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baltimoresun.com

Scary traffic won't be an issue at this year's zombie run, promoter vows

BY MARISSA GALLO, mgallo@theaegis.com

7:18 AM EDT, October 23, 2012

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With the Run For Your Lives race coming back to Darlington this weekend, it's not the thousands of zombies people are scared of — it's the possibility of a repeat of last year's traffic nightmare.

Event coordinators Reed Street Productions, however, are promising that all of the kinks have been worked out and, with a few more races under their belt, say this year's zombie run will be the best yet.

That is, if they get the necessary permits from the county.

"We've grown up quit a bit," Reed Street's co-creator Derrick Smith said last week. "We learned a lot of lessons from our first ever event.

Last October's zombie run was its inaugural race and since then has been taken all over the country. In the past year, Smith said Reed Street has overseen nine events and has grown from a staff of six to 27.

With more experience, Smith said, Reed Street is "fully prepared to have a seamless event for the participants and a seamless event for the county."

The only hitch in the plan is as of Monday morning, permits for the event still had not been issued because of the county's department of inspections, licenses and permits not receiving as much information as needed.

Director Richard Lynch wrote a letter to Camp Ramblewood's president Harry Leff, where the event was held last year and will be held again this weekend, stating there was still outstanding information that needed to be addressed before permits were approved.

The letter was read into the record during last week's Harford County Liquor Control Board meeting because Coakley's Pub was seeking an outside event application to cater the event.

Coakley's application was approved, but is contingent on the event permits being issued.

The letter, Lynch said Thursday, stated traffic and parking plans still needed to be addressed to prevent another catastrophe from happening.

Since the letter was sent earlier in the month, the department has worked with Reed Street more, but it wouldn't be until at least Monday that the permits would be officially approved or denied.

Leff and the promoter, Lynch said, have "worked very hard" and has "given a tremendous amount of information" to get the necessary information for the permits. "It looks like it [the permits] will be approved."

The major issue last year was the traffic, Lynch noted, and the off-site parking was so close to the camp that people were walking to the grounds and not taking the buses as they should have.

This year's location for parking on Route 1 is four miles away from the camp and "much more accessible" for drivers, Lynch said. Better parking and traffic along a larger roadway should prevent the same issues from occurring.

Smith said Reed Street has "done everything Harford County has asked us to do" and is confident that their permits would be approved.

Last year the race brought in 10,000 participants, volunteers and spectators for the one-day event. This year, Smith believes there will be 20,000 over the two days.

The growing company moved their office from Main Street Bel Air to the White Marsh/Nottingham area.

Smith, who grew up in Bel Air and is a Bel Air High School graduate, is proud that they can bring the race back to Harford.

"We know we made a mistake with our very first event as far as the parking and traffic, "Smith admitted. "But it doesn't take us two times to figure it out."