CHOKEPOINTS

The no fuss guide to getting to Mariners Opening Day

Mar 30, 2023, 5:03 AM

Mariners Opening Day T-Mobile Park Traffic...

(Photo by Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

(Photo by Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

It’s here, opening Day for one of the most anticipated Mariners’ seasons in decades. What’s your plan for getting to the ballpark?

It’s been a while since 48,000 people have descended into the stadium district on a weeknight. You just won’t be able to drive up and park like you used to.  My first piece of advice would be to get there super early. Earlier than you normally might. Enjoy the vibe of opening day and share the time with the rest of the fans.

More Chokepoints: 6 months in, Sound Transit CEO Julie Timm sits down with Sully

The simplest way to get to the ballpark is by light rail, and I recommend parking at one of the ends, either Angle Lake or Northgate, and taking it in from there. That’s the same recommendation from Mariam Ali of the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT.)

“You can either take the King County Metro bus, take the light rail, or carpool if needed,” Ali said. “We also have Bike Share, scooter shares, the water taxi.  There are so many different types of modes to kind of get to the stadium.”

But let’s be real. Getting to T-Mobile by car is most people’s go-to. Ali said you should check the city’s traffic map for the current conditions.

“You can check current traffic conditions on one of our over 200 traffic cameras as well as get alerts about construction and other incidents impacting traffic,” Ali said.

Whether you’re headed to the game or not, drivers also need to be aware of a lot more foot traffic all over downtown and SoDo.

“There’s going to be a ton of pedestrians, people walking, biking, rolling,” Ali said. “Please drive safely, make sure you’re aware of your surroundings and don’t get distracted being on your cell phone. Drive safely so people can get to their destination with ease.”

You need to watch for sudden street closures as Seattle Police manage the flow into and out of the stadium districts. Roads in the area that don’t normally have a lot of traffic will be busy.

We noticed this a lot in the State Route 99 tunnel, where the route out of the tunnel into SODO can run into temporary blockages to ease traffic. SDOT will be watching and tweaking the signal timing in real time to help as well.

“We monitor what is going on in the area, and yes, we do control the traffic signals to make sure traffic is flowing before or after the game,” Ali said.

And above all else, manage your expectations.

It is going to be slow. You know that. People are going to cut you off. Pedestrians are going to cross illegally. Don’t assume intent. It’s not worth getting upset over. Don’t ruin a great opening day by getting in a bad mood.

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The no fuss guide to getting to Mariners Opening Day