A Bad Setup Made Worse

Friday, December 31, 2004, at 07:21AM

By Eric Richardson

One of the biggest headaches any time you're going to be going to the Rose Bowl is just getting there and finding somewhere to park. The area surrounding the stadium itself has nowhere near the necessary spaces, so people resort to things like parking in nearby neighborhoods and walking in or taking the Parsons shuttle. And then this little storm came along and dropped a heck of a lot of rain on LA, and in particular on the Rose Bowl's adjoining golf course. On normal game days that course holds 14,000 cars. For the Rose Bowl it'll hold a number that's pretty close to zero...

From an article in today's LA Times:

An estimated 8 inches of rain fell on the golf course grounds, which are adjacent to the stadium, earlier this week, and more rain was expected today.

"Some areas of the golf course are still underwater," Darryl Dunn, general manager of Rose Bowl Operating Co., which oversees the stadium and golf course, said Thursday afternoon. "We don't want people to get stuck. We don't want people walking through water, and we don't want to do severe damage to our course."

The suggested solution? Take the Gold Line to Memorial Park, walk three blocks to the Parsons lot, and then get in line for the shuttle to the Bowl. Yikes. I figure you're looking at about an hour fifteen to an hour and a half each way for that trip (a hair over a half hour on the Gold Line, ten minutes to get oriented and walk over to Parsons, a half hour in line there, and twenty minutes shuttle-related).

I know it's probably a matter of not having the appropriate staging facilities and not wanting to duplicate service, but if you really want people to ride the train to the game make it easy: have shuttles waiting directly at a Gold Line stop. If you're successful in getting people interested the numbers will rise enough to warrant the treatment.

I understand that probably the biggest issue is cost: who's going to pay for the shuttles? The Parsons shuttles are Foothill buses that I assume are paid for by the Rose Bowl (and a portion of parking revenue at Parsons?). You're not going to be able to subsidize with Gold Line fare (since farebox isn't recovering operating costs to begin with), so somebody's going to have to just be paying for the service.

Still, I can't believe with the parking mess the Rose Bowl (and especially the people living around it) would really have been interested in an NFL team.