Fans flock to San Francisco 49ers first practice at Levi's Stadium

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About 10,000 fans lined up with excitement outside Levi's Stadium to watch the San Francisco 49ers first practice game on Monday.

Levi's Stadium got another pre-season stress test Monday as 10,000 fans converged to see a scrimmage. While no major snags were reported, that was not the case Saturday when 48,000 soccer fans turned out for a game.

The 49ers are doing everything they can to address the traffic problem. The team has produced videos, they have come up with a smartphone app, and they have also been encouraging the use of public transit. However, the problem isn't going to Levi's Stadium, it's leaving after a game.

Word got out fast, especially over social media, that traffic and parking were bad for Saturday's San Jose Earthquakes soccer game. So fans going to today's practice game, planned for a repeat.

One fan said she arrived as early as 9 a.m. and that it would take her about two hours to get to her Hayward home.

Around 10,000 people showed up for the 49ers first practic Monday, which is about a fourth of the crowd that put Levi's Stadium through a stress test Saturday. Soccer fans arrived at staggered times, but when more than 48,000 of them tried to leave afterwards, it was a nightmare.

One man's wife couldn't get to the light rail station. "So ended up walking three miles to a friend's house and got a ride from there. The infrastructure's just not quite there yet," Josh Hoffman said.

VTA acknowledges there were problems. A train lost power and some passengers had long waits.

"People were waiting around an hour and that's a long time to wait. A long wait like that can be difficult and so you know our goal is to move people a little faster than that," VTA spokesperson Colleen Valles said.

One pocket track along Tasman Drive may help. Three light rail trains, each with a capacity of 450, will be waiting to pick up post-game crowds in time for the first 49ers game on August 17.

Even former 49ers wide receiver Dwight Clark was frustrated Saturday night. "You know they've gotta fix that traffic thing. I came to the soccer game the other night and it was pretty crazy getting in here, but they'll get it figured out," he said.

The 49ers are working on figuring out a solution to this problem.

"Nobody likes standing in lines whether in a car, whether you're in a bathroom, whether you're in a concession stand, whether you're in a bank. And any time you can fix things like that, we're going to try," 49ers Stadium Operations VP Jim Mercurio said.

However, some fans are skeptical and say they think it's going to be worse than Candlestick.

Other big events coming up at Levi's Stadium:

  • The Niners will host the Denver Broncos in the first football game ever played at the stadium on Aug. 17. It's a preseason game.

  • The 49ers' first regular season game will be played on Sept. 14 against the Chicago Bears.

  • The first college football game is on Oct. 24 when Cal meets Oregon.

  • The first Pac-12 championship game at Levi's Stadium is Dec. 5.

  • The San Francisco Bowl, formerly the Fight Hunger Bowl, will be played on Dec. 30.

  • The WWE will bring WrestleMania 31 to Levi's Stadium on March 29.

  • Facts about the new Levi's Stadium:

  • It cost $1.3 billion and took just more than two years to build.

  • The stadium has nearly 30,000 parking spaces that span 28 lots, with roads and intersections nearby changed to help with the flow of traffic.

  • The stadium seats approximately 68,500.

  • The 49ers upcoming season is sold out, with fans re-selling about 10,000 tickets per game.
  • Related Topics:
    societySan Jose EarthquakesSeattle Sounders FCSan Francisco 49ersLevi's Stadiumtraffictraffic delaytransportationdrivingappmobile appappssmartphonesfoodsilicon valleytechnologysportsSanta ClaraLevi's Stadium
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