Monday, January 28, 2008

Bus Lines Back at Dodger Stadium for 2008?

Thanks to LA City Councilman Ed Reyes for reviving the issue of public transportation to Dodger Stadium. I am sure that Frank McCourt isn't thrilled at the prospect of losing $15 per car, but it seems to me that the Stadium needs a viable public transportation solution, like most other big cities' MLB parks, if we aspire to make the Dodgers a team for the people of Los Angeles (breaking attendance records in the process, btw). From the 1/14 LA Business Journal:

The City's Dept of Transportation and the county Metropolitan Transportation Authority will consider restoring public transit to the stadium by opening day. Councilman Ed Reyes presented a resolution asking transportation authroties to study the feasibility of modifying existing bus routes or developing new ones to the stadium and the surrounding Elysian Park area during baseball season. The council adopted the resolution last month.

Regular bus service served the stadium until the mid 1990's when the Rapid Transit District canceled the route. In 2003 and 2004, the Doidgers worked with the MTA to provide weekend shuttle service to the stadium from Union Station. That service was canceled because hardly anyone used it.

Dodger execs and city officials know that it's difficult if not impossible for people who don't have cars to attend games. Traffic's an issue too.

"It is an element that we need to introduce again to lessen the congestion and creat an environment that is compatibel for the neighborhood," Reyes said.

In 2007, the Dodgers paid over $1 million to the city of Los Angeles for overtime related to traffic policing and its costs are expected to be about the same in 2008.

Special props to my sister for finding this article. Thanks, Sis!


Alan Fishel said...

Yes public transportation to Dodger Stadium for concerts, events as well as for home games is needed. However the problem with any kind of bus service is that the busses must compete with the cars for the very limited road space. Driving to a game is not a very pleasant experience. Normally at least half an hour is taken in stopped traffic both before and after the games. I wonder just how many people avoid attending games and events do the traffic at the Stadium? The bus has this same delay making it not the most popular choice in getting to the Stadium.

One answer is a less than a mile long grade separated monorail or “people mover” between Union Station and Dodger Stadium. This could circle the Stadium with above ground stops at several entrances that would be close to the entrances for a very short walk to the Stadium.

This would make getting to Dodger Stadium as enjoyable as the game. Of coarse the down side is the loss of parking revenue but that could be made up in increased attendance and a fare to ride this convenient service.

Unknown said...

it's about time this issue was re-addressed. i have no car and love going to dodger games. i take the 2 or 4 bus and then walk to the stadium from sunset but like you said, the bus has to deal with traffic. now i'm all for a trolley style system that takes people to the peak of the stadium from sunset which would make that whole area blow up with business but thats a far off dream. til then i think metro/dash needs to have extra buses running not only to its normal stop at sunset but up to the stadium itself. it should also have a designated (and strictly enforced) bus lane. to add to this the stadium needs to upgrade the whole area to make it more walkable. its insane to walk there and back around the stadium. small ass stairwells and just terrible funneling of masses of people to narrow entrances. not to mention there are hardly any sidewalks to speak of and people have no problem nearly side swiping you as they're racing out of the ravine as fast as they can after spending 30 minutes trying to leave the lot.

a lot needs to be done at dodger stadium to make it more fan friendly and the first and easiest are these. stop being an asshole mccourt and help us all out.

Unknown said...

I was the traffic engineer for the NY Mets for a year and a half. We increased the mass transit ridership from 22% to 50%. It takes a concerted marketing effort and overall comprehensive plan, not just providing some special service. It has to be a service people can count on. Remote parking is also a really good option, keeps cars away from the immediate area around the stadium and allows buses to have more priority.

However, it has to be a full on interagency effort from everyone, the team, the community, the MTA, the police, and most of all the mayor's office. Pressure from the mayor's office can move mountains. It would benefit not only the fans, but also the local community. Additionally, it would shift the mindset of people attending the game to a "mass transit" mindset and then it becomes "part of the Dodger experience". For a team that derives its name from mass transit, you would think there would be a little more effort to do this.

The Mets advertised mass transit during every game, both on tv and at the stadium, multiple times. It's time to get some transportation engineers and planners to come together and put together a comprehensive overall plan to make the game a better experience for everyone (thus increasing attendance, in stadium sales because people are in the stadium earlier instead of sitting in their cars, etc.)

Steve Sax said...

alan, tyke, marybeth: thank you all for some great points and well-informed perspectives. What the LA Business Journal doesn't say is whether the Dodgers are in support of any public transportation plan (I'm guessing, they're not), spurning potential attendance increases or the magnaminity of providing access to everyone who can't afford a $15 parking charge.

As for molasses-speed traffic flows, recall that Frank McCourt's clainm to fame in Boston was running a parking lot, so it is not surprising that his changes to Dodger Stadium (a) charge people high parking rates (which have almost doubled in the short time he's owned the team) and (b) have arteries which resemble a parking lot.

As for the marketing campaign, the Dodgers face three big impediments the Mets did not: 1) management doesn't want it in the first place; 2) LA is a driving town more so than New York; and 3) there is no subway (or monorail) infrastructure already built to the stadium, just waiting to be used. We all know how difficult it is to build subways here in LA, from the MTA's glacial pace of advancement and limited reach. But if we were to wake up one day and this infrastructure suddenly existed, it seems to me that we could replace a couple of the Dodgers' outdoor billboards with a public-transportation-to-games message (that is, unless Arte Moreno monopolizes every billboard in LA with Angels logos). And I for one could trade the Coca-Cola "trivia contest" question during games for a nice PSA on public transportation options.

Alas, we're stuck with buses for now. So the question is, will the Dodgers step up and make them a viable option? If I were a ten-year-old kid and could take a safe and cheap public transporation solution to get to Dodger games, I'd go to 50-60 games each year, easy. And that's a lot of hot dogs, Frank.

Okay, I need some more caffeine.

Unknown said...

I believe this
along with better bus routing, VMS usage, and remote parking would help tremendously. Obviously Bus priority lanes on game days would be best. To make mass transit a viable option for games it needs to be more convenient and less expensive. Joint promotions help too. If pressure came from the Mayor's office to provide "equal access" for groups of all economic backgrounds then the Dodgers would eventually cave. Say tax incentives or something for greener transportation planning?

Steve Sax said...

I think Antonio V. is too busy stalking reporters or stumping for Hillary to take up this issue.

TransitPlanner said...

Dodger Stadium is actually very close to Union Station (Amtrak, Metrolink, Metro Red, Purple and Gold Lines). All that is needed is a well designed shuttle system to take people from all over the Southland from the station to the games. A frequent "Dodger DASH" Shuttle with dedicated lanes, is all that is needed. An improved pedestrain path and signage could bring the Gold Line's Chinatown station within reach. It's not rocket science !