The Dodgers in the 1990s closed the Scott Gate on the western side of the ballpark to help reduce game-day traffic through a mostly residential section of Echo Park. 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 that’s all going to change this coming baseball season. The Dodgers, at a community meeting last week, officially announced that the entrance on Scott Avenue will be open for all games to help deal with what is expected to be record-high attendance. “It’s extremely irresponsible of the Dodgers to open the the Scott Gate,” said one man during the monthly gathering of the Echo Park Improvement Assn.
The Dodgers say the reopening of the gate will act as a “safety valve” to help relieve traffic back ups at the ballpark’s other entrances, especially the Elysian Park Avenue Gate off of Sunset Boulevard. The reopening of the gate is part of several other measures the Dodgers are trying to help get the crush of fans and their vehicles into and out of the stadium as quickly as possible. That will be especially challenging this year as the team is preparing for record turn out that would top last year when attendance topped 3.7 million, according to ESPN. In an email, Dodger spokeswoman Renata Simril explained 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.
However, residents fear the reopening of the gate would only encourage fans to drive directly down Scott Avenue and through about a mile of a primarily residential area between the stadium and Glendale Boulevard. When residents asked a Dodger official at last week’s meeting how fans would be prevented from driving down Scott Avenue to get to the stadium, they did not get an answer. “We are going to be trapped,” said one man of the anticipated traffic congestion.
In addition to opening the gate, the Dodgers will also be changing their stadium parking rates this season, raising the basic price from $10 a vehicle to $15. However, those who purchase parking in advance will still be only charged $10. The Dodgers are counting on lower-priced, advanced-purchase parking to help cut down on congestion since those fans won’t have to spend time paying for parking at stadium entrances.
The Dodgers and LAPD have pledged to help deal with the large number of fans and traffic expected to converge on Chavez Ravine for the season opener on April 4, with police preparing to field 214 officers, according to Senior Lead Officer Gina Chovan. But some residents who live on or near Scott Avenue are worried about what’s going to happen during the remainder of the season.
“The cars are faster during regular games,” a Scott Avenue resident said during the meeting. “They are in a race to get” into the stadium.
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