ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) — The Bills say there won’t be a major parking problem here tomorrow and they don’t expect one this season. The organization says it’s shifted stadium parking from seasons past which may bring your tailgate to a new spot.
Saturday marks the first preseason game of the year for the Bills and the first major test of the new parking system. With the new stadium construction underway, there will be some changes for the year, including the removal of the RV lot. The bus and limo lot will move next to Lot 7 off Southwestern Blvd. and gameday employee parking will be moved to Erie Community College.
“Our plan is to prepare as if we are going to have 70,000 fans here this Saturday and every game throughout the season,” Andy Major, Vice President of Operations & Guest Experience for the Bills, said. “Every game we are going to take a look at the operation, the traffic flow, any accidents that may have caused issues for us. We’re not afraid to make changes on the fly if we need to.”
The Bills say there will be the same number of car parking spaces as seasons past. For the preseason game Saturday, Lot 3 will be closed, but all other Bills lots will be open starting at 9 a.m. The Erie County Sheriff’s Office says road closures will be the same as last season. The preseason game will be a test run, but traffic could be backed up because of the game and Erie County Fair.
“Tomorrow too is a little more complicated probably by some fair traffic, but we’ll manage and we are looking forward to it,” Undersheriff Bill Cooley said.
“In the past we’ve had a lot more difficulty and the fairgrounds as well with traffic and staffing that maybe share both events, so the 1 o’clock game will actually help us,” Major said.
Some businesses near the stadium say they’re selling season parking passes fast. That includes for RVs. Danny’s South is first-come-first-serve, but still, their phone has been ringing off the hook.
“In the last month, I probably got a thousand calls so far. It’s insane. People are worried about where they are going to go and I think the traffic is going to be heavy and I think that’s what people are worried about. I feel the traffic is going to be insane this year,” Mark Ebeling, owner of Danny’s South, said.
If you are worried, the best advice is to get to the stadium early to find the best spot for your tailgate.
“Give yourself some extra time and spend some time trying to figure out these traffic patterns that we are talking about right now,” Cooley said.
The Bills expect that area of Orchard Park to be bustling Saturday afternoon. If you aren’t heading out for the game, you can watch it News 4. Buffalo Kickoff Live starts at 12:30 p.m. and kick off is scheduled for 1p.m.
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Tara Lynch is a Buffalo native and Emmy-nominated reporter who joined the News 4 team in 2022. She previously worked at WETM in Elmira, N.Y., a sister station of News 4. You can follow Tara on Facebook and Twitter and find more of her work here.