June 06, 2008

Unknown DNC Security Plans Near Pepsi Center Could Snarl Traffic, Shut Down Transit

With less than three months until the Democratic National Convention, security plans for the area surrounding the Pepsi Center remain a point of contention, and do not appear to be resolved anytime soon, at least in regards to traffic congestion and potential closures:
Security requirements for the Democratic National Convention may result in closing or restricting light-rail service and traffic on streets surrounding the Pepsi Center.

But less than 12 weeks away from the opening gavel in Denver, security planners aren't ready to tell downtown commuters, businesses and residents what to expect.

"It's going to be closer to the time of the convention," said Malcolm Wiley, the U.S. Secret Service's spokesman for the event.

At this point before the last Democratic convention in Boston, transit and road closure plans already had been publicized for a month and a half.
Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper insists the city will be "open for business," but the main thoroughfares and light rail lines in that part of Downtown Denver could be out of commission for the duration of the convention:
If the Secret Service requires the C and E lines to shut down, those riders could transfer at Broadway, Alameda or Osage stations to other lines. If it permits the C and E trains to operate but not stop at the Pepsi Center station, there would be little impact.

If traffic is kept off Speer Boulevard or Auraria Parkway, similar to I-93 in Boston, it could be only for the 4 p.m.-to-midnight period when the main convention sessions are held.

Speer carries about 49,000 vehicles a day at Wewatta Street, next to the arena. Auraria carries 28,500, according to the latest Denver traffic counts.
As soon as the security personnel release information, we will of course relay that on the blog.

Stay tuned.

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