Contempt Of McCourt

The story in today’s L.A. Times is that Dodgers owner Frank McCourt has all sorts of reasons why the new $15 pricetag to park at the Stadium on gameday (up from $10 last season) is actually a good thing.

Apparently because one of the most successful sports franchises in the history of the world doesn’t have two dimes to rub together, McCourt is quoted as saying “We are doing everything in our power to make the parking situation better. It costs money to do that. We will invest the proceeds into solving the problem.” But Times writer Steve Henson points out that the extra five bucks for every four wheels rolling through the gates might instead be invested to cover this year’s $15-million increase to the player payroll.

McCourt does say the parking/traffic woes could be alleviated by an application of “robust public transportation” to and from the stadium then kills that dream by adding “But that is going to take awhile.” Why, is that Mr. MacCee? Look at the park-and-ride shuttle systems in place for the Hollywood Bowl and the Griffith Observatory. My bet would be that if you were doing more than just talking out your bullpen you could contract a similar system that could be up and running in something substantially less than “awhile.”

But in the meantime here’s my solution, Frankie and it’s guaranteed to ease the traffic burden as well as whatever conscience you still have. It’s simple: Grow yourself a pair of baseballs and charge $50 for the privilege of parking up there on the hallowed hill. My bet is there’ll still be at least one in three who’ll pony up such an outrageous amount and the rest will walk/bus/bike/hike it in from down below.

14 Replies to “Contempt Of McCourt”

  1. Beo, if you’re asking about the shuttles from the bowl the only one I’m familiar with is the one that departs the L.A. Zoo parking lot. I believe the travel time is about 30 minutes and cost something like $3 roundtrip. I did one of the shuttles the weekend the observatory reopened and that was also about 30 minutes to get there.

    But at this point and for the foreseeable future the only buses that drop you at Dodger Stadium are none. There was a short-lived shuttle between Union Station and the stadium but that was discontinued a couple years ago. Right now the MTA buses that’ll get you closest to the stadium are the No. 2 and 4 lines that stop at Sunset Boulevard and Elysian Park Avenue, then it’s a relatively short walk up and in from there.

    As I live only a two-mile walk to the stadium, that’s how I’d proverbially roll to a game… if I go to any this season.

  2. There is no bus that goes to the stadium or a reasonable distance from a gate.

    Metro lines 2 and 4 run along Sunset Boulevard. Get out at Elysian Park Avenue and walk up the hill a little over a mile until you get to the nearest gate. It’s quite a hike.

    Two seasons ago, the Dodgers had buses from Union Station for Friday games. These were bought and paid for by the Dodgers, and had nothing to do with Metro (although it was promoted on the Metro system). After one season, the Dodgers canceled the buses due to overwhelming success. Seriously.

  3. I attended a Dodger’s community meeting when they arranged for the shuttle bus from Union Station.

    They had first tried getting the MTA and the LA-DOT to add a route to the Stadium, but couldn’t get any results.

    The next year may have been the year the management changed, and the new mgmt may have decided not to continue.

    I think the Dodgers deserve credit for making the attempt to provide public transit when LA’s public transit are not arranging services.

    Even though the Dodgers discontinued the shuttle, it should never have had to fall on their shoulders.

  4. Be Good,

    Credit may be due, but if the shuttle was a success, as WAD contends, why did the new management discontinue it? Could it be that they recognized the parking revenue being lost from the shuttle users?

    And while it would be nice if a dedicated MTA or DOT line could be implemented, what’s wrong with the Dodgers shouldering the burden themselves? They recognize there’s a traffic/parking problem, why not man up instead of relying on a city/county agency to reduce it?

    Under the assumption that the Hollywood Bowl shuttle program is contracted by the bowl and not the city, that would be a tremendously successful model to emulate.

  5. Will, I’m more of a look-on-the-best-side kind of guy. So could it be that they considered that they proved to naysayers at the MTA/LA-DOT that such as service would have riders, and that the transit authorities should step up?

    There really isn’t a parking problem (until non-payers start blocking my driveway). It’s a “cheap parking” problem. And the traffic problem should go away if they raise the parking to your suggested $50, no? ‘cuz more people will take the bus and then walk.

    See what I mean about looking on the bright side?

    But you’re right. Someone, be it Dodgers or MTA or LA-DOT should provide a shuttle from Union Station. Or better, I liked the light-transit map posted here awhile ago, showing a station at Dodger Stadium.

  6. I hear ya BG. I’m somewhat of a desperate optimist myself. Though I recognize the glass as half full, I’m more like holyshitmyglassisonlyhalffull!

    If the stadium shuttle was killed because the Dodgers felt they proved a point to the MTA or LADOT, it’s a shame they didn’t make a better effort at getting the community involved in pressuring the respective public agencies to pick up the slack. In the meantime one can only hope someone will.

    And me too, I get misty just thinking about that transit map you mentioned.

  7. The irony in canceling a service that was overwhelmingly successful was that it cost the Dodgers too much money.

    Dodgers only did it for Friday night games, and had expected less than a thousand users. Many nights, they’d be getting 2,000 or 3,000. It’s scrambling to get buses and the change orders that cost so much.

    Metro cannot operate the service because it doesn’t have enough vehicles to spare. LADOT has a better shot, since the Commuter Express buses sit idle for 18-20 hours a day.

  8. My first sentence came out wrong. Sorry for the case of misspeakingage.

    The irony is the Dodgers canceled a bus service because it was too successful. It cost the Dodgers too much money to run it themselves.

  9. Here’s a link to the MTA staff report on the possibility of running Dodger shuttle service:
    http://www.metro.net/board/Items/2006/07_July/20060720OPItem30.pdf
    Public agencies running public buses to public parks, like Griffith Park and the Hollywood Bowl aren’t a problem, but subsidizing the Dodgers seems a little odd in light of their wealth. I know it should be about the passengers, but really, the Dodgers claiming they can’t afford to chip in for a shuttle program? At those salaries, can’t a single player spare a week’s pay? In the end, Dodger stadium is in a geographically undesirable place for anyone other than drivers, a reflection of the car crazy era it was built in.

  10. Matt, thanks for the link to the Metro document. It was well worth reading. It’s nice to know that service was at least considered, although I can’t believe they are legally constrained from providing service (IANAL). Here are some interesting excerpts from the memo. The statements about low ridership seem to contradict what WAD has mentioned.

    History of Dodger Stadium Shuttles
    Seasonal service to Dodger Stadium with a premium fare existed from 1962 through 1994 via Line 635 between Downtown Los Angeles and Dodger Stadium. This service was discontinued in 1994 due to budgetary constraints and low ridership.
    During the 2004 season, the Dodgers provided contractor-operated service to Dodger Stadium for Friday night games … with a roundtrip fare of $2.00.
    In discussions with Dodger representatives, they indicated that due to low ridership (approximately 400 passengers per game) and high operating costs, they would not continue to sponsor this service. The Dodgers have indicated to staff that this remains their position today.

    By the way, I got a letter from the Dodgers yesterday inviting me to a community meeting. If you want to engage them on this topic, you might call them and invite yourself. Ask for Noel of Community Affairs. 6:30pm Thursday March 29th or 6:30pm Friday March 30th. I RSVP’d to the Friday meeting. See you there?

  11. Metro did think about this one for a while – The legal problem would be with running a shuttle just to and from the privately owned Dodger Stadium. That’s part of why I said it was geographically undesireable – it’s not on the way to anywhere else like the rest of major venues in L.A. Transit passes by Staples, the colosseum, or there are lots of stops on the way to Hollywood Park, Santa Anita, etc. Dodger Stadium is at the top of a hill. There are state and federal laws that discourage (or prevent) public transit agencies from operating “charter” services, and that’s basically what this would amount to if it just went from Union Station to the Stadium for the sole purpose of delivering patrons to the Dodgers. Private bus companies didn’t want unfair competion (great, so why aren’t they filling this need?), hence the law. Rerouting a LADOT/DASH line on games nights would avoid the “charter” problem and probably work much better!

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