Bracing for the perfect storm of traffic, Bay Area drivers appeared to wear their raincoats Monday, limiting potential nightmares from two simultaneous sporting events in The City.
Fans tailgating at Monster Park said they had sidestepped any traffic woes simply by cutting out of work early or taking the day off. Many had arrived in the early afternoon to celebrate the San Francisco 49ers’ home opener against the Arizona Cardinals.
Just miles away, the San Francisco Giants began the first of a three-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks at AT&T Park. Both games began shortly after 7 p.m.
Leading up to Monday night, transportation officials were strongly urging fans to use public transit for both games.
So fearing the worst, The Examiner decided to see for itself how bad the traffic was after many warnings that the home games for the 49ers and the Giants would create an enormous traffic jam.
Using Google Maps, the trip from Kezar Pub on Stanyan Street to Monster Park is 8.3 miles and should take approximately 18 minutes or “up to 25 minutes with traffic.” The trip for The Examiner took 40 minutes, far from the hours-long stressfest it had mentally, physically and emotionally prepared for.
The Examiner ran into traffic between the Van Ness Avenue onramp to the U.S. Highway 101 connector and the Hwy 101-Interstate 280 split just past Cesar Chavez. The travel time between those two points was 14 minutes.
The only other time The Examiner encountered any gridlock was on Hunters Point Expressway as it looked to pull into a parking lot. At that time it only took 11 minutes from when The Examiner first ran into traffic on the expressway until it parked at 5:46 p.m. just off Arelious Walker Drive, north of the stadium.
The parking lots closest to the stadium looked full an hour and a half before the 7:15 p.m. kickoff. Niners fans said lots had filled up early with tailgaters looking to dodge any traffic woes.
“It was crowded when we pulled in” at 2:45 p.m., said Bob Klotz, of Pleasanton, who estimated that the parking lots closest to the stadium were two-thirds full when they arrived. He said they had planned to arrive early to avoid any traffic congestion around the games.
“We thought it’d be less crowded than that,” he added.
The public transit way from Kezar
Had the Examiner ditched its car at Kezar Stadium and taken public transportation to the Niners game, there would have been multiple transfers to make it to Monster Park, all without the potential of tailgating ahead.
Starting at Kezar on Stanyan Street, the fan heads south to Carl Street to pick up the N-Judah train and go downtown.
Once in town, the fan gets off the N-Judah at any of the main stations from Van Ness to Embarcadero.
Then the rabid fan, with the other Niners fans and the Giants fans, waits to transfer onto the T-Third train and head out to Monster Park.
On the T-Third, the fan follows the rest of the 49ers faithfuland deboards at Gilman Avenue to get on a new shuttle bus service Muni is providing this year.