Growing up in South Buffalo during the peak of the Buffalo Bills Super Bowl years I know first hand just how bad the traffic is for miles around an NFL stadium when games are selling out. From Southwestern to Abbott road the drive around the south-towns on a Sunday afternoon could be murder.
But in recent years the Buffalo Bills have become mired in a football malaise and their attendance has suffered. Traffic in the south towns as gotten just a little bit easier to live with. Last season the the Bills have struggled to sell 74,000 seats to 7 home games and over the last 5 years the Bills rank 19th in NFL home attendance, selling an average of 458,131 tickets to their games in Orchard Park.
The location of the current stadium makes it inconvenient enough to prevent some fans from going to games when the team is bad. The county now has a chance to rectify this.
In order to keep the Bills in Buffalo for more than a handful of years a new stadium will be needed. Wherever you place a new Buffalo Bills Stadium must have a set of roads near by with a higher capacity to get people in and out. If the Bills return to greatness, and we all hope they do, then once again it will take hours to get into and out off Orchard Park.
I'm not generally a fan of the State laying out money for a stadium, especially when the main beneficiary is going to be a private institution like the Bills or Syracuse University.
Governor Andrew Cuomo, who recently said that he things a Bills Stadium should be built entirely with private funds agrees with me, except when it comes to Syracuse. (Cuomo was willing to provide significant state funding for a sports stadium that would be used by Syracuse University.)
I said then that *if* you're going to spend money on a stadium it should, to whatever amount is possible, benefit the State as a whole. Well now there is a chance for a win/win situation, such a rare thing in New York State.
The State University of New York is located very near to Erie County's population center. As such it sits within a few miles of the 990, 290, and 90. That is three interstate highways which go North, South, East, and West. Several miles south of the UB the 90 and Interstate 190 meed which cuts right through the middle of the city. The 290 leads to the other side of 190 and the Peace Bridge over to Canada.
There is no place in Erie or Niagara county better suited to handle the traffic coming to games from Rochester, New York or Southern Ontario. The location across from UB also gives the state a compelling reason, and future use for the facility. Would New York kick in 200-400 million towards the stadium if the University was a secondary tenant?
A good article on Buffalo Rising gave some other reasons to have the stadium near UB's north campus. Not the lease of which is that this might justify having the NFTA finally extend the metro rail to UB Amherst so people could ride the rail to football games from all over the city. Plus students and more people will actually ride it daily and travel easily from Amherst all the way to the UB Main St. campus, the medical corridor, downtown, 1st Niagara/Harbor Center and the Buffalo waterfront.
The wild card here is Tom Gollasino who is putting in an offer for the franchise and has said he will put his own money towards a new stadium "Within 10 minutes of the current stadium". My money says "10 minutes" means around where the Seneca Mall sits, I hope I am wrong on that.
Building another stadium in a part of the county which is less and less a center of civic or economic activity would be a major failure on the part of the greater Buffalo area.