Getting to Wrigley Field on a Cubs game day can be a trying experience for public transit users.
With that basic fact in mind, the Cubs commissioned Sam Schwartz Engineering to develop a Wrigley Field Game Day Traffic and Parking
Management Plan. It's a very exhaustive study with some great recommendations to improve CTA traffic flow, some of which could be implemented fairly quickly.
First, here are some basic facts from the plan:
- About 40% of game-goers use CTA rail.
- Ridership on two Pace buses from Schaumburg and Lombard amounts to about 120 fans per 10,000 fans.
- There are about 140 fans per 10,000 attendees who take a bus from the remote parking facility at DeVry University.
- There is no signage at Wrigley to help people get to transit stops, whether they be CTA, Metra or Pace.
- There are no CTA fare machines other than at the CTA Addison station.
- The boarding process for the #152 bus on Addison takes 45 to 90 minutes due to passengers paying with cash - despite the fact that a portable fare card station is used at the back door of the bus.
- The Addison Red Line station is very crowded after games since many people don't purchase fare cards ahead of time.
- Explore the feasibility of installing CTA fare card machines on the sidewalks immediately outside Wrigley Field.
- CTA passengers, both rail and bus, should be encouraged to purchase their return fare before the game. The Cubs should work with the CTA to develop messaging in the Addison Red Line Station to accomplish this.
- The Cubs should work with CTA to determine if additional incentives can be provided on the bus, such as free wireless or food, if such incentives encourage more people to use the service.
- A portion of the Cubs’ website should be overhauled and substantially redesigned to emphasize public transit access as the best way to Wrigley Field.
- The Cubs should integrate CTA Train Tracker and Bus Tracker widgets into the website so fans can access up-to-date transportation information. Consideration should also be given to developing an application for mobile devices to provide transportation and parking information.
- Transit fare cards should be offered and promoted for purchase online when Cubs tickets are sold and fare media can be offered as part of a season ticket invoice.
- Cross promotion of transit fare payment and Cubs ticket sales could be ideally kicked-off with the launch of the new Ventra CTA fare system later in 2013. Ventra accounts could also likely be programmed to enable rides after Cubs games to be charged at discounted rates. Transit options should also be printed on tickets.
Longer term solutions
- Add post-game express CTA service northbound to Howard. This would reduce travel times from Wrigley Field to Howard by 6 minutes and reduce crowding on Red Line trains and at the Addison Station.
- Improve the overall configuration and design of the station, including a larger concourse area and additional stairways to the platforms.
- Upgrade the current exit-only rotogate on the south side of Addison to allow entry with a CTA fare card.
- Rename the station as “Cubs-Addison” or “Wrigley Field-Addison,” similar to the station adjacent to U.S. Cellular Field being named “Sox-35th.
Here's hoping some of these easier solutions - such as allowing entry at the south side of Addison - can be acted on sooner than later.
And a hat tip to Bob for alerting me to this report.
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