Take the (train/bus/car) to the ballgame

When the whole melee about Cobb County Braves broke last month it got me thinking about a long-thought project of mine: calculating travel mode share to baseball parks. Ballparks see the most visits of any sport (a multipurpose arena with hockey and basketball only has as many home games as a baseball team, with half the capacity), and ballparks are often (although not in the case of the Braves) seen as means to revitalize downtown areas.

So, I created a chart of each stadium, and how far it was from various transit modes. And then I mapped it out:

Green shows transit options within ¼ mile, or a five minute walk. Yellow is within ½ mile (10 minutes) and red within a mile (20 minutes). Note that bus stops more than half a mile form the stadium are not shown. Here is a Venn-ish diagram of the same data:

A few notes:
  • 28 ballparks lie within half a mile of some transit option. (The exceptions: Arlington, Texas—which doesn’t even have transit within the city limits!—and Kansas City, have bus stops less than a mile away.)
  • 3 cities have no rail transit but do have bus service. Miller Park, built with huge parking lots for tailgaiting Wisconsinites, is the only one of these ballparks more than a quarter mile from the nearest bus stop.
  • Boston, Baltimore and Toronto have all four transit options within half a mile of the stadium. (In Boston, the Green Line, despite carrying more passengers than several subway systems, is classified as light rail; the Orange Line, half a mile away, is the heavy rail option.)
  • Denver is opening a multi-modal station near the current ballpark, this reflects the projected opening next year.
  • The Braves new ballpark will be nearly a mile from the nearest bus stop, putting it in the company of Texas and Kansas City.
  • Historically, ballparks were often further from the city center, and served mainly by streetcars, even in cities with subways. Braves Field, Shibe Park, Ebbets Field and the Polo Grounds were all closer to streetcars than to subways. (And note that Fenway Park, Yankee Stadium, and both ballparks in Chicago are not in the downtown core.)