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Evening Commuters Motivated to Steer Clear of RBC Center

Posted October 11, 2007

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— Hundreds of commuters were stuck in a 10-mile backup in west Raleigh Thursday morning because a motivational seminar at the RBC Center added to traffic congestion, but better planning kept tie-ups to a minimum during the evening rush hour.

More than 18,000 people attended "Get Motivated," a business/motivational event. Speakers included University of North Carolina head basketball coach Roy Williams and former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Traffic delays were seen on Wade Avenue, Edwards Mill Road, Trinity Road, Blue Ridge Road and the Interstate 440 Beltline for hours Thursday morning. Traffic on eastbound Interstate 40 was backed up as far as the Durham Freeway exit 10 miles to the west, and westbound I-40 was backed up to the Lake Wheeler Road exit eight miles away.

"Everywhere west of (the Streets at) Southpoint, right at (N.C. Highway) 751, it was bumper to bumper all the way through," driver John Pischak said.

Similar traffic delays were seen after 5 p.m. Thursday when the motivational event ended, but traffic was moving easily an hour later. Raleigh police closed eastbound and westbound ramps on Wade Avenue at Blue Ridge Road at 5:30 p.m. to try to control the traffic flow.

"You take that volume (of people) and throw it out there with the rest of the people trying to get to work, and you get traffic jams," said Dave Olson, general manager for the RBC Center.

Olson said his staff met last week with the state Highway Patrol, the state Department of Transportation and the Raleigh Police Department to devise plans for handling event traffic. Authorities have known for weeks that the event was expected to produce traffic delays, he said.

In fact, a similar event at the RBC Center eight years ago caused a 17-mile traffic jam.

DOT regional engineer Ed Sirgany said authorities underestimated the volume of cars to the event, saying they expected only 12,000 to 13,000 vehicles instead of the 15,000 to 16,000 that showed up.

Also, development near the arena has reconfigured traffic flow on Edwards Mill Road, which has reduced capacity, Sirgany said.

"The traffic moved, but we didn't move fast," seminar attendee Judy Rogers said, noting a trip from north of downtown Raleigh to the RBC Center took an hour Thursday morning instead of the usual 10 minutes.

Most of the people who attended the event drove their own cars, which added to the congestion, Olson said. He suggested that people carpool the next time such an event is held at the RBC Center to cut down on traffic volume.

Some ticket holders were even turned away from the event because the parking lots outside the arena were filled by the time they arrived.

"It took about two hours to get in this morning, but it was worth it," seminar attendee Belinda Fayson said.

215 Comments

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  • Mr Mackey Oct 12, 2007

    And the traffic jam did not stop at Lake Wheeler, it went as far east on I-40 as where Hwy 70 crosses. I know because I was stuck in it. BAD INFO

    We need MARK BACK!!!!!!

  • lizard Oct 11, 2007

    I'm holding out for the Hillary motivational Seminar..........

  • tmedlin Oct 11, 2007

    If you don't have your own business - you probably would NOT have heard of him...

  • Hammerhead Oct 11, 2007

    Oh yeah, other than those goofy ads in the paper, I've never heard of ol' Ziggy. I must be too busy doing other things.

  • Hammerhead Oct 11, 2007

    "Do your work or get fired", just a teaser to get this forum fired up, an oversimplification. My job is based on results.
    You brought up the gazillionairiousness. Not me.

  • tmedlin Oct 11, 2007

    I agree about the Trump comment - but Ziglar is NOT ANYTHING like Trump. Can't believe you've never heard of him - a VERY humble man, who DOESN'T focus on HIS wealth - focuses on customer service...10th child of 12, raised in rural Alabama, sold cookware, served in the Navy - THAT'S why he's so special - an ordinary man who lived an ordinary life, but had extraordinary achievements...
    That's GREAT that you consider yourself an "over-achiever"; your comment "do your work or you're fired" - makes me a little skeptical...doesn't really sound like someone who manages people...

  • Hammerhead Oct 11, 2007

    I'm not being cynical, but I think we need to look to ordinary people who do extraordinary things rather than worshiping people like Donald Trump. I work with/collaborate with some pretty extraordinary people who feel no need to puff their chest out. They are regular people in person and don't flaunt their intellect or wealth, and they work in medicine and have done some pretty important things. If you met them, you would have no idea what they did for a living unless you asked ( even then they'd be coy ) because of the way they carry themselves. They could be a bean counter, bartender, or other.
    Why didn't I go? No need to, I've overachieved in my opinion.
    Did you know that Dick Vitale gets a tidy sum for his motivational speeches? Just axin'.

  • tmedlin Oct 11, 2007

    no, it's about attitude (a POSITIVE attitude) - and he served his country, too.
    He's a gazillionaire because he followed the philosphy that if you help enough people get what THEY want, then you will get what YOU want.
    Why so cynical? Maybe you should have gone...

  • Hammerhead Oct 11, 2007

    So it's about the money? He's a gazillionaire because people pay to listen to him speak. My grandpa was way more inspirational than any gazillionaire could ever dream to be.
    Polish immigrant, decorated WWI vet, farmed 200 acres until he was 76, and built one house per year in his spare time for 50 years.

  • tmedlin Oct 11, 2007

    salesman, gazillionaire, motivational speaker who started from nothing...

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