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. Video: Rays Souza on that oh-so-bad dive, and reaction from Twins fans


    What was Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. thinking when he made that oh-so-bad dive for a ball in the seventh inning Friday? Well, we'll let him tell you ...

  2. What was Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. thinking on that comically bad dive?


    What could Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. been thinking in the seventh inning Friday when he dove for a ball and came up yards short?

    Actually, he insisted after all the laughing, teasing and standing ovation from the Twins fans was done, it was a matter of self-preservation.

  3. Judge tosses life sentences for D.C. sniper Lee Boyd Malvo


    McLEAN, Va. — A federal judge on Friday tossed out two life sentences for one of Virginia's most notorious criminals, sniper Lee Boyd Malvo, and ordered Virginia courts to hold new sentencing hearings.

    A federal judge has tossed out two life sentences for D.C. sniper shooter Lee Boyd Malvo. [Associated Press, 2004]
  4. Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter's national security adviser, dies


    Zbigniew Brzezinski, the hawkish strategic theorist who was national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter in the tumultuous years of the Iran hostage crisis and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the late 1970s, died on Friday at a hospital in Virginia. He was 89.

    Zbigniew Brzezinski, former national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter, participates in Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on March 5, 2009, in Washington, D.C. [Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images]
  5. USF eliminated by UCF in AAC baseball; Florida, FSU, Miami win


    CLEARWATER — Roughly 16 hours after a ninth-inning collapse against East Carolina in the American Athletic Conference's double-elimination baseball tournament, USF returned to Spectrum Field presumably set for a reboot.

    It simply got booted instead.

    ’NOLES win: Tyler Holton gets a hug from Drew Carlton after his strong eight innings help Florida State beat Louisville.