Football stadium sparks rage as Hungarians complain about lack of parking

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Budapest’s new Puskás Ferenc stadium can host nearly 68,000 people but only has 500 parking spaces, sparking a public debate from frustrated Hungarians.

Puskás Ferenc, built at an estimated cost of 144 billion forints (€431 million), will host the inaugural Hungary-Uruguay friendly game on Friday, but many Hungarians are complaining it will be a nightmare to attend with the lack of parking.

In response to complaints, public transport specialist Dávid Vitézy, the first director of the Budapest Public Transport Center between 2010 and 2014 and currently acting director of the Transport Museum, said urban stadiums should rely on public transport.

Vitézy wrote a lengthy post on his Facebook page both defending and praising the planners’ decision to limit parking spots.

“This is both correct and exemplary. A venue with such a capacity simply cannot be served by (individual) road transport. If tens of thousands of spectators were to go there by car, all arteries leading to it would be congested,” Vitézy wrote.

He says the stadium is available via various public transportation options, including subways, tram and bus stations, which are all within walking distance.

He said that should if the stadium had a parking lot for several thousand vehicles, it would be impossible to channel traffic at the end of an event.

“Large European football arenas also rely on public transport to reach the venue and they don’t even create the illusion that they have enough parking spaces for those arriving by car,” Vitézy wrote. “The number of parking spaces is in itself an influence on how people plan to get there and to the sustainability of the institution. This should be the norm for the future.”

The Puskás Ferenc stadium was built on the site of the former People’s Stadium completed in 1953. It is named after Ferenc Puskás (1927-2006), the country’s greatest football player ever. The international football association, FIFA, established the Puskás Award for the year’s most beautiful goal in his honor in 2009.

Title image: Budapest’s expanded Puskás stadium (source: Facebook)

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