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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Councilman asks Dodgers to postpone reopening of Scott Avenue entrance

Echo Park, Dodgers, Councilman Mitch O'Farrell

Councilman Mitch O’Farrell (left) at Dodger community meeting | Robin Blackman

ECHO PARK — Councilman Mitch O’Farrell asked the Dodgers tonight to postpone their controversial decision to reopen the Scott Avenue entrance of the ballpark on game days.

With the season opener only about a week away, O’Farrell  made the request during a packed and often heated meeting between Dodger officials and residents, who vented their frustration about the reopening of the Scott Gate, a move many Echo Park residents fear will only worsen game day congestion and problems in the primarily residential area west of the stadium. Several TV news crews were on hand at Williams Hall as residents requested relief from traffic and shared stories about game-day congestion and unruly fans.

Dodger representative Renata Simril, who fielded questions during the two-hour meeting,  did not directly respond to the O’Farrell’s request, and the team has not indicated it will reverse its decision, which is designed to speed up the flow of arriving and departing fans.

The councilman asked  for a postponement of a month or more in order for the Dodgers to create and distribute placards that would allow residents to drive beyond a police checkpoint planned for game days at Scott and Echo Park avenues.  Motorists without the placard would be ordered to turn around. The Dodgers have agreed to pay to staff the police checkpoint. However, with the placard program still not in place and the April 4 home opener only a few days away, O’Farrell said it would be best to postpone the reopening of the gate until everything was in place.

“It’s contingent upon the placards,” O’Farrell said. “Unless the placards are in place, it’s going to be a problem.”

While O’Farrell said he is opposed to reopening of the Scott Gate, it’s not clear how much leverage he has over the Dodgers. He represents Council District 13 but Dodger Stadium is  located in neighboring Council District 1, which is represented by Gil Cedillo. Is Cedillo opposed to the reopening of the Scott Gate? A Cedillo official present at the meeting told The Eastsider that the council office will provide a response soon.

The Dodgers closed the Scott Gate on the western side of the ballpark nearly two decades ago to help shield nearby neighbors to game-day traffic.  While the gate has been re-opened in recent years for especially popular games, the closure of the gate has helped build goodwill with residents as well as cut down on vehicle traffic. But faced with the prospect of record attendance this year, the team said they need to reopen the Scott entrance during all games  to help relieve traffic back ups at the ballpark’s other entrances, especially the Elysian Park Avenue Gate off of Sunset Boulevard.

Simril, in an email to The Eastsider earlier this month, elaborated on the the rationale behind the reopening of the gate:

We believe the best way for us to minimize the impact to our neighbors is to get our fans into and out of the stadium as quickly as possible. The Stadium Way Gate B (formerly Scott Gate) is being opened from Stadium Way into the Stadium parking only as a ‘relief valve’ from Elysian Park Avenue. We are proposing to create two left turn lanes from Elysian Park Avenue which will then be directed to take a right turn onto Scott Avenue. This is critical to alleviating traffic along Sunset Boulevard which we all know backs up terrible. We are not changing any neighborhood protection along Scott Avenue from Stadium Way to Glendale Blvd. and in fact looking to add additional DOT officers to turn around cars who try to use this as an entry point.

 


View Scott Avenue Gate in a larger map

36 comments

  1. The Dodger Industrial Complex has 00000 respect for our neighborhood or the safety of the residents.

  2. Traffic in and out of the stadium is awful. It sounds like the dodgers have a plan to improve it which includes opening this entrance. Let’s give it a shot and if it doesn’t work the entrance can be closed again and we can try something else. Let’s not settle for the status quo.

  3. Echo park native

    What a joke ! I wish Jackie G was still here . . Mr. O Farrell , who do you really represent ? why wasn’t this meeting called when you first heard Scott issue ?There was great feedback last night , I wish the female in the front role (Outspoken ) runs for 13th D she has my vote !

    • @Echo Park Native — Thanks for the feedback. After our first meeting with the Dodgers, my boss insisted on meetings with the community. The first community meeting was held shortly after the team announced their plans. This issue is not over, and the conversation with neighbors will continue. -Tony Arranaga, Communications Director, Office of Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell. 213-473-7013

      • Hi Tony, it great to have the councilman personally show last night. However, last night’s meeting made it abundantly clear that not only are the The Dodgers looking out for their own interests, but the LAPD is also looking out for The Dodgers’ interests above community safety. The idea that we were officially told that Dodger traffic comes above school children’s safety and that officers wouldn’t be free to “respond to every incident” because there would only be 1 assigned to our area vs hundreds inside the stadium, is a total slap in the face and frankly makes residence feel as though this is a hopeless “conversation.” They’re opening the gate for today’s game and we still have no word on the process by which The Dodgers plan to distribute placards to residents. Does the city council wield power to protect residents, or will residents be forced to take matters into our own hands? Asking The Dodgers to delay the gate’s opening is one thing, actually taking concrete action to stop this from happening is another. Simply stating that you’re behind us is great, but it doesn’t protect children from drunk drivers or residents from being blocked out of their own roads. Should Hollywood Hills neighborhood council be warned that if anything similar happened with the Bowl, that their representative would be powerless to stop it? We know you’re on our side, and appreciate it. But actions speak louder than words. If you can have LADOT redirect traffic out of local roads for ingress, certainly you can do the same for egress. Don’t tell us you’re behind us. Show us.

      • And where is our permitted parking, Tony? You’d better believe that if Dodger Stadium were in one of the western, more affluent areas on town, they’d have it. Heck, they have it anyway without the nuisance of Dodger Stadium and all of the fans parking, urinating, tailgating on our streets.

  4. LAPD, in response for calls for DUI checkpoints outside the stadium to prevent the prevalence of drunk drivers hightailing it through local roads and past schools: “We can’t, it’ll slow down traffic by the stadium.” They have no problem setting up shop with DUI checkpoints outside Sunset businesses, why are The Dodgers exempt from the same safety standards that almost every other major stadium and arena in the country is subject to? Why is the LAPD more than willing to set up DUI checkpoints in front of local bars, but not directly in front of the biggest bar in the neighborhood, Dodger Stadium? Also, 1 bike cop to patrol the entire neighborhood & schools vs. 200 officers to protect fans inside the stadium. It’s not that our city services don’t work, it’s that they just don’t work for us.

    • Amen to that.

    • LAPD bike cop, what I can’t wait to see is that cop biking up Scott from Echo Park, most cops I have seen are not in shape to do that, or even up Scott from Stadium Way. It should be interesting seeing a cop slowly going up the hill as Dodger fans speed by.

  5. Dodgers: why don’t you run more shuttle buses? How about shuttle buses all the way down Sunset to Silver Lake and/or Hollywood and/or Red Line stations that pick up at Metro bus stops and anyone with a ticket rides for free?

    Dodgers: what are you doing to provide and implement safe and increased pedestrian/bike access to the park. As it stands now, there are not even the most basic accommodations so that people can opt not to drive. Hell, I live 5 blocks away and wouldn’t walk with my 2 young kids due to lack of infrastructure and safety.

    Dodgers: what are you doing to ensure access to Elysian Park for local residents is safe, clean and unimpeded before, during and after Dodger games?

    Dodgers: are you willing to post police at Elysian Park Drive (fire road) and Scott Ave before, during and after games so that pedestrians and locals can safely access all areas of Elysian Park?

    Dodgers: are willing to post police at Elysian Park Drive (near Grace E. Simons) and Stadium Way before, during and after games so that pedestrians and locals can safely access all areas of Elysian Park and safely cross Stadium Way?

    Dodgers: why don’t you open a dialog with the city about a subway under Sunset boulevard? That would improve transportation immensely for the stadium and residents alike.

    I’m tired of “cars, cars, cars need access” in this city. Enough already.

    And excellent points by “EP res”.

  6. I live off Scott, could not attend meeting last night. How about a good old fashion neighborhood protest on opening game day on Scott Ave to the park entrance? Let see how the dodgers like us delaying the game. How many people can we get?

    • I am all for an organized community effort for an Occupy Scott movement. Sure, it’s annoying, but we either stop this thing in its tracks or The Dodgers continue taking liberties with our lives for years to come. If The Dodgers won’t stand up for us and The City is impotent to truly help us, it’s up to residents to form a peaceful community protest that simultaneously blocks access to our local roads.

  7. As a lifelong fan of Major League Baseball, I have visited over 30 major league parks in my lifetime (about a dozen have been demolished). Including minor league stadiums, the number of stadiums I have visited is literally uncountable. With that being said, I have never seen a ball park so cut off from pedestrians and the city. Most stadiums have off-site parking (aka, private parking lots) and a vibrant game day atmosphere. Walking with the masses of baseball faithful into the parks have had a lasting impression on me— the atmosphere and fanfare of Major League Baseball should begin before you even enter the stadium (ala Wrigleyville, Fenway, etc) . Dodgers Stadium is the only stadium I have been to where you can park and walk right in— no mass of people, no cohesion nor camaraderie. Very convenient for cars and very high-tech for the 1950s, though. The fact that Dodger Stadium is in the middle of a neighborhood is even crazier to think there is nowhere to walk to Dodger Stadium. The Dodger organization is nothing more than a symbol of Los Angeles in general. It passes the eye test— looks beautiful. But the function is mismanaged and way off base, pun intended. The Dodgers (and LA in general!) should really get out of the 1950s and un-stick themselves from their ways.

    • Totally agree. I, too, am a baseball fan and have the same observations. I’ve lived in Boston and NYC and have enjoyed game-day strolls/subway rides to the park, cookouts/tailgaiting, and generally mixing with the day. Here I would like to support the team, and live blocks away, but am not going to walk with my kids since there are barely sidewalks and don’t want to get run down by inattentive (or drunk) drivers.

  8. Several years ago, there was a proposal for an aerial tramway in Griffith Park that was, probably rightfully, shot down. But has anyone ever considered an aerial lift to Dodger Stadium?

    An aerial gondola between Chinatown Metro Station and Dodger Stadium could have a capacity of up to 6,000 passengers per hour — a sizable chunk of Dodger Stadium’s capacity of 56,000. And if the Dodgers ever followed through on plans proposed during the McCourt era for a museum at the stadium, there could be demand for the gondola year-round, with tourists getting some great views of downtown as they soar over Chinatown.

    I realize that there would be some considerations that could make this proposal impractical: cost, engineering feasibility, rights-of-way, and availability of space around Chinatown Metro Station (particularly with the current construction of the Blossom Plaza project in an adjacent parcel). But an aerial gondola could possibly do a lot to alleviate traffic around Dodger Stadium, and I’m wondering if it has ever been considered?

  9. I’ve seen Dodger fans toss trash out their windows, leave piles of trash at the park, and masses of cars and traffic congesting local streets on game days. Opening the Scott entrance is just all around bad. Fans should be encouraged to take the train and shuttle in or WALK. Elysian Park shouldn’t have to shoulder these masses. The Dodgers need to step up to the plate and respect the nearby neighborhood.

    • Every game we have Dodgers fans park in front of our house and every game we have to pick up trash that people just dump out of their cars. Everything from beer bottles to fast food bags to empty cigarette boxes. Giving these inconsiderate visitors more access to the streets of EP is idiotic. And then there are the issues of school/kids/pedestrian safety as 56,000 drunk idiots try to race home to points afar.

  10. I think that everyone should try to capture, via videos and photos, the trouble that the opening of this gate does cause, include traffic, aggressive behavior, trash, drunks, etc. As it was obvious from the meeting last night, the Dodgers are really going after the big bucks and are not considered with the community at large, we may be able to prove that there is a risk to public safety and have a real shot at stopping this at some point.

  11. Car culture has hit another wall. The bus lanes on Sunset should extend north from Union Station all the way to the main entrance. Sunset should be paired down to one lane in each direction for cars and bus lanes extending south from both the Santa Monica Red Line and Sunset Red Line stations all the way to the main entrance. Everyone complains about congestion but no one wants to push people or be pushed onto mass transit. Counterproductive.

  12. A good old-fashioned protest is what got that gate closed originally, I was part of it. Back in the OJ days we managed to wrangle up about 350 people on Scott Avenue, we had banners stretching across Scott, we had signs, we had news media and we had council office support… it was a great day in EP.

    There are many that don’t remember what it’s like to have that Scott gate open… — The great Scott devide—the line of traffic between Glendale to the stadium on Scott is solid! Fans are rude they don’t let the neighbors make turns and they drive on the wrong side of the road,

    Dodgers don’t give a crap and they never have! 25 years of residency here in EP and it’s always the same story no matter who owns the DODGERS, they do not give a crap about their community and never have.

    Why do the residents living near the Hollywood bowl get preferential treatment? Why can’t we have the same plan here in Echo Park on game days? protection at every crossroad, only residents allowed in to the small roads, IDs checked etc. etc. I wonder if it has something to do with economics?

    • @EP for Eva – I strongly suggest calling Mitch O’Farrell’s office and continuing to put the pressure on. We have one week left to let him know that we need definitive action on this. Unfortunately, The Dodgers and CD1 do not give a crap about us (Cedillo couldn’t be bothered to even show at this week’s meeting) and O’Farrell is not only the only one who cares, but he’s also the only one who stands to lose if this gate opens. I can imagine that EP residents will come out in droves to oust him next election if he allows this gate to pass during his first year in office after 20 years of relative peace.. City Hall #: 213-473-7013 and field office: 323-957-4500 (Adam Bass is point person at field ofc).

      Also, do we have enough people to protest? I know of at least a handful, but if we can organize a real protest that will block off traffic on game day (if we use our cars, it will probably be the best means of blocking the entrance, and at worst we get a ticket, since we can always move our cars before tow trucks arrive). I brought several news stations to the community meeting and would be happy to do the same if we had enough numbers for a protest.

      Maybe we can organize via this twitter account? https://twitter.com/occupyscott

  13. BTW, it might be safer/easier to use the stop sign just west of Elysian Park. There is a bit of a blindspot coming down hill by the time cars reach the stop sign at Sargent and we don’t want anyone to get hurt. Also, we want to protect residents who live closer to the park as well. By the time cars hit Sargent they’ll still have to use side streets to turn around.

  14. How many of you, on this form, lived in Echo Park before Dodger Stadium was bulit? How can you get mad at something that has happened year after year since the 50’s. You knew the stadium was in your backyard when you bought in EP. Shit you don’t like the traffic, you should not moved in to the area. Baseball Season is the best time of year. Embrace and show your love for the boys in blue. Go Blue, Go Dodgers…..

  15. ep resident as well

    My kids are big dodger fans. Yes they are an LA icon. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t better ways to move people
    in and out of the park. How about park and ride from the railroad yards? Shuttles from downtown. Rapid transit,
    I prefer a tramway but below ground works as well. The upside- attendees could if done right get in and out of the stadium
    parking faster, better for the park & environment, better for the neighborhood and less parking receipts for Frank McCourt
    who still owns the parking. Here is an opportunity for the new Dodger owners to be bold, be innovative, creative and
    win over the neighborhood and the city

  16. One protest and news the media will effectively close the Scott gate again….Get the word out.

  17. I live on Sunset and Elysian park. Something needs to be done about all the Dodger traffic! Its bad enough that people park in front of our complex to walk up to the Stadium but the city has recently painted two portions of the side walk red (seems like a bus stop is coming soon). The city has taken about 15 parking spaces from residents. Its bad enough we have to limited spaces to share with fans who would like to save the parking fee but its getting out of hand with the city taking spaces for us to park. Aside from that my car has been broken into during opening night for the Dodgers and several other times cars have been damaged during games. I would like to be able to get home and not have to park a 1 1/2 miles away from my apartment while walking alone.

    Please something needs to be done!

    • Hi Ivy,

      Do you know which district your residence is located in? Those cross streets are on the border of CD1 and CD13. Either way, if you don’t have preferential parking on or around your street, I would suggest calling both district offices and telling them that you would like your area to be included in the game day preferential parking areas they are looking into (the plans is that the cost would be covered by The Dodgers or the city, as opposed to by residents).

      You have every right to live in a reasonably safe environment, no matter where you live, so feel free ignore nasty neighbors who comment on this thread who don’t feel the need to stand up for anything that doesn’t affect them (I’m not sure who spends their spare time fighting for their neighbors to have a WORSE experience than anyone has had here in 2 decades. What a sad, un-neighborly, and malicious use of time and energy). I have lived in LA for decades near a major venue and lived for years one block from another major baseball stadium and never once seen the utter disregard for residents that Dodger Stadium has shown EP as of late.

      Hundreds of residents, some of whom have lived here their whole lives and others who are newer to the neighborhood have posted comments with concerns similar to yours on this petition, and many have been calling the city council- and the city council (at least CD13) has started to listen. http://chn.ge/1lUICJu

      20 years ago residents stood up for the safety and well being of the community and there is absolutely no reason we should let the quality of life in this community deteriorate. We have every right to stand up for the same safety and quality of life considerations that are afforded to neighbors of other stadiums and arenas across the nation. Here is the number for CD13: 323-957-4500 and CD1: 213-473-7001

      Best of luck

  18. Hey guys! I read about the problems you’re having with stadium traffic and I think the protest idea is great. Maybe we could join forces. I moved to Westchester 2 years ago and I’m sick of tired of my kids having their ears damaged by airplane noise several times a day, every day. It’s just awful. Every day there are planes flying over our neighborhood and the fumes and noise are making the children sick. I’ve already joined forces with Hollywood Hills residents tired of tourists and Big Bear residents suffering from altitude sickness. We’d really like to get your worthy cause aligned with ours.

  19. Where is Gil Cedillo? His absence in this discussion is a disgrace:

    CD #1

    City Hall Office
    200 N. Spring Street, Room 470
    Los Angeles, CA 90012
    (213)473-7001

  20. “We are not changing any neighborhood protection along Scott Avenue from Stadium Way to Glendale Blvd.”

    What protection? You put up a sign on our block that says local traffic only with no one posted there to enforce it.

    What a joke., Simril

  21. I’m with all of you LET’s Protest ! lets put someone who really cares about EP issues in office .

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