Dodgers unveil new parking plan
Team trying to help alleviate headaches at Dodger Stadium
LOS ANGELES -- Fans of the Los Angeles Dodgers have for a long time had the reputation of coming late and leaving early for a game at Dodger Stadium. It's often been painted as L.A. fans' blasé, Hollywood attitude towards baseball, when in reality it's more than likely because of heavy traffic on Southern California freeways and the frustration of 20,000 cars arriving at the same time and trying to find a parking space.
The Dodgers can't do much about freeway congestion, but they are trying to help alleviate parking headaches with a new plan that was announced on Tuesday.
"We can't change the way traffic patterns are on our own, that's a city-wide problem," said vice president of stadium operations Lon Rosenberg. "But we can help mitigate it here on our property by redesigning the parking and how it will flow in and out of the ballpark."
So the organization has introduced Controlled Zone Parking. In the plan, fans will enter and exit through the same gate and be directed to park in a specific parking lot and space. An increase in parking personnel will help educate the drivers to the new sections. Every step of the way, Dodgers staff will be on hand to direct drivers and get them in and out of stadium.
"Like every other venue in town, Disneyland, the other sporting facilities, everybody else has gone to this plan, where you in essence, take your general parking guests and park them in the most advantageous place possible for when they have arrived in the ballpark," said Rosenberg, who's in his sixth season with stadium operations and second year as vice president. Our preferred parking guests will still have access to [the stadium's] inner circle road and will be able to drive to the lot that they've purchased in advance."
There are four entrance gates into Dodger Stadium: Sunset Gate (Sunset Blvd and Elysian Park), Golden State Gate (Stadium Way and Academy Drive), Academy Gate (Academy Drive) and Downtown Gate (110 Freeway at Stadium Way). The fans will be directed, based on what type of parking plan they have, which gate to enter into. The big change for fans is that season-ticket-holder lots are now lettered, and, as in past seasons, season ticket holders with preferred parking lot passes may enter and exit out of any parking gate. Non-season-ticket lots will be numbered and the staff will try to direct the ticket holder to a parking lot as close to where they are sitting as possible. Once in the lot, an attendant will direct the driver where to park.
Dodgers staff had been listening to fan complaints about the parking and knew with attendance to the games rising to a record 3.7-million fans in 2006, that the problem was only going to get worse, so they immediately started researching solutions.
"We hired several consultants and toured parking facilities across the country, not just football and baseball stadiums, but entertainment facilities," Rosenberg said. "We studied those facilities to gather best practices and got together with the city of Los Angeles, with Caltrans, the Department of Transportation, the California Highway Patrol and Los Angeles Police Department to come up with this plan. It's not just the Dodgers doing this, it's the Dodgers and the city of Los Angeles working together to make this better."
The price of parking has increased to $15.00 a game. Rosenberg says the new plan is just part of the reason for the increase.
"We are using those funds to make this a better experience for the fans, as we do in all of our business matters," said Rosenberg.
He also encourages fans to carpool together whenever possible.
"We want people to try to come together, we want people to carpool," said Rosenberg. "We want people to come four to a car. In fact. we're looking at incentives for people on certain games if they come five to a car."
The Dodgers and the city of Los Angeles are also investigating the best way to utilize the different mass transit systems as a way to eventually bring fans to the stadium. But for now, the controlled zone parking system may make your trip to Dodger Stadium a little easier for the near future.
To order a brochure that further explains Controlled Zone Parking at Dodger Stadium, call (323) 224-1507 or visit the parking section on the Dodgers' Web site.
Ben Platt is a national correspondent for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.