Game plan for NCAA parking unveiled
BY KEVIN CANFIELD World Staff Writer
Sunday, March 13, 2011
3/13/11 at 6:48 AM
We’ll have previews, game
stories, analysis, photos, a parking
map and more. Find it at tulsaworld.com/ncaa
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Madness, Tulsa arena style
View a map of the downtown parking availabilty.
If this week's NCAA Tournament at the BOK Center creates traffic problems - and city officials are confident it won't - they're most likely to occur on Friday.
That's the one day the onslaught of basketball fans from across the country will compete for parking spaces with downtown commuters.
"Our challenge (during big events) is always during the week because of our usual business hours," said Skipper Bain, special events coordinator for the city of Tulsa.
The city's plan for providing adequate parking and ensuring a smooth flow of traffic begins on the outskirts of town, where electronic message boards posting parking information will line major highways leading into downtown.
Once motorists exit, another message board will provide them with further instructions. Police will then guide motorists to the nearest available parking lot.
"We are trying to make sure we can accommodate another 6,000 vehicles," Bain said.
To accomplish that, the city has identified 2,500 parking spaces at city-owned and private parking facilities downtown. These lots will be filled first.
If needed, another 5,000 spaces will be made available at Oklahoma State University-Tulsa, 700 N. Greenwood Ave., where shuttles will pick up fans headed downtown.
Bain said it is important to trust the message boards, because they will alert drivers once downtown parking meets capacity.
"So be aware that what those message boards say is the truth," he said.
Jared Jordan, manager of American Parking, said his company will charge its usual special event rate, which tops out at $20 a day for locations close to the arena.
"We're treating it as we would any normal event at the BOK Center." Jordan said. "We want the NCAA back. Our goal is to help out the city any way we can."
Three free shuttles - one operated by Tulsa Transit and two operated by a private company - will transport people around downtown and into the surrounding entertainment districts.
Ray Hoyt, Tulsa Sports Commission executive director, said the shuttles aren't just for tourists or for those with game tickets.
He urged all Tulsans to come downtown and be part of the party.
"Come in early, or get close, maybe drive into Brookside, and then jump on a bus," Hoyt said.
To assist those who don't know their way around town, VisitTulsa has assembled a group of volunteers to offer a helping hand. Decked out in turquoise T-shirts with "Tulsan" on the back, the volunteers will fan out through the city distributing guides and answering questions.
Hoyt said he hopes all Tulsans will serve as city ambassadors during the tournament.
"When you see somebody and they need a hand, ask them if you can help," he said.
NCAA officials have told Hoyt to expect 70,000 to 100,000 basketball fans to swarm downtown next weekend.
How those fans are treated - and how they are able to get around town - will influence whether Tulsa gets to host the Big Dance again.
So Hoyt is asking everyone to pitch in to make the event special.
"We want to create a buzz downtown," Hoyt said.
TULSA ROAD WORK PROJECTS
STATE ROAD CLOSURES
- The city of Tulsa will be working on the following road projects during the NCAA Tournament:
- Lewis Avenue from 61st to 71st streets: Street widening; two-way through traffic
- 129 East Avenue from 31st to 41st streets: Street widening; two-way through traffic
- Sheridan Avenue from 11th to 21st streets: Street repair; two-way through traffic
- 61st Street from Yale to Sheridan avenues: Street repair; two-way through traffic
- Lewis Avenue from 21st to 31st streets: Street repair; two-way through traffic
- Union Avenue from 71st to 81st streets: Road repairs; one lane only northbound
Road closures caused by Oklahoma Department of Transportation work include:
STATE LANE CLOSURES
- 12th Street over U.S. 75
- Northbound U.S. 75 off-ramp to Denver Avenue
- Southbound U.S. 75 on-ramp to Denver Avenue
- Westbound Interstate 244 off-ramp to 1st Street
- Eastbound Interstate 244 off-ramp to northbound and southbound U.S. 75
Lane closures caused by Oklahoma Department of Transportation work include:
SOURCES: City of Tulsa and Oklahoma Department of Transportation
- Left lane of westbound Interstate 244 on the west leg of the Inner Dispersal Loop
- Eastbound I-244 off-ramps to north- and southbound U.S. 75
- Various lane closures on eastbound and westbound Oklahoma 51 (Broken Arrow Expressway) between U.S. 75 and Lewis Avenue
NCAA Tulsa questions answered
1) When are the games?
Four games will be played on Friday and two will be played on Sunday.
2) What are the game times?
Game times haven't been determined yet. There are two sessions Friday, one that includes two games during the day (tipoff times range from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., with 30 minutes between games) and one with two games at night (those start between 6 p.m. and 9:55 p.m.). There is one session Sunday, and times will be announced after Friday's games (those times could range from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., depending on which matchups networks want in which broadcast window).
3) Where are the games?
All six games are at the BOK Center.
4) How do I get tickets?
Go online to tulsaworld.com/ncaatickets. Single-session tickets aren't being sold yet, but all-session tickets cost $237. The BOK Center's capacity for basketball is 17,839, and going into the weekend, less than 6,000 tickets remained. Officials suggest buying soon because when the field is announced tonight, a quick sellout is expected. If any single-session tickets remain, they will go on sale in person only at the BOK Center box office on Wednesday morning for $79.
5) When do we find out which teams are coming to Tulsa?
At 5 p.m. tonight during the NCAA Tournament selection show on KOTV-6.
6) How many teams will be playing in Tulsa?
Eight teams will compete in two four-team brackets. Kansas and Texas (one in each bracket) are widely projected to be Tulsa-bound. Two of the eight will advance to the Sweet Sixteen March 24-27.
7) What games will be played in Tulsa?
Because the NCAA expanded its field this year from 65 teams to 68, games that used to be known as first- and second-round games are now known as second- and third-round games. It's a single-elimination tournament, so teams that lose are out, while teams that win hold onto their dreams. Expect to see some raw emotion play out at the end of each game.
8) Are the games on TV?
For the first time, every NCAA game is on TV. But the specific broadcast lineup for all games, including those in Tulsa, will be set early in the week. CBS, TBS, TNT and TruTV will carry all the action.
9) How many teams are in the NCAA Tournament?
Tulsa will have eight out of the 68 teams in the field.
10) When are the games after the rounds played in Tulsa?
Games in the Sweet Sixteen (regional semifinals) and Elite Eight (regional finals) are played this year in Newark, N.J. (East Regional), San Antonio (Southwest Regional), Anaheim, Calif. (West Regional) and New Orleans (Southeast Regional).
- BY JOHN E. HOOVER, World Sports Writer
Original Print Headline: City unveils its game plan for parking
Kevin Canfield 918-581-8313