It's eerily quiet at the newly opened Scott Avenue gate, about an hour before the first pitch. Whereas the other four gates leading into Dodger Stadium are facing a crush of cars, the eight parking attendants at Scott Avenue have nothing more to keep them busy than a cool a breeze.
“Tell your blog that this gate is open,” says a braces-clad female attendant. “Give us some action.” Minutes later, a security guard in a white polo shirt drives up in a golf cart and threatens to have me “arrested for trespassing” if I don't step 20 meters back. I ask him why he's being so mean. He says, “believe me, this is not mean.”
There was much consternation when the Trolley Dodgers of Los Angeles recently decided to reopen Scott gate, which had been closed since 1996. City Councilman Mitch O'Farrell even asked the Dodgers to postpone the decision, fearing a swarm of Dodger fans clogging the narrow Echo Park streets.
But judging from Saturday's afternoon game, Scott remains Dodger fans' best kept secret:
Despite the city's best attempts to encourage fans to walk or take public transportation, traffic can get pretty hairy going into Dodger Stadium's massive parking lot.
The reopening of Scott gate is intended as a sort of “relief valve” – LED signs prod cars to turn off of Elysian Park and Stadium Way and cut over to Scott Avenue.
“This is critical to alleviating traffic along Sunset Boulevard, which we all know backs up terrible,” says Dodgers VP Renata Simril in a statement.
In theory, cars would only be passing through an empty stretch of Scott Avenue that is not lined with homes. And indeed, “Local Access Only” signs are posted on the nearby residential streets, in an attempt to keep Dodger fans on the beaten path.
Again, in theory, the city is supposed to give residents placards to put on their cars, and the police are supposed to stop anyone without placards from entering the residential parts of Scott. But the placards have yet to materialize.
“The Dodgers have promised all sorts of things, and they're just not coming true,” says Matthew Dubois, who lives on Scott, almost as close to the stadium as you can possibly get.
Dubois admits that there isn't much game day traffic on his street – apparently, the majority of Dodger fans are either law-abiding or haven't yet figured out the new shortcut. But he does say that a small minority of cars are giddily speeding through Scott.
“From Stadium Way to Sargent there are no stop signs,” says Dubois. “People zoom through fast. Now you walk across Scott and you're taking your life into your own hands. It's scary. Dodger fans don't care.”
He also says that tailgating is a problem: “I get to pick up all the empty beer bottles. Dodger fans kick your garbage cans or pee on your parkway.”
The LAPD officers on bicycles say they haven't been tasked with stopping fans from cutting through residential streets.
“The main thing is drinking and loud music,” says one of them. “And weed.”
What about speeding?
“That's every day – even if we weren't here.”
Later, the bicycle cops are called to bust two illegal street vendors selling bootleg t-shits and caps. They're let off with a warning.
Thirty minutes before the game starts, traffic gets so bad at the other gates that cars finally start to get wise to the Scott Avenue gate, and those attendants get some business.
But take note – before a dozen or so lucky fans discover it – that the new arrangements have created a side benefit, quite possibly the greatest free Dodgers parking spot of all time, on N. Boylston Street, just north of Scott, (past the “Local Access Only” sign, shown below):
An LAPD patrol car pulls up to the lucky motorists parking their cars on Boylston.
One of the fans asks him, can we park here?
The cop shrugs: I won't stop you.