SUNNYVALE (KCBS) – With the opening of the San Francisco 49ers’ new stadium in Santa Clara fast approaching, the team is reaching out to surrounding communities, who have expressed concerns about potential impacts.
That includes the city of Sunnyvale, which held a study session on Tuesday night, outlining some worries from residents and city leaders.
49ers Vice President of Stadium Operations & Security Jim Mercurio told the Sunnyvale City Council he understands their concerns.
“When you start to converge 68,000 people onto a new site, there’s going to be traffic and there’s going to be issues, but we’re going to learn to deal with those,” he said.
Mercurio said Levi’s Stadium is 80 percent complete and the team is now working closely with surrounding communities on traffic mitigation. He projects about a quarter of fans will take public transit to the games.
“If we don’t get this right, we recognize that there’s an issue associated not just with the public, but with our customers,” Mercurio said. “So we’re deeply invested in this.”
But it could take more than 20,000 parking spaces to accommodate fans, and it’s not clear how many drivers may try to park in residential neighborhoods on game days.
Sunnyvale resident Lisa Brown told city leaders she’s concerned about traffic along Lawrence Expressway and Tasman Drive, especially given the history of big events at Great America.
“My major concern is that we really readdress that particular light because, I remember the frustrations of being stuck there and not being able to get to work, or get home, because of the fireworks,” Brown said.
The first event scheduled for Levi’s Stadium is a San Jose Earthquakes game next August, with the facility set to be ready for the 2014 NFL season.
(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)