ARLINGTON -- Motorists beware!
The parking lots of north Arlington will be full of tailgaters during the next three days and the roads will likely be awash in taillights.
The Texas Rangers and Dallas Cowboys are both hosting St. Louis sports teams at their respective home fields in Arlington, a double whammy that presents special challenges for traffic planners.
Motorists are urged to be patient and to build in extra travel time, whether they're attending one of the games or simply commuting through the city.
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The fun begins tonight, with Game 3 of the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m., as it is for Games 4 and 5 on Sunday and Monday.
The biggest crunch will likely be Sunday afternoon, when the Rangers game is preceded by the Cowboys-Rams game. The game will be played across the street from the ballpark, at Cowboys Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:15 p.m., and some Cowboys fans will seek to park in Rangers lots.
"It's tight, and it's more traffic than there would be on a normal day, but it's not going to be horrible," Arlington police spokeswoman Tiara Richard said. "The biggest challenge is sharing parking spaces."
Roughly 80,000 people could attend the football game and, later that day, a crowd of nearly 50,000 is expected to pack Rangers Ballpark. It will be at least the sixth time since Cowboys Stadium opened in 2009 that the stadium and the ballpark have hosted simultaneous or near-simultaneous events, officials said.
Get there early
For those planning to attend either game, officials from the city and both clubs can only suggest arriving as early as possible.
Rangers parking lots open at 2 p.m., and the ballpark opens at 4 p.m., giving fans time to tailgate and/or catch 4:15 p.m. batting practice.
Cowboys ticket holders who have pre-purchased parking in Rangers lots will be allowed to park there, but football fans who wish to pay cash for parking will not have access to Rangers lots.
"Our fans will be loading in between noon and 3 p.m.," Cowboys spokesman Brett Daniels said. "Traffic will be heavier, but we feel like most people will be in place for our game" before the bulk of the Rangers traffic arrives.
Police recommend that baseball fans arrive between 3 and 6 p.m., Richard said.
For police and other traffic officials, the greatest challenge may come Monday, when fans arriving for a prime-time World Series game will mingle with weekday commuters trying to get into or out of Arlington after work.
"It's easier to do two events on a Sunday than to put on a major event Monday night," said Michael Morris, transportation director for the North Central Texas Council of Governments. "On Sunday, you don't have the background traffic of the workweek."
Morris agreed that the construction of the Texas 360/Division Street interchange continues to burden other access points to the Arlington entertainment district, including Collins Street and Six Flags Drive. The $56 million makeover includes construction of new road and railroad bridges over Texas 360, as well as improved freeway ramps and frontage roads.
Juggling crowds at simultaneous events has become old hat in Arlington.
This month, the Rangers played a playoff game while a Taylor Swift concert was held at Cowboys Stadium. A year ago, the Rangers had a game while Texas A&M played Arkansas at the football stadium.
Plenty of parking is available at entrepreneurial lots within walking distance of both venues. Police recommend parking at a lot licensed by the city -- just look for a bright-green circular sign with the letter P.
"You'll have a much better chance that your car will be there when you get back," Richard said.
Gordon Dickson, 817-390-7796