City celebration: Come early to avoid traffic

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 4, 2002

Messenger Intern

Each year Troy celebrates Independence Day with a citywide gathering at the Sportsplex off Elba Highway, and every year a line of traffic snakes toward U.S. 231.

However, the people behind the parking and traffic would like to extend some advice to those planning to attend the celebration: park in the designated parking lots and, if possible, come early.

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"Everybody waits until like 8 o’clock to come, which is not good because traffic quickly backs up." said Dan Smith, director of the Parks and Recreation Department in Troy. "Sometimes traffic is backed on 87 (Elba Highway) all the way to Highway 231."

"Also what happens, and this is the kicker, some people decide to just park their cars in the road. If they would keep moving and park inside, it would be great. There is always parking available inside the facility," he said.

"Multiple areas" have been designated for parking and there will also be up to 10 police officers from the Troy Police Department on hand to keep traffic moving.

"Don’t park in the road or even pull off on the side of the road. There will be plenty of parking inside the facility. People can obviously come whenever it’s convenient, but, if you have a choice, please come at 7 o’clock or earlier," Smith said.

The TPD will also route the traffic leaving the Sportsplex and Smith predicts that the police will have the park cleaned out in 30 to 45 minutes.

"We’re looking forward to a big day and anyone whose coming should bring their barbeque grill and a tent. Even if you don’t have a space reserved, bring them anyway. All it cost is a couple of barbecue chicken legs," Smith said jokingly

Chief Anthony Everage said he would like to remind everyone to drive in a safe manner and to obey traffic laws, not only Thursday night but also the entire holiday weekend.

"It’s important for people not to block the flow of traffic and proceed on to where they need to go. Once it’s over with, the only way you’re going to be able to deal with it is to have patience, because you’re going to have a lot of people attending the event and not everybody can go home at the same time," said Sgt. Benny Scarbrough, public information officer for the Troy Police Department. "Take a little time and everyone will get home eventually."

Traffic has already started to pick up and law enforcement agencies know it will only get busier between now and the end of the holiday weekend.

"There is also another point that needs to be made and that’s we will be experiencing a lot of traffic in Troy itself. We will be having a lot of people to be visiting relatives in Troy.

"We’re just asking people to be patient and to realize there will be an increase in the volume of people traveling in Troy. Be patient and do not get in a hurry to get some where. I would give myself plenty of time to get there," Scarbrough said.