Why public transit near baseball stadiums is crucial

As a big baseball fan and public transit enthusiast, I am very pleased that the CTA’s Red Line goes rumbling right past Wrigley Field on the North Side and U.S. Cellular Field on the South Side.

A Chicago Magazine story this month examines how lack of proximity to public transit may be hurting the Tampa Bay Rays at the turnstile. Whereas, the Cubs drew more than 3 million fans once again, with the White Sox pulling in just over 2 million. And as the story notes, the Cubs draw big despite a minimum of parking around Wrigley.

As write Whet Moser writes:

“I’m always surprised this approach (including transit at new ball parks) isn’t more appealing (the Twins’ new home did 99 percent attendance last year, and it’s at “the sweet spot for public transit in Minnesota”). The Cubs can break 90 percent attendance with a lousy product. The Rays, handcrafted from the finest Wall Street algorithims and perpetually in contention for the playoffs against the most expensive and storied teams in baseball, have trouble breaking 60 percent. Nice as it is to win games and have famous, talented players, there’s something to be said for a subway stop.”

Another Florida team is set to begin play in a new stadium with an old Chicago manager – the Miami Marlins with Ozzie Guillen at the helm. But as Transit Miami’s Tony Garcia notes, the public-transit access is pretty bad:

“I have to wonder why these people believe that anyone would go through the trouble of transferring two or three times to get close to the stadium, to then walk a mile from Culmer or Civic station or take a shuttle. Are they nuts? Both of the closest stations are about a mile, without taking into account the treacherous 3′ sidewalks, dangerous intersections, and completely lacking pedestrian amenities along the way.”

So all you baseball fans, rejoice that your Chicago teams are well served by the CTA. Well, everyone but Jack, of course. He would probably wonder why the Red Line doesn’t dump him right at Wrigley’s Gate F.


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  • Why are you into smearing me now? As I said earlier, I have no interest where the L dumps me near the former Marshall Fields, and, in this case, TD Ameritrade Field.

    If the point was that St. Petersburg does not have rapid transit, it never did, and certainly did not when the Sox and Thompson were running the con to move there. They do have buses.

    As for Miami, there may be a circulator there,but their team stunk after it was dismantled in 2003, and their very stable owner sacked both Girardi and Gonzalez as managers. Of course, the Cubs have stunk since 1908, so maybe there is another reason why Cubs fans go there. Some even take the Pace 288 Express, which Carole Brown derided.

    And pretty soon, no one will take CTA if it is not "clean safe and on time" but populated by pyschos such as Mr. AntiSemite.

    Carole gets me back to my point yesterday--why do you defend political hacks that have proven that they can't do the job properly? You haven't answered.

    If you are going to go after me like crazed ideologues like Dennis Byrne did, and not be responsive, I'll cut off your click count, too.

  • The sea of parking at the Cell has always been (IMO) one of the worst features of the new stadium, but I'm guessing most of the people who go there anymore live way out in Tinley or someplace that makes it difficult to get to there via public transportation. I know I'd hate to have to drive and pay for parking and all the other inconveniences that go along with parking a car at the ballpark.

  • Metra put its 35th St station on the wrong set of commuter tracks. They should have used the Norfolk Southern tracks, which lie on the "safer" side of the Dan Ryan 200ft. west of the park and serve the Sox-fan laden suburbs of New Lenox, Orland Park, Palos, and Oak Lawn. It would have also built a demand for better service outside of Rush Hour.

  • In reply to urbanleftbehind:

    So, what about the Sox fans on the RI, especially in Beverly, and south of there through, including, New Lenox? That was the whole intent, as well as to serve IIT.

    Now, if you can get a TIGER XVII grant to either build the other station or move the SWS service to the RI tracks, go ahead.

  • In reply to urbanleftbehind:

    Is that the line that doesn't run at night/on the weekends?

  • In reply to Cheryl:
  • In reply to urbanleftbehind:

    Because the students, faculty and staff of the Illinois Institute of Technology can use it year-round.

    "Safer side", really?

  • I could live with a move of the SWS line to RID -this is actually a long-term project within the CREATE program. Probably would need the NS to have grandiose intermodal freight plans and the dollars to put them through. Deep down, I know that the 35th/RID is not some horiffic ghetto (actually a decent location) but I question the attractiveness to Sox fans of longer-by-comparison walk from the Cell's gates. Heck I tough it out and take the less sardine-can like Green Line back into the Loop after games.

  • In reply to urbanleftbehind:

    Hey--ixnay on the een-Gray ine-lay, okay? That's our little secret.

  • In reply to Cheryl:

    So I am not the only one to have figured that out. Rats!

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