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Meeting Produces Some Solutions for Arena Parking

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RALEIGH — Raleigh's new arena has created a steady flow of traffic tie-ups. After two major backups, there was a meeting Monday to try to fix the traffic trouble.

Arena traffic was bad on the night of theCarolina Hurricaneshome opener. It was even worse as a motivational seminar and morning rush hour traffic mixed last week.

Traffic consultants, arena managers,Raleigh police, and theN.C. Highway Patrolmet for three hours, trying to come up with solutions.

One solution: one fee for all parking. Instead of $7 for some lots, and $6 for others, the uniform parking fee will now be $6.

"We took a major financial hit by lowering that [by] one dollar," says Dave Olsen, arena operations manager. "It may sound silly, but when you do 180 events, and you are doing an average of 6,000 cars, when you do the math it is a substantial amount of money."

To try to ease bottlenecks, parking attendants and police will now divide the arena area in two.

All traffic coming off of Edward's Mill will be fed into the paved lots surrounding the arena, and all Trinity Road traffic will funnel into the lots surrounding Carter-Finley Stadium.

The whole plan changes, however, Friday night, with theN.C. State Men's Basketballhome opener.

People with permits will still head for the paved lots, all others will park in the Carter-Finley lots.

Wolfpack officials are not concerned with the arena's brief traffic history.

"More people came that had not been to the facilities before, which caused some problems. But as time goes on, those will get worked out, says Stephen Ponder of the Wolfpack Club. "So we really aren't alarmed. But obviously, we're planning today, trying to make sure that Friday night goes smoothly."

The Hurricanes play Ottawa at home on Wednesday, but the sold out home opener for N.C. State on Friday night will be the next big arena traffic test.

Raleigh police say they will add more officers to the traffic patrol. The Hurricanes say fans can buy advance parking passes at most ticket locations.

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Mark Roberts, Reporter
Keith Baker, Photographer
Michelle Singer, Web Editor

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