SEATTLE -- Mariners fans couldn't wait to get to Friday night's season home opener at Safeco Field. Navigating area streets and finding a place to park, however, proved to be stressful ... and expensive for some.
With abundant construction around the SODO district, there are fewer places to park and more closed streets than in past years.
“We’ve been concerned about this for years,” said Rebecca Hale, spokesperson for the Seattle Mariners. “If fans are used to parking in the same place, used to taking the same route, then its probably a good idea to give yourself a little extra time.”
The Mariners estimate about 3,000 parking spaces have disappeared over the past few years in the typically congested SODO area around Safeco Field. The teams parking garage on the south side of the stadium is also booked up for Friday nights game.
Also, the "Home Plate Parking" lot adjacent to the stadium is now an office building, the north lot next to Century Link Field is full of construction and there is no parking under the viaduct anymore.
“We recommend public transportation,” Hale said. “Or park downtown in the business district and walk down.”
Washington State Department of Transportation's Matt Preedy said parking conditions are not expected to change anytime soon and the increased amount of road closures will add to baseball season traffic.
Preedy recommended mass transit to get to the game. Buses, light rail, walking and biking are all alternatives to avoid some of the area congestion.
For fans who do drive to games this year, Preedy advised them to pre-plan where to park. There are various parking lots and garages surrounding Safeco Field. And Sea-Tac Airport is also offering half priced parking for anyone attending sports events Friday through Sunday.
Metered parking will be extended to 8 p.m. downtown and in the Chinatown International Distict, but not in Pioneer Square. Make sure to check what time the meters at your parking space expire.
According to the Mariners website, disabled accessibility to the stadium will also be affected by some of the construction. Pick-up and drop-off areas will vary throughout the season.
Helpful links to information for opening day:
KING 5's Jake Whittenberg contributed to this report.