MESA, AZ — With up to 16,000 fans filling Sloan Park each Cubs Spring Training game, Mesa staffs a traffic engineer inside the ballpark to oversee operations and keep cars moving.
"If there are any changes that need to be made on the fly because something is different on a certain day then we can do that," Sabine Ellis told ABC15.
Ellis works alongside police in the ballpark's unified command center above home plate. She monitors cameras at intersections around the ballpark and helps direct a team of more than 20 people. Throughout every game, she's in communication with Mesa's traffic management center, where workers can adjust signals to accommodate the influx of cars and reduce backup. If need be, Ellis can also direct workers to open up additional lanes or access points.
"When everybody comes in fast, there's no complaints, nobody gets hurt...that makes me happy," she said.
After five seasons testing various traffic, parking and signage plans, Ellis said there is a working model engineers use each game. The plan outlines exactly where barricades and signs should be placed around the ballpark to help direct drivers.
Then, as the third inning begins, Ellis and her team begin adjusting signs and barricades for exiting traffic.
The ultimate goal? That "people can get out faster."