Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Football Fans Fear More Traffic

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Football Fans Fear More Traffic

Article excerpt

On a Sunday morning in June, when only a few hundred vehicles filled any of the spaces at the MetLife Stadium parking lots, getting in and out of the sports complex was a breeze.

But many of the Giants fans who came to participate in or watch the charity 5K run at the facility said that on game days in the fall that's never the case.

"I've been coming here for a long time, and parking is the No. 1 problem," said Chuck Krajcsik, who now lives in Scotch Plains but lived for years in East Rutherford.

"I grew up here, and everyone just knew that on game day traffic is a monster," added Mark Plescia, a former Wood-Ridge resident who now lives about 20 miles across the New York border in Sullivan County.

Prompted by a reporter's questions, some people at the stadium on Sunday for the 5K race, most of them avid football fans, reacted to the dispute that's turned into a lawsuit by the owners of the Giants and Jets against the developers of a multibillion-dollar retail and entertainment complex on the sports complex site.

The teams' owners last week sued to stop construction of the American Dream project, citing a 2006 agreement with the former developer of the site and the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, a state agency that owns the land. The agreement requires "prior written consent" from the Giants and Jets for any modifications that would have "an adverse effect" on football game days.

Triple Five, the new developer, released a traffic study last year asserting that any increase in daily traffic from the new indoor water and amusement parks would be minimal. That conclusion was affirmed by the state Department of Transportation this year.

But some football fans were dubious.

Jeff Lahm of Hawthorne worried that the traffic flow, which he said has improved a little in the past year on game days, would get a lot worse with more people in the area.

"I'd rather see them put in more parking," Lahm said. As for spending time at the American Dream before or after the game, he doubted Giants fans would be interested. "We come to the game for the game."

Lahm acknowledged he doesn't have a family to take to the entertainment complex. …

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