Yesterday the San Francisco 49ers of the National Football League played their first preseason game (and, thus first game overall) at the new Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. This nice, new stadium is quite the welcome upgrade over the outdated Candlestick Park but what about the most important aspect of any sporting event – its accessibility to public transportation?
As is painfully clear from simple observation of a map, the residents of San Francisco are going to have to travel quite a way just to see their home team – it’s about 40 miles from San Francisco to Santa Clara. Candlestick Park, which is within San Francisco borders, is about a 45-minute ride via transit from the random dot that Google Maps uses to designate “San Francisco.” Levi’s Stadium is just over 2 hours by transit from that same dot. That would probably qualify this stadium as not-transit-accessible, right?
Well, not according to local officials – and for good reason. The stadium, which seats around 70,000, enjoyed a trial run a couple weeks back for a soccer match that brought in nearly 50,000 people. ratpag perused the write-ups discussing transportation to that game and noted repeated sight of the word “nightmare” describing traffic to and from the stadium. abc7news.com found complaints of only 3 blocks traveled in an hour and a half! That sounds miserable. Apparently transit wasn’t a whole lot better as trains were delayed and overcrowded.
So how was it for yesterday’s game? Well, driving still seemed to be troublesome as the hour and a half wait persisted on local streets. Parking is apparently a bit limited as many lots are located a ways away from the stadium and “Santa Clara police officers were stationed at entrances to residential areas letting fans know they cannot park there.” Drivers were also un-enthused about the parking prices – some of which made it up to $50.
Transit seems to have gotten its act together by providing extra trains and even having stand-by trains just waiting for fans to show up. Some people interviewed by USA Today mentioned that they experienced no delays and “arrived at the stadium early” while NBC Bay Area noted that “trains zipped by the gridlock” afterwards.
So, all in all, this seems like a big win for transit!
The 49ers lost 34-0.
Image from http://dilemma-x.net/2014/08/01/nfl-49ers-new-levis-stadium-opens-august-2-2014-with-mls-game/