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RBC Center tests new traffic pattern for Hurricanes games

Raleigh's largest arena tested out a new traffic route for fans Saturday night in hopes of alleviating congestion.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — The RBC Center/Carolina Hurricanes Parking Operations Department tested a new traffic pattern Saturday for fans entering from Edwards Mill Road.

Three ingress lanes around the RBC Center loop road were opened to direct Hurricanes fans to the West parking lot. The move aimed to improve overall traffic flow for games.

“We have limited infrastructure around the arena. We've only got basically three rows that you can get in here from. So, we're trying to make those cars get into the parking lot a little quicker,” said Mike Alexander, parking and traffic manager for the RBC Center.

Alexander says the trouble spot has always been the west parking lot. The majority of fans, he says, prefer to park there.

“Everybody likes the west (lot). Even in the playoffs in 2006, this is where everybody wanted to be. I'm not sure what the mystique of it is,” Hurricanes fan Jamie Clay said.

There has always been one lane to exit the RBC Center before games. That lane is also on the west end. The new traffic pattern shifted the exit lane to the east end, adding another lane and hoping to cut back on traffic at the RBC Center's most popular entrance.

The RBC Center will continue the traffic test during the next two Hurricanes games, on New Year's Eve and Jan. 2. After that, management will decide whether any permanent changes will be made.

The Hurricanes are ranked fourth among the 30 NHL teams in Fan Satisfaction and 17th among all 122 professional sports teams according to the 2008 ESPN Fan Satisfaction Survey.