Football stadiums and transit

The Los Angeles City Council last week approved an MOU with AEG to build a new pro football stadium downtown next to Staples Center and L.A. Live. The stadium will be a short one-and-a-half block from the Blue Line’s Pico station, which one day will also serve Expo Line trains and trains coming to and from Pasadena and East Los Angeles via the Regional Connector.

There has been a stadium building boom in the NFL in recent years. By my count, 20 teams have moved into new stadiums in the past 15 years or so. The good news: many of them are served by transit, although many are still surrounded by parking lots.

If Farmers Field gets built in L.A. — it’s dependent on AEG securing an NFL team as tenant — that trend would continue. It would also mean that two of the three area’s giant football stadiums would be near transit: the L.A. Memorial Coliseum, home to USC football, is a short walk from the Expo Line. Even the Rose Bowl, home to UCLA football, is a short bus shuttle ride from downtown Pasadena, making the Gold Line a viable option to get to games.

Out of curiosity, I used Google Maps to look at a few stadium locations around the Western U.S. and their proximity to transit. Here’s the birds-eye view:

The L.A. Memorial Coliseum is just south of two stops on the Expo Line — Exposition Boulevard and Vermont, on the left, and the Expo Park/USC stop. There’s also a third stop nearby that can’t be seen in this shot — at Jefferson and 37th.

I’m not sure it’s possible for the light rail in San Diego to stop any closer to the Chargers’ stadium. Well, the Chargers’ stadium for now…. 🙂

That’s Invesco Field, home of the Denver Broncos — boooo!! The light rail station is on the far right side of the screen, just above the freeway. It’s about a 10- to 15-minute walk to the stadium.

This is the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, shown here in its configuration for the As and not the Raiders. An elevated walkway runs between the ballpark and the BART train station in the upper right corner of this photo.

This is Candlestick Park, home of the 49ers, who by the way deserved to win neither of those Super Bowls against the Bengals. Anyway, the stadium is about three-quarter mile walk from the San Francisco Muni light rail stop at 3rd/Gilman.

That’s QWest Stadium, home to the Seahawks. The ballpark is close both to the King Street Sounder station (commuter rail) and the Link light rail, which is one block from there to the east. It’s also a nice walk through Pioneer Square to the north of the stadium to the ferry stops in downtown Seattle.

That’s Reliant Stadium, home to the Houston Texans, at the far left of the photo. The Astrodome, once home to the Oilers, is in the middle of the picture. And Houston — even with its oil refinery heritage — has a light rail stop, shown at the top right corner.

13 replies

  1. It does get closer than Chargers Stadium. Of course, Portland’s JELD-WEN Field is for the Timbers, an MLS team (but still technically professional football), but the light rail stops right outside the box office (the sunken stadium itself butts up against SW 18th Ave and sits in the middle of the SW quadrant) but crazy easy to get to via transit.

    http://goo.gl/1cJvJ

  2. Every time I’ve been to the TWA, er… the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis I’ve taken the Metro. The nearest stop practically puts you at the front door!
    It’s an ugly stadium though. I understand why it wasn’t pictured in this post!

    • Hi Jimmy;

      I agree! Never been to the stadium but on TV, the Rams home games look like they’re being played in a darkened warehouse. Sounds like the Rams are also one of the teams on the prowl for a new stadium even though they just moved into this one in the mid-1990s.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  3. so, the new football station is being made by staples, meaning part of the convention center would have to be taken down. lame if you ask me.

  4. Shark,

    Part of the Convention Center (North Hall) was taken down for Staples Center and believe me, no one misses it. The West Hall needs to go anyway.

    The Coliseum will be great once Expo opens. Too bad it will miss most of this football season if not all of it.

  5. They are supposed to include a replacement for West Hall in the stadium construction.

    I go to Anime Expo every year, so while I support the NFL stadium project, I hope the convention center won’t be too affected by the construction.

    Also, I do think the stadium will need one of those elevated walkways from Pico Station.

  6. The Metrolink station in Anaheim is pretty much in Anaheim stadium’s parking lot. However, a new station is to be built on the east side of the 57 Fwy. The new station will be across the street from the Honda Center. Hopefully, Anaheim and OCTA has a tunnel planned to go under the FWY so passenger will have easy access to the Stadium from the new station.

  7. And the Industry proposal has the Metrolink running right next to it, with a special event station either at the stadium itself or connected via shuttle buses to the west. Personally I think the Industry stadium is least disruptive to the millions of Southern Californians who don’t care about professional football, while providing greater access to the people in Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino Counties that do. It is no worse than the Meadowlands Stadium or Gillette Stadium, both of which are served exclusively by commuter rail.

  8. Too bad the Dallas Cowboys moved to Cowboys Stadium in transit-less Arlington, TX; had the team stayed at Texas Stadium in Irving, TX, that stadium would have been served by DART’s up and coming Orange Line LRT extension via the Loop 12 station (that station is deferred pending development at the old stadium site). That’s reason to wisely choose your location – South Park, Downtown Los Angeles, not City of Industry.

  9. At&t ballpark (although baseball, not football) in San Francisco should be in this list as the closest. The MUNI light rail stop is literally a 30 second walk to the front gates of the stadium.

  10. Can’t forget about Yankee Stadium, Wrigley and Soldier Field either! Glad LA is getting smart and building stadiums where people can get to other than driving. Stadiums surrounded by parking lots are so ugly. Now only if they would bring the Dodgers down from the top of the hill (or build a Sky Tram to the top from Chinatown). Yes, I know I can take a bus from Union Station there, but Dodger Stadium is still surrounded by a giant ugly parking lot and nobody likes riding a bus – especially in LA.