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