Elon Musk’s tunnel won’t fix Dodger Stadium’s traffic

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It’s not easy to get to Dodger Stadium. Perched on a hill and isolated by freeways, the ballpark is designed for and dominated by cars.

Metro offers one good game-day option: The Dodger Express runs buses on dedicated lanes on Sunset from Union Station to the stadium, and a trip takes about 25 minutes.

Another game-day option was revealed yesterday by Hawthorne-based tunneling startup The Boring Company—the Dugout Loop, a three-mile, high-speed underground track that would transport Dodger fans from one of three nearby Red Line stations to the ballpark.

The Dugout Loop would travel much faster than a bus, making the trip in about 4 minutes. But the loop would only serve 1,400 passengers per game. That’s far less efficient than dedicated bus lanes, which can move 4,000 to 8,000 people per hour.

More importantly, the Boring Company’s plan ignores larger problemsaround getting to Chavez Ravine that could be very easily be addressed—if prioritized by local leaders.

There are simpler solutions that would help a lot more people get to the stadium without using their private cars—and improve transportation access in and around Elysian Park all the time.

No one solution would totally eliminate traffic at the ballpark. But the Dodgers should provide more options to get to the stadium.

Here are five ways to get more people out of their cars when they go to the game. After the transportation problem is solved, the Dodgers can work on converting all those acres of parking lots into housing.


1. Make the stadium more walkable

From the closest transit connections in Echo Park or Chinatown, the walk to Dodger Stadium is about one mile. The Dodgers have made several safety improvements to these routes over the last few years, but the paths still aren’t very welcoming to walkers—and most people don’t know about them.

Turning Vin Scully Avenue into a pedestrian-focused street, with walkways branded in Dodger blue, would help keep walking top of mind for fans. On the other side of the stadium, there’s a pedestrian walkway along the 110 freeway (complete with a spiral staircase) that could be expanded to help people walk safely from the Eastside.

On some of the steeper hills, outdoor escalators, like the ones which are already found all around the stadium, could be employed to help give people a lift. Walking is the best way to work off your Dodger dogs, and after the game, it’s all downhill.


Virtually every path into Dodger Stadium is designed for cars.
SkyBound Drones / Shutterstock.com

2. Build better bike paths

Despite the less-than-ideal cycling conditions, Dodger Stadium is fairly bikeable—if you’re coming from the west or south. The adjacent neighborhoods and even the public space around the stadium lack dedicated infrastructure that help riders safely access and cross Elysian Park all the time.

One critical connection that could help a lot on game day would be creating a spur off the LA River path which could make a gradual incline up to the stadium. Since hills can be challenging, especially on a hot day, the city could add an electric-assist bike-share hub at the stadium with bikes at several other locations nearby.

3. Add more regional shuttles

In addition to the Dodger Express that runs from Union Station, Metro also runs a South Bay service that makes several stops along the Silver Line busway. Metro could easily expand this program by running separate Dodger Express service from any Hollywood area Red Line station or borrow the Hollywood Bowl’s model, which operates park-and-ride shuttles all over the LA region.

Making these buses efficient, especially near the stadium, would require adding more dedicated lanes to make sure the buses don’t get stuck in traffic. That’s something needed for more bus lines across Los Angeles in general.

4. Run the aerial tram to the other side of the LA River

The proposed aerial tram to the stadium is inspired, privately funded, and fun—but it also stops short. Without transit connections that take the Eastside into consideration, people who have no easy to way to get to the stadium will resort to driving.

The tram should travel in two directions, not just to and from Union Station, but also to another destination across the LA River not readily served by rail—maybe Rio de Los Angeles State Park. Instead of simply replicating the route of the Dodger Express, a tram would give Eastside residents access to Elysian Park, and a fast, scenic way to get to Union Station all the time.

5. Tunnel a subway—but extend it

Some of the most difficult trips to make on LA’s public transit systems are ones that require going around Elysian Park. In nearby neighborhoods that aren’t adjacent to rail, it can take over an hour to go a few miles, especially since buses can only cross the LA River in a handful of places.

This is where a tunnel could really help—provided that it made a connection to the Eastside. Instead of an underground transit system that terminates at Dodger Stadium only on game days, why not continue it to the Cypress Park Gold Line station—or beyond—and run it all the time?

If any tunnel is being built, publicly or privately funded, it should serve more than two communities. It’s time to provide better access to the stadium for Angelenos on the other side of the river who can see game-winning fireworks out their windows—but must cross multiple freeways to get to the game.

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