Citizens and Residents Probe Parking, Traffic Issues Surrounding New Baylor Stadium

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WACO (December 11, 2012)- For Baylor football, the 2014 season couldn't get here sooner. The opening of their brand new stadium has thousands of fans and students filled with excitement.

But as "The House that RG3 Built" takes shape, residents and business owners near the stadium have questions surrounding it.

A public meeting was held Tuesday night in the Waco Convention Center addressing how the stadium would handle parking and traffic near I-35.

Parsons and Brinckerhoff, the company consulting with Baylor on parking, presented to citizens how the matter is taking shape.

A recent study done by the company shows Baylor is tackling the issue on how to provide parking for nearly 12,000 vehicles on game-day.

Parsons and Brinckerhoff said 2,500 vehicles would be taken care of via pre-sold parking spaces at the new stadium, 6,000 to 7,000 pre-sold spots would be provided for on campus, and around 3,000 spots would come from downtown Waco parking.

The company went on to say that shuttles would be available in most areas, and that water shuttles could be available in the future. They lauded downtown parking saying it would provide large economic growth.

Many business owners left the meeting pleased.

"This stadium will open up opportunities for us like using some of our buildings to have tailgate events and create more business," Director of Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum Byron Johnson said.

Some also raised concerns about how the stadium would handle nearby construction on I-35. More specifically, the extension of Martin Luther King Dr. and the widening of I-35's frontage road near the stadium.

TxDOT says construction should be done before Baylor's 2014 season. Parsons and Brinckerhoff are planning around those assumptions.

Yet, residents who live near the stadium had other concerns. Many were afraid game-day parking would overflow into their neighborhoods.

"Suppose I have an emergency and I'm all blocked in," Jeanette Bell said.

"Or what if I have family coming over and they can't get in either. It's hard to think about."

Parsons and Brinckerhoff advised residents to speak collectively with the City of Waco to prevent game-day parking in their neighborhood.

Ultimately, no plans have been set in stone just yet. Parsons and Brinckerhoff say public meetings like this allow them to gauge the next steps in planning while accommodating citizens at the same time.