Committee formed to manage new arena's traffic problems
By November, Louisville's Arena Authority hopes to have a plan in place to manage the traffic and pedestrians arena events will attract.
The goal is to have a year to educate the public about how to get to and from the arena with the fewest possible problems.
Some will say this traffic study is long overdue.
But an engineering firm hired by the Arena Authority believes it has a good head start on developing a traffic plan that works.
The Arena's perch between the Ohio River and Main Street provides a dramatic addition to Louisville's skyline. But some skeptics have long warned the location surrounded by busy city streets and a bridge will spur traffic tie-ups worse than those on the fairground's famed "Ring Road".
"Informing and getting the information out to the public is always the key," said Paula Yancey, PC sports.
The traffic advisory committee is made up of 15 different agencies and organizations. Information it saw Thursday indicates there are plenty of parking garages and parking lots in easy walking distance to handle arena crowds.
"Everybody wants to come off of that ramp off the expressway and go down Third Street. I worry about that backing up on the expressway," said Doug Sweeney, LMPD.
The I-64 ramp at Third Street is one problem area the committee will address. It is not only a natural route to the arena, the expected heavy traffic will hit slowdowns as people try to enter the parking garage under the arena, and another across the street the Galt House intends to build.
Lots of people will park to the east and walk down Washington Street to arena events. This will be an especially busy pedestrian area when shops and restaurants open. The problem is all those pedestrians will conflict with motorists on Second Street.
The traffic committee will look into closing Second St. between Main and River Road during arena events or closing it permanently.
"We don't want to wait until the day this opens and say "what do we do?" We're looking at how we need to plan for this," said Rick Storm, Metro Public Works.
Some public meetings are planned during this study to collect suggestions from citizens.
The Traffic Advisory Committee will be working between now and October and produce a completed plan by November 1st.