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Huge Festival Crowds Prompt Parking Changes

Brian Miller

Photo: Video by nbc26.com

Huge Festival Crowds Prompt Parking Changes

CREATED Aug. 17, 2013

GREEN BAY-- Sailing fans from across Northeast Wisconsin are pouring into downtown Green Bay for the Tall Ship Festival. About 60,000 people are here to see the 9 ships that serve as floating history museums. Crowds that large are causing some traffic problems near the festival site.

This festival was last in Green Bay back in 2010.

“When you are having 60,000 people coming into an area that is this confined you are always going to have some issues with parking,” said Cpt. Bill Galvin of the Green Bay police department.

Police are working to keep the crowds moving along on Main Street.  During the festival in 2010, the Main Street Bridge was closed. Closing the bridge created additional traffic issues. So this year the road was open to traffic. The change created some new congestion issues with the handicapped parking lot.

"So I guess you solve one problem you create another one, but so far its working good with having people shuttled here to the park,” said Terry Charles of PMI Entertainment.

Organizers solved the issue by re-locating the ADA lot less than 2 miles away, to West High School. A free shuttle bus takes people back and forth from the festival grounds to their parking lot.

"Just trying to find a place to park would have been kind of a nightmare with two kids and my parents who are elderly so couldn't ask for nothing better than dropping off at Green Bay West High School,” said Bill Gatz Jr.

Meanwhile, crowd control is something these officers are trained to do. Organizers say they are running things as smoothly as possible considering the large amount of people gathering in one confined space.

The festival wraps up Sunday and festival organizers will have the shuttle from West High School for handicapped parkers running through 5:30 p.m.  

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