Event Day Operations in regards to towing of illegally parked vehicles
The Orchard Park Police Department has the responsibility to ensure the safety of all citizens and visitors within the borders of the Town of Orchard Park. While we completely understand the frustration of discovering that one's vehicle has been towed while attending an event at Ralph Wilson Stadium we, the police, must look at the totality of the situation.
Anyone who has ever attended an event at Ralph Wilson Stadium has undoubtedly observed the large number of pedestrians walking along all of the roads near the stadium. Ralph Wilson Stadium has only enough parking for approximately 50% of the crowd during a sold out event. The balance have to park in satellite parking lots surrounding the stadium. Satellite parking lots consist of commercial businesses, open fields and private residences. During normal events and when the weather permits, these satellite parking lots handle the balance of the vehicles just fine. That still leaves 50% of the crowd walking along the streets to get to the stadium. On this past Sunday the game was sold out, with approximately 70,000 additional people in the stadium area. That puts 35,000+ people on the streets surrounding the stadium walking to and from these satellite lots. Some of the satellite lots were not parking as many cars if, any at all, due to the weather conditions. This includes private residences which were unable to park as many cars, if any at all, due to the recent snow storm, which left many residences with residual snow banks and soft muddy lawns. Additionally, the traffic flow in the area was slowed due to holiday shopping at the McKinley Mall and the Quaker Crossing Plaza and an early traffic accident on Southwestern Blvd. These traffic and parking problems undoubtedly lead to people finding a parking spot anywhere they could.
When cars are parked on the sides of a roadway it limits the areas where these 35,000+ people can walk. The roadways then become crowded with pedestrian traffic and create a very hazardous situation. It is no secret that distracted driving, (in this case very excited fans, after a very satisfying victory), can increase the number of traffic accidents. Add in these pedestrians that have to walk on the road instead of the shoulder and it's a dangerous mix. Additionally, Taylor Road, where a large number of vehicles were towed from, is a main artery for the police, fire and EMS emergency response vehicles during events at the Ralph Wilson Stadium.
There are 37 No Parking signs on Taylor Road between Southwestern Blvd. (Route 20) and the intersection of Taylor, New Taylor and South Taylor Roads. Anyone who parked there would have to walk by several of these signs on their journey to the Ralph Wilson Stadium.
We want everyone who attends an event at Ralph Wilson Stadium to enjoy a wonderful entertainment experience however we cannot ignore safety concerns, or limit emergency vehicle operations due to illegally parked vehicles.
E. Joseph Wehrfritz
Assistant Chief of Police
September 22, 2014