On Friday we asked Echo Park residents to send us pictures about their experience with the Dodgers’ season opener. Over the last three weeks, as the community prepped itself for the 81 home games of the MLB season, Echo Park residents, especially those living near streets and entryways to the stadium, have been concerned over the vehicular logistics of game days.
Echo Park Forums writer Heather McTear covered, in detail, the last meeting held between the Dodgers and concerned Echo Park residents before the start of the season. The story foreshadowed what opening day would be as the Dodgers’ Senior Vice President of External Affairs, Renata Simril, didn’t have the answers for a growing number of actively concerned residents. Some promises were made and others were scheduled.
So here’s the problem: Los Angeles, the second most populous city in America, is home to the LA Dodgers, the team with the highest payroll in the league. Dodgers stadium, a beautiful urban structure seated atop a hill, seats 56,000 people and employs hundreds–all of whom have to make their way into the stadium, somehow.
Dodgers’ parking rates start at $8 dollars for two off-site parking lots (if purchased in advance), and continue to $10 dollars for general lots if purchased online, and $15 at the gate. Preferred lot spaces go for $35 online and $50 at the gate; reserved parking, purchased for the entire year, is from $5,000-7,000.
Available to fans is also a shuttle service to and from the stadium from Union Station in downtown Los Angeles. Users of this service are encouraged to take the metro to the station, and then the shuttle to the stadium. The shuttle is free if the rider has purchased a ticket to the game, or $1.50 one-way for those without one.
If people decide to drive to Union Station, they would still need to find parking in Downtown–something not particularly easy. Union Station provides 500 stalls for $6 each.
The Dodgers also encourage biking to the game and offer free-of-charge bike racks throughout the stadium.
Given these options, the vast majority of people are going to either pay $15 dollars for a general parking lot space, or park somewhere around the stadium, such as in Echo Park.
But if parking, traffic, and getting to the stadium were the only problems, maybe the situation local residents face would simply be an inconvenience. But as communicated before by Echo Park residents, the concerns extend into the activities that surround a ball game.
While the Dodgers’ gameplay is more exciting than previous years due to an improved roster, let’s face it–for many people, attending a baseball game is not so much about the four bases but about having a good time. This could mean some time in the sun, some peanuts and cracker jack, the experience of going to the stadium with friends or family, or many other things, but it could also mean pre-gaming, beer, alcohol, drugs, and partying.
Still, there are others who say these problems should be expected if one decides to live near a ballpark, and that local residents should live with the consequences and enjoy the experience. After all, living near a ball park anywhere in the country, and especially in our large, popular cities, can also mean more economic activity, more valuable real estate, and a variety of bars, restaurants, and things to do.
So when we asked residents to send us pictures of their experience, we meant good or bad.
Dodgers Opening Day Aftermath
Here are some of the responses we got.
Katherine and David S.
My husband and I took these photos this morning (Saturday, April 6). We noticed the trash last night on our way to dinner, and decided to come back when the sun was up. We hear people saying the situation with Dodger fans and opening the Scott gate ‘isn’t that bad’. This is appalling to us. – Katherine & David S.
In a response to Adam G. Bass, the field deputy for the Office of Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell who emailed many concerned residents about some of the shortcomings and complaints of opening day, Ann-Marie stated:
It used to be that if you lived west of the stadium, you could still sneak out on game days, even when you lived right next door as I do. Now, though, the Scott gate opening has created clogs at both Echo Park Ave and Glendale Blvd, making westbound traffic on Sunset moving away from the stadium as immobile as the traffic that’s trying to get there. I hope these pictures can help make a case for getting permit parking put in place posthaste on the streets surrounding the stadium. Clearly there won’t be any change unless there is an actual penalty in place for ignoring the Local Access signs, which don’t have any effect at all.
She was not alone. On Friday, many residents tried to communicate with the Office of Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, and with the LA Department of Transportation, LAPD and Council District 1 about the lack of parking enforcement on game day.
It was crazy on Morton Ave. People were tailgating on the streets early. It was not this bad last year. You know they are not local because they are all parked at the no-parking Friday zone. I think Echo Park is about to have a rough season ahead if the Dodgers and LAPD don’t start enforcing the same policies they have for the parking lot and Dodger Stadium. It just pushes the Dodger fans down to our streets where they drink and park. Parking is already a nightmare here. – Private, ticked off Morton Ave resident.
The morning looked [as pictured] after 10 a.m. when the cops gave up blocking Academy Road. Helicopters, noise, and a bunch of sports-grunting later, the afternoon looked [as pictured]. – Heather Parlato
Dodgers opening day means empty forties on the street! – Karlyn Farris
Thank you to everyone who shared their opening day experience through emails, pictures, and stories. Echo Park Forums will continue to be aware of the situation. Please continue to send your stories and pictures via our contact form. We also encourage residents to use our forums as a way to communicate and organize in whatever way is necessary.