Tuesday, April 20 2010 11:21 PM EDT2010-04-21 03:21:00 GMT
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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - When trying to imagine what the Democratic National Convention might look like from a commuting perspective, think of how the Panthers can turn I-77 into a parking lot. A typical home game draws over 70,000 football fans.
Now imagine that the game isn't a 3 hour event. Imagine its 3 days, with people needing to get to locations ranging from the Speedway to the Whitewater Center.
Anne Herbst has covered the DNC before, and says traffic was so thick people didn't even think of driving. "We just made sure we had a little taxi service. You never wanted to drive your car into the stuff. Ever," she says.
Security expert Ross Bulla has been working with uptown employers on convention preparedness, and he says they've gotten word to expect a bigger crowd than first imagined.
"Original estimates were anywhere from about 50 to 55,000," Bulls says. "That's kind of creeped up a little bit in some of the documents I've seen recently."
He says many corporations are asking employees to work from home. But not every business can...nor should they.
"We're encouraging, even as security consultants," Bulla says, "we're encouraging businesses to stay open."
But Bulla says managers need to come up with both transportation and safety plans. They need to tour their uptown property with a professional.
"Some of the things we point out are weapons of convenience," he says. "Especially in a spontaneous disruption people go for anything that's available that they can turn into a weapon to hurl."
Bulla says employers should temporarily removing things like trash cans, and that they should identify areas where rocks or weapons could be hidden prior to the convention.
"What we tell our clients uptown is find all of your concealment areas on the exterior of your building, map them and then check them once every thirty minutes during the DNC," he says.