- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 2, 2005

Residents who live near RFK Stadium have mixed feelings about baseball’s return today to the neighborhood, particularly the influx of vehicles.

Gregory Watson, sporting a Baltimore Orioles baseball jacket, said he is not excited about the return of baseball to the District. He said city residents have more important concerns.

“With all of the problems in the District and the money that is being spent for a new stadium, we’re bringing baseball to Washington?” asked Mr. Watson, who was standing across the street from Eastern Senior High in Northeast, which he said needs money for textbooks.

“I Iive around here, and parking is going to be bad when the games take place,” said Mr. Watson, a Northeast resident.

Although residents can obtain a free, special-events parking permit at the stadium, Mr. Watson said, the process is time-consuming and inconvenient.

“We have to go to the stadium, provide proof of residency along with the title to our car or cars,” Mr. Watson, 30, said. “In my case, we have three cars in my household. Your car will be ticketed without the sticker.”

The Washington Nationals will play an exhibition game today at 12:05 p.m. against the New York Mets. Though the game is not expected to be a sellout, it should be a prelude to the April 14 home opener and 80 other home games.

Kurtis Ferguson, 53, who lives near the Stadium Armory, said he has taken a middle-of-the-road approach to baseball in his back yard.

“I’m not for baseball in the District, but I’m not against it,” he said. “As far as entertainment goes, I watch basketball and football. I don’t know what [parking] will be like with a baseball team, but I know what parking was like with the Redskins. That was a mess.”

Veronica E. Raglin, an advisory neighborhood commissioner in the Kingman Park community of Northeast, said residents should not anticipate the worst.

“We really need to take a wait-and-see attitude regarding the parking,” Ms. Raglin said. “Some people are always going to break the law. In the past, we didn’t have Metro, and now, we have Metro.”

Metro officials expect about 35 percent of the crowd to use the subway system, including the Stadium-Armory station.

Not everyone who lives near the stadium dreads the crowds and the traffic congestion associated with the Nationals.

“I’m a baseball fan and think it’s nice that the game is returning to Washington,” said Secbrue Cambrel, 77.

Mr. Cambrel, who moved into his home in 1963, said when the Redskins played at RFK and signs were posted, parking wasn’t a problem. Ticket writers canvassed the area.

“I’ve asked a lot of people where they were going, and I would tell them to read the signs,” he said. “They would go back, read the sign and ride off.”

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