In the run-up to what looks to be the last Zoning Commission hearing for D.C. United’s new stadium at Buzzard Point, United has submitted a slew of documents that were requested by the Commission. One of the main concerns of the ANC has been the traffic around the stadium site and how fans will access the stadium. In response to this, the team has created a Traffic Operations and Parking Plan (TOPP): this is a preliminary document that will be constantly updated with input from various neighborhood stakeholders, with the final version issued close to opening day.
On January 10, 2017, officials met with ANC members, who agreed that the TOPP will be “helpful in responding to the ANC’s outstanding transportation concerns.” Since the Washington Nationals’ schedule comes out months before D.C. United’s, United will work their schedule around the Nationals’. While they will try to have games on different days, they are planning for the possibility of same-day games:
This would require several things: (1) the DC United match would have to go first, since soccer matches had a known end time and baseball games do not, (2) the games would have to be separated by a sufficient enough time to allow vehicles to empty out of parking lots (e.g. a 1pm DCUnited match and a 7pm Nationals game would provide around 4 hours of separation), and (3) spectators of both teams would need to be informed of any special transportation changes for the game (e.g. times when parking lots were open and/or whenthey need to be emptied).
The TOPP also states that the Nationals and United would work together in the rare event of overlapping games.
To avoid pedestrians cutting through residential neighborhoods as they walk from the Metro stations (the TOPP estimates that 40% of attendees will arrive this way), the team will put temporary signage designating the preferred route and may place barriers on the entrances to residential areas to minimize disruption. Also with Metro, United wants to re-name the Navy Yard-Ballpark Metro station, to either include D.C. United or to perhaps change it to something like the “Sports District.” The Navy Yard Metro station seems to be the preferred stop: it is the closest to the stadium (.64 miles) and it avoids the residential neighborhoods.
The team estimates that 55% of game day attendees will arrive via their cars. Season ticket members will have the option to purchase parking passes in designated lots; the team estimates that most of the secured parking will go to STMs. Non-season ticket members will be able to buy parking on a first-come, first-serve basis, though they are interested in leveraging technology to help their fans:
DC United is exploring technological solutions that would help patrons purchase parking before leaving for the stadium, in order to help tailor directions and routing, thus reducing the amount patrons circulating the surrounding roadways searching for parking.
Parking for patrons with disabilities would also be in a designated lot, with shuttle service from the lot to and from the stadium. Finally, the team would park at their designated practice facility (currently RFK Stadium) and be shuttled from there to the game.
On-street parking will be difficult, as it is in much of the District. The residential areas near the stadium, just like they will be protected from pedestrians from Metro stops, will see game-day parking discouraged through a variety of methods, including a ban on non-resident parking in residential parking permit zones during stadium events. The rest of the on-street parking will be metered through meter boxes that serve part of a block or a whole block. It looks like parking rates for on-street parking will rise during game times to discourage people from circling and circling to try and find a cheaper option.
Another transportation mode is water taxi service from Alexandria. Potomac Riverboat Company currently supply water taxi service to Nats Park, are committed to water taxi service for opening day, and are interested in a more permanent relationship with D.C. United.
There is so much more to digest before United’s (hopefully) last Zoning Commission hearing, so we’ll be back soon with more information after we pore over the documents.