Rays stadium would bring logistical challenges for fans

The Tampa Bay Rays took their first step to building a new stadium in Ybor City with Tuesday’s announcement, but many questions remain. One of the most pressing issues is logistically getting fans to the stadium. 

According to team officials, 1.6 million people live within 30 minutes of the proposed site.  

Taking them out to the ballpark, the team acknowledges, will require an expanded Ybor streetcar, beefed up water taxis, a longer Riverwalk, a rail line from the east, and drop-off places for Uber and Lyft.

"The days of a ballpark where everybody drives their car to the ballpark, that's kind of five years ago," one team official noted.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn says city taxpayers should not pay for the 30,000-seat ballpark itself, but has indicated they may be willing to help with infrastructure.

"We also have to recognize, that if it doesn't pencil out, and if it doesn't help with the good of the community, we need to be prepared to walk away."

Once a proposed garage is built, they expect to have about 4,400 spaces close by, and 10,000 within 10 minutes. But there will be no giant lots like the current stadium in St. Petersburg, which has 7,000 spaces.

"There are tons of spaces within a 10-minute walk of the ballpark, we are fine with that," said owner Stu Sternberg. "That's not going to be an issue, plus, there are so many other means of transportation."