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Traffic Plan Should Ease Drive to Events at Arena : Congestion: The Anaheim facility answers crush by increasing parking spaces and number of cashiers.

July 31, 1993|DAVID REYES | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Anaheim Arena officials are hoping a new traffic plan will ease congestion for tonight's double bill here: the Minnesota Twins-Angels game at the Big A, and a country music concert featuring Clint Black and Wynonna Judd at the arena.

Almost 25,000 baseball fans are expected to attend the Angels game that begins at 7:05 p.m. Only 55 minutes later, an estimated 14,000 people will hear Black and Judd at the new arena, which is only a stone's throw from Anaheim Stadium.

"We have no problems at the stadium," said Phil Larcus, the stadium operations manager. "Normally when we say 7:05 p.m. start time, that means our clients should all be here by then, in their seats."

Nevertheless, the two events are being viewed as a test for current efforts to solve parking problems at the arena.

A shortage of parking spots became painfully obvious during the facility's inaugural event, a Barry Manilow concert on June 19. That night, about 12,000 fans vied for 520 on-site spots and about 4,155 spaces in county-owned parking lots nearby.

To help solve the traffic snarl, the Orange County Board of Supervisors has approved a 30-day study by the Environmental Management Agency. It is expected to focus on three long-term options: building a parking structure, selling some county-owned lots to the city of Anaheim or expanding the lots at county expense.

Under the arena's temporary plan for tonight's events, parking spots will increase from 3,900 to 4,475, traffic flow is anticipated to be smoother with suggested routes, and more cashiers might speed entry, said John Nicoletti, the arena's marketing manager.

"I think that delays can still be expected. We're still a brand-new facility. We've only been open less than two months," Nicoletti said. "Hopefully, traffic problems will continue to work themselves out. Given the plan, we're expecting less and less delays."

Initially, stadium and arena officials had agreed that events would never coincide. Larcus said the agreement had called for arena events to begin at least an hour before or after a stadium event, such as a baseball game.

"This was done to help lessen the burden of street traffic," Larcus said.

During the first month of operation, construction trailers still occupied portions of the arena parking lots. By removing the trailers, Nicoletti said, the arena has been able to add 175 more spaces.

Also under the new plan, arena workers will park their vehicles at Anaheim Stadium for concerts and events for more than 10,000 people. This will add another 390 parking spots for arena customers, Nicoletti said. He added that workers will be provided a shuttle to the arena.

To maximize the chance of getting a parking space and to relieve the potential for traffic jams, Nicoletti suggested that arena patrons arrive 90 minutes before the scheduled 8 p.m. concert.

"We're trying to alleviate some problems. If people leave their homes at 7 p.m. and are a greater distance from the arena than 15 minutes, they may have a problem finding parking," he said. "We prefer they get to the parking lot about 6:30 p.m. The doors to the arena open about 6:45 p.m. and they can find their seats, take time to view the new arena and perhaps enjoy a beverage."

Anaheim Arena officials encourage arena-goers to arrive at least 1 1/2 hours early. To further untangle traffic and parking snarls, the following measures will be implemented: More parking spaces: From 3,900 to 4,475. More parking staff: Increase of 25%; 20 lot cashiers instead of 14. Directing pedestrians: No jaywalking across Katella Avenue. Late arrivals: When arena lots are full, motorists will be directed to Anaheim Stadium, where parking is $5 and free shuttles to the arena will be provided. Getting There Orange Freeway: Take Katella Avenue off-ramp to the Douglass Road 5 Lot, which fills up quickly. Ball Road eastbound: Go to Auto Center Drive, which empties directly into Main 4 lot. Ball Road westbound: Go south on Sunkist Street, east on Cerritos Avenue, south on Douglass Road into Main 3 lot. Riverside Freeway: Take Costa Mesa Freeway south, west on Katella Avenue through city of Orange, into arena's Main 1 and 2 lots. Arena Main 1 Lot Main 2 Lot Main 3 Lot Main 4 Lot Off-site parking: 175 additional spaces Off-site parking: Employee lot will become public lot Source: Anaheim Arena; Researched by DAVID REYES and CAROLINE LEMKE / Los Angeles Times

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