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Monday, May 14, 2007

Biking to Safeco Field

posted by on May 14 at 13:19 PM

I didn’t ride my bike to Safeco Field to watch the Mariners beat the Yankees last Friday night because I’m a smug piece of bike riding shit. I ride a bike when and where I can because, gee, I actually prefer riding my bike. I enjoy biking around. Not only is being on a bike in the city in the spring a hell of a lot more pleasant than being in a car, riding to Safeco Field on a Friday night at 6 PM is a hell of a lot faster than driving.

So this post isn’t about me wanting to have my virtue rewarded or recognized; nor am I hypocritically drawing attention to my carbon-neutral trip down to carbon-crazed Safeco Field. But I have to say…

Wouldn’t it would be better for everyone if more people rode their bikes—people who can, people that live close enough—to Safeco Field to watch the Mariners play? And not just better for the planet but better also for people who choose to drive to Safeco Field? More people riding bikes to the game means less competition for those $20 parking spots, less congestion before the game, less of a traffic jam after the game. (I know drivers have a hard time with this concept—bikers make a city a better place to drive!—because my boyfriend, a driver, is incapable of recognizing it.)

So it seems strange that our city—which is widely rumored to have a bright green mayor—hasn’t placed bike racks all around Safeco Field. There’s one lonely rack in the parking lot across the street on the South side of the stadium and that’s it. Depending on where your seats are located, locking up in that rack may mean a six block walk to your seats.

There ought to be bike racks near every entrance. Racks that would allow folks who ride their bikes down to Safeco to lock up near the entrance closest to their seats. Racks that would, by their presence, serve as constant visual reminders, letting people know they can ride to their bikes down to the game.

But the city believes that a half a dozen bike racks around Safeco Field would impede foot traffic. Maybe they would. But that seems like a small price to pay to get more people to ride to Safeco. And it’s not as if people on bikes aren’t already locking their bikes up near the entrances closest to their seats anyway. They’re locking their bikes to trees…


…to garbage cans…


…and to expensive, olde-timey light posts.


The five bikes above were all locked up on the North side of the Safeco Field—all by one entrance, all within twenty feet of each other. Spread out along the sidewalk, these five bikes—one of ‘em is mine—were a greater impediment to foot traffic than they would have been if they were gathered up in one bike rack.

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There are bike racks in the main parking structure for safeco. They are even fenced in. I don't know who can use them or if you have to pay, but they are there.

That said: I'm over baseball in this city. It just costs too damn much for me to enjoy it. I like baseball, I like the mariners, I even have access to kick ass seats, but most times I'm offered tickets I would just rather do something else.

Why? Because every time I kick down for food or beer in that place I get pissed and say that _this_ is the last time I do that. I have finally stuck to my guns on not going and I'm loving it.

Posted by drew | May 14, 2007 1:33 PM

What drew said, there is a bike cage in the parking garage.

Posted by Whatevs | May 14, 2007 1:36 PM

Like Dan said, the parking garage is a six block walk from some peoples' seats.

Posted by EXTC | May 14, 2007 1:39 PM

"this post isn’t about me wanting to have my virtue rewarded or recognized; nor am I hypocritically drawing attention to my [fill in the blank]. But I have to say…"

That could be the beginning of most Dan Savage posts.

Posted by wf | May 14, 2007 1:45 PM

"nor am I hypocritically drawing attention to my carbon-neutral trip down to carbon-crazed Safeco Field. But I have to say…"

Really?! Your trip was carbon neutral?
How do you figure that?

--- Jensen

Posted by Jensen Interceptor | May 14, 2007 1:48 PM

No one wants to ride their bike to watch a baseball game. You know why? Because after 5 or 6 beers the last thing you want to do is peddle a bike home.

Better to drive home.

Posted by monkey | May 14, 2007 1:51 PM

monkey @6: "Because after 5 or 6 beers the last thing you want to do is peddle a bike home. Better to drive home."

That's the funniest thing I've read all day.

Posted by Sean | May 14, 2007 2:12 PM


Then he can tough it out. He is, after all, the one who decided not to drive.

If you're going to start monitoring your every move as a carbon footprint, you should be ready and willing to put up with all of the extra shit you're going to have to go through. If you start thinking about what's easy and what saves time, duh, then you'd be back in a car not giving a shit about the environment.

So put one above the other and figure out what comes first to you. Your time, or the environment and your little bike ride.

Posted by Mr. Poe | May 14, 2007 2:33 PM

What garage are you talking about that is six blocs away? Safeco's parking is across the street.

Posted by elswinger | May 14, 2007 2:47 PM

So, according to you Poe, the government should make it easier for you and others to pollute as much as possible by making driving as easy as possible, but make it very difficult for another person who has the desire not to drive (whether for eco reasons or not)? Because...
Dan isn't asking for a parking lot to be taken away from cars and given to bikes, he's asking that it be easier to put bikes where they already are around the stadium.

Posted by Enigma | May 14, 2007 2:51 PM

Aren't there more bike racks by Qwest Field and the Event Center, along "Hot Dog Alley" (where all the vendors are) as you approach Safeco Field from the north?

Posted by Explorer | May 14, 2007 2:54 PM

Incidently, there's a great new bike path in SoDo alongside the new lightrail tracks. If you are biking to the game from down south, I recommend using this path - it's very smooth and there are no cars to squeeze you off the road.

Posted by boydmain | May 14, 2007 2:57 PM

what's really fun is when you lock your bike to a tree or post, and someone else does the same, accidently (or maybe on purpose), locking your bike to theirs. i've had to wander around a bar, trying to find who owns such and such a bike, so that i can go home.

Posted by konstantConsumer | May 14, 2007 3:27 PM


No, I'm not asking for the government to do anything. Nor am I defending any form of pollution. I do not drive. Ever. It's been at least four years.

As for Dan's problem, refer to 1, 2, and 3.

I guess my word usage made it sound like I was attacking, I wasn't. I make the choice to not drive to many locations. When I make that choice, I take into consideration that certain things will not be as easy as they would be if I were driving. Instead of kvetching to others or bitching to myself, I just do what I have to do to get where I want to go.

Posted by Mr. Poe | May 14, 2007 3:48 PM

Good for you Poe. I myself am not a driver, just now getting my license at age 24 because work requires it.
But you have to admit, if no one spoke up for us non-drivers nothing would ever change. It's not to difficult to put in bike racks by Safeco, the sidewalks are vastly larger than normal, and wouldn't impede foot traffic anymore than the garbage cans and lightposts do.
The drivers have all the voice they need with the big auto company lobbying.
(And I'm not trying to vilify drivers, but you all do get your way 9 times out of 10 cause of the big money on your side.)

Posted by Enigma | May 14, 2007 4:17 PM

Tried calling the city? Here, I think the city will install a bike rack (a simple ring and post that accomodates about two bikes) almost anywhere you want if you just ask for it.

Posted by Gloria | May 14, 2007 5:52 PM

Oh, wait, never mind. I noticed the city already rejected that idea.

Posted by Gloria | May 14, 2007 5:53 PM

Not that people shouldn't ride bikes, but I believe most of the fans that go to the games live on the eastside or in the far north end--too far for most cyclists.

A better solution that more fans could use would be a monorail that drops people off by the ballpark.

Never mind, the voters already rejected that idea.

Posted by neo-realist | May 14, 2007 6:01 PM

We used to walk to the stadium from our perch on top or Capitol Hill...25 minutes at most.

Too bad the condo-buying yuppies stealing our apartment will not know how to transport without their car.

Ya'll have fun at the games, we won't be there...we were priced out forever.

Posted by mychological | May 14, 2007 10:28 PM

I live in Japan where more people ride bikes to commute than in the states. Hell, my boss didn't get his liscense to drive a huge honking lexus 'till he was 40.

Anyway, in this country people ride their bikes to the bike track (it's like a dog track, but with human bikers) so they can get drunk at one of the slop tents near the venue and then bet on the races. It's freakin' fantastic!

In hippie Uni. Towns like Ann Arbor in the states, it's perplexing why sporting events don't have more bike parking...

Posted by culinaryartfart | May 15, 2007 1:48 AM

I'd say that a critical mass should end at a baseball game and then we can see what it looks like when 100 bikes all are chained everywhere around the stadium.
Unfortunately, all those kids and hippies don't like "corporate" sports and don't have any money to go to a ball game.

So sad.

Posted by bike hippy | May 15, 2007 9:26 AM
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Posted by zjvmeu byuisfer | May 19, 2007 4:49 AM

Thank you for pointing this out, Dan. In this supposedly bike-friendly city, there is lamentably little attention paid to bike parking - not just at Safeco Field. Try asking Customer Service people at Nordstrom's where to park your bike, just to name one example. I just took a look at the bicycle parking regulations set up by our sister city, Portland OR. Not only do they REQUIRE bike parking at public facilities, they require nice little signs posted at entrances pointing to the bike parking. What's so hard about that?

Posted by Merlin the bike parking nag | May 22, 2007 9:32 PM

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