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Dodgers working to improve their stadium traffic game

July 23, 2007|Tiffany Hsu; Rong-Gong Lin II

An occasional look at the traffic news and discussion on The Times' Bottleneck Blog.

The Los Angeles Dodgers had a tough opening day this spring -- and it had nothing to do with the pitching. The team received numerous complaints from fans about long delays while driving to and from the game.

Now the Dodgers have unveiled a new communications facility designed to make stadium parking and congestion more bearable. With the partnership of KFWB-AM (980), the California Department of Transportation and the Los Angeles Police Department, stadium officials hope to put fans' focus on the games, not on the agony of getting to and from them.

The Transportation Center will offer "the most updated and accurate information as they make their way to and from Dodger Stadium," Dodgers owner and chairman Frank McCourt said in a statement.

Traffic information will be transmitted to drivers via KFWB and Dodger Radio-AM (1610) every 10 minutes around game time. To aid the effort, a significant number of cameras have been installed to monitor all 255 acres of the stadium's parking lots. Video feeds of the lots are displayed on several screens inside the Transportation Center, visible through large windows. The center, which opened last week on the Club Level of the stadium, will operate in the hours around games.

The center complements the stadium's new parking system, implemented earlier this season. Game-goers now enter and exit the parking lot from the same gate and are directed to a parking spot instead of driving around the lot without help.

At the center, a transportation manager and a parking manager filter information from the stadium's 200 parking and security officers. More than 40 engineers and traffic officers send traffic and parking data to the center from outside the stadium.

Although some fans said the new communications plan seemed good in theory, others, including Steven Baker of Burbank, said they don't plan to tune in to the updates. "There's only so many ways in and out of the stadium, and I have my own route to get in," said Baker, 25, who estimated that he attends up to 30 Dodgers games a year. "Parking was just as good without the added help; this won't make it that much quicker."

-- Tiffany Hsu

* Expo Line

There is talk in Sacramento about major budget cuts in transportation spending -- and that has implications for the Expo Line. Work is now beginning on a light-rail system from downtown L.A. to Culver City. But transportation officials said cutbacks could hurt the chances of building Phase 2, from Culver City to Santa Monica. That could be bad news for Santa Monica. The city has already purchased land for a possible rail station.

-- Rong-Gong Lin II

* Hollywood development

The Los Angeles City Council last week approved 1,000 rental units in seven buildings that will rise near the Pantages Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard.

It's the latest in a string of new, large developments on the boulevard, including one rising at Hollywood and Vine. This has sparked a debate about whether all the development will worsen Hollywood's already difficult traffic. Some Bottleneck Blog posters worry about more gridlock, while others hope the new residents will take the Metro Red Line and other mass transit. A sample:

Silva: "Anyone who has been in Hollywood recently, even before all the construction that is in the works is completed, will know one thing. The traffic makes the place one thing to AVOID -- not visit. It will certainly double in the next two to three years, and you think that is going to make people come running to the area to live?"

Jason: "Los Angeles needs dense projects like this. The problem is, it also needs a major public transit network to support such an influx of new residents. We need a comprehensive plan that includes bold ideas like finishing the Purple Line, a Sunset Line, rail to Burbank, Glendale, LAX, etc."

For more, go to latimes.com/ bottleneck.

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