Monday, February 12, 2007

Escalators On South Capitol Street

On and on, for months, in various Nationals Chat Rooms, Blogs and comment areas, fans have asked whether The New Stadium now being built on South Capitol Street, for Our Washington Nationals, will have escalators from the Main Concourse to The Upper Levels. Many fans are of the belief, those escalators WILL NOT exist. And, the only way for patrons to reach those seats will be via winding walking ramps. Others believe the moving sidewalks WILL BE BUILT, but only for "THE FAT CATS". Those high spenders willing to pay the price for the comforts of THE CLUB LEVEL.

The subject came up once again, over this past weekend, in the comment area of my weekend post.

Tired of hearing all the talk, but no definitive word, I went in quest of THE ANSWER. And, I found it.

Contacting fellow Section 320 faithful, SenatorNat (who seems to know and hang out with all DC's favorite businessmen and women), I asked him whether he might be able to forward this question on to Bill Hall (Seen in the above Stadium Ground Breaking Ceremony Picture standing between Former Mayor, Anthony Williams and Nats Owner Ted Lerner). Mr. Hall is a prominent Washington Businessman, who is a Board Member for The D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission. During the negotiations for The New Stadium lease, Hall was front and center in all the negotiations as Baseball Chairman of The Commission. As an unpaid service appointment by The D.C. City Council, Hall has worked without fanfare for bringing a team here and getting a state-of-the art stadium built for Our Washington Nationals, working not only for The City and its leaders, but also developers and fans, alike.

Upon receipt of the question, this morning after 11 AM, Bill went right to work on finding an answer for me, by immediately getting in touch with Allen Lew, Executive Director of The D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission. Lew is the point person in the Entire Stadium Construction Project, in charge of bring the final product home, on time for April, 2008 and under budget.

By 1PM--Bill Hall was back in touch with me, with the answer so many fans wanted to hear. Good News, too.

Allen Lew responded to Hall: "Bill, according to our architects, there are two sets of escalators both rising from the Main Concourse to the Upper Concourse in addition to the two ramps that you can see on the elevations (Stadium Schematics). The escalator banks are located adjacent to the ramps - one on Potomac Avenue, one on South Capitol (Street)."

And, it was very clear, that these escalators will be used by EVERYONE, not just the heavy spenders.

Bill Hall telling me: "We're dedicated to making the new ballpark experience readily accessible and convenient to all fans."

For me, it was great to hear this good news. And, in less than 2 hours after first asking, the complete answer was received. I could not thank Bill, Allen and SenatorNat enough for their promptness. SenatorNat to Hall to Lew, my own version of "Tinkers to Evers to Chance."

Bill Hall was kind enough to note that if any further New Stadium Questions arise, please send them along, he would be more than willing to help. I am sure there is plenty more to ask over the next few months.

Thank you-SenatorNat, Bill & Allen!!


Anonymous said...

Dear SBF,

Thank you so much for getting to the bottom of this. I'm glad that to find out that I was misinformed on the escalator question.

Anonymous said...

I think it's fabulous how you find ways to pose questions of concern of fans of Our Washington Nationals to people who are actually in a position to answer. It's even better that you share the details of who you talked to and when with us.

The fact that you're doing the work to get such information, letting your souces know what is happening, and making it your business to get EXACT quotes--rather than allowing us to hear that "the team" "Washington" or "the Nationals" want to do this, that or the other, (like trade Cordero to Boston for pitching prospects, or take money out of the franchise's profits, or many of the other detailed questions you posed to Kasten and Bowden)--to me, that is JOURNALISM, specifically REPORTING, rather than RUMOUR MONGERING. Thank you SBF!

Anonymous said...

Thank you very, very much! Granted, I *still* would have gone to Nationals park even without escalators (and God knows I need the excercise!) but I would have been a bit disappointed. This will make many fans very happy!

Anonymous said...

I think the escalators (and the attitude that's behind providing them) will be very much appreciated by people with limitations to their mobility. I'm able-bodied, so the ramps at RFK look like a long walk, and the stairs are a minor inconvience.

To a young man I know who uses braces and crutches to walk--the ramps and stairs look like reasons he can't get to the upper deck, or navigate getting to many of the seats in the lower bowl. He, his family, and his baseball loving friends, are looking forward to celebrating a night at the new ballpark!