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Traffic flows swift and smooth for concert

Stadium plan works well going in... coming out, not so much

FANS may have been expecting trouble, but hopefully Investors Group Field is never, ever, ever going back to the traffic disaster that was the Bombers' first home game.

With a new game plan for getting crowds into the stadium, traffic and parking were both swift at Saturday's concert at Investors Group Field.

Signs at Pembina Highway and Plaza Drive helped align drivers correctly.

JESSICA BURTNICK / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Signs at Pembina Highway and Plaza Drive helped align drivers correctly. Photo Store

Taylor Swift fans were already arriving in the hundreds around 3:30 p.m., well before the show began at 6:30 p.m.

Some used the city's park-and-ride program, which on Saturday transported people to the stadium in yellow school buses instead of the usual transit buses.

Those driving in with gold parking passes or dropping people off took University Crescent, which had police and parking authorities directing drivers to their places.

Signs on Pembina Highway divided cars into separate lanes, depending on whether they were parking or dropping off passengers. University Crescent had a lane reversal that let through two lanes of non-bus traffic and one lane designated for buses. Those with passes coloured other than gold took Chancellor Matheson Road, which saw a similar volume of traffic to University Crescent.

Randy Clift, an event-day supervisor directing vehicles at the stadium, said the traffic volume coming into the campus was about the same as for the Bombers game, but the cars were moving faster.

"There are growing pains, but it seems to flow a lot better," Clift said.

Cars were moving along south Pembina Highway and University Crescent quickly throughout the afternoon. Northbound Pembina had cars backed up to Thatcher Drive around 6 p.m.

Many people chose to drop off passengers at the stadium.

Marcie Foidart and her children were dropped off by her husband around 5:30 p.m. She said her family decided to use the drop-off after seeing what happened at the Bombers game last week.

"It was ridiculous. We didn't want to be stuck in traffic and try to park, so we just thought this would be easier, and it was super-easy," she said.

"It was really straightforward. They were really good at directing us."

Others decided to try their luck at parking outside the stadium. Businesses around Pembina Highway had signs up selling parking spots ranging in price from $10 to $15.

Cindy, an Impark employee selling parking spots at a lot in Pembina and Plaza Drive at 4:30 p.m., said the number of people parking vehicles was far fewer than during the football game.

"Last time at the (game) it was crazy. I had about 20 people in less than half an hour. Now it's not that bad," she said.

"It's actually OK so far."

Taenelle Erdman parked with her friends at Pembina and Plaza, then took a shuttle bus to the Swift concert. She said she parked away from the stadium to avoid the rush coming back after the show.

"We were probably 10 minutes away from here, so it wasn't too bad," she said.

By the time the concert began, the traffic was mostly gone, with only a few stragglers making their way to the stadium.

However, after the concert, several reports began to surface of traffic jams keeping people from leaving the event.

Some concert-goers tweeted being stuck at the U of M in their cars for over an hour after the show ended.

oliver.sachgau@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 23, 2013 A3

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