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Streetsblog’s Annual MLB Opening Day Preview! Yankee Stadium Edition

There is a large Citi Bike rack across the street from Yankee Stadium. Photo: Gersh Kuntzman

Whatever happened to route, route, route for the home team?

The Yankees will begin their 120th season on Friday afternoon in The Bronx, but the Bombers do nothing to promote — and, in fact, discourage — fans from visiting House that Ruth Built by bicycle.

There are no bike racks at Yankee Stadium itself. We asked the Parks Department why, and the agency referred us to the leaseholder (the Yankees). "Any potential installation of bike racks would falls under their purview — as the lease holder, the Yankees are responsible for operating and maintaining the premises," said Parks Department spokesman Dan Kastanis. (The team did not respond to multiple requests for comment.)

A panorama of a bike-free plaza at the taxpayer-funded House that Ruth Built. Photos: Gersh Kuntzman
A panorama of a bike-free plaza at the taxpayer-funded House that Ruth Built. Photos: Gersh Kuntzman
A panorama of a bike-free plaza at the taxpayer-funded House that Ruth Built. Photos: Gersh Kuntzman

The team's media guide and website don't at all mention bikes or safe cycling routes to the taxpayer-subsidized baseball Mecca (scroll down to "Transportation and Parking"). In another section of the stadium guide, the team reiterated that helmets are banned inside the arena, meaning that bike riders are either being encouraged to ride without protective headgear or are required to leave the pricey item outside, where it can easily be stolen. Fans have long complained about that Bronx Bombers bummer, as Streetsblog and the NY Post have reported.

There are also very few street posts to which cyclists can affix their bikes, and this is painfully true at Yankee employee entrances on Rivera Avenue; many of those employees live in the Bronx and could get to work by bike.

There are some bike racks in the city park across the street from Yankee Stadium. You can see them here:

City bike racks are off in a corner.
City bike racks are off in a corner.
City bike racks are off in a corner.

And there are bike racks in a car parking garage south of the stadium (street view here). But they are not particularly noticeable from the street, and very few fans use them:

There are several Citi Bike racks near Yankee Stadium:

citi bike near yankee stadium

There are no protected bike lanes near Yankee Stadium. The main east-west roadway past the building — E. 161st Street — is a car and bus speedway that offers no safety for cyclists.

All the other painted lanes near the stadium are typically double-parking lanes for drivers. The city bike map can be accessed here, but here is a close-up (blue lines are painted lanes; purple lines are merely shared routes, marked with sharrows):

Map: DOT
Map: DOT

It's odd that the team does not encourage cycling to Yankee Stadium, given that a seven-mile bike ride from the Grand Central Terminal area would take just 40 minutes (and could include a nice ride through car-free Central Park) — though the last stretch is treacherous: cyclists who attempt to reach the stadium from Manhattan over the Macombs Dam Bridge are forced to cross a dangerous on-ramp for the Major Deegan Expressway:

Speeding drivers rarely yield at this unsignalized crosswalk. Photo: Google
Speeding drivers rarely yield at this unsignalized crosswalk. Photo: Google
Speeding drivers rarely yield at this unsignalized crosswalk. Photo: Google

It's no wonder that googling the term "Is it safe to ride a bike to Yankee Stadium?" yields many negative answers.

The Yankees do offer bus, subway and commuter rail instructions on their website, and the MTA's 4 and D trains stop directly at the right-field gate. (Click here for a Bronx bus map.)

From the Yanks media guide.
From the Yanks media guide.
From the Yanks media guide.

A Yankee official joined MTA executives on Wednesday to promote fan usage of Metro-North's E. 153rd Street station, which was very close to the old Yankee Stadium, but is now a slightly longer walk. (Team executive Doug Behar talked about "the headache" of driving to Yankee Stadium, and urged people to take the train as a "sustainable" option, but he did not mention the bike.)

The MTA provides additional service, called "The Yankee Clipper," for all evening and weekend games. Click here for information.

Yankee home opener is Friday at 1 p.m. against the Boston Red Sox at the Stadium (bounded by E. 161st Street, Rivera Avenue, E. 164th Street and Jerome Avenue).

Next week: The Mets!

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