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Traffic Nightmare Last Night at Texas Stadium

Sorry to be so Cowboys heavy this morning. But this I had to share. At least one FrontBurnervian went to the game last night — but never actually got into the stadium because the traffic and parking were so poorly mismanaged. Amazing:

My wife is a loyal Cowboys fan who very much wanted to attend one final game at Texas Stadium. So I obtained, at considerable expense, a pair of forty-yard line seats and a coveted “blue” parking pass. We’ve attended one or two Cowboys games per season since moving back to Dallas in 2001, so we are not naive regarding Texas Stadium’s traffic and parking challenges. However, last night was without precedent.

As we have done successfully in the past, we sought to avoid much of the traffic by approaching Texas Stadium from the west via Hwy. 114. We hit moderate traffic at the Tom Braniff Road exit (less than one mile from the Stadium) at 6:00 pm, and followed the signs to “blue” parking by exiting Hwy. 114 onto the “ring road” encircling the stadium. We excited Hwy. 114 and entered the parking areas at 6:15 pm — a full hour before the 7:15 kick-off. We were less than 500 yards from the stadium. That’s when our troubles began. We did not move for, quite literally, the next hour. I managed to flag down a parking attendant, who informed me that the Cowboys had “oversold” the blue parking lot and were “looking for some place to park all these cars.” Around 7:30 (i.e, already after kick-off) an Irving police officer walked by my car and explained that “all parking lots are full” but that “stadium officials” were “considering emergency parking measures”, such as allowing us to park along the narrow shoulder of the “ring road” or “against the fence.”

At about 8 pm traffic finally began to move at a snail’s pace. At least one car near us overheated, and our own fuel level dropped precipitously low due to the long drive to the stadium and hours spent idling. Most of the cars around us emptied of passengers, as fans not at the wheel left their drivers behind and walked in. As we crept along the ring road we finally came upon an opportunity to exit the gridlock by taking a ramp up to west bound Hwy. 183. I managed to flag down another parking attendant, who advised me that the situation was still “unresolved” and that it would be “at least another half hour” before we could park. In light of our low gas level and the still-uncertain parking prospects, he advised us that our “best play” was “to take this opportunity to leave.” I asked him who I should direct my letter of complaint do, and he responded “I don’t really know who’s in charge of the parking out here. Try Jerry Jones.” At 8:17 pm — more than two hours after exciting Hwy. 114 to park — we left the stadium parking area via Hwy. 183. We had moved less than 1/2 mile on the “ring road” and were evidently no closer to actually parking than when first arrived.

As we escaped by climbing onto Hwy. 183, we had a clear view of Texas Stadium encircled by taillights, none of which appeared to be moving. I have no idea as to where, if anywhere, those cars were ultimately parked.

Obviously, this was a grave disappointment to me and my wife. Not only did we have to “eat” several hundred dollars worth of tickets, but we were cheated of a chance to pay a final visit to a stadium that we had both been going to since childhood. If arriving over an hour before kick-off with a top-shelf parking pass is not enough to get you to your seats prior to the middle of the 3rd quarter, the Cowboys should have demolished Texas Stadium decades ago.

– Chris Kratovil

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36 comments on “Traffic Nightmare Last Night at Texas Stadium

  1. I think the only reasonable response by Jerry Jones is excellent seats and parking for the first game in the new stadium for these people.

  2. My heart really does go out to this guy. This has been the situation at home games practically all season long. (There was an article in the DMN back a few months ago.) It’s been a problem even for people who’ve had season tickets and have parked in the same spot for 10 years or so.

    What’s really aggravating is the people who get to the outer parking areas way early, then take up 3-4 spots with their tailgating stuff. Really. Talk about total obliviots.

  3. It looked good in HD. While I feel for this couple, why people pay ridiculous amounts of money and put themselves through this sort of hassle to have a worse vantage point than I do on my couch is beyond me.

  4. Rail service to the stadium would be nice. It will come to Irving in 2013, but there won’t be a stadium anymore.
    Will it ever come to Arlington?

  5. why get there just an hour before hand? I’ll never get that. You know what a mess it is to park, get there early, enjoy the tailgaiting and have plenty of time to get inside before the game starts.

  6. You think Irving traffic is bad – wait until it’s way out in Arlington – then add thirty minutes just to get close.

  7. “… traffic and parking was so poorly mismanaged.”

    As opposed to brilliantly mismanaged?

  8. Agrees with gs1s.

    I won’t go to a Cowboy game unless:

    1)Someone else pays tickets, etc.
    and
    2)Drives.
    or
    3)Helos me in and out.

  9. If you’re not going to tailgate for a few hours, hire a driver. A client of mine did it for me one time and I’ll never go back – especially Monday night games. They drop you off on the “ring road” and then pick you up on the shoulder of the highway. Sounds ridiculous, but well worth it….

  10. I submit that there’s an intangible that you cannot get sitting on your couch at home. There’s a certain amount of camaraderie you only get from sitting in the stands, with fellow fans, alternately cheering or bemoaning your team’s performance.

    Sure, I could see better on TV. But if I only followed that rule, would I have ever met some of the people I’ve met at football games?

    The experience trumps the inconvenience.

  11. Perhaps a better strategy would be to go to Texas stadium this Friday night for the last High School football game to be played there. Celina v. Carthage. Less traffic, less expense, potentially a better game.

  12. I went to a Carroll game there last year and the parking was still a nightmare.

    They can’t tear that place down fast enough. What idiot put it in the middle of 3 highways?

  13. typical dallas…

    “why can’t i just drive right up to the gate right before an event where 70,000 other people will be, have my monster tuck valet parked, and enter via the red carpet? don’t you know how much i’ve spent on these tickets/parking pass?”

    true football fans arrive at the stadium at least 3-4 hours before kickoff, eat, drink, enjoy each other’s company and find their seat at their leisure

    suckers get stuck in traffic and miss the game

    and if you leave your car idling for more than five minutes while not moving, you deserve to run out of gas

    bring it, cowgirls fans

  14. WGC, I’m not sure where you’re seeing tailgaters take up “3-4″ spots. Perhaps in recent years, but more recently (perhaps in anticipation of the new stadium?) they have cracked way the hell down on that kind of thing. You can take up as many spots as you have parking passes for, and if you try to bogart that spot next to you with your coolers, grill, and chairs, they will make you move it. Period.

  15. same thing with Mavs games. these schmucks show up at 8:00 for a 7:30 game, so the place looks half full, then leave with 5:00 left in the 2nd qtr to go on a beer run, then hang out in the old no. 7 until 5:00 left in the 3rd, only to leave with 5:00 left in the 4th to beat the traffic.

    AAC might be “full” for about 3-4 actually game minutes on any given night…except that spurs game last week…that was incredible.

  16. It’s aggrivating this even gets posted but I guess it gives us slackers something to check everyday. I am with Bethany & jrp, why on earth would you not get to the game early!? Hours early. Yesterday was a great day for it! And clearly you have lived in Dallas since childhood…common sense would tell you to get there and park. I am all for getting somewhere hours, early so long as drinking is involved.

  17. Bethany: I went to UT and attended every home game (plus TX/OU and an away game or two) every year for five years (two degrees, just to head off any snark). I still go to a few college games per year and understand the “intangible” you referenced.

    But as stadiums and ticket prices grow ever larger, I submit that we’re approaching an inflection point where people will just say screw it all and watch the games from the comfort of the couch, in HD, with beers purchased at grocery store prices (not $7.50 like I paid at the Stars game last week).

  18. There were people lining up for the blue lot at 2:00 yesterday afternoon. I’m assuming they got in.

  19. but nothing beats being there. period.

    i went to the eagles/pokes MNF game in week two with a handful of other birds fans down from Filthadelphia and we had a blast

    traded barbs all night with the dallas fans in our section and the hairs on my neck stood at full attention all night

  20. I’ve heard before that some of those Blue parking passes are fake…

    I attended the Eagles game in Sept and had a Red parking pass and had no problems getting in and out of that lot…

  21. Noticing a few things:

    “My wife is a loyal Cowboys fan who very much wanted to attend one final game at Texas Stadium.”

    “We were less than 500 yards from the stadium.”

    “Obviously, this was a grave disappointment to me and my wife.”

    Major bummer all around, but why didn’t wife get out of the car and go in to enjoy the game?

  22. Kelly: “Why on earth would you not get to the game early!? Hours early.”
    I can’t speak for the couple described in the post, but many Cowboys fans (including me) have small children, family obligations, job commitments and such that prevent us from wandering a stadium parking lot and drinking beer from 2 pm to 7 pm, followed by a 3+ hour game. As it happens, some of us are no longer in college. I’d love to spend a full day and night tailgating, but my boss, my wife, and my two small children might not share my enthusiasm for your plan. Does that mean I am not allowed to attend Cowboys games any longer? In any rational universe, arriving at the stadium over one hour prior to the game should be good enough.

    Until about 5 years ago, DART would pick up at 15 locations throughout the city. You’d arrive at the DART pick up spots as late as one hour before kickoff and for $7/person they dropped you off very close to the stadium and took you back to the pick up spot after the game. I did that for about 10 years and never missed a kickoff. That service is long gone, and Arlington isn’t even a DART member. Indeed, Arlington is the largest city in the U.S. that does not offer any public transportation.

  23. Since the Stadium is closing, I feel no need to spread the following not so secret information. Park in the University library parking lot, costs less money and is about 150 yards from the stadium. In and out in a flash.

  24. I live near the new stadium construction and word on the street is that they’re planning a bus line down from the TRE for Cowboys games. There’s even what looks like covered pick-up/drop-off points on the newly created Center Street bridge. We’ve been to the AAC numerous times and take the TRE every time and it’s awesome (and only $5 round trip). Wouldn’t do it any other way and I surely hope it’s not just a rumor that they’ll accommodate new stadium goers as well.

  25. I agree Chris – “Two to Three games a season” and this poor guys doesnt know to show up AT LEAST TWO HOURS early!?

    I did enjoy his seats though…

  26. I’ve been attending Cowboys’ games since the old Cotton Bowl days. One of the ironies here is that “tailgating” just really isn’t much a part of Texas Stadium tradition. The City of Irving (which owns Texas Stadium) flatly prohibited all outdoor cooking on stadium grounds through 2001 or 2002. Moreover, the Cowboys used to keep the parking lots closed until relatively close (a couple of hours) to kickoff, partly in an attempt to discourage tailgating and thereby maximize available parking. When he bought the team in 1989, Jerry Jones soon set up the “Cowboys Coral” (the big white beer tent) in an effort to offset the lack of a tailgating scene at Texas Stadium–and, of course, to make some money from beer sales in the process. Visiting fans–especially those from the Midwest and the East Coast–used to mock the lack of any real tailgating at Texas Stadium. Finally, in the early part of this decade, Irving’s ban on outdoor cooking was lifted and the Cowboys began opening the parking lots many hours before the game. These recent changes caused a modest tailgating scene to finally emerge (it ain’t exactly Lambeau Field or a Big 10 college stadium) but made the parking even more of a problem than it used to be. The parking now is a total joke, and the team and the City of Irving don’t even pretend to care anymore.

  27. Sounds like a typical cowboys move. Oversell and then take the money and run…Jerry has to pay for the new pec implants somehow.

  28. Let me get this straight… you have the hottest ticket in town, show up 1 hour before it begins, and expect to roll right in? You’ve go to be kidding. This was the FINAL N.F.C. game in Texas Stadium, against the defending Super Bowl Champions, your Division rival, a prime time/nationally televised/win-or-miss-the-playoffs game! Have a little foresight. As for Hank… it’s called a babysitter and responsibility: give your neighbor’s 15 year old kid $50 and a pizza to watch your kid; you can have 2 or 3 drinks at the tailgate and STILL get to work on time the NEXT day. If you can’t handle that, then, no, you can’t go to a Cowboys game. Incidentally, I made it to the stadium at 4:35, parked, had a good time, and watched the entire game from the upper deck. Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance