Heading to a Marlins game? Here are your best options

If you build it, they will come. But they will need an easy way to get there and a place to park.

And that's not the case for many Marlins fans ready to trek from Broward or Palm Beach counties to the new ballpark in Miami's Little Havana.

With limited parking – the 37,000-seat stadium has fewer than 6,000 on-site spots and those are reserved -- mass transit may appear to be the better option. That'll work for afternoon games, but not for night games because Tri-Rail's last train leaves its southernmost station in Hialeah at 9:40 p.m.

"You can get there, but you're not going to be able to get back if the game is at night," said Tri-Rail spokeswoman Bonnie Arnold. Tri-Rail pitched the idea of running extra trains for $225,000 a year but the Marlins never responded to the offer, she said.

Those who can use Tri-Rail will take it to Metrorail, then switch and continue to Metrorail's Civic Center Station near Jackson Memorial Hospital. From there, they'll ride a new trolley to the ballpark every day but Sunday.

The Civic Center Station is the only one where Tri-Rail/Metrorail passengers can connect to the trolley service, said Albert Sosa, the city's director overlooking the new trolley system.

Since such coordination can be a hassle, most fans will end up driving on Interstate 95. That means they need to leave early and then hunt for a place to park. One option: do what fans did when the Orange Bowl hosted the Dolphins and Hurricanes – look for area residents who sell space on their lawns.

Fans also could skip taking Tri-Rail and drive and park at one of Metrorail's stations, take Metrorail to the Civic Center Station, then catch the the trolley. To find where the stations are and which have parking, go to http://www.miamidade.gov/transit.

By April 1, Miami-Dade Transit hopes to have a shuttle service running from Metrorail's Culmer Station in Overtown to the ballpark about a mile away, said spokeswoman Karla Damian. The shuttles would run every four minutes about 1.5 hours before the game, and about every three minutes about one hour after the game. The trip between takes about 10 minutes.

The Miami Trolley Service, operating since March 1, runs approximately every 15 minutes from 6:30 a.m. to 11 pm, Monday through Saturday. Sosa said his office is currently working on expansion plans it hopes to put in place before Opening Day.

That includes running the trolley on game day Sundays, two hours before the game and two hours after the last pitch. Future plans call for running an extra car on game days and establishing a "Marlins Express" route that will bypass most of the regular stops heading to the stadium.

"It's a learning process for us right now," said Sosa.

Miami Parking Authority officials have said they plan to monitor how many of the restricted parking spots go unused and may open them to single-game ticketholders.

Ken Silberling of West Boca Raton said getting to the stadium and finding parking wasn't hard Tuesday. But parking restrictions in the on-site garages didn't go into effect until Wednesday.

"I'm a huge fan and hope that the parking is not the downfall for what is an amazing facility," he said.

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