ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — It won't be an issue until the fall of 2023 but eventually, measures may have to be taken to address parking for fans headed to Highmark Stadium as a new home for the Buffalo Bills is constructed nearby.
During what is planned to be the final three seasons of football Highmark, the new stadium will be rising somewhere to the west of the current across Abbott Road.
However, because we don't know the precise location or footprint of the new stadium, it is difficult to say how much this will squeeze parking at the current stadium during the construction phase.
"You would also have staging areas that take a tremendous amount of space as well where materials are brought in where the equipment is placed," noted Marc Ganis, Founder, and President of Sportscorp, a sports consulting firm. "Things like that take up a tremendous amount of space."
It certainly will not be the first time construction of a new stadium will occur in close proximity to an existing one still in use, but in every city and every situation, things have been different.
"I think Met Life stadium (new Jersey) would be a good example where they were playing in the old Giants Stadium while they were building Met Life," said Ganis.
In that case, however, there was a train station on-site allowing fans to avail themselves of mass transit instead of taking their cars.
Regarding what the Bills and Erie County will do to G`anis could only take an educated guess.
"They may have to see what additional land they might have which would be viable for temporary parking for a number of years until you recapture the parking on the existing stadium footprint."
There are some likely candidates, such as the largely empty parking lots at the McKinley Mall less than a mile away, and lots at the County Fairgrounds which are only two miles from the stadium.
These are potential locations where fans could park and take shuttle busses to the stadium.
According to a county spokesman, potential parking issues during construction weren't addressed during the negotiations for a new stadium. He also noted that whatever impact there might be on the fan experience won't be felt for another year and a half from now...giving all parties plenty of time to figure it out.
Read the full signed agreement obtained by 2 On Your Side below: