Will the new downtown arena cause a major traffic headache?


by Melanie Kahn


Posted on March 3, 2010 at 10:36 PM

Updated Thursday, Mar 4 at 1:14 AM

Are you worried about parking, traffic problems with the new arena?

This Saturday will be the last University of Louisville men's basketball game at Freedom Hall and already downtown Louisville is getting ready for thousands of fans to attend games at the new arena.

But is there enough parking to accommodate fans and other events in the city?

When this arena opens parking spaces are going to be hot commoditie which is why businesses are already advertising parking spaces. 

But the city says neither traffic nor parking will be problems.

While some are busy buying tickets, others are concerned with figuring out where they are going to park and how long it will take them to get home.

Stephen Crockett said, "I think it's going to be a major headache because there's really no way in and out."

UofL fan Rachel Mattingly said, "I can't even get on the interstate now at 5:00 so after a game, getting back on the interstate, it's going to be impossible."

For the past few months, Metro Council members have been meeting to try and develop a traffic and parking plan that will result in permanent and temporary changes to the traffic patterns downtown.  The most significant of those would be making Second Street a two way street.

According to Jim Host, President of the Louisville Arena Authority, they've got it all figured out.

Host said, "This, we're going to hit big time home runs with this, I'm convinced."

He says the city has 12,000 parking spaces available for people going to the arena with the furthest at the Slugger Field parking lot just five blocks away.

And while Host says he understands people's concerns about traffic leaving the arena, he says, if they can figure it out at Rupp Arena in Lexington, it won't be a problem here.

"Within 15 minutes after the end of the game everybody is gone.  And why?  Because everybody has figured out where to park and everyone goes to different arteries and we have more opportunity than we have in downtown Louisville for traffic to come in and clear than you ever thought about having in Lexington," said Host.

And while most are remaining optimistic, reaction to the city's plan is mixed.

"Everything is going to be going away from the arena.  There's plenty of exits.  It's going to be far better than Freedom Hall," said Norman Varker.

Mattingly said, “I think it's going to be crazy.  I'm scared.  I may not even buy tickets."

This traffic plan received input from hundreds of people throughout the city.

The mayor signed off on it last month so now all people can do is wait to see how everything turns out.

Tell Us: What do you think they should do to keep the downtown arena parking and traffic under control?