Special Olympics: Getting Around Town

By EGP Staff Report

When plans for the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles were first announced, there were dire predictions of massive traffic delays and citywide gridlock: neither of which occurred.

Years of preparation and extensive use of public transportation led to what media outlets labeled the “traffic miracle.”

Transportation officials are hoping for the same results as hundreds of thousands of visitors make their way to Los Angeles this week for the 2015 Special Olympics World Games.

“Like 1984, we partnered with a public transportation agency,” said Steven R. Vanderpool, senior vice president of the Special Olympics World Games. “But we have an [added] advantage. There are now nearly 100 miles of train lines that did not exist in 1984.”

The five venues used during the 2015 Special Olympic World Games July 25-August 2 will be accessible by Metro rail and buses.  (METRO)

The five venues used during the 2015 Special Olympic World Games July 25-August 2 will be accessible by Metro rail and buses. (METRO)

On Monday, Metro – the official transit provider for the World Games – announced that its rail and bus services would be in full swing during the weeklong international sporting event.

The agency plans to deploy additional rail, buses and staff throughout Los Angeles and Long Beach to accommodate the half a million spectators expected to attend the World Games from July 25 through Aug. 2.

“We plan to monitor service and adjust it if necessary,” said Metro spokesman Dave Sotero. “We have the experience…and flexibility to deploy trains to meet the needs of these events.”

The World Games were created to promote the acceptance and inclusions of people with intellectual disabilities. The Special Olympics World Games will be the biggest event to hit Los Angeles since the ’84 Games.

Competitions will be held in Downtown Los Angeles, Encino, Griffith Park, Long Beach, and at UCLA and USC.

“The venues were chosen because they are first-class facilities, which have hosted events before and many are at USC and UCLA so athletes will not have to leave campus to compete,” said Vanderpool. “They are [also] accessible via public transportation.”

Service on the Metro Expo Line will be expanded starting Saturday to help transport the thousands of spectators expected to attend the Opening Ceremony at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Trains will be longer to increase occupancy to 700 people per trip, in each direction. That day, trains will run every six minutes. Passengers will be able to get off at the Expo Park/USC Station for the short walk to the Coliseum.

Games such as basketball and aquatics held on the USC campus will also be accessible at the stop.

The Los Angeles Convention Center and Lucky Strike at L.A. Live will serve as venues for games such as bowling and powerlifting. Metro riders on the Expo Line or Blue Line can get off at the Pico Station to attend those events.

The Balboa Sports Center in Encino will host 7-a-team soccer games. The venue will be accessible via the Orange Busway Line, which transfers from the Red Line in Hollywood.

Alamitos Beach in Long Beach will host sailing and the triathlon. The various beach venues can be reached on the Blue Line, and exiting at the 1st Street Station.

The UCLA campus can be reached by taking the 710 and 734 Metro Rapid buses. The school campus will host gymnastics, judo and other games.

Metro does not have direct transportation via its rail lines or rapid buses to the Los Angeles Equestrian Center or the Wilson & Harding Golf Course in Griffith Park, where equestrian and golf events will be hosted. However, Metro recommends people headed to those events take the 94 and 794 buses to reach the venues.

In addition to more frequent and reliable trains, late night service will also be extended until 2 a.m. on July 25, July 31 and August 1.

“In 1984, Los Angeles County didn’t have any rail lines and officials resorted to scare tactics to keep people of the road,” said Sortero. “Fortunately we are now in a much better position to carry people to venues.”

For technically savvy commuters, the Go Metro app will be updated to feature a Special Olympics map highlighting stations near World Games venues.

TAP cards commemorating the Special Olympics World Games are also available for purchase at vending machines.

 

For specific competition schedules, visit www.LA2015.org.

Sports by Venue

1.Downtown L.A. (L.A. Convention Center/L.A. Live): badminton, bocce, bowling, handball, powerlifting, roller skating and table tennis.

2.Encino (Balboa Sports Centers): 7-a-side soccer

3.Griffith Park (L.A. Equestrian Center/Wilson & Harding Golf Courses): equestrian and golf

4.Long Beach (Alamitos Beach): beach volleyball, half marathon, kayaking, open water swimming, sailing and triathlon.

5.UCLA (various): gymnastics, judo, 5-a-side soccer, 11-a-side soccer, softball, tennis and volleyball.

6.USC (various): aquatics, athletics and basketball

 
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July 23, 2015  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

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