Speed Street preps underway - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Speed Street preps underway

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

The preps are underway uptown, and the visitors are already arriving.  Stephanie Jeffers and Nakita Bowman are from Boston and they're psyched for Speed Street.

"You guys shut down like half the city and people come in from around the world," Bowman said, "we just thought it would be good. "

Also good, their impression of Charlotte so far.

"Friendly," Jeffers said.  "Just that southern feel, everyone smiling at each other and stuff."

But, of course, the real deal - and the real test - won't start until Thursday. Every year, about 400,000 people show up for Speed Street.

"We ask people coming uptown to be aware that there is going to be a large volume of pedestrian traffic and changing traffic patterns," CMPD Captain Mike Campagna said during a press conference Wednesday. "So it's really important that people are aware of what's going on around them."

Campagna also talked about how they'll be putting more officers on duty during the event.

"Two to three times the number of officers and we devote those officers specifically to working with the crowds," he said.

And those officers will have more power than usual to search people in the crowds because the city has declared Speed Street an Extraordinary Event.

"It allows us a little more flexibility in stopping and questioning people," Major Jeff Estes said.

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