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6 Blog Posts

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

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

If you feel like going into full overdose mode on the ballpark (if you haven't already, that is), check out the Post's special section today, either in print or online, which includes an interactive map of the ballpark along with links to the big pile of stories in today's paper, including features on the Lerners, Tom Boswell's rave review, snippets from some of the construction workers who put it all together, and a great feature on Mayor Baseball, Anthony Williams. Not in the special section but also worth reading is a piece on last night's homecoming.
In other news, the list of songs to be played at the ballpark as chosen by the fans has now been released. And since I've paid so much attention to the construction, here's an online chat from yesterday with two of the architects. ABC7 talks about residential guest passes already showing up for sale online, even though it's against the rules and you can be fined (that's why there's a serial number on every pass). And the Examiner covers the expanded police presence planned.
And of course every media outlet is doing the How to Get There packages, including the Post's full-page graphic. I prefer my own pages on transportation and parking, naturally--and if you're planning to use the Capitol South station, be sure to use the JDLand Preferred Route rather than what any of the other stories are telling you, with two shortcuts that will shave *feet* off your walk. And there's a fair amount of coverage of the perfect storm of traffic nightmares this weekend, between the ballpark, the cherry blossoms, and the marathon.
Finally, for an opposing viewpoint on it all, here's an editorial from the Georgetown Voice: "Rather than using the opportunity presented by the stadium to create a unique neighborhood that is both entertaining for visitors and livable for residents, developers and the city's government have created another unremarkable cluster of expensive offices and apartments." The writer must have one heck of a crystal ball.
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As if there wasn't enough going on this weekend, the National Marathon is on Saturday morning beginning at RFK at 7 am. It only skims past Near Southeast for a few feet along South Capitol Street as it snakes from the Southwest Waterfront along P Street SW to the Douglass Bridge, but folks in Southwest who are still suffering flashbacks from last year's race when they were pretty much trapped in their neighborhoods might want to check out the map and additional information provided by DDOT. But I admit that, in my currently addled state, I'm having a hard time figuring out the restrictions (if any) on South Capitol Street south of M on the map--commenters, feel free to take up my slack.
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