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Phil Matier: Lack Of Parking Means No Monday Night Football At Levi’s Stadium

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Levi's Stadium under construction in Santa Clara. (CBS)

Levi’s Stadium under construction in Santa Clara. (CBS)

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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — There will be no high-profile, prime time weeknight football games – neither Monday nor Thursday night – played at the new Levi’s Stadium for the 49ers inaugural season and possibly beyond.

That’s because there’s just not enough parking at the billion-dollar, state-of-the art stadium and that’s a problem that may continue past the first season.

Last week, it was announced that there wasn’t going to be any Monday Night Football games played next season; team officials said they needed to fine-tune the traffic around the stadium area and didn’t want to do it during rush-hour during their first year.

That made sense, but wasn’t this supposed to be the most accessible stadium in the NFL—more public transit, more freeway access than any of them? It was going to be breeze and was one of the reasons that it was touted as such a great location.

So I started to wonder, what exactly needs to be fine tuned? After encountering some evasiveness, I finally stumbled on what the problem was: it’s not cars getting in and out; it’s just that they don’t have anywhere to put them when they get there.

They set up the stadium there largely based on the premise that parking would be rented from the nearby community college and other businesses. But while they may have signed on for Sunday games, it’s a separate issue to tell them to do it on Monday or Thursday when there’s a large amount of students and workers using the parking at the same time.

So why hasn’t someone figured out having fans park somewhere else and then get them there via light rail transit?

That is probably in the works but that may take a year or so to figure out, but football and parking have traditionally gone hand in hand. Tailgating is part of the game-day experience.

I think officials will try to negotiate some of kind of flex time with the businesses there to free up some parking spaces. They will also use a golf course as temporary parking.

It’s not an insurmountable hurdle to jump but it’s interesting that everything, we were told in the beginning, was supposed to be cleared up that there would be any screw ups for Monday Night Football—like the infamous power failure at Candlestick in 2011.

The cost of parking has also yet to be determined. I’ve spoken with some season-ticket holders who are still waiting to find out what their parking assignment and cost is.

This is going to be a challenge for officials because it’s just not Monday and Thursday Night Football; there are other events that are going to be held at the stadium during the week to help offset the cost the project.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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