"Safety and security will be a top priority as another NFL season approaches and construction continues at Lambeau Field." That from Jason Wied, Green Bay Packers Corporate Counsel, who says they are again asking for everyone's cooperation and patience during this football season.
Traffic, parking and stadium entry / exit plans were the main topic of a news conference today hosted by the Green Bay Packers. Representatives from the Brown County Sheriff's Department, Green Bay Police Department, Ashwaubenon Public Safety, Green Bay Fire Department, PMI, Turner Construction and the Packers discussed plans for getting fans to and from the stadium as construction enters its second season on the $295 million Lambeau renovation and expansion project.
Commander Al Timmerman of the Green Bay Police Department says many of the changes that were implemented last season due to the construction project, and in the wake of the September 11th terrorist attacks, will remain in effect for the 2002 football season. "Fans and vehicles will again have to go through security checkpoints as they enter the stadium, so we're asking everyone to arrive early." The Lambeau Field parking lots will open four hours prior to game time, while the stadium gates will open 2-hours-15-minutes before kick-off.
Traffic flow on game days will be much the same as the second half of last sea son. "Fans will again need to plan ahead to determine where they will park, so they can then decide which roads will get them there in the most efficient way," Timmerman said. Lt. Jim Skorczewski of the Ashwaubenon Public Safety Department added, "These changes have been made to accommodate the increased pedestrian traffic around Lambeau and for security reasons to make it as safe as possible for everyone going to or from the game."
The most important road information for fans to know includes:
* Lombardi Avenue will be closed to all traffic during and after the game.
* Oneida Street between Lombardi and Potts will only be open to those with reserved Lambeau Field parking passes before and after the game. (Oneida will be closed to all through traffic.) Motorists with parking passes will be required to enter the parking lot at the north or south Oneida Street entrances. They will be required to leave via the same gate. No traffic will be allowed on Oneida Street between the two entrances.
* Ridge Road will have restricted traffic access prior to the games, with the two outside curb lanes closed. No northbound traffic will be allowed on Ridge Road after the game until pedestrian traffic has been cleared. That determination will be made by the officers on site.
* Valley View Road from Lambeau Field to Ridge Road will be open to vehicular traffic, but the road will be divided to create a pedestrian walkway.
"People who have been going to the games for years are often on automatic pilot when they come to Lambeau," said Captain Dennis Kocken of the Brown County Sheriff's Department. "We'd like fans to arrive at least an hour earlier than usual so they can be sure to get to their parking spots and into the stadium in time for kick-off."
Once again this season, general public parking will not be available at Lambeau Field due to the construction project. Those with season ticket parking passes will utilize the available spaces at Lambeau Field.
For general public parking, PMI, which manages Lambeau Field parking, has again secured several thousand spots at nearby businesses and will operate a shuttle service from most of those lots to Lambeau Field.
"These spaces can be reserved, in advance, for one game or for the entire season," explained Rick Pruski of PMI. "All people have to do is call Ticket*Star at 1-800-895-0071 and they can secure a parking spot." Parking fees vary according to the location, but generally range from $15 to $25 dollars per automobile. Spots can also be reserved for RVs and buses through Ticket*Star (prices vary). Available parking lots include:
* Brown County Veterans Memorial Arena
* Stadium View Sports Bar & Grill
* The Bar on Holmgren Way
* Valley View School
* Fabry Industries
* Williams Auto Body
* Valley Ridge
* Brett Favre's Steakhouse
* Ashwaubenon Village Hall
* Other locations as needed
Along with a parking pass, advance orders receive a map and directions (coordinated through police and traffic officials) detailing the easiest route to the lot selected. Although most lots are within easy walking distance of Lambeau Field, shuttles will be available at selected sites.
Also, because additional parking spaces are available at Lambeau Field this year, some general public reserved parking will be available. Those spots can also be reserved by calling Ticket*Star.
Handicapped parking will be available at various locations in the Lambeau Field parking lots.
If fans do not wish to secure parking in advance, it is anticipated area residents will continue to offer "lawn parking" at their homes and some businesses near the stadium will do the same. "However, if that's the way you want to go," Pruski cautioned, "you should make sure that your usual spot is going to be available and that you know how to get there in light of changes in traffic patterns."
Entering Lambeau Field
Entry into the stadium should be improved for the 2002 season, but fans will again be subject to security checks before they enter Lambeau Field. "Five new, permanent gates will be in use and there will be twice as many turnstiles to increase flow into the stadium," said Jerry Parins, head of security for the Packers.
The Miller Gate is the main gate to the Titletown Atrium along Lombardi Avenue, the Oneida Nation Gate is the grand staircase facing Oneida Street and the Verizon Wireless gate is along Ridge Road near Lombardi Avenue. Two additional gates are located on the west side of the stadium. The gates are larger and wider and enter into the expanded lower level concourse.
The Packers and area law enforcement have been working closely with the NFL on security issues. "Fans will be subject to search prior to reaching the turnstiles," Parins said. "Once again this year, coolers, bags, backpacks, fanny packs and large purses will not be allowed into the stadium. Nothing larger than a small purse, which will be subject to inspection, will be allowed into the stadium."
With the tighter security measures that were implemented after September 11th, Timmerman says fans need to understand the need to get to the stadium early. "People should be adjusting to the new security measures that greet them at most larger venues," Timmerman said. "With the fans' cooperation and the larger entryways, we hope to avoid the delays that kept some late-arriving ticket holders from seeing the start of the games last season."
Fans should also keep in mind that they are entering the stadium through a construction zone. "While we want to make it as easy as possible for fans, our primary concern is that we make it as safe as possible for the thousands of people who will be literally walking through a construction site on game day," said Mike Constantini, of Turner Construction, Director of Field Operations for the Lambeau Field redevelopment project. "People have to remember that during the season, construction will continue six days a week and only stop for game days. That means fans need to be aware of their surroundings and where they're going."
The traffic, parking and entry information was sent to all season ticket holders with their game tickets. Ticket holders who sell all or part of their tickets to family and friends are asked to copy the information and give it to the people purchasing the tickets.
In addition, the information will be disseminated to statewide media, which ar e being asked to share the details with residents in their marketplaces. "We are going to do everything we can to let people know about the changes and to encourage them to plan ahead," Wied said. "With everyone's cooperation and patience, there will be only minor inconveniences until the new and improved Lambeau Field opens next year. It will be worth the wait."