If KC gets a downtown stadium, where will everyone park? Royals say it’s not an issue

If the Royals build a downtown stadium, where will everyone park? Given Kansas City’s affinity for driving, it’s a question the team was quick to address when it announced plans for a ballpark in the East Crossroads District last week.

But their answers did not seem to satisfy those criticizing the proposal, and at the news conference and online, questions came flooding in.

Will they need to build new parking garages? How far will visitors have to walk? Will traffic become congested downtown?

Here’s what Populous, the design firm behind the proposed new stadium, and the Royals have said so far.

Will new parking garages be necessary?

According to Earl Santee, CEO of Populous, there are more existing parking spaces available downtown than are currently at Kauffman Stadium.

The team would not need to build new parking spaces, he said, since there are 40,000 parking spaces in the “greater downtown area”, compared to 26,000 in the lot at the K. According to Santee’s estimates, those 40,000 spots would be within about a 20-minute walk of the new stadium.

The existing parking spaces, he said, are a combination of public street parking, parking garages and other parking structures within a half-mile radius of the proposed site.

Event parking in a city garage costs about the same as parking at Kauffman.

A map created by Populous showing data on existing parking spots for a proposed new Royals stadium in downtown Kansas City.
A map created by Populous showing data on existing parking spots for a proposed new Royals stadium in downtown Kansas City.

Will walking from my car to my seat take longer than at Kauffman?

There are 4,100 spaces of surface parking, 3,700 spaces of structured parking and 1,200 spaces of on-street parking, totaling 9,000 spots within a 10-minute walk of the proposed stadium site.

More spots are available in a wider radius that would mean a 15- or 20-minute walk to the stadium, according to Santee.

“The beauty is at the Crossroads site we can park all 9,000 people here that we need to park,” Santee said. “We’re not building new parking for this 9,000. And all within a 10-minute walk out of the ballpark.”

The proposed stadium would be able to seat 35,000 fans.

What about traffic?

Santee said that out of the 14 or 15 sites initially considered for a new ballpark, this one has the highest number of already existing access points, which he said would help with congestion.

The site would not require alterations to the existing highways, team officials said, and there are 22 potential ways for fans to get to the ballpark, including public transit options like the streetcar that will run a couple blocks away.

Taking into consideration nearby freeway loop exits and the existing layout of roads in the Crossroads district, Santee said the proposed site for a new Royals stadium is the most accessible he’s seen for a professional baseball stadium.

“If I had to compare it to other sites I’ve seen, this is by far the most accessible site we have in Major League Baseball,” he said.

Early voting begins for tax that would support new stadium

In April, Jackson County voters will decide on a 40-year sales tax to help pay for the new stadium and renovations to Arrowhead stadium for the Chiefs. Early voting began Feb. 16 for overseas military members, and absentee voting began Tuesday.

Several key aspects of the stadium proposal remain unknown, but the Royals insist parking is not one of them.

The Star’s Mike Hendricks contributed reporting.