the hope that the Nationals will go beyond "hanging out a sign" to actively recruit nearby residents.
As for the liquor license, Shapiro indicated that most of the rules in place at RFK (such as no alcohol sales after the seventh inning) would be in place at the new ballpark, and suggested that the Verizon Center would be used as a guide for how to handle alcohol-related issues for non-baseball events such as concerts. (I'm guessing that liquor sales might not be an issue at the first non-baseball event at the new stadium, which is scheduled to be the April 17 mass by Pope Benedict XVI.)
With some concerns that protesting or otherwise hindering this application might spur the sports commission or the city council to issue a liquor license outside of the city's Alcohol Beverage Control jurisdiction, the ANC gave its support. The license hearing is scheduled for Jan. 2.
In the meantime, the DCSEC, the Nationals, and community leaders have another meeting scheduled for Dec. 19.

Neighbors Worried About Ballpark Traffic
Dec 10, 2007 9:17 AM
The Post has a story this morning on the concerns of residents about how stadium traffic is going to impact the neighborhoods around the ballpark. "City officials and Nationals executives have been working on plans for new traffic patterns and parking for about 5,000 cars expected at most games. But neighborhood activists said few details about those plans have been made public. And what they have heard has made them more concerned as they watch the mammoth stadium rise above the skyline." Plans for free parking at RFK still have not been finalized, nor have announcements yet been made as to where season ticket holder parking lots will be: "Not knowing the parking sites has left neighbors concerned that they can't predict which streets will be most congested or whether they will be satisfied with the team's plans." Street parking will be limited to residents, as at RFK, though the final boundaries of the restricted areas have not been announced (an early draft of the parking zone, as well as links to the full the Draft Transportation Operations and Parking Plan, are on my Stadium Parking page.)
More posts: parking, Nationals Park

Update on Stadium Parking and Transportation
Dec 7, 2007 11:01 AM
Voice of the Hill has posted an article on the status of parking and traffic plans for the new ballpark, which boils down to: team and city officials say it will be okay, neighborhood residents and activists say it won't. The team, as it always has, will be emphasizing Metro as the best way to get to the stadium, and is apparently working on plans for guiding people who drive to the games on the "right way" to get to the various parking lots that will be available. As for the infrastructure work: "Street and sidewalk work is on schedule, and the Navy Yard Metrorail station will be ready to use, but possibly unfinished, by opening day, said Ken Laden, the Transportation Department's associate director for transportation policy and planning. Laden also said the agency is working with Ward 6 Council member Tommy Wells on new street-parking regulations that would discourage on-street parking during games."
According to the Voice there was a community meeting about baseball-related traffic concerns on Nov. 28, which I didn't see announced anywhere. But apparently there's another one scheduled for Dec. 19 at 6:30 pm at Southeastern University.
More posts: Metro/WMATA, parking, Nationals Park

Permits for First Temporary Surface Lots Approved
Nov 29, 2007 9:25 AM
The city's Approved Building Permits Feed tells us that yesterday three permits were approved for the construction of temporary parking lots on three blocks within the Capper/Carrollsburg footprint: Squares 767 and 768, which are cleared lots between Second and Third and I and L (just to the east of what-may-someday-become-Canal Park), and Square 882 between L and M and west of Seventh, where the old Capper Seniors building is in the midst of coming down. This doesn't necessarily mean that construction will start tomorrow (I don't know if the contracts that were advertised a few months back have been awarded yet), but it does mean that what is sometimes the biggest hurdle to construction in the city has already been passed.
As part of the rules governing their creation, the lots will be open for general paid parking during non-game times, and can also be used for "a seasonal or occasional market for produce, arts or crafts." These lots should yield somewhere between 670 and 720 spaces. Eventually these locations will be home to new apartment buildings along Third Street and both a new office building and townhouses on the Capper Seniors site; the parking lots themselves are only allowed until 2013.
You can find out more background about parking plans for baseball on my Stadium Parking and Transportation page, though no specifics have been announced yet as to which lots the Nationals are planning to use for season-ticket holders.
UPDATE: I'm hearing that work on the Third Street lots should get underway in December, and on the Seventh and M lot in January.

Quick Links: Parking, Bridges, Streetcars
Nov 23, 2007 9:12 AM
I just can't bear to go completely dark for too many days in a row, so here's some light reading for your post-turkey haze:
* These are almost a month old now (oops), but the Hill Rag has an opinion piece on the plans for the 11th Street Bridges, plus an article on the community concern on Capitol Hill and in Southwest over the planning for ballpark parking.
* Today's Washington Business Journal looks at the plans for the return of streetcars to DC, a very long-term project that could eventually have light rail running down M Street SE and across both the 11th Street and Douglass bridges. But that's a loooong ways off--first they have to finally get a long-delayed test line in Anacostia off the ground, and then the H Street NE corridor would be next. There used to be a good web site on the project at DCTransitFuture.com, but that site is now hijacked with a fake blog, so the best I can give you is this DDOT page with a few links.
* There's also a WBJ article on PNC Bank securing the naming rights to the Diamond-level seats (the second priciest) and the club lounge at the ballpark. Still no word on naming rights for the stadium itself, though a few weeks ago we heard that there might not be a sponsor during the inaugural season.

RFK Parking: Nationals vs United
Oct 25, 2007 8:48 AM
One of the issues with having satellite parking for the new Nationals ballpark at RFK, according to today's Examiner, is what would happen when both the Nats and DC United have games scheduled for the same time. The article says that there's still no agreement between the city and the Nationals on any plan to park baseball fans at RFK.
More posts: parking, Nationals Park

DC on Ballpark Parking at RFK: Not so Fast
Oct 24, 2007 12:10 AM
In response to the e-mail sent out earlier today from the Nationals saying that non-season ticket holders will be able to park at RFK and ride a shuttle to the new ballpark for free, the city is saying that the deal isn't done, according to Wednesday's Post: "The Washington Nationals said for the first time yesterday that the team expects some fans to park at RFK Stadium next season and ride a shuttle bus to the new ballpark more than two miles away. But the team's announcement that fans will be able to park for free at RFK, property controlled by the city, surprised D.C. officials, who said they have not signed off on the plan." And, in addition to the negotiations not being yet finalized, there's questions on how such shuttles would work, given how traffic-filled the routes between RFK and South Capitol Street can be.
More posts: parking, Nationals Park

All Nats Season Ticket Holders to Get Parking
Oct 23, 2007 5:11 PM
From a Nationals press release, via e-mail:
"The Washington Nationals announced today that all season ticket holders will be offered parking for games at the new ballpark. Fans purchasing season ticket packages, including full season, half season and partial game plans, will be able to purchase parking in the area surrounding Nationals Park. Available surface parking spaces and/or garages are currently being designated, and the process is an ongoing one. The Nationals and the District have been working very diligently for over a year to provide parking for their fans.
" 'We are very excited to announce that, due to the hard work of many, many people, we now feel confident that we will be able to provide parking spaces for purchase by any season ticket customer account,' said Stan Kasten, President of the Washington Nationals. 'We understand there has been a great deal of concern and speculation regarding parking availability at the new Nationals Park for 2008.'
"For fans without season tickets that choose to drive to Nationals Park, or season ticket holders who choose not to purchase parking, there will be free parking at RFK Stadium with a speedy and free roundtrip shuttle service to the games.
"The process of selling tickets and acquiring parking spaces will continue throughout the offseason. More details about parking, including policies and prices, will be announced at a later date."
See my stadium parking page for all the parking-related news up to now. I know nothing about actual locations of lots for season ticket holders, etc., etc. Just passing along what the press release says. Hopefully specifics will be coming along soon. (And it will be interesting to see if this truly means that all non-season ticket holders wanting to drive to the new ballpark will be sent to RFK for parking and shuttled.)
More posts: parking, Nationals Park

Ballpark and Beyond This Week
Oct 18, 2007 9:42 AM
My Ballpark and Beyond column in today's District Extra in the Post covers the new zoning amendment for additional temporary surface parking lots (here's the Office of Planning report with all the details), and a little blurb about three of the historic call boxes along First Street disappearing recently, which you might have missed when I posted it here on Tuesday because it was at the end of two veeeeery long entries.
More posts: parking, Nationals Park, zoning

Another Zoning Request for More Ballpark Surface Parking Lot Locations
Oct 16, 2007 9:18 AM
With Opening Day 2008 inching closer, the cobbling together of parking at the new ballpark is apparently turning out to be a greater challenge than constructing an on-time on-budget stadium. So this week the city put in another zoning amendment request to allow more temporary surface parking lots, this time covering eight squares in Southwest, all between P, T, 2nd, and South Capitol streets. (See my Stadium Parking page for a map with the new lots highlighted.) You can read the Office of Planning's report on the new case (07-08A) for more detail.
On Monday night the Zoning Commission approved this request on an emergency basis, meaning that the zoning change takes effect immediately, lasting 120 days while a hearing is scheduled and a permanent amendment is voted on.
As with the original amendment approved earlier this year, the lots can last no more than five years, are required to be available for public parking during non-game times, and must have District Department of Transportation approval of their traffic routing plans to ensure that access to the lots is not directed along I, P, or Fourth streets, SW. There's also a new requirement being added with this latest request, that a minimum of five percent of the spaces in these lots be reserved for a car/ride-share program.
These new lots are still subject to the cap of 3,775 total spaces laid out in the first amendment, unless special exceptions are obtained after the cap is reached from the Board of Zoning Adjustment on a per-lot basis. As with the squares covered earlier this year, it's not expected that lots will suddenly sprout on every one of the locations covered in the request; the main goal appears to be additional flexibility in finding possible spots for the needed spaces.
A separate zoning action a few months ago approved three temporary surface lots totaling under 800 spaces at The Yards, across the street from the stadium. There are also apparently negotiations underway about using the lots at RFK and providing shuttle service to the new ballpark.
There are other locations within a few blocks of the ballpark that will no doubt become temporary parking lots as well--one example is the Lerners' recent permit applications to build a lot on land they own at 1000 South Capitol Street.
At Monday's ANC 6D meeting, when this new zoning amendment was discussed, commissioners mentioned rumors of additional lots perhaps coming to the recently closed KFC and Exxon locations on the west side of South Capitol. But these blocks are not in the Capitol Gateway Zoning Overlay, and so don't require the special approval needed for the squares in the previous amendment requests. And these additional locations still require the Nationals to contract with the landowners, which might not always be an easy negotiation.
The ANC commissioners did not bring up many concerns about this new request, other than asking for confirmation that the traffic controls in the initial amendment cover these new lots, which Judi Greenberg of the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development assured was the case.
Commissioner Ron McBee said that he hopes to organize a town hall meeting for Southwest residents about all the parking plans when they are more concrete, and vice chair Andy Litsky reminded Greenberg that the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission is supposed to be meeting with community leaders to address ballpark-related concerns, but that there hasn't been a meeting in six months.
The zoning commission's approval of the emergency action came with little discussion, perhaps reflecting that most of the potential issues with these temporary lots were hashed out in the first request.
Time should solve many of the initial parking issues around the ballpark; right now there are seven office and residential projects already under construction around Near Southeast that by 2008 and 2009 will have multiple levels of underground parking that could potentially be available for gametime, just as with the lots are in the buildings around the Verizon Center. Most of the squares in these recent zoning requests, along most every other block between South Capitol and Second, will also eventually be home to buildings with underground parking.
UPDATE: An e-mail sent out today to Nationals season ticket holders says that 2008 ticket package information will be sent out "in the next month or so", and that a "comprehensive transportation package will also be sent to all season ticket holders shortly after you have received your seat location information." Presumably the "transportation package" means parking plans for season ticket holders (and maybe a really good Metro map!).
More posts: ANC News, parking, Nationals Park, zoning

ANC 6D Oct. 15 Agenda Posted
Oct 12, 2007 3:12 PM
The agenda is out for Monday's ANC 6D meeting; the big item is the aforementioned vote on Monument Realty's plans for redeveloping the Randall School at Half and I, SW; also, Council Member Phil Mendelson is slated to talk about the MPD move (I don't know if this means just the 1D station issues, or everything that surrounded the now-aborted use of 225 Virginia Avenue). Also, there's an agenda item about a Southwest Neighborhood Association town hall meeting on ballpark parking, but I can't tell if that's just to announce the town hall meeting, or if it already happened. The ANC meeting is at 7 pm at St. Augustine's Episcopal Church at 6th and M, SW.
More posts: ANC News, parking

Bids Being Solicited for Capper Surface Lots
Oct 7, 2007 6:06 PM
Tucked deep in the classifieds of Thursday's and Friday's Washington Post were solicitations to build three temporary surface parking lots in the footprint of the old Capper/Carrollsburg public housing complex. The invitations for bids (here and here) are for 1) site grading/storm water systems/paving, and 2) lighting installation; proposals are due on Oct. 26 to DC Housing Enterprises (a subsidiary of the DC Housing Authority). The lots total nearly 234,000 square feet, and are located in two locations: the blocks bounded by 2nd, I, 3rd, and L, east of Canal Park, and the site of the old Capper Seniors building at Sixth and L, SE, which is scheduled to be torn down by the end of this year.
There will be somewhere between 670 and 720 spaces created in these three lots, which are being built to help ease the expected ballpark parking crunch. They were approved earlier this year under a zoning ruling that states the lots can last no more than five years; they will also be open for non-baseball use. The seniors building site is eventually going to be home to a 500,000-sq-ft office building by Forest City Enterprises, and the blocks lining Canal Park are destined to become mixed-income residential buildings as part of Capper/Carrollsburg's redevelopment.
UPDATED because I found the correct space count for the lots.
More posts: Capper, parking, Nationals Park

Nats Fans to Get to Park at RFK and Shuttle?
Oct 4, 2007 1:11 AM
Thursday's WashTimes: "Nationals fans likely will be able to park near RFK Stadium and take a shuttle to the team's new ballpark next year, but it's still unclear how much they will be charged. The D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission, which has oversight of the RFK lots, revealed yesterday that it will allow fans to park near RFK but has asked the team to pay as much as $5 a spot for the rights on game days. The sports commission has offered to provide 1,000 spaces for free, while charging the team $5 a space for 2,500 additional spaces. The team, however, has argued against the $5 a space charge because it likely already will incur costs by operating the shuttle service." The rest of the piece has a quick survey of the current state (or lack thereof) of the parking issue. It also mentions that the first game at the new ballpark could be on Sunday, March 30, allowing the stadium to debut on an ESPN national telecast.

More posts: parking, Nationals Park

The Ballpark Parking Struggle; Monument Veeeery Unhappy About Bus Garage
Sep 27, 2007 12:21 AM
Thursday's Post has "Struggles Cloud Stadium Progress," which details a number of issues currently causing headaches in the Ballpark District. The story reveals that the renovation of the Navy Yard Metro station's west entrance, to expand its capacity to 15,000 users an hour, is seven weeks behind schedule. Also, talks that the Nationals have been having with the US Department of Transportation about possibly using the 800 parking spaces beneath the new DOT HQ have been fruitless. And, with the WMATA board set to vote on its plan to award Akridge the sale of the Southeastern Bus Garage, Monument Realty has apparently "cried foul, arguing that it was promised first dibs on the property by District and Metro officials several years ago to build an integrated mixed-use 'ballpark district.' " Monument, which owns almost the entire rest of the Square 700 block that the bus garage sits on, is threatening lawsuits, and even is suggesting that its stewardship of Navy Yard Metro expansion as part of its mixed-use development on the east side of Half Street could be slowed down if Monument is not awarded the WMATA site--though, at the same time, they say they are addressing the current schedule slippage. Guess this might make the WMATA board meeting audiocast somewhat interesting.
On the plus side, "D.C. leaders expect whichever developer wins the Metro bus property to allow 350 cars to park on the site for the first season or two until more significant construction begins." And negotiations are continuing to allow gameday parking at RFK, with free shuttle buses to the new ballpark, although there are concerns that Hill East residents might not appreciate the traffic. (See my stadium parking page for more details on where parking lots are expected to be available.)
UPDATE: The board has approved the sale.
And, just some clarification, for those of you looking at the map that accompanied the article: the land that encompasses the bus garage sale is not all of the sites indicated as "Metro Property" on the map; it's just the bus garage itself and the parking lot to the garage's west, on the southwest corner of Half and M. The land on the east side of Half Street, at the west entrance of the Navy Yard Metro station, is no longer owned by Metro, having been sold to Monument Realty in late 2006. The east entrance of the station, at New Jersey and M, is being sold to Donohoe as part of the 1111 New Jersey office development. And the little lot at Half and L is the station's chiller plant, which at one point was appearing to be offered as a joint development opportunity, but which appears to have stalled.


Boswell on the Ballpark Parking Issue
Aug 29, 2007 9:22 AM
The Post's Thomas Boswell takes up the stadium parking and transportation issue in this morning's column, "Fans Can't Fill Seats If They Can't Find Spots." He is concerned that the city and the Nationals aren't moving fast enough to get parking lots lined up and ready by Opening Day 2008. He also takes a swipe at the US Department of Transportation for not allowing some of its 800 spaces to be used by the public, an issue that you might recall was brought up at the July 12 National Capital Planning Commission hearing on temporary parking lots at The Yards--the answer basically was "Sept. 11."
If you want to know more about the current plans, my Stadium Parking and Transportation page is a good place to start, with a map showing possible lots, a link to the draft Transportation Operations and Parking Plan, and all the news items I've written both here on the blog and in my Ballpark and Beyond columns in the Post on various parking-related issues.
This would also be a good time to note that a public space permit application was filed last week by Lerner Enterprises, to put a parking lot on the land it owns at 1000 South Capitol Street.
More posts: parking, Nationals Park

Raze Application Underway for Old Capper Seniors
Aug 18, 2007 9:17 AM
Along with the Square 701 buildings mentioned yesterday, there are still a few buildings to be razed in Near Southeast (though not many, with 136 of them having already been demolished in the past four-plus years). None of them, however, are as big as the old Capper Seniors building at 601 L Street. All of its former residents have been moved out, and preparations are being made to bring down this building late this year, which will certainly be the most striking of all the demolitions I've watched. In the meantime, as you can see from the latest Approved Building Permit, interior demolition will be starting soon so that asbestos abatement can be taken care of before the building itself can be demolished. In its place there will eventually be a 500,000-sq-ft office building by Forest City, though no timeline has been announced; you can see a rendering of it on my old Capper Seniors page. In the interim, look for a surface parking lot to help ease the Nationals ballpark parking crunch. (Oh, and check out the new photo on that Stadium Transportation and Parking page. I just couldn't resist. I'm sorry.)

TOP on TOPP
Aug 3, 2007 10:15 AM
WTOP has a piece on last night's stadium Transportation Operations and Parking Plan open house, emphasizing that planners are still looking for 5,000-7,000 parking spaces, and that street parking anywhere near the stadium on gamedays will get you ticketed and towed. Ken Laden of DDOT is quoted as saying that they're hoping 50% of stadiumgoers will arrive via Metro; and the article says that "Metro is preparing for that crunch. The transit agency says it will add up to 18 additional cars on game days during the pre- and post-game peak hours."
UPDATE: Speaking of parking, if you haven't checked in lately, the Stadium Construction Cam shows great progress in the past few days on the west parking garage on the north end of the ballpark site.

More posts: parking, Nationals Park

Another Week, Another Column About Parking
Aug 2, 2007 8:58 AM
I'm pretty sure that this blog has posts about more than just parking lots, but it sure doesn't seem like it lately in my Ballpark and Beyond column in the Post, as this week's items are about the draft Transportation Operations and Parking Plan and the various Zoning Commission votes in the past week on temporary surface lots at The Yards and other locations around Near Southeast. You can also check out Stadium Parking page for more background on the scrambling to find enough parking spaces for ballpark goers, and my Yards page for more information and renderings about the plans for its redevelopment. And if you're interested in the TOPP, don't forget the open house tonight from 6 to 8 pm at 20 M Street, SE.
More posts: parking, Nationals Park, The Yards, zoning

Reminder: TOPP Open House Thursday
Aug 1, 2007 4:26 PM
Just a reminder (as I scramble desperately for fresh content during the August Dead Zone) that tomorrow night (Thursday, Aug. 2) is the open house on the new ballpark's Transportation Operations and Parking Plan. There will be information stations "manned by DDOT, Sports Commission and traffic consultants to allow residents to learn about Traffic Operations and Parking; Transit, Pedestrian Access and Bikes; and Residential Parking Permits, [and] Curbside Management (including shuttle and charter buses)." If you haven't peeked at it yet, here's the TOPP executive summary, or, if you're in need of 8 or 10 hours of light reading, the complete 58 MB version (summary, contents, and appendices). Or you can read my quick impressions from a few days ago.
The open house is at the new 20 M Street office building at Half and M, SE, from 6 to 8 pm.
More posts: parking, Nationals Park

August Hill Rag Articles
Jul 31, 2007 10:59 AM
Within the past few weeks I've posted a lot about the MPD move to 225 Virginia Ave. and the falderal over the surface parking lots zoning amendment including Canal Park, but if you can't get enough, the August issue of the Hill Rag has pieces on both items. And a summary of the July ANC 6D meeting, too.

Zoning Commission Actions on 1325 South Capitol, Canal Park Parking
Jul 30, 2007 8:39 PM
The Zoning Commission shoe-horned in one last public meeting tonight before its August break, and took up a couple of Near Southeast-related items.
After having asked for revisions, clarifications, and refilings on three previous occasions, the commissioners once again had before them a first vote to approve the planned 276-unit residential project by Camden Development at 1325 South Capitol Street, across the street from the Nationals ballpark. The major sticking point in the last two meetings has been the design of the western side of the building, which is technically the "rear" of the building but will be on full display to much of Southwest because only low-rise buildings back up to the project site. Commissioner Turnbull had led the complaints in previous meetings about the need to "step up" the architecture, and while he was not jumping up and down for joy (calling the latest revisions "brutal at times"), he indicated that the plans had indeed made some progress. Commissioners Parsons and Hood agreed, and the commission voted to give first approval to the project three votes to zero, with commissioners Mitten and Jeffries not voting (having not participated in the case). The project now goes to the National Capital Planning Commission for its review, with a final vote by the Zoning Commission in the fall.
The Commission also gave its final approval to Case 07-08, which amends the zoning regulations to allow temporary surface parking lots on various blocks near the stadium. This is the case that stirred an outcry a few weeks ago when it was discovered after the commission's preliminary approval that the language specifying the parcels approved for parking included the three blocks slated for Canal Park. But with a supplemental report from the Office of Planning amending the language, and also with the report from the National Capital Planning Commission indicating its support of the amendment as long as the Canal Park boo-boo was fixed, the zoning commission approved the amended amendment three votes to zero, with commissioners Parsons and Jeffries not voting. And then they amended the original emergency amendment, too, just to make 100% sure that there were no loopholes big enough to build a parking lot on.
More posts: 1325sc, parking, South Capitol St., zoning

Special Ballpark Metro Fare Under Consideration?
Jul 30, 2007 9:59 AM
The Examiner has a piece today entitled "City Considers 'Ballpark Fare' For Fans Who May Ride Metro to Games": "Concern about game-night gridlock on the roads surrounding the new Washington Nationals ballpark is leading D.C., transit and team leaders to consider a special 'ballpark fare' for those fans who ride Metro to the stadium." But most of the quotes in the piece seem to emphasize that this is not anything close to a done deal, that it is just one of many options being looked at as planners try to figure out how to get as many fans as possible off the streets and onto Metro or other transit options. And: "Neither side would release details of talks between Metro and the Nationals -- including what entity or government would absorb the cost." This idea is apparently mentioned in the latest Transportation Operations and Parking Plan draft.
More posts: parking, Nationals Park

Zoning Commission Approves Temporary Surface Lots at The Yards
Jul 26, 2007 8:16 PM
With little discussion, the Zoning Commission tonight took final action and approved Case 07-17, the request for a special exception and a Southeast Federal Center Overlay District review of plans for temporary surface parking lots to last no more than five years at The Yards. The only news coming out of the hearing (other than the approval itself) was that just today it was decided to not include Parcel L, the lot just to the east of the WASA building, because of property line, fencing, and other issues still being negotiated with WASA. This means that approximately 785 spaces can be created at The Yards with this zoning approval (down from the 900 or so originally anticipated, though the Parcel L lot may still be requested at a later date). The National Capital Planning Commission will be voting on this case at its August 2 hearing, but zoning Commissioner Hood announced that the NCPC staff was recommending approval of the case as well. You can see the locations of the Yards lots on my Stadium Parking page, with the Parcel L lot now removed from the map. UPDATE: Should have included this link for folks looking for more information--the Office of Planning's report to the Zoning Commission on this case, which lays out the request in greater detail and explains OP's support.
More posts: parking, The Yards, zoning

Unveiling of the Stadium Transportation and Parking Plan
Jul 25, 2007 3:14 PM
The long-awaited draft version of the stadium Transportation Operations and Parking Plan is becoming available online, in either the full version (58 MB!) an executive summary, or individual chapters and appendices. According to a press release just out from DDOT and the DCSEC (not yet online), there will be an open house about the TOPP on Thursday, Aug. 2 from 6-8 pm at 20 M Street SE with information stations "manned by DDOT, Sports Commission and traffic consultants to allow residents to learn about Traffic Operations and Parking; Transit, Pedestrian Access and Bikes; and Residential Parking Permits, Curbside Management (including shuttle and charter buses)."
I haven't read it yet, so check back for any tidbits I find. But I didn't want to delay getting the link out....
UPDATE: Links are now working.
UPDATES, as I read: Immediate headline jumping out at me: plans for parking spaces and lots aren't completed. Not going to go over well. On the other hand, they are recommending that the restricted residential-parking-only areas (similar to what's been used around RFK) cover all of Near Southeast, Southwest (except possibly a few blocks in Buzzards Point), and Capitol Hill from South Capitol Street to 7th Street SE and from C Street SE to the freeway. (Map on page 20 of the main report).
As has been mentioned for months, they are trying to set up satellite parking at RFK, add a new Circulator line from Union Station, and perhaps get water taxi service running to the foot of First Street. But there's no updated status in the TOPP on any of these ideas (except for RFK parking, for which they are "securing agreements" and having shuttle companies test various possible routes). They're also now looking for between 5,000 and 7,000 total parking spaces. Parking for charter buses is still being worked on as well.
Note: This is a huge document. I'll try to hit highlights, but if there's something of particular concern to you, I suggest putting on your snorkel and flippers and diving in to get your answers, especially in the main report. If you want further background, there's my Stadium Transportation and Parking page, with presentations and flyers from the public meetings that were held as this was being drafted.

More posts: circulator, parking, Nationals Park

Broadcast of Recent Economic Development Roundtable; Other Thursday Events
Jul 25, 2007 10:04 AM
Back in mid-June there was a Saturday morning public roundtable by the city council's Committee on Economic Redevelopment on current development projects in Southwest and Near Southeast. If you didn't get to go, you can watch it tomorrow (Thursday June 26) at 6:40 pm on DC Cable 13, or via live streaming video. Of course, that's at the same time as the Zoning Commission hearing on Forest City's request to add temporary surface parking lots to the The Yards (also available via streaming video) so you'll have to make a choice.
And if you want to give over your entire day to monitoring developments (welcome to my world!), at 10 am Thursday is the WMATA board meeting where they will decide whether to sell the Southeastern Bus Garage to the city; this will also be available via live and archived streaming audio.
More posts: Metro/WMATA, parking, staddis, The Yards, zoning

Ballpark and Beyond This Week
Jul 19, 2007 10:38 AM
My Ballpark and Beyond column in this week's District Extra of the Post covers the NCPC votes on the surface parking lots and The Yards design, the water and sewer special assessment on the blocks north of the stadium, and the $140 million in bonds that will help finance various projects along the Anacostia River, including Diamond Teague Park and its rumored ferry pier. The links above will take you to the news items originally posted here or to the pages I maintain on the various projects; in particular, check out The Yards First-Phase page for many of the renderings that were shown to the NCPC.
More posts: Canal Park, parking, Teague Park, The Yards

Reminder: Meeting Wednesday Night on MPD Move
Jul 17, 2007 1:12 PM
Just a reminder that Wednesday night, July 18, the Metropolitan Police Department is holding a Community Meeting on the Relocation of the Metropolitan Police Department to the old Post Plant site at 225 Virginia Ave. Tommy Wells will be in attendance, as will representatives of MPD, the Office of Property Management, ANCs 6B and 6D, and other officials. It should be a well-attended meeting: there's the residents of Southwest, who are not happy that these proposed relocation plans include the move of the First District police station from Southwest over to Southeast; and the Friends of Garfield Park and other close-by residents, who are concerned about the parking and traffic issues.
The meeting is at St. Mark's Episcopal Church, 3rd and A Streets, SE, at 6:30 pm. If you want more background on this proposed move, scroll down through the "News" tab of my 225 Virgina Ave. page.

Temporary Surface Parking Lots at The Yards
Jul 17, 2007 12:46 PM
As I posted a few weeks ago, a request is now making its way through the process that would allow the construction of another batch of temporary surface parking lots, this time at The Yards, totaling an additional 950 spaces. Temporary surface lots are actually already allowed at The Yards under the Southeast Federal Center Zoning Overlay, subject to this mandatory review. The Zoning Commission hearing is on July 26, and the Office of Planning has completed its report supporting the request, saying among other things that these lots would actually improve the appearance of the parcels and surrounding area--if you've looked at the south side of Tingey Street, you know thiis isn't very far off. (The OP report has a lot of good detail on the Yards parking proposal, so be sure to read it.)
My network of moles inform me that at last week's ANC 6D meeting, after a presentation on the plan, no one made a motion to support it, and when one commissioner made a motion to oppose, no one seconded. (Voice of the Hill has a blurb on this meeting as well.) Ouch!
The case will also then be reviewed by the National Capital Planning Commission at its August 2 meeting.
If you want to know more about the state of ballpark-related parking, my Stadium Parking and Transportation page has the gory details, including a map of the possible lots and links to the slew of documents that have been generated over this subject. And the clock is now ticking on when that draft Transportation Operations and Parking Plan is supposed to be released (it was going to hit the streets in June, it was said...).
More posts: ANC News, parking, Nationals Park, The Yards, zoning

Harriet Tregoning on Kojo Nnamdi Show
Jul 16, 2007 11:12 PM
The city's Director of the Office of Planning, Harriet Tregoning, spent an hour on Monday talking about city development and planning issues with WAMU's Kojo Nnamdi; you can listen to it here. Topics covered included the H Street corridor, Southwest, industrial uses, retaining local retailers, green development, Poplar Point, and livability and walkability. She mentioned that retail around the stadium is going to be an issue at first, since there won't be much of it ready by Opening Day 2008, and seemed to indicate that vendors ("something other than hot dogs and FBI t-shirts") could be an option. When asked about the status of Canal Park by a Near Southeast resident (wave to the crowd, Sophia) She also reiterated what I've reported here over the past few days: there will be no overflow stadium parking on the Canal Park site, but negotiations have not yet been completed to get the current lease holders (i.e., the school bus lots) off the site, so there is no start date for the park's construction.
More posts: Canal Park, parking, Nationals Park

NCPC Gives Stamp of Approval to Temporary Surface Parking and Plans for The Yards
Jul 12, 2007 2:40 PM
This afternoon, the National Capital Planning Commission gave their "does not adversely effect federal interests" approval to the recent zoning amendment allowing temporary surface parking lots on various blocks near the stadium, subject to the removal of the Canal Park parcels from the amendment and also that any of the temporary lots on waterfront parcels be set back a minimum of 75 feet from the Anacostia shoreline. They also want the final order of the text amendment to make clear that the five-year cap on these lots cannot be extended via a Board of Zoning Adjustment Special Exception.
The staff report indicated what we've heard in the last day or so, that the Office of Planning will indeed be modifying the amendment to take out Reservation 17 parcels B, C, and D (the Canal Park blocks) before the Zoning Commission's final vote on July 30. There was also slightly curt exchange between two of the commissioners during the discussion of the parking situation about why the US Department of Transporation headquarters can't make some accommodation to allow public parking (as the Reagan building does) in some of its 800 parking spaces; as is now so often the case in this city, "Sept. 11" was the answer.
The commission also approved the 35% design plans for The Yards--many of the renderings and drawings that were in the presentation to the board today are already on my Yards First Phase page. This submittal to the NCPC covered the streetscape, landscape, and infrastructure improvement plans, and the plans for the first four developments on the site--renovation of two existing buildings to create 430 residential units, the renovation of Building 167 into a 46,000-sq-ft retail space, and the construction of two new buildings at 4th and M that would have 320,000 sq ft of office space, a grocery store, and 170+ apartments. Work on the streetscape and infrastructure improvements will be starting this summer, and the first of the building renovations will get underway next year, with 170 apartments and the Building 167 retail to be delivered in mid-2009. This plan will also be in front of the Commission on Fine Arts on July 19.
I hope to get electronic versions soon of the staff recommendation documents for both of these votes, which contain lots of good summary information for people who haven't been following these cases quite as, um, closely as SOME people. I'll update here when I get them.
So, for Canal Park fans, everything seems to be pointing to the hoped-for conclusion, though it won't be 100% written in stone until the July 30 Zoning Commission meeting.
UPDATE: Here's the recommendation document for The Yards; I hope to have the parking one on Friday, so check back.
UPDATE II: Believe it or not, NBC 4 covered the meeting today. (Maybe they got the idea from today's District Extra!)
More posts: Canal Park, parking, The Yards, zoning

Canal Park-ing
Jul 11, 2007 9:08 PM
In advance of Thursday's National Capital Planning Commission meeting that will review the surface parking lots zoning amendment, the Voice of the Hill has posted a piece about the controversial inclusion of the Canal Park blocks within the parcels approved for parking. Much of the piece covers territory I've written about over the past few days, but has some new nuggets. Money quote: "Joel Lawson, the Office of Planning's acting deputy director for neighborhood and long-range planning, said the portions of squares containing Canal Park were never intended to be used for parking and should not have been included. 'I can understand why people are concerned about this,' he said. But, he added, 'We knew the parking wasn't going to go there.' He said the planning office will amend its request to make explicit this provision." Another quote, from the spokesman for Deputy Mayor of Planning and Economic Development Neil Albert: "We have no intention to use this three-block site for stadium parking, and we fully expect to move forward in building this important public amenity on schedule." This would appear to make the NCPC meeting less of a critical juncture, but I'll still be there to check it out. Besides, they're also having a big presentation on the first-phase plans for The Yards.
More posts: Canal Park, parking, The Yards, zoning

Week O'Meetings
Jul 8, 2007 2:27 PM
With the calendar inching toward DC's annual August shutdown, there's a boatload of meetings and hearings on the agenda this week as everyone tries to get their work done before heading for the beach. Here's a not-very-detailed rundown, so follow the links if you want more detailed information:
* Monday starts bright and early with the "public hearing and preliminary finding" by the office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development on the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District application, in Room 301 of the Wilson Building, 10 am.
* The Zoning Commission's monthly public meeting on Monday night includes a final vote on the plans for the 250 M Street office building and a first vote on the 1325 South Capitol Street residential project. In addition, there's a new case looking for various amendments to the Southeast Federal Center overlay; here's the Office of Planning report spelling them out. The commission is also scheduled to address Florida Rock's request for guidance on its revised design, which has the support of the Office of Planning. The meeting is at 6:30 pm at One Judiciary Square (Suite 220 South), but also can be watched via live webcast.
* At about the same time, ANC 6D is having its monthly meeting, and will be having a presentation and vote on Forest City's July 26 zoning hearing to allow temporary surface parking lots at The Yards. This meeting is at 7 pm at St. Augustine's Episcopal Church, 6th and M Streets, SW. (Having to make a choice, I'm opting for the zoning meeting, so it might take a little while before I find out what happened at the ANC.)
* Tuesday's city council meeting at 10 am will include a final vote on the bill to create the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District.
* On Tuesday night WMATA is having a public hearing on the proposed move of the Southeastern Bus Garage from its current location at Half and M to a new facility at DC Village in Southwest. (It's probably geared more toward residents near the new location.) There's an open house at 5:30 pm, and the hearing itself starts at 6:30, at 2700 Martin Luther King Dr. SE.
* The Nationals ballpark is having its "Topping Out" party on Wednesday at noon.
* WMATA's Planning, Development and Real Estate Committee is meeting in executive session on Thursday morning to address something having to do with the Southeastern Bus Garage, but they're not saying what.
* Thursday also sees the National Capital Planning Commission meeting that Canal Park fans mobilized for, with the NCPC's agenda including the zoning commission case approving temporary surface parking lots on various blocks in Near Southeast that include Canal Park in their boundaries. There's also a presentation on the the first phase of The Yards. The meeting is at 12:30 pm at 401 9th St., NW, Suite 500.
* Wrapping up the week (pant pant pant) is a city council Subcommittee on Economic Development hearing on the transition plans for folding in the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation and the National Capital Revitalization Corporation into the office of the Deputy Mayor for Economic Development; it's in the council chamber at the Wilson Building at 10 am, and may also be broadcast on DC cable channel 13 and via streaming video.
And then I will spend the weekend alseep.

Concerns About Canal Park and Parking - Update
Jul 6, 2007 12:12 PM
While I've been following for weeks the zoning procedures around the plans for temporary surface parking lots in the blocks north of M Street, I'm hearing today for the first time that there may be some pressure behind the scenes to delay construction of Canal Park, so that its three blocks of space could be used for temporary surface parking to help fulfill the necessary spaces for Nationals ballgames.
It is indeed true that those three blocks are covered under Zoning Case 07-08, which was approved back in May, but because of some odd tax parcel configurations (where the parcels 767, 768, and 769 actually stretch across the eastern half of 2nd Street over to 3rd and so also include the three blocks where Capper buildings were demolished earlier this year), I always just assumed that those references in the zoning requests were merely for the Capper portions of the parcels and not the Canal Park portions. Plus, plans seemed to be moving forward for Canal Park to begin construction in time for a Spring 2008 opening, so it didn't appear to be an issue (much the way that Case 07-08 asked for the ability to build temporary lots on the Pepco site in Buzzards Point even though Pepco says they wouldn't be vacating those blocks anytime soon).
However, with apparently some salivating going on in some quarters over those additional lots (where school buses currently reside), some people fear that the near-term building of Canal Park could be in jeopardy. There is a meeting on July 12 of the National Capital Planning Commission, where approval of Case 07-08 is on the agenda; if this issue of parking lots/no parking lots on the Canal Park site is something that concerns you one way or the other, you may wish follow the NCPC guidelines for participation in the meeting. And getting in touch with the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation (which is in charge of the park's development) and/or Tommy Wells's office may also be an approach you want to take.
UPDATE, 7/6: I'm now hearing whispers that the salivating over Canal Park might not actually be completely stadium-related, but also a part of the continuing need for the Metropolitan Police Department to find about 150 extra spaces to have enough parking for their proposed move into 225 Virginia Avenue....


Mayor Fenty Tours Ballpark Site; Lots of Details
Jun 22, 2007 11:16 PM
From Saturday's Post: "Under a clear blue sky perfect for a baseball game, 500 construction workers responsible for one of the most expensive and most important projects in the District took a break yesterday for a quick pep talk. 'The closer we get to next year, the more people are looking at us to bring this project in on time and on budget,' Mayor Adrian M. Fenty told them on his first trip to the stadium site near the Navy Yard and South Capitol Street in Southeast." And while the article is based around Fenty's visit, the meat of it is really about the handoff of responsibility for ensuring the ballpark opens on time from outgoing DCSEC chair Allen Lew (heading off to try to repair the DC schools) to his replacement, Greg O'Dell.
Some quotes:
* "Lew said this week that the ballpark is on schedule, and remains within budget, with no indication that will change."
* " 'I'm going to be involved in this a lot more than I was," said [council member Jack] Evans, who keeps a small countdown clock on his desk, showing the number of days, hours and minutes until the anticipated first pitch at the stadium next April. 'I had kind of taken a step back because of the confidence I had that Allen would get this thing done. There was no need for me to be calling everybody up every week, saying: 'Where are we? Where are we?' But now I'm going to reinsert myself in terms of being in the loop constantly.' "
* "The stadium's steel framework and concrete seating decks are largely in place, as are miles and miles of ducts, electrical wires and pipes. Workers are drilling tens of thousands of holes in the decks to anchor seats. And a 200-foot tower crane has been erected to lift concrete and other materials for construction of a Nationals office building. Next month, workers plan to complete the steel framework for the ballpark's restaurant and main scoreboard and to start putting in the stadium seats. The project's schedule calls for installation of the scoreboard to begin in August. Then, in October, sod will be laid. The grass will take root before going dormant during the winter and then spring to life for Opening Day." [Dedicated readers of JDLand know all this already, of course!]
* "Still, problems remain, including a long-vexing issue that O'Dell will inherit when he takes control of the project. 'The biggest thing still out there,' Lew said, 'is coming up with an inventory of parking spaces to meet game day requirements.' " (The article says that 9,200 spaces will be needed; the March transporation presentation and various Office of Planning documents have been quoting 4,900 as the maximum needed for a sellout game. I guess when the draft Transporation Operations and Parking Plan comes out [Any Minute Now!], we'll see what the real number is.)
Read the entire article for additional details. And of course you can look at my stadium construction photo galleries or the official webcam if you want to see what it's looking like.
More posts: parking, Nationals Park

Council Actions Today - BID and Ballpark
Jun 21, 2007 1:24 PM
Just a quick sleep-inducing update on actions at today's City Council legislative meeting (have I mentioned that you people don't pay me enough?):
* B17-0208, creating the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District that would cover all of Near Southeast and Buzzards Point, passed on the consent agenda on its first reading. There will now be a Public Hearing and Preliminary Finding on the BID application by the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development on July 9. The bill's second reading will be on July 10. (See my previous BID entries for background.)
* Bill 17-0011, the "Ballpark Hard and Soft Costs Cap Act of 2007," makes permanent the legislation passed in 2006 that set a city spending cap of $630 million. There was some bickering when council member Catania asked to add an amendment updating the soft costs amount in the bill to $117 million from the originally specified $111 million as a result of the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission's May 31 report. Council member Evans was quite vehement about not changing numbers on dais without consulting the CFO's office to be sure that even an innocuous-seeming change like this one wouldn't end up having unintended consequences (and he also was miffed that Catania hadn't shown him the amendment before the meeting), but in the end the amendment was agreed to.
Council member Kwame Brown said that a new report by the DC Auditor indicated that the stadium remains on budget at this time, although there items that will need "close attention paid" to them. Catania expanded on that by citing a series of numbers from the auditors' report indicating that the city still has up to $95 million in additional costs when there is only $6.7 million left in the contingency fund; however, $72 million of that is the amount that the eminent-domain'ed landowners are seeking from the city in compensation, which may not be exactly how much they receive once the hundred years' worth of court battles are finally completed. Catania said that the council needs to face these potential problem numbers instead of "putting our head in the sand."
* Finally, Bill 17-0021, the "Ballpark Parking Completion Amendment Act of 2007," was passed, creating permanent legislation exempting from zoning restrictions the parking garages on the north end of the stadium site; council member Mendelson asked that before second reading, a sunset provision originally in the emergency legislation that requires the exemption to end by the end of 2008 be inserted into this permanent legislation.

Another Round of Surface Parking Lot Requests - Update
Jun 11, 2007 3:17 PM
As expected, there is now a request in front of the Zoning Commission to approve temporary surface parking lots on parcels totaling 396,000 sq ft in the Southeast Federal Center (i.e., "The Yards"), to last no more than five years and to be available for Nationals ballpark parking (among other uses). There are four lots, which I highlighted a few months back on my Stadium Parking page map: on the southeast corner of 1st and N (where there is already a parking lot, along with a one-story brick building scheduled to be demolished); two spots on the SEFC land south of Tingey and DOT and east of the WASA pumping plant; and on the southeast corner of 4th and M, behind the red brick wall, where a surface lot already exists. According to the meeting notice, temporary lots at the SEFC are already permitted under the existing Southeast Federal Center overlay, subject to approval by the Zoning Commission.
I don't know anything more about this other than that there will be a ZC hearing on July 26; I'll be working to find out exactly how many spaces these lots may make available, although in the presentation slides from the March public meeting there was an indication that 1,700 additional spaces could be available at the Federal Center. These would be on top of the other temporary surface lots recently approved, and would bring the count of potential available spaces on all temporary lots to 5,475 spaces, on top of the 1,225 spaces being constructed on the stadium footprint (adding up to 6,700 spaces, higher than the 4,900 spaces that planners anticipate will be needed for the highest-attendance games). Of course, not all of the identified potential lots will end up being used, and the likely total count from all lots is probably closer to 5,200, but this is clearly a healthy-sized addition to the lots approved last month. More information as I get it.
UPDATED with corrected numbers on the potential spaces, because math is apparently not my strong suit late on a Friday night. But these new numbers are still just speculation on my part based on that March public meeting on parking--we have to wait to see exactly how many spaces planners are anticipating at the SEFC.
UPDATE, 6/11: This zoning request apparently would allow for 925 paking spaces in four lots at The Yards; so it's far lower than what was projected for the SEFC at the March public meeting on the stadium transportation planning. It does mean that, if approved, up to 5,925 permanent and temporary spaces are in the mix around the stadium site (1,225 on the ballpark site itself and the rest from the temporary surface lots). And that doesn't count any possible spaces in lots beneath already-constructed buildings near the stadium. But hopefully some clarity will arrive when the draft Traffic Operations and Parking Plan is released by the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission, supposedly this month.
More posts: parking, Nationals Park, The Yards, zoning

DCSEC's Latest Report on Ballpark Progress
Jun 5, 2007 10:05 AM
I gave you the short-and-sweet update yesterday on the progress at the Nationals ballpark, but if you want the real nitty-gritty of all aspects of the project, here's the 10-page Monthly Report submitted by the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission to the City Council on May 14 (posted on Councilmember David Catania's ballpark page). It describes the current state of the schedule, budget, procurement, design, construction, coordination, and public outreach. For example, you can learn from it that approximately 65% of the stadium's structural steel and concrete is now in place, as well as 58% of the precast concrete. Typical daily manpower on the site in April? 432 workers.
One piece of development-type news in the report: the DCSEC is "drafting a request for proposals for the sale of the First Street retail development rights as a means to offset any hazardous material cleanup costs in excess of the budgeted amount and to provide the non-program retail required by the Zoning Commission final order while remaining in conformance with the Council cost cap legislation."
Also, as I've mentioned in other posts, it's expected that the draft Transportation Operations and Parking Plan will be released sometime in June.
But, if you're interested in the state of, say, the sand filters or the service level slab-on-grade concrete, this is the document for you.
UPDATED because the original headline made it sound like the DCSEC *might* report, as opposed to this being their report for the month of May. Oops.

More posts: parking, Nationals Park, Traffic Issues

Ballpark Construction Progress Update; Signage Contract Awarded
Jun 4, 2007 2:20 PM
For those of you not obsessively checking the Stadium Construction Cam at five-minute intervals, I've got a few recent highlights of the stadium construction's progress you might be interested in:
A 200-foot-tall crane is now in place along South Capitol Street, which will be used to help construct the Nationals' new office building adjacent to the ballpark.
On the north end of the site, concrete columns are now being poured for the two aboveground parking garages.
Inside the stadium itself, along the first-base line, the first area of "cast on slope" seating is almost complete; in addition, the drilling of what will end up being nearly 100,000 holes for anchoring the seats in the stands has begun, and workers are also now installing the cast-in-place aisle steps between the seating sections.
And, away from the camera's glare, drywall framing is in progress in the locker rooms and other service level areas.
But if you decide to drive down there for a visit, beware of dust clouds, massive potholes, and heavy construction vehicles. (Actually, right now that description pretty much applies to all of Near Southeast between South Capitol Street and New Jersey Avenue. Enter at your own risk!)
UPDATE: And the Washington Business Journal is reporting that a small DC company, Gelberg Signs, has been hired to make and install more than 3,000 signs for the stadium, in a contract worth more than $1 million, with the work starting next month. The contract was awarded under the ballpark's Local, Small, and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program. Gelberg has been in business since 1941. UPDATE II: Here's the press release.
More posts: parking, Nationals Park

More Stadium Garage Renderings
May 23, 2007 4:19 PM
I don't know if these are new, or just new to me, but I found today two new drawings of the infamous parking garages now under construction on the north end of the ballpark site, which I've put on my Stadium Renderings page (they came from the DC Sports and Entertainment Commissions' Ballpark Gallery). One shows an overhead view of the two garages, and the second appears to be a ground-level view of the western garage as it would look to fans arriving via the main plaza at Half and N streets. I guess we won't have to wait all that much longer to see if the pretty watercolor renderings match what ends up being built.
More posts: parking, Nationals Park

Temporary Stadium-Area Surface Parking Lots Approved
May 21, 2007 9:31 PM
Tonight the Zoning Commission approved with a 3-0-2 vote Case 07-08, the request to allow temporary surface parking lots (lasting no more than five years) on a number of parcels within walking distance of the Nationals ballpark. (I considered this hearing so important that I took off my fuzzy slippers and actually ventured to Judiciary Square to attend in person rather than watching Ye Olde Webcast.) Commissioners Mitten, Hood, and Turnbull voted for the action; Commissioners Parsons and Jeffries did not attend.
The Office of Planning, while making clear in its report that it strongly encourages the use of mass transit and other alternatives to cars and would not normally support surface parking lots, testified that these lots and the 3,775 maximum spaces they would provide (see my Stadium Parking page for a map that shows their locations) will help to alleviate the short-term shortage of available parking during the next few years until new developments with additional underground parking in the area are completed.
It was requested that the case be approved immediately, on an emergency basis, with the explanation that the sooner the Nationals know where their lots are going to be, the better they can tailor the assignments of season-ticket holders to different lots based on where they are arriving from. (It was also emphasized numerous times that the parking lots are just one part of the overall traffic planning for the stadium.)
The main opposition to the amendment came from residents of Southwest, and ANC 6D commissioner Andy Litsky testified that the neighborhoods were not so much concerned with the lots themselves, but how traffic would be directed to the lots, with the bulk of the consternation focused on 4th, P, and I Streets, SW, which the residents consider to be local roads but which were mentioned by a traffic consultant at the March public meeting as being likely routes to the possible lots in Buzzards Point. There was also a surprising moment when a representative of Pepco testified that there's no way that Square 665 at Buzzards Point can be considered an option for a surface lot, because there's a substation still in operation on it. The Office of Planning explained that this text amendment was merely identifying "potential" lots, and that it's assumed that not all squares will ever actually have surface parking on them, and in fact the presentation slides by traffic consultant Gorove Slade from the March public meeting indicated that most likely no parking would be created at Buzzards Point. Ken Laden of DDOT then testified that his agency has never considered 4th, P, and I in SW to be important streets, because the vast majority of the lot locations are on the east side of South Capitol Street and that DDOT is trying to keep the bulk of the traffic in Near Southeast (where there are currently very few residential developments).
This gave the zoning commissioners an opening they were looking for, and they crafted a pretty sweet way to take the residents' concerns into account: because each surface parking lot will still have to go through the normal DC approval process for a Certificate of Occupancy (environmental review, DDOT review, etc.), they ordered that the associated traffic plans submitted with the COO may not include directing traffic to/from the lots down local streets (specifically mentioning 4th, P, and I). With that, the amendment was approved on an emergency basis. Andy Litsky said he was "pleased" with the decision.
As for the overall traffic management plan, apparently DDOT was not real happy with the first draft that they received on April 30 from the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission (Laden said it wasn't "user-friendly") and are expecting a new draft in early June, which will then be put out for public comment (and I'm guessing there will be plenty of that). It will include the same sort of on-street parking restrictions that have been used around RFK, where no one can park during games without a special residential parking permit, although exactly how far the boundaries of that restricted area will reach is still under discussion.
And DDOT's Laden also said that an agreement is close to being reached that would add a Circulator bus line from Union Station to the new US Capitol Visitors' Center to the Capitol South and Navy Yard Metro stations, which would give direct access to the red, orange, and blue lines without having to change trains at L'Enfant Plaza.
Above all, it was repeated numerous times that this will be a work-in-progress, that the plans will be tweaked and massaged as the planners see what works and what doesn't. In other words, while traffic will undoubtedly be a nightmare on Opening Day 2008, that doesn't mean it will always be that way. And, oh yeah, take Metro.
For additional background, here's my post from when the zoning case first came up. And be sure to read the Office of Planning's report, Andy Litsky's testimony, and the presentation slides from the March public meeting. And all my other Stadium Parking and Transporation documents and links.
UPDATE: Here's the Post piece on the hearing.


Upcoming Zoning Hearing on Stadium Parking
May 18, 2007 9:49 AM
A reminder before the weekend starts that on Monday night the Zoning Commission will be having its hearing on Case 07-08, the request to amend the city's zoning laws to allow temporary (no longer than five years) surface parking lots on certain squares in Near Southeast and Southwest to help provide parking for the new stadium. (It's available via live webcast [but not archived] for those who don't wish to schlep to the meeting.) You can read the Office of Planning's report in support of the case that I posted earlier this week and see my map laying out where the parking lots would be located; there's also a piece in this morning's Examiner about how nearby residents (read: residents in Southwest, since there are hardly any in Near Southeast) are "furious, fearing that the location of the new lots will force traffic onto their narrow neighborhood streets, trapping them in their homes on game days." Note that the mention by Andy Litsky in the article of 4th Street is referring to the street in Southwest, not Southeast. My Stadium Transportation and Parking page also has in addition to the map the various presentations by DDOT and the traffic consultants about the plans to get people to and from the stadium, the on-street parking plans (i.e., none), and also the news items from the past few months about this subject. I imagine the zoning hearing is going to be quite festive.

More posts: parking, Traffic Issues, zoning

Meeting Wrap-Up - 250 M Approved, ANC Thumbs Down on Parking
May 15, 2007 12:11 PM
Let's go around the horn and see what happened at last night's various meetings.
* The Zoning Commission voted to give final approval to the plans for 250 M Street, William C. Smith's planned 190,000-sq-ft office building on M Street just east of what will be Canal Park. The building, which is actually part of the Capper/Carrollsburg Planned Unit Development (and will help fund all the redevelopment at Capper), is expected to start construction at the end of 2007.
* ANC 6D had three Near Southeast items on the agenda--unfortunately, I wasn't able to attend, so I'm giving you the quick and dirty results, and will hopefully have links later for additional details. First, they gave their approval (again) to the 276-unit residential building planned by Camden Development at 1325 South Capitol Street, but this was pretty prefunctory since they approved it a few months back and nothing has really changed except a bureaucratic need to resubmit the plan to the Zoning Commission in a different manner; the ZC hearing is on May 31. Second, they voted not to support Zoning Commission Case 07-08, the request to amend the city's zoning laws to allow temporary (no longer than five years) surface parking lots on certain squares in Near Southeast to help provide parking for the new stadium. There was also a presentation by the DC Housing Authority on what's been happening with Capper/Carrollsburg and the Capper seniors buildings, but of course you've been reading this site religiously and so know it all already.
UPDATE: Apparently the feelings against the parking case ran pretty strong; and I understand that Andy Litsky of the ANC will be testifying in opposition at the Zoning Commission hearing next Monday (May 21).


Stadium Parking - Office of Planning Report
May 14, 2007 3:17 PM
Tonight ANC 6D will be briefed and will vote on whether to support Zoning Commission Case 07-08, the request for text amendments to current zoning regulations to permit and regulate temporary surface parking lots on specified blocks near the stadium. Here's the Office of Planning's report to the Zoning Commission on the proposed zoning changes--it's not very different from the original report they submitted back in April, as I understand it the only major difference is asking that parking spaces for baseball be reserved for 1.5 hours before events (rather than the 3 hours initially suggested). The hearing before the Zoning Commission is on May 21. For more background on the plans for parking and other transportation issues around the stadium site, see my Stadium Parking page for maps, presentations, and other documents.
More posts: ANC News, parking, Nationals Park, zoning

ANC 6D May Agenda - And 250 M Back at the Zoning Commission
May 9, 2007 12:46 PM
The agenda for May ANC 6D meeting has been sent out (though it's not yet available on their web site). In addition to a presentation and vote on the Waterside Mall plans, there's a bunch of Near Southeast-related items on the agenda, ones that I've been posting about here for a while:
* There will be a presentation and vote on 1325 South Capitol's resubmission to the Zoning Commission as a PUD (that hearing is now scheduled for May 31). This is the planned 276-unit residential building across the street from the Nationals ballpark, which because of some procedural muck had to resubmit its plans in a different format.
* Also scheduled is an update by the DC Housing Authority on the latest goings-on at Capper/Carrollsburg, including status reports on the Senior Buildings (which I imagine will include the change for Capper Building #2 [aka the "Ballpark Apartments"] to allow workforce-level residents in addition to low-income seniors), as well as on the planned demolition this summer of the old Capper Seniors building at 7th and M, and the latest with the townhomes at Capitol Quarter, as more market-rate houses go on the market and with infrastructure construction expected to begin soon (and "vertical construction" probably starting in early fall).
* And there's also a presentation and vote on the (gaaaaak) Supplemental Stadium Surface Parking plan that's having its zoning hearing on May 21. My Stadium Transportation and Parking page (and its News Items tab) can give you the gory details.
This meeting is scheduled for the same time as Monday's Zoning Commission meeting, which includes on its newly-posted agenda the final approval vote on the 250 M Street office building project (which has been delayed a bit over the past few months), so it's a tough call which one I'll be focusing on. (Especially since we know how much I love ANC meetings.)

The Green Ballpark (And a New Rendering)
May 7, 2007 11:14 PM
Don't know how new this is, but a page on the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission's site about the steps being taken to make the new Nationals ballpark "green" includes a graphic describing the various environmentally conscious aspects of the stadium--and the graphic also has a stadium rendering I haven't come across before (looking at the stadium from its northwest corner) with the best view I've seen so far of the garages planned for the north end of the site, as well as good detail of the South Capitol Street facade of the stadium. I've added the graphic to my Stadium Renderings page.
More posts: parking, South Capitol St., Nationals Park

Articles on Capitol Quarter and Parking
Apr 13, 2007 11:04 PM
A few articles to note in the latest neighborhood newspapers--nothing really new in them (especially if you stop by here with regularity), but they might be good roundups for people who haven't been following along closely. The April Hill Rag has a profile of Capitol Quarter, the mixed-income townhome component of the Capper/Carrollsburg redevelopment. And the latest Voice of the Hill has "Stadium Parking Plan is 'Managed Chaos'", covering last month's stadium Transportation Operations and Parking Plan meeting and the reaction of local residents and leaders. My notes from that meeting are here, and my Stadium Parking page has the meeting's presentation slides from Gorove/Slade, DDOT, and WMATA.
More posts: Capper, Capitol Quarter, Metro/WMATA, parking

Surface Parking Zoning Hearing Scheduled
Apr 11, 2007 6:12 PM
Wasting no time, the Zoning Commission has scheduled for May 21 the public hearing on Case 07-08, the request to allow temporary surface lots at various locations within walking distance of the stadium. Note that some of the stadium parking and transportation items in the news and on the web these days are pretty chock full of misassumptions, misinformation, and misunderstandings, so do yourselves (and my blood pressure) a favor and read for yourself the various source documents and meeting notes I've posted, look at the map, do a little critical thinking, and try not to yell "The sky is falling!" just yet. (If we're staring at the same information in September or October, then we can all chant it together.)
More posts: parking, zoning

Roundup from Last Night's Zoning Meeting
Apr 10, 2007 9:29 AM
Last night's Zoning Commission meeting had four Near Southeast items on the agenda; we can start with the easy one and say that Case 06-25, the latest batch of text amendments to the Capitol Gateway Zoning Overlay, was given final approval. Next, the expected final vote on Case 06-41, the new residential project at 1325 South Capitol Street, was delayed because of some procedural issues that went way above my head and that now require a special public meeting to sort out (which will probably be in the next six weeks). But the item of greatest interest is Case 07-08, the request for zoning changes that would allow temporary surface parking lots on certain blocks within range of the Nationals ballpark. It had been brought as an emergency request because of the time sensitivity of needing to get the lots built before the weather gets cold again (if it ever gets warm first!!!), meaning that the rule could have gone into effect immediately (with hearings to make it permanent within the next 120 days), but the commissioners balked at the idea, saying that too many emergency requests are coming down the pike these days that don't really deserve the special treatment. They did agree to an expedited hearing date (one that only needs to be advertised for 30 days), but there is clearly some concern amongst the commissioners about the whole idea, with one of them rightly asking to make sure that the rule prohibits any non-commercial use of the lots (like for trash truck parking or other industrial-type uses). So, be prepared to read plenty more about this in coming months, and read my previous post on the zoning request for more details, which includes links to the Office of Planning report on the request.

More posts: 1325sc, Capper, parking, Nationals Park, zoning

Speaking of Parking.... West Stadium Garage Underway
Apr 6, 2007 4:19 PM
It should be noted that work has now begun on the parking garage on the northwestern edge of the Nationals ballpark site (between Half and South Capitol, south of N). Pile driving is underway (clang....clang....clang) and the site is being excavated. You can get a feel for it from the Stadium Construction Webcam #2 (lower right-center), or get a wonderful view of basically nothing (the piledriver is at center) in this shot I took today of the southwest corner of Half and N. (I also took there's-no-more-there-there shots of what used to be the Good and Plenty Carryout site on the northern side of this intersection as well--see today's vista compared to shots from the past few years, looking to the west, northwest, and north.)

More posts: parking, Nationals Park

Zoning Changes Requested to Allow Temporary Surface Parking Lots; Transporation Task Force
Apr 5, 2007 4:25 PM
On April 9, the DC Zoning Commission will be entertaining Case 07-08, an emergency request to allow for changes to the Capitol Gateway Zoning Overlay to allow for the construction of temporary surface parking lots--to last no more than five years--on certain squares within Near Southeast. There is also a companion case, 03-12E/03-13E, specifically requesting a minor modification to the Capper/Carrollsburg zoning orders to allow surface parking lots on four squares within Capper--the three blocks bounded by 2nd, I, M, and 3rd (next to Canal Park) and on Square 882, the current home of the old Capper Seniors building, which is expected to be demolished this summer.
I'm not going to go into great detail, because I need to pace myself on the subject of parking or else I will pop a vein before Opening Day. But here's the gist: the city and the Nationals want to be able to build temporary surface parking to handle the estimated 3,800 cars that will need parking beyond the 1,225 spaces on the stadium site. These lots will be available as public parking during non-event times (so you DOT workers who want to drive to work should be paying close attention). This zoning request covers certain squares directly around the stadium and at Capper; apparently there will be a subsequent submission requesting similar amendments to the Southeast Federal Center Overlay to allow surface parking there as well.
As to why the Office of Planning is supporting this request, here's a quote from their report to the Zoning Commission (emphasis mine): "Although much of the parking needed to serve the Ballpark's patrons will eventually be accommodated by parking within nearby future buildings, these buildings will not yet be constructed when the Ballpark opens in 2008. While OP strongly encourages the use of mass transit and encourages the Nationals to provide meaningful incentives for the use of mass transit and other alternatives to the private automobile, OP shares their concern that a short term shortage of parking available to patrons could lead to illegal parking on streets and private property in the surrounding area, and could have an impact on the short term success of this important District facility. This proposal would help to address the short term need for an interim parking solution."
And, another OP quote (again, emphasis mine): "Normally, OP is not supportive of surface parking lots. In addition to being a poor use of the District's valuable land base, extensive surface parking lots disrupt neighborhood fabric; can be a source of crime, noise, trash, and light-spill; encourage the use of the private automobile over other less environmentally damaging forms of transportation; and contribute significantly to storm water run-off water pollution problems facing our great river systems. OP would not support surface parking on these squares as a permanent use to address currently perceived parking need."
For more background and explanation of OP's stance, I strongly suggest reading the OP report (specifically the last four pages).
And, against my better judgment, I have created a new Planning for Stadium Transportation and Parking page, pulling together the various documents that have been released recently (mainly from last month's TOPP meeting). I've also thrown together a map that is nowhere near official marking what I understand to be various possible locations for stadium parking. It will change as time goes on, and do not take it as gospel, but it does show which sites come under this zoning request, along with other possible sites. Opening Day is still a year away, and there will be much jawboning on this subject over the coming weeks and months. So, everyone take a deep breath, keep an eye on updates as more information gets released, and try not to panic too far ahead of time.
And remember that every organization in town really wants you to take Metro.
UPDATE: And with fine timing, Near Southeast's councilman Tommy Wells has just announced the creation of a new transportation task force for Near Southeast and Southwest, bringing together representatives of the government, residents, and developers to address the concerns of neighborhoods facing not only baseball, but also the coming influx of thousands of new workers and residents.


One More Batch of Stadium Parking Meeting Slides
Apr 2, 2007 2:48 PM
With thanks again to DDOT, I now have all of the slide presentations from last week's public meeting on the stadium Transportation Operations and Parking Plan (TOPP). The new ones are the WMATA Slides on Navy Yard Station Upgrade and the DDOT Slides on Douglass Bridge/Other Improvements. The documents I posted last week were the slides by Gorove/Slade describing about the TOPP; with maps and charts listing expected transit/auto/pedestrian traffic volume and flow; an FAQ on parking, traffic, and other issues for Southwest and Near Southeast residents; an FAQ on the Douglass Bridge improvements going on over the next few months; and DDOT's display boards with information on the plans for the South Capitol Street corridor and other regional traffic issues.
Repeating what I said last week: If you live in Southwest, or Near Southeast, or Capitol Hill, or Anacostia, or even Prince George's County, or if you're a baseball fan planning to come to the games, I suggest taking a close look at these.... (Some of them are kind of big files, be patient if they take a moment to load.) Comments can be sent to the the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission, and cc ANC 6D (office@anc6d.org) so that the ANC can track the feedback. And read my summary of the main bullet points from the meeting. Let's not all wait until March 2008 to suddenly figure out that there's a new baseball stadium at South Capitol and Potomac that has 40,000 fans trying to get there.