The transportation plan for Winnipeg Blue Bomber games has been completely overhauled in the wake of last week’s traffic-jam fiasco on the way to Investors Group Field: including dedicated bus lanes, police directing traffic, and more than double the number of buses for the Bombers first regular season game June 27th.
Officials from the football club and Winnipeg Transit announced the new plans Friday afternoon. The Bombers said a working group of 24 people from several agencies was set up to “explore all potential solutions and enhancements.”
Hundreds of transit riders were left waiting at park and ride locations, after the club and Transit underestimated the number of buses needed. The new plan calls for 150 buses, up from the 61 used last time. The buses will have their own dedicated lanes, rather than being stuck in traffic. Transit says it will be prepared to carry up to 12,000 fans to the game, compared to the 8500 that showed up for bus rides to the first pre-season game. There will also be more Park & Ride locations.
“We believe that with these enhancements that we’re putting into place, no question we’re going to make improvements.” said Jim Bell, Blue Bombers Vice President and Chief Operating Officer.
“This is a work in progress.”
Police officers will also be hired to direct traffic; up to ten officers could be involved. More parking attendants will be on hand at the University of Manitoba to help drivers find their way to spots.
The traffic fiasco completely overshadowed this historic opening of Investors Group Field on June 12th. Thousands of fans missed the opening kick off and spent hours sitting in traffic.
“I left my house at 4:30 (p.m.) and we got to our parking spot at quarter after 7:00.” Said Dave Nicol, a long time Blue Bombers season ticket holder.
Food concessions were very slow because staff also had trouble getting through traffic to report for work.
Friday’s announcement was detailed on the football club’s website:
1. Significantly Increased Transit Capacity:
2. Dedicated Special Event Bus-Only Lanes
3. Winnipeg Police Service at Key Intersections:
4. Earlier Access to Campus and Stadium on June 27:
5. Improved On Campus Parking Process:
6. More Parking “Booster” Lots along Pembina:
7. Expanded Bike Valet:
Also resulting from these stakeholder discussions, details on a customized plan for the Taylor Swift concert were discussed earlier this week. Check outwww.investorsgroupfield.ca/concerts/ for full details.
“Among the many things we learned since our Exhibition game is that each event has unique needs that require some customization,” said Bell. “As a result, we have created separate web pages for Concerts and Blue Bombers onwww.investorsgroupfield.ca. We encourage fans to check out the exact event they plan to attend as details will vary.”
He pointed to the need to provide Taylor Swift fans with large drop-off zones – a very different requirement than what is needed for Blue Bomber games.