U2 traffic: Downtown traffic not too bad, city says

Baltimore Sun reporter

As of about 5:30 p.m. the expected traffic congestion from the influx of U2 fans to M&T Bank Stadium wasn't looking too bad, according to the Baltimore Department of Transportation.

Department spokeswoman Kathy Chopper said some backups were developing on St. Paul and Light streets but added that there was "nothing too crazy because of the concert."

Some 75,000-80,000 people are expected to attend the 7 p.m. concert.

UPDATE: At 5:50 p.m., Chopper reported that traffic was backed up on Lombard Street between President and Light. That's not unusual for the time of day.


So far, so good on downtown traffic

While serious congestion is expected downtown this evening as a result of the U2 concert at M&T Bank Stadium, traffic was still flowing normally as of about 3:55 p.m., according to the Baltimore Department of Transportation.

But don't count on that lasting too long.

The city is warning drivers they could face significant delays Wednesday afternoon and evening as an estimated 75,000-80,000 people flock to the Ravens' stadium for the concert.

The event starts at 7 p.m., but its traffic effects are expected to begin well before that. Commuters may want to seek out alternate routes or change their departure times to avoid the congestion.

The partnership also noted that light rail and Metro service is expected to continue for about an hour after the concert's scheduled end at 11 p.m. The Maryland Transit Administration said it would add capacity to both systems to help accommodate the expected throng of riders.

The partnership is warning that the traffic problems may not end with the concert. It says motorists can also expect a high level of activity around the Convention Center later this week. It is urging drivers to use transit and avoid peak hours.

Getting There recommends that commuters who normally use Lombard and Pratt streets to get through downtown at the evening peak switch to Franklin and Mulberry instead. Because Martin Luther King Boulevard is likely to be affected, southbound travelers might be better off taking Franklin (U.S. 40) to Caton Avenue and turning left there to get to Interstate 95.

Workers in Harbor East and Fell Point who are heading south should consider using Boston Street to reach the Fort McHenry Tunnel via Clinton Street and Keith Avenue.

Kathy Chopper, a spokeswoman for the city transportation department, urged drivers who do not have stadium parking passes to use downtown parking garages and surface lots instead of seeking spaces in residential neighborhoods. She said most residential areas around the stadium have parking restrictions and warned that non-residents who park in those areas could be ticketed or towed.

Chopper said traffic should be helped by the absence of lane closings in the area. She said work on Pratt Street connected with the Labor Day Weekend Grand Prix race has been suspended this week and that all lanes of Conway Street should be open.

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