Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Busy downtown St. Petersburg could get worse Saturday

ST. PETERSBURG — A potentially fun-filled Saturday could turn into a traffic and parking nightmare downtown.

At any given moment, the casual visitor could face a throng of people with their canines, shoppers looking to scoop up bargains on organic produce or thousands of fans preparing for the biggest baseball game in the history of the Tampa Bay Rays.

If the team returns for a home game Saturday afternoon against the Boston Red Sox, unprecedented levels of fans, onlookers and bystanders could clog downtown.

Saturday is already scheduled to be a busy day with the Saturday Morning Market, FISH-ful Saturday at the Pier, the 18th annual SPCA Pet Walk at North Shore Park and the Pops in the Park at North Straub Park with a fireworks show.

Joe Kubicki, transportation director for the city, was confident there would be enough places to park. "We've implemented a plan that we've tried for the last couple of games," Kubicki said. "We'll be making some modifications in the routing of traffic immediately around Tropicana Field to help disperse traffic."

Kubicki said the BayWalk parking garage and the municipal parking garage were yet to be completely filled during a baseball event.

He didn't know whether the Rays intended to take the tarp off obstructed-view seats in the stadium. "If so, we'll make sure there is adequate parking and call in some additional shuttles," Kubicki said.

The Rays announced later in the day that they will remove the tarps on upper-level seats, making 5,762 more tickets available if the ALCS goes to Game 6.

Meanwhile, Susan Robertson, marketing manager at the Pier, said that although she hoped the Rays wouldn't need to bring it back home for the ALCS, the series has been good for business.

"We've had a lot of visitors from both sides that have come down here," she said. The Pier was hoping to show the match-up Saturday pending Major League Baseball approval, Robertson said. "Not everyone will make it inside for the game."

Bill Proffitt, a spokesman for the St. Petersburg Police Department, said he was confident the events Saturday would not be a major impediment for commuting.

"We have a plan for sold-out games at Tropicana Field," Proffitt said. "We have a lot of practice for dealing with those types of events."

Proffitt said traffic patrol officers would have a beefed-up presence Saturday to ease the congestion of people trying to leave. He also noted that fans tend to arrive to weekend games earlier instead of flooding the area at one time. "Some of them will start arriving four hours before the game starts," he said.

Kubicki said arriving early is a good idea. He offered some advice to anyone going downtown in the event of a Rays game: "Get there several hours before or a few hours before, and not to rush to make sure that you see that first pitch."

Reach Austin Bogues at or at (727) 893-8872.

Busy downtown St. Petersburg could get worse Saturday 10/14/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 14, 2008 6:19pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Storm routs Cleveland


    TAMPA — Alvin Ray Jackson intercepted two passes, returning one for a touchdown, and recovered two fumbles as the Storm routed Cleveland 57-27 Saturday night in its home regular-season finale at Amalie Arena.

  2. Miscue sends Rays to another stinging loss to Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays gave away DJ Kitty onesies Saturday night. Then they gave away the game.

    Rays centerfielder Mallex Smith misses a drive hit by Adrian Beltre with two outs in the sixth, allowing the tying runs to score. Beltre puts Texas ahead 4-3 when he scores after two wild pitches.
  3. Rowdies shut out Charleston


    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rowdies know a thing or two about stalemates, with five of their past 10 games ending in a draw.

    Rowdies in the first half during the game between Tampa Bay Rowdies and the Charleston Battery at Al Lang Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Saturday, Jul 22, 2017.
  4. 13-year-old Janessa's father holds memorial service at Rogers Middle School


    RIVERVIEW — About 100 people sat in the tile-floored multipurpose room Saturday at Rodgers Middle School where Janessa Shannon once sat as a student.

    A mourner embraces Nahshon Shannon after the memorial service for Nahshon’s daughter, Janessa, Saturday at Rodgers Middle School in Riverview.
  5. Trump: Aircraft carrier a symbol of America's might (w/video)


    NORFOLK, Va. — With praise and a blessing for the military, President Donald Trump helped hand over the USS Gerald R. Ford to the Navy on Saturday and said the state-of-the-art aircraft carrier will send a "100,000-ton message to the world" about America's military might when it is ultimately deployed.

    President Donald Trump commissions the USS Gerald R. Ford on Saturday in Norfolk, Va.