CATS "LMS Race Express" Added as Race Day Option
To accommodate race day crowds approaching the population of a major North Carolina city, one of the nation's most extensive traffic management plans has been developed for the Oct. 11-14 Bank of America 500 Week activities at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
With four major race events on tap for the week, local, state and speedway officials are preparing for approximately 300,000 fans, driving more than 110,000 vehicles over the four-day period.
The traffic plan includes more than 500 people working to move vehicles safely to and from the speedway in a timely fashion for the Bank of America 500 on Saturday night, Oct. 14.
The workforce includes more than 180 uniformed officers from the North Carolina Highway Patrol, 50 traffic specialists from the North Carolina Department of Transportation, 10 officers from the Concord Police Department and more than 200 employees from Charlotte Motor Speedway.
"This cooperative traffic operation is vital to the success of one of the most important economic and tourism events hosted in the state," said Jerry Gappens, senior vice president of events at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
"Race fans travel to Charlotte from all parts of the world and across the country, pumping more than $110 million into the regional economy for this race. It is important to move them in and out as quickly as possible and give them a positive experience. If we don't, they have other NASCAR entertainment choices at speedways located in other states. That fact is never lost on us here."
As a new part of the traffic plan, the Charlotte Area Transit System will operate express buses to provide round-trip transportation to the Bank of America 500 on Saturday, Oct. 14. The express service will utilize 20 buses and originate from the CATS Park and Ride location at Carolina Place Mall, located south of Charlotte in Pineville, N.C. Tickets for the LMS Race Express are $20 per person and are available in advance by calling 1-800-455-FANS or online at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com. Tickets will also be available for purchase on a first-come, first-served basis at the Park and Ride lot on race day.
"CATS is pleased to offer this service to the public from our park and ride location at Carolina Place Mall to Charlotte Motor Speedway," said Jim Zingale, CATS chief operating officer. "It reflects the trust that LMS and the community have in CATS to provide safe, quality transportation and recognizes our role in providing choices over traffic congestion."
The LMS Race Express will utilize a priority route to enter and exit the speedway. Express buses will leave Carolina Place Mall starting at noon on race day and take Interstate 485 and Highway 49 to the speedway. The final departure to the track is scheduled for 4 p.m. The return trips will begin approximately one hour following the conclusion of the race. Buses will exit on Highway 29 to I-485. Both drop-off and pick-up locations will be near Charlotte Motor Speedway's main entrance.
"This is a trial run, limited to 800 people, to see how it works," added Gappens. "Eventually, more Park and Ride locations could be utilized around the region to bring fans into the speedway, reducing the number of cars. It's a great way to move in and out without the hassle of driving yourself."
Speedway officials are also distributing detailed maps and suggested routes in and out of the speedway to ticket holders via direct mail prior to their arrival. Recommended routes direct fans to parking areas closest to their respective seating areas. This information is also posted at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com.
In addition to personnel, the traffic management plan utilizes more than 20 NCDOT traffic cameras, more than a dozen electronic informational signs along routes to the speedway, 2,500 traffic cones, 50 portable light towers at major intersections and more than 1,200 acres of parking.
Tickets are still available to all Bank of America 500 Week events by calling 1-800-455-FANS or online at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com.