Saturday, January 19, 2008

Riding The Situation Out

Sohna and I are now back from our business trip this past week. And just moments after returning to DC--we hear on the radio--DC Council Chair Vincent Gray mentioning on WTOP--how the city should seriously consider parking for fans of Our Washington Nationals at Poplar Point--right across the Douglas Bridge from New Nationals Park.

The African Queen and I could only laugh. Really, how many times has this EXACT scenario been talked about by fans? It's such an obvious fit. Many folks--as far as I can recall--have discussed this topic. A Pedestrian Bridge across The Anacostia River would be the final necessity. In fact, Sohna had this same conversation with some Construction Executives of Smoot & Clark Construction Companies during our very first visit to New Nationals Park--months ago. So, how is it--that The City can't see the light earlier than everyone else?

Oh--I forgot for a moment--this is The District of Columbia Government. When the key decision came to move ahead and approve a new stadium with Major League Soccer's most illustrious franchise--DC United--The City balked over infrastructure costs. What a mistake. The placing of DC United's deserved New Stadium at Poplar Point is a WIN-WIN for The District Of Columbia, Our Washington Nationals, DC United AND EVERY FAN of both sports. How much more convenient would parking at DC United's Park be for Nats Fans with access to Poplar Point? And, how much more convenient would parking for United's Faithful be at New Nationals Park (just don't expect them to play on the same nights). If this idea comes to fruition--access to BOTH STADIUMS--would be far easier and convenient--on most EVERY occasion. Whether you are traveling from The District, Virginia or Maryland to either ball park--better options become available.

In the meantime--there is nothing wrong with building temporary parking for New Nationals Park at Poplar Point--while The DC United Situation is settled. These two stadiums would bookend and help transform Southeast DC into a vibrant and inviting area once again. From my vantage point--there is nothing to lose on DC United--unless nothing is done at all.

Unfortunately--The DC Government fails, once again, to quickly realize the importance to the revitalization of a far too long stagnant quadrant of Our Nation's Capital. Favorable circumstances are upon them. Now is the time for forward thinking leaders to step up and make things happen. It is The City's duty to be concerned with fiscal responsibility. But, it's completely unacceptable to turn their backs on financial reward--when DC United is willing to pay the construction bills for their new stadium. From a business standpoint--looks like a no brainer.

Besides, DC Residents around New Nationals Park are concerned that their neighborhood will be inundated by Nationals Patrons on Game Days with their cars. More parking across The Anacostia could significantly relieve this expected problem. If everyone is in this together--why not use some common sense?

For these reasons--The African Queen and I are seriously considering Riding Out The Parking Situation for 2008. Too much is still in flux--too much can change--very quickly. No one really knows how the parking situation on South Capitol Street will play come March 29th. And, considering the fact that Our Washington Nationals only have TEMPORARY ground level parking for five years--per their permit with The City--the parking transportation needs my transform after New Nationals Park plays out its Inaugural Year.

If folks wish to pay $35 for parking--so be it. But, as stated in the last post--there is not much value in that price for me. Sohna and I are going to play it by ear--and see how everything progresses. Coming from work, Metro has always been our way for at least half of the games, we have attended--each of the past three seasons at RFK Stadium--and will continue to be a major transportation mode--in the near and distant future. No matter what--being stranded on South Capitol Street is not a concern.

Having good seats to enjoy baseball is important for us. Paying a higher price just for the honor of good parking NEAR the stadium--is not.

Our Gut Feelings tell us--undoubtedly--other opportunities will arise. And if the DC Government finally gets their act together, approving DC United's move to a new stadium at Poplar Point--Then--It's A Whole New Ball Game.


Anonymous said...

Good points SBF. I'm with you on the parking and will wait it out..I lived in Pittsburgh for a few years and often would park in the city and cross one of the bridges via pedestrian walkway to Three Rivers Stadium. This is a no-brainer for the DC council.

Anonymous said...

This is a no-brainer for the DC council, which means it probably won't get done.

Edward J. Cunningham said...

I think it would be a win-win scenario if D.C. could help retain their revered soccer team AND build additional parking for the Washington Nationals. But let's say D.C. United still ends up leaving the city. (Hopefully only for the suburbs.) Does there have to be a soccer stadium at Poplar Point to justify building a satellite parking lot and a pedestrian bridge?

Brandon said...

The hue and cry over parking is really kind of funny. No one expects there to be huge surface lots or garages around the Verizon Center, where gameday parking for Wizards and Caps games approaches the prices being charged by the Nats. Ditto for urban parks like Fenway and Wrigley Field.

We are fortunate enough to live in an area with a subway system that can get just about anyone to a game. Those that live far out in the 'burbs can use a park n' ride lot. We'll all just have to get used to riding Metro to games. I'm actually kind of looking forward to the festive atmosphere on the trains after wins by the Nats.