Thursday, February 22, 2018
Events

IIFA notes: More traffic and security than normal, but this is no RNC

TAMPA — Next week's International Indian Film Academy Weekend & Awards won't turn Tampa into the armed camp it was for the Republican National Convention.

Still, don't be surprised to see enhanced security and more traffic than normal, especially downtown.

"We will be prepared to host a great event, keep it safe, keep the traffic flowing — hopefully, keep the rain away," Mayor Bob Buckhorn says.

City Hall can't do much about the weather, but Tuesday it released plans for security and traffic management:

Security: The city's goal is to minimize inconvenience while ensuring safety. Officials said security will expand or contract depending on the size and location of each event.

Tampa police will draw on their experience with Super Bowls and Gasparilla while working with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, Florida Highway Patrol, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Tampa International Airport Police, the Transportation Security Administration, Seminole Hard Rock security and other state and federal agencies.

Police also will work with the private security teams traveling with individual Bollywood stars coming in for IIFA.

Downtown congestion: Expect unusually heavy traffic April 23-26, especially at night, and plan accordingly, officials say.

In the evening, drivers should use N Boulevard to get downtown via the Cass Street bridge instead of coming in on Kennedy Boulevard.

The Hilton Downtown Tampa, at the corner of Tampa and Jackson streets, is the official IIFA hotel and is expected to draw crowds of film fans hoping to catch glimpses of their favorite stars.

As a result, officials say there may be intermittent lane and road closures along Tampa Street between Kennedy and Whiting Street and Jackson between Ashley Drive and Florida Avenue. The city has a map of potential closures at tampagov.net/dept_Public_Affairs_NewsCenter/information_resources/files/IIFA_Map_General.pdf.

Harbour Island likely will be affected the night of April 24, when the IIFA Rocks live music and fashion show will bring about 2,500 VIPs to the Tampa Convention Center. On that day, roads around the convention center and the S Harbour Island Boulevard bridge will be closed from 5 p.m. until after the event. The S Beneficial Drive bridge will remain open.

Real-time alerts: Sign up for text or email alerts to your cellphone, mobile device, email or landline phone at tampagov.net/AlertTampa or by calling (813) 231-6184. City Hall also will post tips on the city and Tampa police Facebook pages as well as @cityoftampa and @tampapd on Twitter.

A little dignity, please

With stars arriving and fans emoting, the green carpet outside the IIFA's events has a reputation for being quite the spectacle.

But there are limits, and reporters on the beat should observe them, organizers say.

"Do not take or make requests for pictures/selfies with celebrities," organizers told journalists in a credentials kit sent this week. "A professional approach would allow us to maintain decorum. IIFA reserves the right to withdraw media accreditation badges from journalists having done so."

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