Streetsblog’s Annual MLB Opening Day Preview! Citi Field Edition

Mr. Met used to know the best way around town.
Mr. Met used to know the best way around town.

The New York Mets, the best expansion team in the history of baseball, start their 60th season at home on Friday against the absolutely dreadful Arizona Diamondbacks. Also dreadful? The amount of legally defined parkland that’s given over to parking lots outside Citi Field. But at least the Mets show plenty of love for their nearby mass transit options.

The “Getting to Citi Field” page emphasizes that mass transit is “the faster, easier, and greener way to Citi Field,” and deems the 7 train “the best way” to get to a Mets game, and it really is a breeze, especially if you catch an express train.

You can bike to Citi Field, something Mets fans have often done, even though the routes to get to the friendly confines are, like the Mets bullpen, not a 100-percent great time. Coming from the east, you can meander on a winding ride through the Central Queens Greenway, connected by Alley Pond, Cunningham, Kissena and finally Flushing Meadows Corona parks. If you come from the west, on the one hand, you have the chance to bike through the entirety of the 34th Avenue open street, the gold standard for car-free spaces in the city. Once you reach Junction Boulevard though, things change.

First you’ve got 19 blocks of a painted bike lane all the way to 114th Street, mostly fine for anyone who isn’t a rookie cyclist. But after that, you have to cross two sections of the Grand Central Parkway, without the help of even a YIELD TO PEDESTRIANS sign or anything. Why the city considers this a civilized way to direct cyclists and pedestrians is completely unknown, but at the very least, Mets President Sandy Alderson (perhaps aware of the bike lobbying campaign after Steve Cohen bought the team) said that the Amazin’s must do a better job advocating for better bike connections to the home ballpark.

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“Willets Point and Citi Field are difficult to get to walking or by bicycle,” he said at a press conference with MTA officials on Thursday, under questioning by Streetsblog. “We have to do a better job of providing the kind of direction and information that will allow people to use their bikes to get to the field. So it’s not something that we’re super good at at the moment, but we’ll continue working at it.”

Roosevelt Avenue also feeds into Citi Field, but is possibly the worst choice you can make on the way to the stadium, given the city’s proclivity to give every inch of streets under subway tracks over to auto traffic. Pete Alonso may have been saved by his car when a guy T-boned him in Florida during spring training, but a cyclist on Roosevelt wouldn’t be so lucky.

One reason Streetsblog has to give bike directions to the game is because the Mets’ website just doesn’t mention biking to the game at all. The website does give detailed descriptions for how to drive to Citi Field from as far away as Connecticut, but for the time being you’re on your own on two wheels. Here’s what the Mets’ website looks like:

The Mets website "transportation" page — before Sandy Alderson tinkers with it.
The Mets website “transportation” page — before Sandy Alderson tinkers with it.

Alderson committed at Thursday’s press conference to putting bike directions to Citi Field on the Mets website, something that both fans of the team and noted bicycling fan Mr. Met should wind up making use of.

On the plus side, the Mets destroy their crosstown rivals by at offering plenty of bike racks around the stadium:

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There’s a pair of bike racks on both the first base and third base sides of the front entrance to the stadium, another pair near the right field entrance around the back of the stadium and a whopping five bike racks near the left field gate and the entrance named for noted bike booster/first Mets manager Casey Stengel.

In a weird twist, considering the names of both things, you still can’t ride a Citi Bike to Citi Field. And that won’t change for some time, but Phase 3 of the system expansion does have bike share reaching the edge of Flushing Meadows sometime in 2023, so as Mets fans are all-to-accustomed to saying every October, “Wait ’til next year.”

Mets home opener is Friday at 1:10 p.m. against the Arizona Diamondback at Citi Field (41 Seaver Way, Flushing).