Now that officials have broken ground on the BJCC’s new downtown Birmingham stadium, they're working on plans to accommodate thousands of drivers.
Around 7,500 parking spots are on the site right now, but it’s still unclear how many will remain when the stadium is built.
BJCC Executive Director Tad Snider says they’re preparing to issue a request for proposal, RFP, to hire a company to create a parking plan throughout the central business district downtown.
“There’s a lot of available parking inventory there that we can shuttle people in and out of,” said Snider. “So, it will be a combination of some remote parking with shuttles and some additional onsite parking. But, we’re bringing in the best and brightest to piece that puzzle together. There’s no question parking is part of the puzzle.”
Jason Vice goes to the BJCC often with his family, and knows close parking is a hot commodity.
“There’s a lot of walking involved,” he explained. “So, when we go to some of the Disney events, like Disney on Ice at the BJCC, we all have to park a good distance away and then walk down to the facility. That’s a challenge sometimes when you have young children with you.”
A new downtown stadium will attract even bigger crowds and more cars.
Jefferson County Commission President Jimmie Stephens is on the BJCC board. He explains BJCC is working on an urban traffic and offsite parking plan.
Stephens expects some onsite parking to remain and shuttles to connect the BJCC to offsite parking.
“There are many offsite locations available,” he said. “Many are around UAB. I would say Legion Field would be a possibility, which has wonderful parking around the stadium there.”
Stephens says the BJCC wants to partner with existing parking structures for its plan.
“It encompasses more of downtown Birmingham and opens up the entire downtown area to that type of experience and exposes our visitors to more of the Birmingham area,” said Stephens.
“UAB’s doing something very similar to that now with games at Legion Field,” added Vice. “So they have parking at the campus and they shuttle people over. So far, that’s worked pretty good. The challenge is getting back to your car when you need to.”
The new stadium is expected to open in 2021.
“I am encouraged that we do have provisions for a plan and the plan is going to be replicated from those used in other municipalities where it worked marvelously and we expect it to do so here,” said Stephens.