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Dodger parking

       

By Keith Thursby
Times Staff Writer

There’s a long line of people willing and able to criticize the Dodgers for the traffic mess at the Coliseum Saturday. But what could people have expected?

Unless you’ve been under a rock for a few days, you know that more than 115,000 people crammed in and around the Coliseum to see the Dodgers play the Red Sox. The Dodgers provided free shuttle service to the Coliseum and back from Dodger Stadium and depending on the newspaper or blogger, it was a disaster or worse.

We did fine.

I left my home in Irvine on Saturday with my two teenage sons at about noon. The plan was to have lunch and get to Dodger Stadium by 2. We arrived right on time to find few people and several buses waiting for baseball fans.

Yes, it was ridiculously early for a 7 p.m. game. But we had 115,000 reasons for getting there so early.

We got to the Coliseum about 3 and waded through the thousands already there. Clearly we weren’t the only people arriving early. We got into the stadium a little after 4 and saw the real baseball highlight of the night, batting practice.

We cheered Vin Scully, ate overpriced junk food and had a good time with our friends. But we couldn’t help but notice all the late-comers. We started hearing stories all around us about people delayed by the long lines at Dodger Stadium.

1958_dodgers_nd_examiner1_3
Los Angeles Examiner Negatives Collection in the the Regional History Collection of USC Libraries

The Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants on opening day at the Coliseum, April 18, 1958, from "Mobsters, Molls, and Mayhem: A Year in the Life of Los Angeles" at the Doheny Library.
 

So we decided the easiest thing to do was abandon ship. We lasted five innings, enough to soak in the weirdness of baseball at the Coliseum and the drunks and the near-fights and the knuckleheads throwing peanuts at every Red Sox fan who walked by.

We got to the bus line at 9 and nearly an hour later we were on the way back to Dodger Stadium. It wasn’t pretty or efficient but for a crowd that big, it was pretty peaceful. We were back in Irvine before midnight.

We didn’t want to leave the game early, but figured it was our only option. And we weren’t complaining. This was free parking and transportation, after all, even if it was messy.

I don’t have any baseball memories of the Coliseum. My memories are the 1984 Olympics, the Rams and Notre Dame or UCLA against USC. But we wanted to experience Saturday’s event.

So it was beyond crowded. Too many lines and too little baseball (can’t remember the last time we left anything early). But my kids and I knew it wouldn’t be perfect, just something we can say we did.

       

keith.thursby@latimes.com

 
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Comments (4)

fantastic post--i couldnt have said it better myself. Any time 115 thousand people get together things arent going to work exactly as planned. If they thought otherwise than they are dumber than ned colletti thinking that blake dewitt is the solution at third base.

Unfortunately, I had previous commitments in the day and could not arrive at 3pm for a 7pm game nor did I want to leave in the 4th or 5th inning of game. My first inclination was to park at the Coliseum but with all the encouragement from the Dodgers and the flashing signs on the freeways telling me to park at Dodger Stadium because there was no parking available at the Coliseum I parked at Dodger Stadium.

It was a disaster. It could not have been handled worse. They had only one spot to get on the shuttles. They did not have it organized at all and the line was absurd. To make a long story short I arrived at Dodger Stadium well before the start of the game and made it to the Coliseum by the end of the 4th inning. The way home felt like the fall of Saigon. The line to get on the shuttles stretched all the way from Figueroa through USC and half way around the Coliseum. My friend and I walked all the way to the Staples Center just to be able to catch a cab back to the Stadium. It must have been about a 3 hour wait if you stayed till the end of the game to return via shuttle. Shame on the Dodgers for promoting something so ill thought out and prepared.

Thanks for sharing your experience. We had a similar day. It was pretty seamless. We arrived early and left early - two things we normally don't do on regular game days - even Opening Day, but with this massive crowd, why would we do otherwise? We expected the worst, but were pleasantly surprised at how smooth it all went.

BTW, the traffic today at Dodger Stadium (Opening Day) was pretty light compared to years past. We're still trying to figure out if it had anything to with the new stadium parking route or if luck has been on our side lately...

Wow Keith, you're right. It went so well. For those of us who arrived at Dodger Stadium at 3PM, the line to get on a shuttle (per the team's recommendation) was short, and we arrived at the Coliseum very early. Unfortunately, my other friend who couldn't arrive early was still waiting for a shuttle at 7PM, and he gave up and returned home. That's not a success in my book.

As for our return trip, that's where things fell apart. Even though this would be a one-time experience, we decided to leave early to avoid shuttle insanity, and it seemed that it would be fine to leave after the 7th inning. The non-existent signs or directions back to the shuttles might have helped us find the end of the line, but since our shuttle driver had no clue where we should queue up for the return trip, we went back to Exposition. By the time we followed the line around the block and back through the Coliseum entrance until we could still see no end in sight past the Peristile, we gave up on that idea and walked back up Figueroa until we found a cab. I have no idea how long the wait was for those who chose to wait for a shuttle, but I can't imagine they got back to Dodger Stadium before Midnight at the earliest.

I don't want to completely rip the Dodgers, but the parking situation was clearly an afterthought. I left a message for a reservation, but if they really thought nobody would show up at the last minute for the shuttles (since they were pushing people to use that option), it was a colossal blunder to be unprepared for the post-game onslaught. One shouldn't have to leave a game they paid a lot of money for several innings early to avoid a 3AM return home, especially since this isn't something that's likely to be experienced again. I'm a diehard and can survive ordeals like this, but my father and girlfriend weren't prepared for such a nightmare. I was very disappointed, and even though I'm glad I was there, it seems like the McCourts once again failed to prepare for a worst case scenario (much like the parking issues at the beginning of last season).


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