I don’t sleep well, but when I get a messages in the middle of the night challenging my vetted assertions, you best believe I’ll be up until I see sun.
A couple of weeks ago, I started getting messages from friends forwarding me this Curbed LA article pitting columnists on different transportation modes on their way from Union Station to the top deck of Dodger Stadium.
Of course, the Bob Gundersonesque gloating kept coming in as the results featured the car as the winner, but I knew something had to be terribly amiss.
Of the number of times I’ve gone to Dodger games, the bike has proven pretty reliable to beating my friends to our seats.
While the article didn’t wholeheartedly back their results as being gospel, I’m hear to debunk the notion that a car would win out along this route.
First, I have to contend against the timing of the bike.
Now I’ve never biked directly from Union Station to the Upper Deck at Dodger Stadium, so I don’t have an exact comparable to match their time of 23 minutes.
One of these two modes of transportation is actually moving!
The closest Strava file I can find takes me from Little Tokyo(1st & San Pedro) to the top entrance.
That ride took me 28 minutes of total time on a weeknight point to point where I covered essentially the same route from Main Street, but a couple blocks longer.
While that is ride is five minutes slower than the article’s results, there’s a few more reasons why:
- I stopped twice to make phone calls.
- We all kept pace with the slowest rider if the group.
- Walked the final hill.
- Stopped at the reserve level to find the bike racks were full before heading to the top.
If you eliminate all the minutia, I’m pretty sure the ride would have taken me twenty minutes or less, even with the stoplights and added distance.
There’s another big issue with this: the timing.
From all the possible days and times of the week they could have chosen, they picked the least crowded.
A day game on a Saturday?
Let’s use Google Maps as a reference. If you try timing a noon start from Union Station on a Saturday, you’ll get a 7 to 14 minute range to reach just the entrance to Dodger Stadium by car(remember, you have to stop and pay $20 for parking too).
I’m pretty sure the seven minutes is for non-gameday events. Let’s see what it’s like for a Saturday night game:
Okay. Tack on another two minutes.
I’ve also been led to believe that the Dodgers play more games during the week than on the weekends due to our Gregorian calendar.
This is already a four minute swing. And just for good measure, let’s add how it would look like leaving a little later:
Now let’s look at what they estimate for cycling to the gates:
Taking these numbers at face value, you’re saying that cycling gets you to the gate at about the same time, but somehow Curbed comes up with these figures that parking down in the general lot then walking all the way to the top is faster than biking a more direct distance to the destination? I really don’t think so.
And this is even after I have issues saying the cyclist is averaging under 6 mph! Even with stop lights and the hill…how?
Let me break it down like this.
A car and bike leave Union Station on a regular weekend at the same time. Both will move at the same speed to start since Sunset is so clogged.
When you get to Figueroa: advantage cyclists as they can use the dedicated bus lane all the way into the stadium while cars inch their way up.
I really believe cycling to the top will take about twenty minutes while driving along with the traffic, the bottlenecks paying for parking and walking all the way to the top has to be about thirty minutes.
Sure, Curbed LA put a disclaimer in their article that this may not be typical, but they really should have thought it out before planning quietest gameday possible.
If Curbed wants to try this again during a more typical time, I’m game for trying it.
I’m looking for any excuse to catch Vin Scully one more time…