John Davis' Bluebonnet Hills neighborhood has for many years been a popular place for Texas Christian University football fans to park -- even back when Horned Frogs weren't that good -- because it's an easy walk to Amon Carter Stadium."Now, with the larger stadium, I don't know what to expect," said Davis, president of the Bluebonnet Hills Neighborhood Association, which includes an area just south of campus. "I'll have to put signs in my yard telling people not to block the driveway. All this area will be filled with cars, up and down the street."After a $164 million stadium renovation, and TCU's new membership in the Big 12 conference, the atmosphere on game days in west Fort Worth promises to be more electric than ever.On Saturday, thousands of people are expected to swarm the retail and residential streets surrounding Amon Carter Stadium, beginning at least three hours before the scheduled 6 p.m. kickoff against Grambling State.But as the exciting new era begins, some who live and work around the TCU campus are worried that traffic and parking will become a much bigger hassle than in the past.Challenges expectedGetting to the area itself will be more difficult, especially with road work still taking place on West Berry Street near University Drive. Two lanes of West Berry are open in each direction at University, but the lanes are narrow.But the general feeling is parking will be an even greater challenge for people wishing to attend the games.Many other fans of visiting teams -- especially some of the Big 12 opponents known for their large traveling corps -- may be drawn to the scene simply for tailgating and revelry.But city and TCU officials say they've met regularly during the past several months to map out a sound traffic and parking plan, and they expect no major problems."We're trying to provide our fans enough information to make sure it's not a challenge for them," said Scott Kull, TCU associate athletics director for external operations. "Our first obligation is to try to make this the best fan experience of our ticket holders and our visiting team fans who have tickets.""We don't want our neighbors to be inconvenienced," he added. "We've communicated out to our neighborhoods. We'll work with the city to make sure we have parking signs up on streets and things like that."One major change is that police plan to clamp down on campus access during games. There are 3,800 parking spots adjacent to the stadium, but they're reserved for donors, Kull said. Even students who normally park near the stadium are being directed to move their vehicles out of the area by Friday night, or risk getting towed."We are basically going to have a perimeter around campus and you can't get inside that perimeter unless you have a donor parking pass," Kull said.Other ticket holders will be encouraged to park at one of three lots with shuttles to the stadium, including Paschal High School, where motorists will be charged $10. Parking will be free at Travis Avenue Baptist Church and McKinney Church.A cab stand will be available on Bellaire Drive North for those who want to hail a taxi.Extra buses will runFor those staying at downtown hotels, the Fort Worth Transportation Authority is calling in extra buses, to ensure that Route 7 to TCU runs every 15 minutes, T President Dick Ruddell said. Route 7 departs from the Intermodal Transportation Center, 1001 Jones St. -- and people staying in hotels can get there by riding Molly the Trolley.North Texas residents may also wish to catch a bus from downtown, where meter parking is free on weekends.Bus fare is $1.50 a ride, with discounts for children, seniors and people with disabilities.Closer to campus, many other churches, schools and shops in the area also are expected to sell parking spots.Among them is the Alice Carlson Applied Learning Center, where parking spots are sold for $300 per season pass.This year, the school decided not to sell single-game spots, said Mike Coffey, the father of a third-grader at the school. Coffey chairs a parking committee.Money from the parking business is helping to pay for a science lab assistant, tutoring and other school programs, he said."We're not buying ice cream cones for the kids," he said.Gordon Dickson, 817-390-7796Twitter: @gdickson
An 8-page section detailing the new features of the renovated Amon G. Carter Stadium.
Amon G. Carter dedication ceremony
1 p.m. on Thursday on the west side of stadium. The public is welcome to tour the stadium afterward from 1:30 to 3 p.m.