Sunday, January 21, 2018
Politics

What you need to know about Obama's speech Saturday in Pinellas — even if you aren't going

SEMINOLE — President Barack Obama is throwing a rally Saturday at St. Petersburg College's Seminole Campus and residents could be affected — even if they aren't going to see the speech.

Doors will open at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, college officials said. Obama will take the stage at 10:55 a.m., the White House said. The president was scheduled to arrive at St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport around 11 p.m. Friday and stay overnight in St. Petersburg.

Traffic near the event could be affected throughout the morning. Some things to know:

Closures/Traffic: The official motorcade route has not been released, but officials said at least one major road — 113th Street — will be closed for a few hours.

About 10:30 a.m., that road will close between 86th and 102nd avenues, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.

Other roads in the area, likely between St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport and the college, could see intermittent closures or lane blockage as the president's motorcade passes.

Parking: It will be limited and first-come, first-serve for regular and handicap spots. People are encouraged to park at Seminole Mall, 11201 Park Blvd.

Shuttles will transport people to the campus, beginning at 7 a.m.

Event rules: Those attending Obama's speech will face some strict rules about what they can and can't bring to the outdoor event.

Unless you have a ticket, you won't be allowed on the property, college spokeswoman Wilma Norton said. Those who do have a ticket should expect "airport-like" security.

Organizers ask that people limit belongings to essentials, like a wallet, keys and cellphone.

Large bags aren't allowed. Water and other liquids also are prohibited, but will be provided at the event. Strollers are allowed. Signs and lawn chairs aren't (officials described the event as a "standing rally.") Those with disabilities will be provided seating.

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