Fans headed to the Rose Bowl game were being advised today to take two items: a bus and a raincoat.
Most of the Brookside Golf Course, which is turned into a giant 14,000-car parking lot on game day, will be off limits to cars because the ground will be too soggy from this week's rain, Rose Bowl officials said. An estimated 8 inches of rain fell on the golf course grounds, which are adjacent to the stadium, this week.
"Some areas of the golf course are still under water," said Darryl Dunn, general manager of Rose Bowl Operating Co., which oversees the stadium and golf course. "We don't want people to get stuck. We don't want people walking through water, and we don't want to do severe damage to our course."
Fans who cannot find parking will be directed to nearby streets to find space. But faced with a near sellout for the 90,000-seat stadium, Rose Bowl officials pleaded with fans to consider alternatives to driving to the game, when up to 20,000 vehicles will be expected to descend on the Arroyo Seco.
Rose Bowl officials encouraged fans to carpool, walk and take public transportation, especially the Metro Gold Line train. A park-and-ride shuttle system from Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles will also be set up transport 2,500 people.
"The need for people to take alternate modes of transportation is very important," Dunn said.
The grounds around the Rose Bowl will only grow more saturated as forecasters expect another storm to sweep through the Los Angeles area tonight and drop up to 2 inches of rain overnight and Friday.
On New Year's Eve, the thousands of people who camp out on Colorado Boulevard in advance of the Rose Parade will likely face cold and soggy conditions, with the National Weather Service forecasting showers and temperatures dropping into the low 40s.
There should be a break between storms on New Year's Day in time for the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl game between the University of Michigan and the University of Texas. But the weather service said showers are possible on game day in advance of another storm Sunday.
"An umbrella may be prudent," the weather service said in a statement — although umbrellas are not allowed in the Rose Bowl.
This week's stormy weather has already disrupted Rose Parade activities. A Rose Parade festival at the Rose Bowl was canceled for two days, and pre-parade marching band performances were moved indoors at Pasadena City College today.
It has not rained on the Rose Parade since 1954. But the parade will step out onto Colorado Boulevard rain or shine, officials said.
The inclement weather has also been blamed for a slight drop in sales reported by some businesses in Pasadena. The rain might have had a bigger impact on locals because out-of-town visitors have jammed into the area, driving the hotel occupancy rate to 98% this weekend, according to the Pasadena Visitors and Convention Bureau.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority said they will run 22 rail cars on the Gold Line on Saturday to handle the heavy traffic of football and parade fans. An estimated 40,000 people — or more than four times the daily average — rode the trains last year on New Year's Day, said MTA spokesman Bruce Shelburne.
"We are going to try to give them all the help that we can give them," Shelburne said. "We will run everything that is available."
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Gold Line Train Service: Fans riding the Metro Gold Line should get off at the Memorial Park station. Then they should walk about two blocks west to the Parsons Engineering complex at Walnut and Fair Oaks. From there, they will be able to take a free shuttle to the Rose Bowl.
MTA officials also said passengers can park their cars at Union Station and take the Gold Line to Pasadena. The entrance to the 2,000-car garage at Union Station is located off Vignes Street.
Gold Line information is available by calling 1-800-266-6883 or visiting www.mta.net.
Staples Center Park-and-Ride Shuttle: Fans can park at the Staples Center lots in downtown Los Angeles and take chartered buses to the Rose Bowl for a fee of $10. The parking lot will open at 8:00 a.m. and bus service to the Rose Bowl will start at 9:00 a.m. (fans should plan to arrive early). Buses will begin returning immediately after the game.
The shuttle service can transport a total of 2,500 people, according to Rose Bowl officials.
Times staff writers Cara Mia DiMassa and David Pierson contributed to this story.