Kings, cycling fans arriving early at downtown's LA Live
Hoping to avoid traffic and parking hassles, Kings fans Chris Egebjerg, 51, and Marion Bushra, 49, decided to take the train from Pasadena to Staples Center on Sunday.
The two arrived downtown at 10 a.m. and said they planned to have breakfast at the Pantry restaurant before heading over to the Kings playoff game at the arena a couple of blocks away.
“We just make a day out of it,” said Egebjerg, who said he has used public transit before to attend hockey games downtown.
Kings fans Craig Ogaz, 44, and his brother Brian, 52 also arrived early. They came from Torrance by way of surface streets.
"It was not bad, actually," Craig said, noting that it took them about a half-hour.
"Caught all the lights too," Brian chimed in. "I was very surprised but happy."
Officials are urging motorists to avoid downtown L.A. on Sunday if possible due to numerous street closure and crowds related to several sporting events.
Tens of thousands of cycling, hockey and basketball fans are expected to converge at Staples Center on Sunday for postseason games and the final stage of the 2012 Amgen Tour of California, a 750-mile professional bike race that began a week ago in Santa Rosa.
Dozens of downtown streets were closed for the bike tour and traffic delays were expected throughout the day in the downtown area.
The heaviest traffic was expected before and just after noon, generated by crowds overlapping to attend the Kings game and the bike race finish.
Two pedestrian bridges were built along Figueroa Street in preparation for Kings fans crossing the Amgen bike route Sunday morning for Game 4 of the NHL Western Conference finals.
Staples Center opened at 9 a.m. Sunday, with pregame events and refreshments available. Kings fans who aren’t using public transit were encouraged to park north of the arena with cycling fans parking to the south or in lots at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum, where there is free shuttle service. A bike valet will also be on hand at Staples Center.
See a larger map of bike race street closures -- which stretch from Beverly Hills to Downtown L.A. — here.
— Kate Mather and Ari Bloomekatz at LA Live
Photo: Don Heuman, 58, left, and Fred London, 77, wait for racers in the Amgen Tour of California to pass at the corner of 11th and Figueroa streets. Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times