South LA

‘It’s just out of control’: SoFi Stadium disrupts Inglewood residents

Inglewood residents voice their concerns over the development boom near their homes.

Los Angeles’ new stadium and entertainment complex, SoFi Stadium, was a big addition to the city of Inglewood, but residents have some concerns regarding the change it is bringing to their community.

Residents and activist groups say the stadium has brought increased traffic and noise that disrupts their daily lives.

Adán Gonzalez, 22, was born and raised in Inglewood and has “mixed feelings” about the new stadium and what it means for the city. On one hand Gonzalez says that the stadium does bring a level of excitement to Inglewood and a new atmosphere but on another hand, it is making life for residents much more difficult.

“I’m already feeling more negatives than positives,” Gonzalez said.

In 2016, the construction of SoFi Stadium began and it concluded in 2020. The stadium cost $5 billion, making it the most expensive sports stadium in the world. The venue reportedly seats roughly 70,000 spectators and has the capacity to expand to hold 100,000.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and stay at home orders, SoFi Stadium did not officially welcome fans into its gates until May 2, 2021 with its first large-scale event, “Vax Live: The Concert to Reunite the World.”

After that, events started being held on a more regular basis along with regular scheduled NFL games for its two new home teams, the Los Angeles Rams and Chargers.

The stadium also hosts major concerts, including a recent four-night sold out set of performances by K-pop boy band BTS, where fans crowded the area days in advance.

Fans like Olivia Chang, a senior communication and music double major, said that the event was very “energetic, lively and powerful.”

“Everyone was so excited and stoked to see BTS after such a long wait, and the crowd’s roars and cheers echoed throughout the stadium and throughout the city of Inglewood.”

While fans and attendees have been able to enjoy their experience at the new luxury stadium, local residents are left to deal with the immense crowds and traffic.

Gonzalez says that one of the biggest problems is the traffic that SoFi Stadium brews during events, which impacts the residential area in which the stadium is located.

“The entire traffic situation cannot be emphasized enough, it is horrendous,” he said. “When there’s an event we see the signs on the street that they usually put a day or two beforehand, me and my family just literally avoid going towards that side of the city.”

The few times that Gonzalez does leave his house when there is an event, he experiences major delays.

“It took me close to an hour to go like a mile and a half one time just because I had to pass pretty close to the stadium and there was an event going on,” he said.

An employee of the city of Inglewood, who preferred to remain anonymous, said that the city was not ready for what the construction of the stadium would bring to locals.

“The mayor [of Inglewood] doesn’t care about us,” she said. “The city was not ready for this.”

Just like Gonzalez, this employee said that the traffic caused as a result to the stadium is overwhelming.

“There is no traffic control,” she said. “There’s just so much traffic and it’s really bad.”

On Dec. 1, both SoFi Stadium and The Forum held events on the same night for the first time ever, causing some major gridlock concerns for the area. SoFi Stadium held another BTS concert while The Forum held the AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s “The LA Revival” to acknowledge World AIDS Day.

In addition to these arenas, The Los Angeles Clippers basketball team will be moving from their current arena, The Staples Center, in downtown LA to a brand new arena in Inglewood. The new $1.8 billion venue, the Intuit Dome, will be built right across the street from SoFi Stadium and is set to open in 2024.

“Two events sold out at one time,” said the anonymous employee. “Imagine when they open the Clippers arena, it’s going to be even worse.”

Longtime Inglewood resident Patricia Serna says, aside from traffic, the new construction has displaced local residents, closed businesses and caused more people to be unhoused due to higher rent rates.

“The homeless population there has skyrocketed,” Serna said. “It’s just out of control.”

Additional reporting by Chloe Lewis, Bailey Harrison, and Zachary Gibbs.