49ers stadium plan stirs up controversy over parking


It set off arguments among a number of different groups. Some people are wondering where those parking spots will come from. Locals worry the team will pave over a soccer spot, or destroy butterfly or bird habitats or an ancient Ohlone Indian burial ground.

The city estimates Levi's Stadium needs 21,000 parking spaces. So far, the 49ers have 16,000 right now. They need 5,000 more and what better place than right next door to the Santa Clara youth soccer facility.

It's not just the parking issue. The city feels the influx of crowds on game days and also any other time the stadium is being used, whether its concerts or other sporting events. It makes it really inconvenient and crowded for people using the soccer fields.

At a recent study session, the Santa Clara City Council discussed relocation.

One of the options is the Ulistac Natural Area just down the street.

Opponents say the fields would back up almost all the way to the levee and all that will be left will be the wetlands and the area immediately around and south of the bird and butterfly habitat garden.

They also say a Native American burial site is within the Lick Mill Park area adjacent to Ulistac Natural Area. The city says it is really early in the process and no decision has been made on if and where the fields would be relocated.

"This is just a discussion that the council had that had a lot of options to look at and we have not picked one and we won't until the council hears a lot of input from the public," city of Santa Clara spokesperson Dan Beerman said.

Another option for relocation is a nearby BMX race track and Montague school and park.

A likely short term solution is the city owned golf course across the street.

It could accommodate 6,000 cars. A potential Santana Row like development is in the works for that land, but that could take years. Supporters of Ulistac Natural Area are encouraging people to call and email city council members.

The council has yet to put this issue on any future meeting agendas.

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