The 49ers believe they have a solid, winning game plan for getting 70,000 fans to Levi's Stadium this inaugural season with minimal hassle, one they've copied from the Giants and Sharks.
Build close to transit. Offer several ways to drive to a game. Synchronize street signals for blocks around. Spread out parking in all directions and reserve spaces ahead of time. Then charge a small fortune for the coveted pavement.
And, the best move perhaps, send each season ticket holder precise directions to pre-assigned parking lots.
"There will be a learning curve, but we're confident," said Dennis Ng, traffic engineer for the City of Santa Clara. "We've put a lot of thought into this."
While many fans fear a traffic nightmare, the bet is that the new football stadium will be able to handle sellout crowds much better than Candlestick Park did or the Oakland Coliseum does.
"The planning seems to be there," said Richard Haars, a season-ticket holder and retired vet who said leaving a game at Candlestick sometimes meant a two-hour trip to his home in nearby San Carlos. "I don't think that will be the case at the new place."
There are worries. Will the Caltrain-light rail connection in Mountain View be able to move 3,000 fans in a snappy time? Will light rail be able to handle 10,200 game-day riders? Will drivers heed warnings and barricades to stay out of residential areas?
And once the final whistle sounds, many of the 50,500 fans coming by cars will swamp freeways and expressways at the same time in their haste to get home.
Mix in another 20,000 on trains and buses, and patience will be needed.
"That's our biggest concern," Ng said. "After the game."
GOING BY CAR
More than 50,500 fans will arrive in nearly 19,000 vehicles, many taking highways 101 and 237. Electronic signs will direct drivers to recommended exits. Cash customers will be directed towards lots on the outer edges via Lawrence Expressway and 237 or Great America Parkway and 101.
Nearly 30,000 parking spaces will be available in 28 lots. Reserved spots for season-ticket holders cost around $500. Cash lots will start at $40 per game -- the most expensive for all Bay Area pro teams -- and could be more at private lots open to the public.
Blue Lot 1 and Green Lot 4 will serve as drop-off and pickup locations for the disabled.
Tasman Drive immediately adjacent to the stadium, between Centennial Boulevard and the Great America Theme Park driveway, will be closed to all traffic.
Tailgating will not be allowed until 9 a.m. in the Great America Theme Park parking lot, the Santa Clara Golf and Tennis Club, or stadium parking areas within the security perimeter by the Green Lot.
Riders will be dropped off on Tasman Drive at the Great American station across from the stadium -- just a 10-minute stroll away -- and trains will run every 5 to 10 minutes after a game.
Four extra trains will run from Alum Rock and Santa Teresa and three extra from Diridon every half hour.
After games, about half of fans will be able to hop on a train within 35 minutes of the final whistle, and everyone should be on board within an hour and 20 minutes.
Riders will not be able to use ticket machines on platforms between Mountain View and Great America, so purchase tickets ahead of time.
BART stops in Fremont, but bus line 251 will operate every 20 minutes from there to the Great America light rail station, meeting each BART train starting 3 hours before kickoff.
The Altamont Commuter Express or ACE will run one train to all 49ers home games from Stockton. The train will stop at the Great America station. For 1:05 p.m. games, the train will arrive at 11:41 a.m. and depart at 5:31 p.m.
The Capitol Corridor train runs from the Sacramento area to a block from the stadium. In the Oakland area, you can catch it at Emeryville, Jack London Square or near the Coliseum/Airport BART stop.
Caltrain will add two trains from San Francisco before games. Take either light rail or a bus from Mountain View.
Buy tickets ahead of time.
VTA and Caltrain will offer a joint fare that would allow passengers to add on the cost of a $6 VTA day pass to a round-trip Caltrain fare. Caltrain riders can purchase the VTA fare when they buy their tickets.
VTA will also provide a mobile ticketing app to let users buy their tickets and show fares to inspectors on their mobile devices. Go to www.vta.org for details.
Five special bus lines will run to the stadium. Line 252 from Vallco, Line 253 from Gilroy, Line 254 from Eastridge and line 255 from Almaden, plus the BART-bus line. There will be three trips to arrive at the stadium from 21/2 hours, to 110 to 70 minutes before the start time.
Contact Gary Richards at 408-920-5335.