25 February 2008

Updated Ballpark Transit Comparison

Some of you had been asking what happened to transit comparison table I put together a year ago. Well, I inadvertantly deleted it during the summer while doing some site maintenance. I took the recent down period to construct a new version of the table, so here it is in its renewed glory (click on either graphic to view a larger version):

The legend above doesn't have an explanation for the "Setting" column. I left it off to cover it in the post. I think it's important to make certain distinctions regarding the various environments that the different ballparks inhabit. In doing this, I came up with three specific categories: Downtown, Urban, and Suburban. Here's what they mean:
  • Downtown: Refers to a specific neighborhood within a city that serves as its CBD, or Central Business District. A downtown usually includes an already pre-existing dense, vibrant neighborhood that serves as a central focal point for retail and entertainment. Downtown will usually have a major transit hub or similar facility within walking distance of the stadium. This is important as the locale and its proximity to the transit hub may reduce the need for transfers on public transit. The ballpark site may have limited parking immediately adjacent but other independently operated facilities serve the public, filling demand.
  • Urban: Covers a large and somewhat disparate group. In all cases, the site is somewhat centrally located within a market or region. However, the ballpark is not located within the designated downtown area, which usually means a transfer is required for a sizable portion of the fanbase. In some cases, an extensive parking facility may be onsite or adjacent (examples: US Cellular Field, McAfee Coliseum, Miller Park). Alternately, there may be an active legacy neighborhood for which the ballpark serves as an anchor (Wrigley Field, Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park).
  • Suburban: This type of venue is usually surrounded by many acres of parking. Public transit availability is not generally a major factor for its fanbase. The site is often far from an established CBD or other established neighborhood, making trips the ballpark an in-and-out affair. Some ballparks straddle the line between Urban and Suburban due to their location (central to the populace), and (re)development occurring in the area adjacent to the site.
As Cisco Field and the ballpark village are completed, we may see new proposals elsewhere that mimic the A's efforts. If so I may add a new category called quasi-urban, which denotes a facility that has urban traits but is in a decidedly suburban location.

The hollow X's indicate transit options that are planned or are under construction. In Phoenix, the first leg of its light rail line is due to open this December. Seattle's light rail is scheduled to open in 2009. Fremont's Warm Springs BART station would open a few years after Cisco Field and would require a shuttle for access. The south Fremont train station may be up and running sometime before that, it would also require a shuttle.

At some point I'll add a column showing the percentage of fans that use public transit in its various forms.