Traffic causes concert woes

RALEIGH U2 took the stage just before 9 p.m. treating Raleigh fans to rock solid riffs for the first time.

More than 60,000 fans were expected to catch the much-anticipated tour, but parking lots were full.

Before the concert, traffic got so congested that some people parked on the side of the road, taking them a while to finally arrive to the show.

DOT cameras around I-40 and Aviation Parkway captured the major traffic jam around 6:30 p.m., hours before the concert got started.

The man responsible for the U2 parking plan is a private parking contractor with 30 years of experience.

He called it a "perfect storm" for bad concert parking, which everyone should learn from.

"I do regret, lament that anyone had to sit in traffic for two to three hours," said Steve McLaurin with McLaurin Parking.

McLaurin Parking manages the parking at all Carter-Finley events and about 200 special events a year.

McLaurin said he was not surprised by the traffic volume, but by the proportion which came east on I-40 onto Edwards Mill Road.

"It was unprecedented the saturation that we got for this concert coming off of I-40," McLaurin said.

He said football crowds know to take short-cuts and quicker exits, but many concert goers were coming to the area for the first time.

"We're going to have to look at methods of trying to get information to them so that they can become more familiar," McLaurin said.

James Cornicelli said he's seen U2 several times, but never concert grid-lock like what took place Saturday.

"People just parking their cars and running," Cornicelli said. "They didn't want to miss that show. I felt terrible for them."

"It basically took three-and-a-half hours to get to our parking spot," concert goer Allison Pike said.

Pike said it was only suppose to be a 17 mile drive from Durham to Carter-Finley Stadium.

"We missed four songs," Pike said. "We heard them as we were running to the venue."

McLaurin said all parking lots were open and he hired more parking attendants than he used for football games, but he said they may need to collect zip code data from ticket merchants to anticipate where most of the traffic will come from.

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