Getting in and out of the coliseum parking lot is tough, especially the "getting in" part.

Along with a zillion other people, we inched our way into the El Paso County Coliseum for Disney On Ice last night. Literally, inched.

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"Family" shows always draw huge crowds and last night was no exception. The show was fun but getting from Paisano and Gateway to the street that leads to the Coliseum parking lot, (S. Boone St.), and then into the parking lot itself sucked. (map)

The lot allows only one way in which backs traffic up along S. Boone to Paisano and then both ways up and down Paisano. The traffic light for west bound traffic only allows a few cars to turn onto Boone at a time so, those lanes get very backed up too.

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When you have 1,000's of vehicles trying to make it down one, very narrow street and through a "stop 'n go" entrance, the congestion is terrible. I'm no traffic flow expert but here are some ideas that might help in the future.

  • Open BOTH gates into the parking lot to admit people, not just to get everyone out afterwards.
  • Post the "cash only" signs for parking along the stretch of Paisano that leads to S. Boone.(and/or Shelter). "Cashless" peeps were turned away, slowing things more.
  • Have the city regulate the traffic signals at Paisano and S. Boone so that more cars can get through at a time.
  • Ditto for Paisano and Shelter ... if they ever do the smart thing and open both parking lot gates prior to the event. (See number 1)
  • Better yet, have EPPD handle it. They can gauge when to stop or release traffic and can also guide those going elsewhere around the mess.
  • I'm not sure if this one's possible ... it may already already be in place, I'm not sure ... but they could consider adding/opening a third gate, closer to Paisano. I know the "front" area is often used for equipment trucks but not always.

Not every event has a mad rush of people all trying to be right on time. El Pasoans work on El Paso time after all and some folks will deliberately miss the opening act(s) just to avoid the traffic woes.

For those events that do see everyone come at once, hopefully those ideas will help. I realize the Coliseum was built long ago and isn't in an ideal location for heavy traffic but these thoughts could improve things a little.

Maybe a LOT ... let's try 'em and find out.


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