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.