Wednesday morning will mark the first of five weekday games at Metro Bank Park this season that start at noon or sooner. With most parking on City Island already occupied by commuters, getting to and fro the ballpark becomes an additional cause for concern during these games.
The Senators have improved the parking situation as much as they possibly can. They do a fantastic job directing traffic after games to get cars out as quickly and painless as possible. But there will always be issues with having the ballpark on City Island and a finite number of parking spaces is definitely one of them.
Almost two years ago, I wrote:
If you’ve gone to a Senators’ home game, you know parking on City Island can be a real issue and a detriment to attending. An alternative is to park in either Harrisburg or Wormleysburg and walk across one of the bridges. If you park on the West Shore be forewarned to avoid parking in the lots for Duke’s, Dockside Willie’s, and Rock Bass Grill as they are adamant against fans using their parking lots.
Instead of pissing off potential customers, wouldn’t it make better business sense for them to entice me to park there? Couldn’t they start charging a couple of bucks to park and offer a same day voucher for the same amount to use at any of their establishments? Who wouldn’t start planning on pregaming there? Or stopping by after the game for food and a drink?
Two years later, nothing has changed. Drive by the West Shore riverfront establishments on a day when the Senators have a home game and you’ll see sign after sign at every one of their lots that says “No Baseball Parking”. Also, don’t miss the set of flunkies owner Don Carter Jr. has stationed at each entrance patrolling the lots to make sure every car is there to consume the deep-fried, overpriced items on the menu and not walk over the Market Street Bridge to the ballpark.
I assume Carter doesn’t want space just taken up in his parking lots for up to three hours while patrons aren’t even spending money at one of his establishments. Hey, it’s his business and he has the right to do whatever he feels like. I get it. I really do.
But, I have to think this is one of the more shortsighted and territorial decisions a business owner can make. There is a golden opportunity for him to turn his location and proximity to the ballpark into a positive. Tailgates, Happy Hour specials, and post-game deals are just some of the easy ideas that seem like no-brainers to me. If done correctly, the positive word of mouth could make any of those restaurants the place to be before and after Senators’ games.
Instead, Carter has made it pretty clear that he doesn’t want their business. So many fans will park on the streets throughout Wormleysburg and walk right on by both before and after the game. And I don’t blame them one bit.