Archive for Friday, March 30, 2012

Third level of Lawrence’s parking garage will be closed Saturday night for Final Four downtown security

March 30, 2012


In your strategic planning for a parking space downtown in the event of a major celebration after Kansas University’s Final Four game Saturday, you can eliminate the top level of the New Hampshire Street parking garage.

The city has posted signs saying toady that level — which is the 24-hour free-parking section of the garage — will be closed so city vehicles can be parked there in case they will be needed if thousands of people flood downtown.

“It has been posted in advance to let people know about the plan and to make alternate arrangements,” said Sgt. Trent McKinley, a Lawrence police spokesman.

KU’s game in New Orleans against Ohio State is scheduled to tip off at 7:49 p.m. after the Kentucky-Louisville game.

McKinley said the other levels of the New Hampshire Street garage and the Riverfront Garage north of Seventh and Rhode Island streets likely would be best bets for parking before the game — or at least for anyone lucky enough to get a spot there. Otherwise, he advised against parking in core areas along or close to Massachusetts Street.

City officials are preparing in case of a major celebration and urging people to be safe. An estimated 40,000 people celebrated downtown in 2008 after KU defeated Memphis in the national championship game.

If KU defeats Ohio State today, the city plans to close Massachusetts Street from Sixth Street south to 13th Street, and police said this likely means anyone who parks on Massachusetts Street won’t be able to get out until the streets clear hours later.

Several hundred officers from Lawrence and area departments will be deployed downtown.

McKinley said that if KU loses, the streets likely won’t close because many people probably would head home, but officers would still be deployed to maintain peace.

“We’re down there to make sure that everybody stays safe. Most of the decisions we’ve made have surrounded the safety aspects of things,” McKinley said. “We want people to come down and have fun, but any kind of violence is going to be addressed, and any kind of property damage is going to be addressed.”

The city and police department has also offered these safety tips in case of a major celebration:

• Stay in groups and notify family members of your plans.

• Do not get into vehicles with individuals you do not know.

• Cans and bottles will not be allowed downtown.

• Stay off rooftops.

• Do not bring dogs downtown into crowds because it could pose a safety risk and use caution if you have small children with you.

• Celebrate responsibly and be aware of your surroundings.


Venkman 6 years ago

What parking option do people have who work downtown and will be there most of the day on Saturday? Its unfair to take away such a significant portion of long term parking options. Where are those of us with long term parking needs supposed to park? If we park in the 2 hour lots we either have to go move our cars every 2 hours, which won't be feasible, or get a $3 parking ticket every 3 hours.

I would like someone from the city to address this concern. A nice fix to the problem would be to eliminate all overtime parking tickets for Saturday, 3/31/12. Want to bet the City won't offer that up?

kernal 6 years ago

Most of the downtown businesses that will be open Saturday are shops, restaurants and bars staffed by younger people. Surely they can walk a few blocks to get to work. If they can't, then they have time to make other arrangements.

Venkman 6 years ago

And where do you suggest they walk from? Most people don't live within walking distance from downtown. You obviously have no idea the magnitude of business an event like the Final Four brings to downtown Lawrence.

MarcoPogo 6 years ago

Nobody said people have to walk from home. Simply park on NH, RI, etc. That's only a couple of blocks to hoof it. It also will keep your car out of the way. Do you really want to be parked right next to a downtown shop/restaurant if the powder keg goes off?

kernal 6 years ago

Venkman, this is Lawrence. Every place is walking distance from downtown unless you're not in shape or wearing stilettos.

grimpeur 6 years ago

Why not park in a 10-hour lot? They're only a block away from Mass.

Are you going to be downtown before things get going Sat. afternoon? Where do you usually park? Because if you don't normally park in the (usually more than half-empty) garage, then your best bet is probably parking on Rhode Island or one of the six or eight 10-hour lots.

Frankly, if I were going to or from downtown anywhere near game time, I would find a way to avoid burdening myself with the car (carpool, walk or bike), or, if I absolutely had to drive downtown on Saturday, park as far from Mass as I could.

crimsonlaugh 6 years ago

Wow, maybe you should find a real problem to complain about.

imastinker 6 years ago

really? Don't we own other places to park vehicles at - like the burcham park or at the police station?

irvan moore 6 years ago

is that code for observation post and staging area

gccs14r 6 years ago

Remember that they're bringing in law enforcement from all over the region, and they need a place for the officers to park.

ksjayhawk74 6 years ago

What happens if people park on the top level anyway? There are people that leave their car their for days. There are times when there are barricades indicating the top level is closed because of snow and some people will just drive around the barricade and park up there anyway.

Venkman 6 years ago

I'm sure there's a $50 ticket for parking in a restricted area.

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