The 49ers hosted the Chicago Bears for their first regular season home game. Besides the disappointing ending, Levi’s and the 49ers have definitely improved some of the gameday issues that have been haunting them since the Earthquakes opener on August 2. There are still issues (namely traffic issues) that definitely still need to be reworked and improved, but we have to give them props for already improving on the public transportation in and out of the area. Don’t forget to bookmark our Levi’s Stadium Gameday Information page for one stop access to everything you need on gameday!
The parking lots were supposed to open 4 hours before kickoff, but a select group of fans who were selected for early tailgate were allowed to enter 5 hours before the game. It didn’t seem like most fans cared about either of these times, as fans were in their cars lined up outside the parking lots 5.5 to 6 hours before kick off time. Many fans just busted out their chairs and cracked open a beer on the side of the road while waiting.
After the 5 hour mark lapsed, and 49ers workers could see that most of the fans parked outside the parking lots were not early-tailgate-eligible, they opened the lots to everyone in order to alleviate the traffic that was at a standstill.
For those who showed up around the time the lots opened early (5 hours before), getting in was easy, and traffic was minimal. For those showing up around 4 hours early or less, we heard reports from several fans that it took them 2 hours to go down Lawrence Expwy from 101 to Tasman due to all the cars trying to cut in. Fans were even getting out of their cars and urinating on the side of the road.
Light Rail trains were a little crowded, but from what we heard, there were plenty of trains and you were able to get on without any issues.
Getting into the stadium was quick and painless. Even on the northwest side, which seems like the main entrance that most people will be entering from, there was no wait. 501 lucky fans got a Golden Commemorative Ticket which came with an “extra special prize”……a $50 gift card to …surprise, surprise, any Levi’s Store.
Jeremy Renner opened, Snoop Dogg performed at the half, and we made some bad plays in the second half….
The food lines were long, but moving, most of the bathrooms had no or minimal lines, but the lines to get into the team store were long until the end of the game. Before the game, they did have other games playing on the TV’s around the stadium. They also added a Yahoo Fantasy Football trivia game. Those with seats in the sun were blasted with heat while the sun was up, but we haven’t seen anything about any more health scares due to the heat. The fans definitely showed up though, as the sound level was pretty impressive.
If people were parked in the lots, the ones who booked it out of the stadium as soon as the game ended, and walked quickly to their cars had no issues leaving the outer lots. Most fans, however, who waited for escalators, or walked with the crowd’s speed, ended up getting stuck in the parking lots for 2-3 hours. Lesson: Even if you wait until the game is over (as you should!), you can get out of the parking lot quickly if you hurry to your car. I think the lot main green lot and VIP Red right outside the stadium had a hard time due to the pedestrian and VTA traffic. I am not sure if there is a quick fix for fans parked in those lots.
The VTA Light Rail was the easiest and most painless way to enter and exit for this game. They had trains leaving the stations every 5 minutes, and many extra cars available due to the newly installed pocket tracks. We have since read that due to the car traffic that was stuck because of the VTA trains, they are considering decreasing the rate that trains leave in order to help speed up the rate at which cars can exit the inner parking lots. This may make using VTA the next game to leave slightly less efficient, but we still say that may be the best option for most fans as of right now. There were many empty buses lined up and ready to whisk fans away, but many also got stuck in the street traffic.
- VTA Light Rail, so far, seems like the quickest and easiest way into and out of the stadium area. Be wary that they may slow down the pace of the trains the next game to help alleviate traffic issues.
- If you are driving, arrive early! There are plenty of parking spots, but you will have to fight through hours of sitting in traffic if you come too late.
- If you are driving and parked at one of the outer lots, you have a chance to leave quickly without any traffic if you exit the stadium immediately after the game is over, and walk quickly to your car.
- If you are trying to go to the team store, try going on a non-game day. The lines were long until the end of the game.
- PRO TIP: Cheering loudly while the other team is on offense = GOOD. Cheering loudly while the 49ers are running a play on offense = NO GOOD.
- Sorry, no food pics today.