While watching the Blue Jays get trounced by the Kansas City Royals the other night, I was shocked when they showed a blimp's eye view of the stadium, sitting in the middle of the biggest sea of parking I had ever seen. In fact, there is parking for 19,000 cars and 400 buses. You can take a city bus there if you live in the right part of town, but it appears that almost everyone drives, given that with 38,000 seats that is a parking ratio of one space for every two seats.
In Toronto, the Rogers Centre is located right downtown and there isn't much parking anymore, as almost every surface lot has gone to condos. In the Google Earth image that I shot at the same scale as Kauffman Stadium, I think there may be more parking for boats than there is for cars. There is probably a stadium full of people actually living within the area of the Kauffman parking lot. Most people come to the game by subway or Go transit rail. The hundreds of restaurants within walking distance of the stadium are doing a booming business. According to the Globe and Mail, the great season for the Jays has been a huge boon.
“People are coming from farther [away], and they are making a whole day out of it,” said Rojna Miripour, manager at the Lone Star Texas Grill, just a block away from the stadium. Even in the middle of a recent Jays game, the restaurant was buzzing with customers – and a hostess in a cowboy hat was just arriving for a later shift to help handle the postgame crowd.
Some, like star batter Jose Bautista, hero of the 5th game against Texas, go multi-modal; here he is seen riding a scooter home after the big game last week. Perhaps he is not setting a good example by wearing black jacket and red headphones, but he certainly is a role model when it comes to transportation and he knows how to get around a city efficiently. Jose demonstrates that even with a $15 million annual salary and the money to travel any way he wants, it's still quicker to scooter than drive.
Back in Kansas City, the announcers tell us that it's a great stadium with wonderful tailgate parties. But it's no way to build a city.