24 Lots and Garages are within 10 minutes of Worcester’s Downtown Ballpark; Fans will be able to reserve parking spaces when they order tickets via app; RideShare, Trains, and Buses Provide Additional Convenient Options
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WORCESTER, MA – Downtown Worcester has more than 7,300 parking spaces within a 5-10 minute walk of Polar Park, yet fans will only use about 2,500 at full capacity. A “Polar Park-ing Plan” was released today by the City of Worcester and the Worcester Red Sox.
At least 24 parking lots and garages account for 7,302 spaces, more than twice the amount expected at full capacity later this summer. Half of the lots and garages are owned by the City of Worcester (12 of 24) and will be priced at $5, $10, or $15, depending on their proximity to the new ballpark in the Canal District. The private lots will establish their own prices. (Fenway Park, by comparison, has about 4,000 spaces within the same zone, according to a study by VHB commissioned in 2008 by the Red Sox.)
Traffic engineers expect 10 percent of the fans to use RideShares, such as Uber and Lyft, and another 10 percent to use the Commuter Rail into the popular and proximal Union Station, just a short walk from the ballpark. Beyer Blinder Belle, experts in traffic studies, worked in concert with the club and the City.
Special drop-off areas for fans with disabilities will provide some of the best access and shortest distances in American ballparks (at the Rodenhiser Gate C and Home Plate Gate D), and parking for those with disabilities will be nearby. At least 18 new spaces will be available on the newly-created Green Island Blvd, right at Madison Street. That number is expected to double when construction vehicles working on new garage construction exit in September, 2021.
A street-licensed golf cart presented by Rodenhiser with a capacity of eight passengers will roam and provide free shuttle service around the neighborhood.
Once the WooSox are allowed to welcome fans at full capacity, 9,508, about 80 percent of fans (7,608) are expected to drive. With an average of 3.2 fans per car (the accepted standard), 2,377 spaces are needed. If half of the more than 7,300 nearby spaces are in use, as is estimated, those 3,650 spaces can accommodate the nearly 2,500 cars.
“One key to the ease of parking is familiarity with the neighborhood and its numerous lots and garages,” said WooSox President Dr. Charles Steinberg. “For example, as fans become accustomed to using the lot on McGrath Blvd. at the Worcester Public Library, with 289 spaces, they will develop typical game-day routines.
“Another key to convenience is a forthcoming technological innovation of being able to purchase parking when purchasing your ticket on the Polar Park app. Knowing in advance where you will park allows you to enter the address into your GPS to take the most efficient route to the game.”
“The ability to purchase parking when ordering tickets—all at the same time on one app—is a technological innovation that should greatly improve the fan experience,” said Matthew Levin, the WooSox’ Chief Technology Officer (and Chief Financial Officer). “This upcoming new option is one of several technological innovations in the fan experience at Polar Park.”
“Everything about this project has been about a ballpark that is really part of the city,” said Mayor Joseph M. Petty. “This parking plan will make it convenient for incoming fans but also puts feet on the street, right in the middle of the Canal District. There’s so much thoughtful work that has been done to make this ballpark an open and accessible addition to the community, and I want to thank the Manager and his team for pulling this plan together.”
“The City has worked closely with experienced traffic engineers, experts in urban planning, MassDOT, and neighborhood residents and businesses to ensure that the right combination of parking assets and traffic patterns are employed,” said City Manager Edward M. Augustus, Jr. “From the redesign of Kelley Square and an improved parking management system to highway signage and a reorganization of street directions, fans can easily park, navigate and explore the neighborhood around the Polar Park.”
Just as full capacity is expected sometime later this year, so too is a new 350-space parking garage near Gate D, just across Madison Street from the ballpark, financed by the Commonwealth. Those spaces are in addition to the 7,302. The construction of the garage was delayed by the pandemic and is expected to be complete and operational by September, 2021.
For fans coming from MetroWest and points east, the Commuter Rail has 17 options to board, whether from South Station, Back Bay, and Lansdowne Street, or as close as the ample parking lot in Grafton, just one stop away. Fans are encouraged to use the MBTA’s app for ease in purchasing tickets and choosing the best points of embarkation and disembarkation.
“I learned long ago that one of the secrets to enjoying a large sports event to the fullest is to come early,” said WooSox Chairman and Principal Owner Larry Lucchino. “Come early, find nearby parking, then walk the neighborhood and walk around the inside of the ballpark. It will create a blend of relaxation and excitement that enhances the experience.”
The club is working with RideShare partners such as Lyft to establish pick-up and drop-off points in the neighborhood. Specific areas will be announced once they study pedestrian and vehicular patterns and tendencies.
The attached map shows the 24 garages and lots that comprise the more than 7,300 spaces within the 5-10 minute walk of Polar Park, which is located at 100 Madison Street.
Fans can visit woosox.com and can also ask questions to the WooSox by emailing [email protected].
POLAR PARK-ING POINTS
· Downtown Worcester Parking Capacity within a 5-10 minute walk: 7,302
· Polar Park at full capacity: 9,508
· RideShare is expected to account for 10%, or 950, bringing the total down to 8,558
· The Train and other Public Transportation options are expected to account for 10%, bringing the total down further to 7,608
· With 3.2 passengers per car, the accepted standard of measurement for parking at large sporting events, 7,608 fans need 2,377 of the 7,302 spaces.