Walking and Driving to Dodger Stadium

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(editor’s note: this is the second in a two-part series about traveling to and from Dodger Stadium.  Yesterday’s story focused on biking to the game.) 

Walking to Dodger Stadium may have been the worst pedestrian experience of my entire life.  On Monday night we walked to the game with about 30 people from about a half mile southwest of the “Downtown Gate” entrance.  The sidewalks randomly started and ended along the path to the stadium as we approached.  Oftentimes the group was pushed onto the street just as the road turned making us invisible to oncoming traffic.

Turning into the road that leads to the parking lot, the experience didn’t get any better.  With no sidewalks, the group walked along the shoulder but it also got wider and narrower at seemingly random points.  At some places there was a dirt path that was separated from the road on one side of the entranceway, but the police directed us into the shoulder.  Advocates often comment that pedestrian facilities are an after thought in Los Angeles, but in the transportation planning for the stadium it was worse than that. The plan clearly didn’t consider pedestrians at all.

The good news was that the police and parking guides were both far more helpful that when I tried biking to the stadium.  They gave us the right of way to cross the street even when there were a lot of cars queued up and made sure we were across safely.  One of them even joked that he had never seen people walking this route to the stadium.

When I biked to the game on Wednesday I took a different route, and while I wasn’t paying close attention to the pedestrian engineering, it didn’t appear to be any different entering through the Sunset Gate. 

Driving to Dodger Stadium feels no different from driving to or from any other ballpark.  If you haven’t bought a prepaid pass you might get confused by the flag wavers and parking guides, but the lot was a big improvement from the last time I had driven to Dodger Stadium in 2004 when the parking lot numbering system made absolutely no sense to me.  

Getting out of the stadium area, when 30,000 people have all taken to their cars within 15 minutes of each other to get out of one of four gates, the traffic can get congested.  As one reader noted, biking downhill instead of sitting in traffic can cut 20 minutes off the trip home.

The deplorable pedestrian conditions are a blight on Dodger Stadium and the local area.  With a $500 million being poured into improving the stadium, some of those funds ought to find their back into the community.  Fixing and adding sidewalks wouldn’t just be a “good neighbor” policy, it would also make it easier and less expensive for people living around the stadium to visit the ballpark.

Photo: Damien Newton

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