Hill Gets Ready for Nationals Park Mass

Posted April 14, 2008 at 4:18pm

The District of Columbia is preparing for an onslaught of thousands of visitors who will flock to the city this week for Pope Benedict XVI’s first trip to the capital.

Officials are discouraging visitors from driving to Nationals Park for the pope’s hallmark event: Thursday’s 10 a.m. Mass before an estimated 46,000 people.

There will be music and other performances before and after the Mass to encourage different arrival and exit times for attendees. Visitors are advised to be at Nationals Park by 8 a.m. to clear security.

Metro is offering a $9 “Mass Pass” for unlimited rail use on Thursday. Passes can be picked up at sales centers through Wednesday and at selected key stops on Thursday morning. More information is available at wmata.com/papalvisit.

Two parking lots have been arranged for free shuttle service to the ballpark. Beginning at 5 a.m., shuttles will depart from lots at RFK Stadium and the old convention center site on H Street Northwest.

It will cost $13 to park at RFK and $25 to park at the old convention center. Passes can be purchased at dcpapalvisit.clickand park.com.

Neighborhood residents should be protected by the new Ward 6 parking regulations, which reserve parking for residents on one side of side streets from 7 a.m. to midnight.

South Capitol Street will be closed on Thursday from 2 a.m. to 2 p.m. from I Street to across the Frederick Douglass Bridge.

Trover Shop to Host Barbara Walters

Barbara Walters fans can turn off the TV and show up on Capitol Hill in the coming weeks to catch a glimpse of one of America’s most recognizable media personalities.

The award-winning journalist will be at Trover Shop, 221 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, to sign copies of her new memoir, “Audition,” on May 8.

In anticipation of a large turnout, Trover Shop, which has hosted many high-profile authors such as Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) in the past, is enforcing its standard policy of allowing only copies of Walters’ new book — not other texts or memorabilia — to be signed. The rule, said co-owner Andy Shuman, ensures that everyone who shows up has a chance to ask the expert interviewer a question or two of his or her own.

“We’ve been doing this for 50 years, and we’re very used to [it],” he said. “We love having them, but to us it’s just another book signing.”

Walters has also agreed to sign a limited number of additional copies for fans who cannot attend but reserve a book in advance. For more information or to reserve a signed copy of the book, call 202-547-2665.

Members to Take Part in Conservation Event

The American Fly Fishing Trade Association will host a series of fishing events at the end of the month to highlight its water conservation cause. The National Casting Call, formerly known as the Congressional Casting Call, began in 2000 and combines outdoor events on the Potomac River with awards ceremonies to highlight aquatic issues.

On April 27, the association will extend rods to children interested in learning more about fishing. The Family and Youth Casting Call, led by fishing experts, will take place on the C&O Canal from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Alan Gnann, the chairman of AFFTA, called the youth event “heart-warming.”

The event “is purely about consumer recruitment — getting more people involved in fly-fishing and having fun,” Gnann said.

Members of Congress and Hill staffers will get their turn on the banks of the Potomac River, starting at 7 a.m. at Fletcher’s Cove. Gnann said the river should be full of shad and bass this time of year.

Land-inclined participants will have their pick of activities, including fly-tying demonstrations and recognition of local students who have participated in shad restoration on the Potomac River.

In the afternoon, participants will dock their boats for a luncheon and a presentation of the National Fish Habitat Action Plan’s “10 Waters to Watch” — a list of the top aquatic habitat projects in the country.

“We do have a message that we’ll communicate to Members but we don’t impose,” Gnann said. “It’s usually about one sentence. That’s the most attractive way to do it.”

— Daniel Heim, Torey Van Oot and Leah Carliner