Giants beat the Dodgers 250

[[image:dodger_mini.jpg::inline:1]]Last month I went to my third Dodgers game of the season – and because I was coming from work I decided it would be much more fun to take my bike rather than figuring out which bus would drop me off at the closest spot. Besides, we all know that when congestion hits – you want to be on your bike, not on a bus.

Published September 13, 2007 by C.I.C.L.E.
By David Pulsipher

Last month I went to my third Dodgers game of the season – and because I was coming from work I decided it would be much more fun to take my bike rather than figuring out which bus would drop me off at the closest spot. Besides, we all know that when congestion hits – you want to be on your bike, not on a bus.

[[image:dodger_parking.jpg::inline:1]]I figured parking would be easy. A no brainer. I pedaled triumphantly up the hill to the stadium, and right when I ran out of legs it was about time for me to dismount anyway, so it was the perfect combo. I asked the parking attendant (almost shocked to be having a conversation that didn’t involve an exchange of $15 for a slip of paper) where I could park my bike and he instructed me to ask the attendants further down the road.*

*Cue wild goose chase

Bless their hearts, the staff at Dodgers Stadium tried to be helpful, but every response to my question, “do you know where I can park my bike” ended up in yet another direction or to another part of the stadium. The man with the traffic batons directed me to customer service. Customer service sent me to security; security sent me around the corner down a long flight of stairs. Finally a staff member taking tickets said that he “once” saw someone park their bike on a handicapped parking pole. Because it was minutes before the ceremonial first pitch, I decided I was just going to risk it on the pole. I took heart in the fact that I was parked next to a BMW. I figured, “hey, maybe they’ll steal that instead of mine.”

My bike was still there at game’s end and the Dodgers lost, but I couldn’t stop thinking about Dodgers Stadium, and how an edifice created to hold 56,000 people couldn’t have one bike rack.

Right, I know… this is Los Angeles. I think it’s safe to say that most people don’t consider that you could get around by a bike. The fact is Los Angeles is perfect for biking because of weather and relatively flat topography. But you already know that, don’t you.

Dodger Stadium doesn’t know that LA is perfect for biking. I took the liberty of perusing their website to see if I could find out anything about bicycle parking. No dice. However, I did find an email address for parking and sent a message that I was sure would go to the nether-regions of the Internet, never to surface again. At first, I got the polite/condescending(?) auto-response and I was sure that would be the end of it. But later I did get a response, it read:

Thank you so much for your suggestions as to the bike parking. We apologize for the inconveniences and confusion that you faced. Your experience has been forwarded on to our parking department for considerations.

Thank you for your support.
Guest Relations

Did you hear that? My experience has been forwarded on to the parking department for “consideration.” I wish I could say I’m optimistic about what lies in store for that “consideration” but I’m more of a pragmatist. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that other sports venues are considering it; look at the picture of the Pepsi center in Denver. Home of the Denver Nuggets (NBA) and Colorado Avalanche (NHL) as well as a host of other smaller sports teams, this venue hosts concerts, conferences and other events of gleeful mobs cheering and shouting. As a Denver native, I can tell you that the climate for year-round cycling in Denver isn’t exactly idyllic, but it’s good. Now Los Angeles, that is prime year-round cycling weather.

Yet the Pepsi Center provides a sea of bicycle parking, why? Well one, because Denver is awesome and they love cyclists. Two, it’s obvious they are addressing the larger picture of congestion and providing alternate options for fans. Everyone hates getting stuck in traffic after a great game. It’s like a first kiss that ends with a kick to the groin.

A little bit closer to home, the Dodgers arch-rival – the San Francisco Giants are taking a personal approach to bicycle parking. They offer a valet service to all home games (81 games a year!) and nary a bicycle has been stolen. The service is proudly provided by the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. In exchange for their watchful eye and safe haven for biked, patrons are asked to give what they might pay for a normal valet, but no one is turned away for lack of funds. Kash from the SFBC told me that on their highest day they held about 250 bikes. They average about 100-150 bicycles per game, depending on the time of day and opponent.

Giants – 250. Dodgers – 0.

Like most cyclists, I’d like to think I’m a reasonable fellow. I’m not expecting the Dodgers to come back late in the 9th inning and tie the Giants. Truth be told, I usually leave after the seventh inning stretch. But I wouldn’t mind if the Dodgers put up a good fight, perhaps put in a few racks, would that be too much to ask? Do you think they could squeeze them in?

Because CICLE’s mission is to “incite change,” I think we should seek to incite some change at Dodger stadium. Baseball season is almost over, which means we have all of the “off-season” to wear on them for opening day 2008.

Dodger Stadium needs to hear from you. They need to know that there are people who are riding their bikes to the game and are disgruntled with the lack of facilities. Also, if you would like to ride your bike to the game, but don’t want to park it in an unsafe structure, tell them you would like something for your bicycle. Even if you don’t care about baseball, but care about the gesture of one of LA’s iconic structures providing bicycle parking facilities – an email would be great.

In the journey to making Los Angeles county more bikeable, we need to remind Dodgers Stadium of the most popular Baseball (movie) maxim of all time, “If you build it, they will come.”

David is a bicycle commuter living in West LA, but originally from Denver. He is also pursuing a masters degree in urban planning from UCLA.