City braces for Super Bowl celebrations

As the Ravens get ready to take on the 49ers in New Orleans, officials back home are preparing to deal with what they hope will be a joyful — but not too rowdy — Super Bowl night.

Baltimore police have extensive plans, including mounted patrols, helicopter and camera surveillance downtown, as well as in Fells Point, Federal Hill and Canton, spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said. Police hope to keep people safe while they have a good time.


"Come to the city, celebrate the victory," he said, but to avoid traffic, "come early."

Police departments across the region said they will deploy extra officers to areas with lots of bars, and Baltimore fire officials asked customers to report venues that get dangerously overcrowded. Police, especially from county departments, will be on the lookout for drunken drivers, with Howard putting on special patrols.


As public officials crafted plans to let parties simmer, but not boil over, in Federal Hill — the epicenter of Ravens exuberance — businesses were putting up posters and purple decorations, getting ready for their biggest night of the year.

At Mother's Federal Hill Grille, manager Colleen Broersma enjoyed an afternoon lull Friday. The morning had been busy after post-"Today Show" hordes dropped in, and in the evening the bar was hosting a Ravens pep rally.

"It's a lot of fun. Everyone's so pumped," she said. "It's going to be electric down here all weekend."

Broersma, who had her nails painted sparkly purple, said she was working at the bar the last time the Ravens went to the Super Bowl. In 2001, she was a shot girl, roaming the floor handing out drinks and pasting temporary tattoos on people's faces.


Broersma said Mother's decided to sell tickets for admission Sunday after the bar became too crowded during the AFC championship game two weeks ago. Tables sold out in 24 hours, she said.

Darryl Jurkiewicz, president of the Canton Neighborhood Association, said residents there were excited about the game and businesses on O'Donnell Square were expecting a good night, with crowds perhaps twice as big as those for the most recent victory over the New England Patriots.

"But the people who live on the streets that connect to the square are a little bit apprehensive of what may or may not happen," he said. "They just don't want them to get carried away like last year's St. Patrick's Day — that was the ultimate party gone wrong."

That night saw a crowd of teenagers roaming the city's streets, barely kept in check by police. Since then, Jurkiewicz said, he thinks officers have tightened up.

Baltimore police will close some streets after the Super Bowl so crowds and vehicles do not become entangled. Guglielmi said officers, some of them on horseback, are "prepared to deal with people who just get too rowdy."

The department will track officers' locations by GPS, and swelling crowds from Foxtrot helicopter patrols and fixed cameras. Back at headquarters, commanders will have that information available on a big-screen display and will make decisions about where to send officers.

Other neighborhoods will be policed at full strength despite the focus on downtown and waterside areas, Guglielmi said.

Eric Costello, president of the Federal Hill Neighborhood Association, said residents there know to expect celebrations, but as long as there is no violence, "we're relatively happy."

"For the most part, people are realistic and they understand that the Ravens are going to the Super Bowl and that comes with the territory," he added.

Baltimore County police said they will have extra officers on patrol in Towson's bar district.

Mindful of a stampede at a Brazilian nightclub last weekend that left 230 people dead, the city Fire Department will also be on the lookout for crowds and asked that customers call 911 if a venue becomes overcrowded. State fire marshals warned partiers to know where exits are and to leave if they do not feel safe.

Police around the region joined to remind people not to drink and drive, and AAA said Super Bowl Sunday is one of the most dangerous days on the country's roads. The organization cited federal data that show 40 percent of traffic fatalities on the day are alcohol-related.

"Super Bowl Sunday is always a concern for us when it comes to drinking and driving," said Howard County Police Chief William McMahon. "That's especially true this year with the hometown team in the game. We want people to have a great time and celebrate. We just ask that you designate a driver before you drink alcohol."

And while public officials might sound like a club of Puritans trying to ruin everyone's fun, Baltimore County Police Chief James Johnson reminded people to be safe, adding, "This is a happy time when we're all bound by our relationship as fans."

Super Bowl road closures

The following Baltimore street closures will be in effect Sunday night, depending on crowd size:

•3000 O'Donnell St., westbound at S. Ellwood Ave.

•1100 S. Curley St., northbound at Dillon St.

•1100 S. Linwood Ave., north and southbound

•1000 S. Linwood Ave., at Dillon St., north and southbound

•2700 O'Donnell St., eastbound at S. Kenwood Ave.

•2900 Dillon St., and 1000 S. Curley St., southbound

•1000 S. Decker Ave., at Dillon St., southbound

•1000 Potomac St., southbound at Dillon St.

•700 S. Broadway, southbound at Aliceanna St.

•1600 Lancaster St., eastbound at S. Bond St.

•1700 Lancaster St., westbound at S. Ann St.

•1600 and 1700 Thames St., east and westbound

•Pratt St., from Paca St., to President St.

•Fayette St., from Paca St., to President St.

•First block of E. Cross St.

•1000-1200 S. Charles St.