The last time I thought this much about parking, I had collected a pretty sizable stack of citations in college. Those classes at 1 p.m. sure were good for my sleep patterns, but murder on the ol’ wallet.
There was either a shortage of spots or I was too lazy to seek out all options, and I’m sure you can guess which, given those 12:55 p.m. wakeup calls were also murder.
It’s not as if there aren’t enough parking spaces for the Raiders to accumulate around their NFL stadium, set to open here in 2020, but such a search was always going to deliver an imperfect solution.
I’m not sure there is a flawless parking blueprint across the NFL.
I’m absolutely sure the Raiders don’t have one.
The team has proposed four off-site locations to accommodate event parking, all spelled out in a report from a planning consultant and scheduled to be considered by the Clark County Commission on Sept. 5.
It is then the Raiders need to answer all questions their proposal immediately created across social media Tuesday — props to the guy on Twitter who wondered why the team hadn’t considered parking on Mount Charleston — and perhaps calm the nerves of those who Googled walking distances and broke out in a heavy sweat.
But no matter what details the commission demands to be addressed — the length of shuttle rides from each proposed parking site, walking directions that range from 2.5 to 3.8 miles, what exact agreements the team has reached with land owners — most fans will care about just one specific part of attending an NFL game.
What about all the grills and coolers?
Tailgating to the NFL is strawberries and cream at Wimbledon and a handshake line in the NHL playoffs and exchanging jerseys at the World Cup and the seventh inning stretch.
It’s as much a part of game day tradition as questionable flags.
The Raiders said from the outset that they understood the importance of maintaining what is a spirited tailgating experience at games in Oakland.
Can you create that at four different spots?
How will large groups be assured all its cars/members obtain space at the same lot?
Will folks be able to prepay for spots to guarantee such togetherness?
How much space will exist for tailgating in a designated area reportedly located on the stadium’s south end?
Questions. Lots of them.
This was always going to be a struggle once the Raiders chose a stadium site closer to the resort corridor than, say, the southwest corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Blue Diamond Road, now one of those four proposed options.
Think of it like the world’s most difficult jigsaw puzzle. There might only be 500 or so pieces to it, but it feels more like 5,000. That’s how tight a fit the 65,000-seat stadium will exist at its 62.5-acre Russell Road site. Traffic jams, shuttle jams, bus jams, more jams than a Smucker’s factory, are more probable than not when events draw at or near capacity.
It’s also obvious not all businesses within a swing pass of the stadium were willing to deal with the team on parking.
Why should they?
Whether it be some of the smaller hotels or shops or other points of commerce, you can bet many of them will offer their own parking option come game day. They will and should profit off the opportunity.
It’s true not everyone drives to stadium events. There is a reason plans include a bullpen area for Uber and Lyft. It’s also true those staying at Strip hotels or perhaps using what is expected to be an extended monorail (if the project ever solves its construction and financing issues) would ultimately walk a reasonable distance to the stadium.
Which means it’s true there are still major infrastructure decisions and projects that need to be settled to make such convenience a reality.
The parking proposal —with locations at the Orleans, Arville and Tropicana, Las Vegas Boulevard and Arby, and the Blue Diamond Road area — includes some 12,000-plus off-site spaces and between 2,375 and 2,725 on-site parking spots.
I sure hope those who ponied up the top personal seat license fare are included in the latter.
If not, what in the world does $75,000 get you nowadays?
It’s not a perfect proposal. It was never going to be. But it’s a start.
For now, people seem most worried about those grills and coolers than actual distance and logistics.
Which means Las Vegas is finally thinking like an NFL town.
Contact columnist Ed Graney at email@example.com or 702-383-4618. He can be heard on “The Press Box,” ESPN Radio 100.9 FM and 1100 AM, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. Follow @edgraney on Twitter.