Traffic problems at Lansdowne nothing new, Mayor says

The RedBlacks home opener is proving to be more than just a party for sports fans. It's also a chance for city councillors to celebrate the end of seven years of bickering, debating, planning and building.

Mayor Jim Watson says he's feeling a sense of pride from the people he's speaking to within the city.

"People are going to go in and, for the first time, because it's been behind hoarding, see this massive amount of green space, 800 trees, an apple orchard, skateboard park, and they're going to come across very impressed and, you know, I think bursting with pride," said Watson.

"Whether you like football or not this is a revitalization that created a lot of jobs, creates a lot of excitement and a lot of pride in our city," he said.

Watson has said he is planning on being among the 24,000 people taking in tonight's home opener, watching from what he called "cheap seats with a great view."

Speaking to Rick Gibbons on Madely in the Morning, Watson said he understands the obvious concern some people have about potential traffic mayhem surrounding the first game.

"But, guess what. There were traffic and parking problems well before this new facility came on board. And, you'll remember, there were probably closer to 30,000 seats in the old stadium, we're down to 24,000. And, you remember games gone by, there was never any shuttle service or any kind of coordination with OC Transpo. It was just a bit of a free for all," said Watson.

He said the amount of planning that has gone into the transportation strategy for Lansdowne Park for RedBlacks games surpasses expectations and is comparable to other world-class downtown stadiums across North America.

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