To prep the public ahead of next month’s Democratic National Convention, officials on Tuesday released a security plan for areas inside the uptown loop. The plan outlined pedestrian and vehicle restrictions affecting at least 27 streets. (Photo: Glenn H. Burkins for Qcitymetro.com)
Whether on foot, motorbike or car, getting around in uptown Charlotte will not be easy once the Democratic National Convention comes to town.
Officials on Tuesday released a 19-page security plan for areas that lie inside the Interstate 277 loop – a plan that calls for pedestrian and vehicle restrictions affecting portions of at least 27 streets staring at 9 a.m. on Sunday, September 2.
In some cases, portions of streets will be closed entirely to vehicle traffic, right up through Thursday, Sept. 6, when President Barack Obama, inside Bank of America Stadium, will accept his party’s nomination for a second term in the White House. In other cases, access to streets – even for pedestrians –will be limited. Some streets that are currently one-way will suddenly yield to two-way traffic, and vice versa.
Restrictions will be especially heavy the closer one gets to Time Warner Cable Arena, where most convention activities will be held, and near Bank of America Stadium, the site of the President’s acceptance speech.
In a briefing with reporters Tuesday at the Government Center, Mayor Anthony Foxx said the plans “strike the best balance we can between security and mobility.”
Ever since Charlotte was selected to host the 2012 DNC, local officials have emphasized that, despite unprecedented security measure, the uptown business district would remain open and viable. On Tuesday, Foxx reiterated that assertion.
“Folks that want to stay open will be able to stay open,” he said.
Law enforcement agencies including the U.S. Secret Service, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, North Carolina State Highway Patrol and the Federal Aviation Administration have worked for at least 18 months to develop the plan.
Here his how the plan will impact certain residents, visitors and commuters:
On Monday, September 3, the Charlotte in 2012 Host Committee will hold CarolinaFest from 10 a.m. to 6:15 p.m. The event will run along Tryon Street from Stonewall to Trade Streets. Public entry points will be at the intersection of Stonewall and Tryon streets and east and west of Tryon Street on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, 3rd Street, 4th Street and Trade Street.
For additional information on this event, go to http://carolinafest2012.com/.
Parking restricted areas will be posted with “Emergency No Parking” signage. Disabled and/or abandoned vehicles within these areas will be towed and stored at owner expense. Fencing, other physical barriers and uniformed law enforcement officers will be used to enforce vehicle and pedestrian restricted zones. Throughout the convention week, the North Carolina Department of Transportation 511 Information Line will have the latest on road conditions and road closures for interstates and state highways. Call 511 for updated information.
Public School Students
Students return to class on Monday, August 27, less than a week before the convention begins. More than 325 CMS bus routes will be adjusted because of the convention. On Tuesday, Sept. 4, and Wednesday, Sept. 5, all athletic activities will be scheduled out of district.
More than 400 CMS students live within the I-277 loop, and they account for more than 80 bus stops. Students inside the loop will have special routes during the DNC.
Three CMS schools – Irwin Elementary, First Ward Elementary and Metro School – lie within the uptown loop. They will operate on the following schedules:
• Metro School will have an early dismissal on Thursday, Sept. 6, with students leaving at noon.
• Irwin Academic Center students will be dismissed at 12:45 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 6.
• First Ward Elementary will have three days of early dismissal: Tuesday, Sept. 4, Wednesday, Sept. 5 and Thursday, Sept. 6, students will dismiss at 12:45 p.m.
All schools will return to their normal schedules on Friday, Sept. 7.
Pedestrian access to streets and businesses near Time Warner Cable Arena will be limited. Individuals requiring access within the restricted area will be required to go to a security checkpoint to identify their destination. Pedestrian access to some areas will be limited to individuals with event-specific credentials. Individuals entering high-security areas will be screened.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Complex
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Complex will be open for official business only, starting Tuesday, Sept. 4, and ending Thursday, Sept. 6. All seeking entry to the complex will be subject to increased security screening. Streets surrounding the complex will be closed to traffic and parking.
Commuter Rail Lines and Public Transit
The Charlotte Transit Center (CTC) will temporarily relocate to West 3rd Street and South Mint Street from Monday, Sept. 3, through Wednesday, Sept. 5. The transit center will return to normal operations the morning of Thursday, Sept. 6. The temporary transit center will follow normal business hours.
The LYNX light rail line will require additional security measures. Service will be suspension to the 3rd Street, Charlotte Transit Center/Arena and 7th Street stations. The LYNX line will operate from the I-485 Station to the Stonewall Street Station from Monday, Sept. 3 through Wednesday, Sept. 5, and will return to normal operations the morning of Thursday, Sept. 6. In addition, the pedestrian walkway adjacent to the light rail tracks from East Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to East 8th Street will be closed beginning at 9 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 2 through Thursday, Sept. 6, at 9 a.m.
Vehicles making commercial deliveries — including caterers, buses and tractor-trailers – will be screened. Food suppliers and caterers have been told to bring in food and beverages between midnight and 6 a.m. when possible. Commercial deliveries include all trash pick-up and removal, catering, food and beverage, construction, utility vehicles, buses, shuttles (larger than a 15-passenger van), etc. This includes all non-passenger vehicles of any type or size. In addition, no commercial motor vehicle access, regardless of size or weight, will be permitted on East 11th Street east of North Church Street.
Editor’s Note: The Charlotte Observer contributed to this report.