Dodgers Sale Creates A Chance to Fix Broken Parking Lot/Transportation

Remember how to ride the bus? Photo:## Guardian##

Getting to and from Dodger Stadium can be a nightmare.  Miles of gridlocked stop-and-go traffic snake out from the gates when the Dodgers are a hot ticket or a popular rival is in town.  Walking to the stadium is, at best, an uncomfortable experience as pedestrians are given the option of walking in a ditch or “sharing the road” with already irritated drivers.  The hearty cyclists who brave the hills to get to the ballpark are often mis-directed by clueless parking lot employees or invited to park their bicycle in the smoking section.

Any hope that the car culture status-quo could be shaken up by a new ownership group was squashed yesterday when it was revealed that the land surrounding Dodger Stadium, including its infamous parking lots, would be owned by outgoing owner Frank McCourt and “certain affiliates of the purchasers.”  This is bad news for lovers of transportation options for a couple of reasons.

The first is that when stadium lots are owned by the teams, the real goal is to maximize the revenue created by the lot.  That’s one reason teams such as the Mets and the Cubs have extensive advertising campaigns urging people to “Take the Train to the Game”  including commercial time on television, radio and in the ballpark.  That’s also why AEG is openly talking about bundling transit tickets with football tickets to Farmers Field to encourage transit use.  When lots are publicly owned, the goal of the team and stadium is to get people to and from the event as quickly and painlessly as possible to assure a good time.  When they’re owned by the team, the goal is to make as much money as possible, which means stifling transit options and making it uncomfortable to arrive by foot or by bicycle.

Which is nothing to say of the waste of open space the 284 days a year the Dodgers don’t have a regular season home game.  Last week, Streetsblog covered how a lack of open space has led youths to use parking lots as soccer fields and for other recreational activities. Imagine what use Dodger Stadium lots could go to if they were used opened up for public use when the team was out of town or when baseball season was over.

But if the ownership group wants to make the pre- and post-game experience a better and safer one for fans, there are some changes they can make in the short-term to get people to and from the stadium.

1) Work with the city to invest in sidewalks for all stadium entrences and create pedestrian corridors through the parking lot that are well marked and have concessions available.  Dodger Stadium will never be able to capture the pre-game party atmosphere at stadiums located Downtown, but they could make it a more attractive place to walk to and walk through.

2) For Lord’s sake, invest in a bike parking area.  Mark it on maps.  Make sure stadium security and parking lot personnel know where it is.  Don’t make it the smoking area.  Don’t use guardrails as bike racks.

It would be nice to see a lot of lots in Dodger Stadium even when it isn't a staging ground to organize an Occupy bust. Photo: CBS2 via Curbed

3) Embrace the Dodger Trolley.  Don’t hide it on the website, advertise it through broadcast outlets and inside the stadium.  Heck, even vow that the Trolley won’t go away in future seasons, even if you have to pay for it yourself.  Don’t mock the trolleys, paid for with taxpayer dollars, in public meetings.  If you really wanted to go crazy, and by “crazy” I mean the minimum amount that is acceptable for a transit plan, start running free shuttles from other Gold Line stops, the North Hollywood Red Line stop, Staples Center, and other places that have lots of transit and lots of parking.

4) Declare a bold plan to extend the Gold Line to Dodger Stadium (the Blue and White Line) through a spur that is only active on game day, similar to the spur used to get football fans to and from the Meadowlands in New Jersey.  Having already invested $2 billion, they ought to be able to get that line up and running in the next ten years.

5) Use a plan similar to the one utilized by the Hollywood Bowl.  Remote parking in areas all around the city with shuttle buses.  It works well and serves many different communities.

6) On the way into the stadium, when people stop at the booths, they are handed bracelets for every adult in the car except one.  To buy beer, you have to have on this bracelet on.  If you arrive by bike, foot, bus or Gold Line and are over 21, you get a bracelet.  If you drive by yourself to the stadium, no beer.

If you have any other suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comment section.

  • dallasgc

    Build the new downtown stadium for the Dodgers where mass transit runs (80+ games a season). Have the future NFL team build at the Chaves Ravine site where there isn’t mass transit (8+ games a season).

  • There’s been a lot of misinformation about who will own what at Dodger Stadium. McCourt won’t control the parking lots, but he will own a piece of land which he can develop (and presumably make a lot of money; perhaps more than he made with the parking lot).
    There had been Dodger Stadium development plans in the works already, and this may be linked to that. Ironically, despite McCourt’s Dr. Evil reputation (“I just sold the Dodgers for TWO… BILLION… DOLLARS”), turning Dodger Stadium into a year-round destination would seem to work in public transit’s favor, since obviously a year-round destination makes more sense for a Dodger trolley/ streetcar/ subway line.

    To Magic Johnson, I would say: invest in the Dodger trolley in the short run, invest in rail for the long run.

  • I especially like #5. 

  • How about a Metro day pass included with your Dodger ticket?

  • Decent idea.  Never gonna happen.

  • Anonymous

    Charge at the entrance and exit gates according to the number of cars in line behind you. If there’s a long line, charge more; if there’s a short line, charge less. This would effectively reduce traffic congestion both before and after the game.

  • Mbrennan

    I LOVE #6. This gets to the heart of public safety and social responsibility. The other ideas are fantastic too but #6 would save lives and take little effort to implement tomorrow.

  • Ron Johnson

    Never gonna happen, Dodger fans would revolt if stadium were torn down. the best thing you could hope for is that goldline could be extended to dodger stadium.

  • I really like #6 – what a great DD approach.  If I make it to a game this season – we will not be parking in that lot – McCourt got enough of our money…No more!

  • I like your thinking here, but differential pricing can only affect travel behavior if people are informed about it sufficiently far ahead of time that they can decide to use a different mode for their trip, or to arrange a carpool or to drive at a less congested time.

    My congestion pricing idea: institute a parking surcharge on cars entering the lot within 45 minutes of first pitch, and really jack it up 15 minutes before. Should be effective in reducing the jam that invariably happens as game time approaches, as well as combating the perception of Dodger fans as fashionably late-arriving Hollywood types. :D

  • Anonymous

    You mean instead of the one lonely bike rack that’s literally at the Top of the Park? It’s a blast biking down to Sunset, but going up on 95 degree days…

  • Those bracelets would have to be made of tape, otherwise:

    “Hey Bob, can I borrow your bracelet? Thanks dude.”

  • How about a funicular or aerial tramway from the Chinatown station to the Parking Lot? Call it DODGERS FLIGHT!

  • Davistrain

    Much as I would like to see light rail extended to the ball park, today’s rail construction costs are such that it would not be economically feasible.  CNG fueled shuttle buses are probably the best we can hope for.  Someone referred to “trolley” service, but they probably meant those fake old-time streetcar bodied
     buses that some towns use for local transit, not real trolley cars like they had in Brooklyn up until the 1950’s.

  • Davistrain

    Regarding the headline: I don’t think the current situation regarding spectator access to Dodger Stadium is “broken”.  It may be slow and inconvenient, but “broken” to me implies that it doesn’t work at all, which is surely not the case if tens of thousands of fans can make it to the games.

  • Davebrown

    What are you nuts?   A rail extension to the ballpark?  Yeah, just what the taxpayers need, more silly expensive ideas.  And regarding your “no beer” idea for drivers.  WRONG!  We still live in a free society and drinking is NOT ILLEGAL. However, drinking and driving while intoxicated is. It is still up to individuals to make the choice. You sound like one of those do gooder types who thinks he can save the world by making more bicycle paths.. 

  • Parabanger

    Funicular to chinatown great idea. Also a 2-way shuttle for the commercial strip on sunset thru echo park and silverlake to sunset/vermont subway. Eliminate all parking on sunset between stadium way and vermont and turn the parking lanes over to carless modes of transportation. Stores/restaurants/etc could validate stadium parking. The usually empty stadium parking lot could make a lot of money.


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